Elizabeth Johnson Jr. is – officially – not a witch.
As of last week, Andover, Massachusetts, female, Joe confessed to witchcraft During the Salem Witch Trial, the only remaining person convicted during the trial was not cleared.
Although he was sentenced to death in 1693, after he and more than 20 members of his extended family faced similar charges, he was granted a respite and avoided the death penalty.
The acquittal came on Thursday after 329 years of conviction $53 billion state budget Signed by Government Charlie Baker. It was the product of a three-year lobbying effort by a civic teacher and her eighth grader, as well as a state senator, who helped champion the cause.
“I’m excited and relieved, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to talk to the kids about it,” North Andover Middle School teacher Carrie Lapierre said Saturday, because they’re on summer vacation. “It’s been such a big project,” Lapierre said. “We called her EJJ, all the kids and me. She became one of our worlds in a sense.”
Only a comprehensive profile of Johnson’s life is known. Lapierre said she was 22 when the accused was mentally handicapped, and had never married or had children, which could have targeted a woman.
The governor of Massachusetts at the time relieved Johnson of death, and he died in 1747 at the age of 77. But unlike others convicted in the trials, Johnson had no known ancestry who could fight to clear his name. past attempts to acquit people The witchcraft conviction ignored Johnson, perhaps because of administrative confusion, historians said: his mother, who had the same name, was also convicted, but had already been exonerated.
Lapierre said attempting to clear Johnson’s name was a dream project for an eighth-grade civics class. This allowed him to teach students about research methods, including the use of primary sources; the process by which a bill becomes law; And ways to contact state MPs. The project also taught students the value of perseverance: After an intense letter-writing campaign, the bill to exonerate Johnson was essentially dead. As the students turned their efforts to lobby the governor for a pardon, their state senator Diana Dizoglio added an amendment to the budget bill, reviving the waiver effort.
This article is originally from . appeared in new York Times,