The Putnam family had been responsible for hiring Parris, and had done so in hopes of establishing a parish that was completely separate from that of nearby Salem Town. (Salem Village, near the Atlantic coast, was a bustling, densely-populated city. Salem Town, farther inland, was in a poorer, predominately agricultural area.) Many people in the Salem Village congregation were either Putnams or supporters of the Putnam effort to keep the village parish separate from the town. When Parris moved to Salem, the Putnams revoked (reversed) a 1681 agreement that the title to the parsonage would be held by the village rather than by an individual, thus granting him full rights to the land and the house. Tensions had already reached a peak over the issue of the title prior to Parris's arrival, and his presence only worsened the situation. Many villagers resented having to support a minister who had clearly aligned himself with the Putnams.
In 1691 five Parris supporters on the village governing committee were replaced by five anti-Putnam villagers who sought closer contact with Salem Town. Viewing the appoint-
This church, in Danvers, Massachusetts, has been made into the Salem Witch Museum.
Reproduced courtesy of the Library of Congress.
ment of Parris as a political move on the part of the Putnams, the committee voted to not pay taxes (which paid Parris's salary) and not attend worship services at the meetinghouse. They also revoked Parris's ownership of the parsonage and the adjoining land. This was a financially devastating blow to Par-ris, who was now faced with the prospect of surviving entirely on voluntary contributions from the Putnams.
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