George Corwin: Sheriff or Criminal?

Who Is George Corwin?

George Corwin was the High Sheriff of Essex County and, therefore, Salem. He was known for the imprisonment and killings of witches and wizards like Giles Corey. As high sheriff, it is George’s job to not only sign warrants for arrest and execution, but to give prisoner’s possessions to that state. After the witch trials began, though, many say Corwin took his chance as sheriff to confiscate the belongings of the accused before they went to the state, the accused families say. Others claim Corwin was beating, killing and torturing convicts as they served their time in prison. So is George Corwin really the sheriff he says he is or is he a criminal like those he imprisons?

"He Took Everything"

If you talk to the wealthy Mr. English or George Jacobs Sr. he certainly is! English claims that “Corwin took everything my wife and I had" while he and his wife were away on a trip. Meanwhile, Jacobs says all Corwin left was his bed and a few pieces of larger furniture. English continues his attempt to sure Corwin for 4,000 pounds worth of stolen goods. Sheriff Corwin uses his court hearing to dodge these attempts but supposedly agreed to leave money for English in his will. There’s no word yet whether English or Jacobs will officially take legal action.

Giles Corey and Other Reported Deaths

What do his prisoners say about him? They say he's a murderer, as do the people of Salem. Several townspeople report that Corwin has people locked in his basement and the jail, slowly dying. Prisoners have nicknamed him “The Strangler” for his said method of killing; tying convict’s necks to their ankles till their noses bled. However, Sheriff Corwin is most known for the crushing of Giles Corey. Corey was laid on the ground with a board on top of him, piled with rocks. September 19th, the day of his death, he cursed Corwin with his dying breath.

Corwin Goes to Court

Even though the several eyewitnesses and victims of his crimes, Corwin was cleared of any wrongdoing only weeks ago. At the very beginning of his trial, Corwin was quoted saying “I’m sure that intelligent men like you would know I have stolen nothing from the state.” Nonetheless, at the end of the grueling trial, you could hear him cry out “Tis true that I tortured witches but it was only in my own defense! What else was I supposed to do?” The court agreed and their final ruling was that Corwin’s deeds were “official acts in an attempt to protect himself from acts of vengeance.”

George Corwin Continues As Our Sheriff

Today, Corwin continues to preside over the Salem jail and to serve as our high sheriff, much to the chagrin and fear of the townsfolk. While some of us have first-hand experience, many can only wonder to what extent of Corwin’s crimes were to protect himself. The people of Salem are left with a sense of injustice as Corwin is able to walk away free while hundreds of innocent men, women, and children sit in jail, there on behalf of the warrants he wrote in greed. George Corwin will be one of the most remembered sheriff's Salem has ever had.