Hon. Thomas Danforth
chr.20 Nov 1623 Framlingham, Suffolk, England
d.5 Nov 1699 Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
m. 11 Feb 1617/8
m. 23 Feb 1643
Facts and Events
Thomas Danforth (baptized November 20, 1623 – November 5, 1699) was a politician, magistrate, and landowner in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A conservative Puritan, he served for many years as one of the colony's councilors and magistrates, generally leading opposition to attempts by the English kings to assert control over the colony. He accumulated land in the central part of the colony that eventually became a portion of Framingham, Massachusetts. His government roles included administration of territory in present-day Maine that was purchased by the colony.
Danforth was a magistrate and leading figure in the colony at the time of the Salem witch trials, but did not sit on the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Despite this, he is depicted in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible and its movie adaptations as doing so. He is there presented as a harsh and domineering judge; in fact he is recorded as being critical of the conduct of the trials, and played a role in bringing them to an end.