History of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume 1
History of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume 1. Sidney Perley. (1924, 1926, 1928) 2007. Perley has compiled an extremely detailed account of the first ninety years of the history of Salem, Massachusetts, incorporating the contents of many original documents.
Perley takes note of when each resident first arrived in town, and at that point inserts a genealogical summary of the family.Salem was settled in 1626 by fishermen from the West Country of England. These residents were joined in 1628 by the advance party of the Massachusetts Bay Company, under the leadership of John Endicott. Although the political center of Massachusetts Bay moved to Boston with the arrival of John Winthrop in 1630, Salem continued to be an important part of Massachusetts history, as a major fishing port and as county seat of Essex County. The third volume includes a lengthy chapter on the Witchcraft Delusion of 1692, with transcripts of a selection of the court documents.In the course of narrating the history of Salem chronologically, Perley paid special attention to the first appearance of each inhabitant in the records. When possible, he included a facsimile of that person's signature. He then appended as a footnote a genealogical account of that person's descendants, frequently extending for many generations and covering several pages.Many original records, including especially land records, are transcribed or abstracted, with an exact citation to the location of each record. An appendix in the first volume provides a complete transcript of the two earliest surviving town-wide land grants, one of which provides the number of persons in each household as of 25 December 1637.