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Last Massachusetts resident classified as 'witch' exonerated 329 years later

Witch Pardon
Posted at 1:53 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 16:53:07-04

SALEM, Mass. — Deep in the pages of Massachusetts' $53 billion state budget, you'll find the name of a woman many considered a witch.

Well, on Thursday, after Governor Charlie Baker signed the $53 billion state budget, the New York Times reported that Elizabeth Johnson, the last remaining state resident to be legally classified as a witch, was exonerated.

And it was all thanks to a tenacious eight-grade civic's class.

According to the newspaper, Johnson confessed during the Salem Witch Trials that she practiced witchcraft.

During the trials, 19 people were hanged, and one man was crushed to death by rocks, the Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, Johnson was sentenced to be hanged, but then-Gov. William Phips threw out her punishment.

The New York Times reported Johnson lived to be 77 before dying in 1747.

For more than 300 years, dozens of suspects were exonerated except for Johnson, the news outlets reported.

That's when North Andover civics teacher Carrie LaPierre comes in.

For three years, LaPierre and her students led a campaign to clear Johnson's name by drafting legislation and lobbying state officials, the newspaper reported.

Well, their hard work paid off this year with lawmakers formally exonerating her in May and Gov. Baker clearing her name for good after signing the budget Thursday.