The Salem Wiki
The Salem Wiki

God’s calling far outweighs the rules of a few narrow minded Bostonians.
— Cotton Mather

Boston is a city of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the seat of the Puritan Council. Despite being shown only for few episodes, Boston plays an important role to be home to two of the main characters, the witch hunters Increase and Cotton Mather.

In History

Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine (after its "three mountains"—only traces of which remain today) but later renamed it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent colonists had come. In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, John Winthrop, led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history; America's first public school was founded in Boston in 1635. Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their native allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid 18th century. Until the early 20th century, Boston remained one of the nation's largest manufacturing centers and was notable for its garment production and leather goods industries. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region facilitated the shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads furthered the region's industry and commerce. During this period Boston flourished culturally as well, admired for its rarefied literary life and generous artistic patronage, with members of old Boston families — eventually dubbed Boston Brahmins — coming to be regarded as the nation's social and cultural elites.

Throughout the Salem Series

Season One

With the intention to burst a hysterical witch-panic in Salem, Massachusetts, Mary Sibley, a prominent citizen of Salem and secretly infamous witch willing to lead the Grand Rite, made Cotton Mather come from Boston for the young reverend to lead witch trials. Mary Sibley was able to do so by using the political power she had gained from her sick husband, George Sibley, head of Salem selectmen. Although, during a conversation between Mary and Cotton, the woman claimed to have requested another witch hunter — perhaps Increase Mather, but Essex witches Mab and John Hale plotted to keep Increase far away from Salem — and she had to settle for the second choice, Cotton Mather .(The Vow)

Season Two

Cotton Mather was in Boston to be investigated by the Council of the Puritans on the events noticed in Salem, such as the murder of his own father, the Reverend Increase Mather and hysteria of the witch hunt. Cotton doesn't know that Thomas Elliot, a member of the Council is actually in the pay of the Countess Von Marburg, an ancient and dangerous European witch, and that man is responsible for spying on him to find out details about the Grand Rite accomplished by the witches of Salem. (Cry Havoc)

Anne Hale arrived in Boston using her magical mask in order to find Cotton and beg him to return with her to Salem to defeat the witches and prevent them from opening the Hell Gate. (Blood Kiss)

During a conversation between Cotton Mather and Dr Samuel Wainwright, the latter scoffed at Mather's theological education, acknowledging, however, that the man had a quite brilliant mind to be an Harvard-educated Bostonian. (Book Of Shadows)

Season Three

During his escape from Anne Hale after having been liberated from the subjugation of the familiar, Cotton Mather ran into Mr and Mrs Stoughton, two Bostonians who were part of the parish led by the late Increase Mather. Unbeknownst to him, after leaving the city for a life in the countryside, the two had sold their soul to the Devil in exchange for magical powers and abducted him with the intention of delivering the young Mather to the Dark Lord, who in the meantime had put a size on his head. (Night's Black Agents)


Mary Sibley (to Cotton Mather): "When I summoned a hunter of witches to protect the people of Salem, it was not you I requested. Yet it was you who arrived on our shores. Do not make me regret settling for my second choice."
-- in Survivors
Cotton Mather (to Mr Elliot): "He felt that his flock here in Boston had suffered without a Shepherd for far too long. So, he sent me back to prepare for his own return."
--in Cry Havoc


  • Early colonists believed that Boston was a community with a special covenant with God, as captured in Winthrop's "City upon a Hill" metaphor. This influenced every facet of Boston life and made it imperative that colonists legislate morality as well as enforce the marriage, church attendance, education in the Word of God, and the persecution of sinners. These values moulded an extremely stable and well-structured society in Boston. Puritan values of hard work, moral uprightness, and education remain a part of Boston's culture. One of the first schools in America, Boston Latin School (1635), and the first college in America, Harvard College (1636), were founded shortly after Boston's European settlement.
  • Town officials in colonial Boston were chosen annually; positions included selectman, assay master, culler of staves, fence viewer, hayward, hogreeve, measure of boards, pounder, sealer of leather, tithingman, viewer of bricks, water bailiff, and woodcorder
  • Governor Winthrop announced the foundation of the town of Boston on September 7, 1630 (old style), with the place named after the town of Boston, in the English county ofLincolnshire, from which several prominent colonists emigrated. The name also derives from Saint Botolph who was the patron saint of travellers.
  • Along with New York, Boston was the financial centre of the United States in the 19th century and was especially important in funding railroads nationwide

See Also