I thought I would add a little more spice to Ezekiel Cheever’s connection to the Salem trials. This was found in an old Goble Family Newsletter while I was researching a different ancestor, (the reason they wrote an article regarding the trial was because of the Corey connection to the Goble line):
On 18 April Giles Cory was accused of witchcraft by John Putnam, Jr. and Ezekiel Cheever. On 19 April 1692 he was examined in Salem Village and on 19 September he was pressed to death under an old torture known as peine forte et dure, an ancient English procedure designed to force recalcitrant prisoners either to enter a plea (so their trials might proceed) or to die. Brown describes him as “Eighty-year-old Giles Corey, husband of the imprisoned Martha, was a powerful brute of a man and feared by many in the Village. Seventeen years before he had brutally murdered a servant (Jacob Goodale) on his farm and ever since had tangled repeatedly with the law.” Hansen tells us “Giles Corey had been ready very ready to testify against his wife, Martha, and to speak out against her out of court as well as in; he had told several people that he knew things that ‘do his wife’s business.’ Now he was admirably, if belatedly, protesting her innocence as well as his own. But he did it stupidly; he denied having said things which witnesses had heard him say and thus was several times caught lying. Since lying was a serious matter in Puritan Massachusetts and perjury is a serious matter in any age, Giles Corey must have made a very bad impression.”
Brown describes his death: “He was taken to a Salem field and there staked to the ground. A large wooden plank was placed over him. Upon it were piled stones one at a time. The authorities intended to change his mind with force. Tradition has it that Corey pleaded only for “more weight” so that he might die swiftly. ‘In pressing,’ a contemporary wrote, ‘his Tongue being prest out of his Mouth, the Sheriff (George Corwin) with his Cane forced it in again, when he was dying.’ His was a horrible death. Corey endured this punishment for two days before expiring.”
Source: Goble Family Newsletter, Vol 6, Issue 4, December 1999, sponsored by the Goble Family Association.