Aug. 19, 1692: George Burroughs, 42, of Wells is hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, after being tried for and found guilty of witchcraft.

The execution proceeds even though Burroughs’ chief accuser, Margaret Jacobs, 17, recants her testimony, saying that she suffered “such horror of conscience that I could not sleep for fear the devil should carry me away for telling such horrid lies.”

Famed Puritan minister and pamphleteer Cotton Mather (1663-1728) witnesses Burroughs’ hanging, delivering a sermon about the devil’s trickery even while Burroughs is dangling, still alive, from the noose.

Of the 19 defendants executed as a result of the quickly discredited Salem witch trials, Burroughs is the only religious minister and the only Harvard College graduate to be put to death. Burroughs, who grew up in Roxbury, Massachusetts (now part of Boston), becomes known for reciting the Lord’s Prayer during his execution, something it was believed a witch never could do. Burroughs lived in Falmouth (now Portland), but he moved to Wells after the Wabanaki Confederacy destroyed Falmouth in 1690. He was arrested April 30, 1692, after members of his congregation to whom he owed money accused him of witchcraft.

Eleven months after Burroughs’ execution, his widow marries again, and Mather performs the wedding ceremony.

Aug. 19, 1974: Electrical engineer and University of Maine graduate Chuck Peddle (1937-2019) and six colleagues leave their jobs at Motorola after unsuccessfully trying to convince the company to focus on manufacturing small, cheaper microprocessors.

Advertisement

The group goes to work for MOS Technologies in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where it invents the 6502 microprocessor, which paves the way for low-cost personal computers, revolutionizing the industry. The chip is used in such early models as the Commodore II and the Apple II.

Born in Bangor and raised in Augusta, Peddle receives the University of Maine Alumni Association’s Career Award in April 2019. However, his sister, Marty Peddle Furber of Hallowell, says her brother did not seek accolades.

“Once he finished something, he just moved on to something else,” she says. “He was an inventor and innovator and just moved on. He was very casual.”

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

 

Comments are not available on this story.