John Hathorne
John Hathorne was an executor (often portrayed as a judge) in the Salem witch trials
Salem witch trials
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693...

, and the only one who never repented of his actions. He was also a merchant in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...


Hathorne's father, Major William Hathorne
William Hathorne
William Hathorne was one of the most able, energetic and widely influential men in early New England.Hathorne is also the first American ancestor of the distinguished author, Nathaniel Hawthorne .-Biography:Hathorne was the son of a plain English yeoman, came to America in 1630, and rose to...

, was among the early settlers of Massachusetts Bay in the 1630s and held a number of political positions for several decades. John was born in Salem in August 1641; his father's surviving record gives the date as August 4, but the Records of the First Church of Salem indicate he was baptized on August 2. John married in Salem, March 22, 1674/5, Ruth Gardner, granddaughter of an "old planter
Thomas Gardner (planter)
Thomas Gardner was an Overseer of the "old planters" party of the Dorchester Company who landed, in 1624 at Cape Ann, to form a colony at what is now known as Gloucester...

" of Salem.

John was the great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

, author of, among other things, The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an...

, who changed his surname slightly, leading some to believe that he was trying to dissociate himself from his ancestor.

Nathaniel published several works in 1830, however, under the Hathorne name. Others note that he may have reassumed his family's ancestral name from Bray Berks England. There the name was spelled a number of different ways including Hauthorne, Hathorn, Hothorne and Hawthorne.

In fiction

In Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

's play The Crucible
The Crucible
The Crucible is a 1952 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the US government blacklisted accused communists...

, Hathorne is portrayed as quite sadistic and, quite possibly, the most ignorant, antagonistic character besides Abigail Williams
Abigail Williams
Abigail Williams was one of the initial accusers in the Salem witch trials of 1692, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of over 150 innocent people.-Salem Witch trials:...

 and her posse. Hathorne is the leading judge who continually denies witnesses any chance to redeem their names in court, as if he has already determined the outcome. He is cynical and rarely shows emotion, with the exception of the finale, where he is almost joyful that John Proctor
John Proctor
John Proctor was a farmer in 17th century Massachusetts. He married three women in his life, and divorced the first two. The last one he married was Elizabeth Proctor, who gave birth to two children, William and Sarah...

 is going to confess his crimes.

Hathorne is the judge appointed by Satan at the trial in Stephen Vincent Benet
Stephen Vincent Benét
Stephen Vincent Benét was an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist. Benét is best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body , for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and "By...

's story "The Devil and Daniel Webster
The Devil and Daniel Webster
"The Devil and Daniel Webster" is a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét. This retelling of the classic German Faust tale is based on the short story "The Devil and Tom Walker", written by Washington Irving...

", where he is described as "a tall man, soberly clad in Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 garb, with the burning gaze of the fanatic
Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby...

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