Francis Nurse was born 18 January 1618 in Bristol, England to Thomas Nurse (1560-) and Alice Daulton (1562-) and died 22 November 1695 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Rebecca Towne (1621-1692) 24 August 1644 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Early New England immigrant and settler in Salem, MA. Here Francis met and married his wife, Rebecca Blessing Towne. She was persecuted and hanged at the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, leaving Francis to die a widower three years after.

Vital Statistics

  • Son of Thomas Nurse (1560-) and Alice Daulton (1562-)
  • 1618-Jan-18 : Birth in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England -
  • 1640 (EST) : Probable time of migration to America
  • 1644-Aug-24& : Marriage to Rebecca Towne (1621-1692) at Salem Village, Massachusetts Colony
  • 1692 (EST) : Wife is executed in the Salem Witch Trials
  • 1695-Nov-22 : Died a widower, Salem Village, Essex Co, Massachusetts Province


There is much less information on Rebecca's husband Francis Nurse. He was born January 18, 1617 in England and died November 22, 1695 in Salem Village. He and Rebecca married August 24, 1644 at Salem. Francis had appeared in Salem in about 1640 at about the age of 19. He was described as "a youth," possibly an indentured servant. The first mention of him in Salem, lightly crossed out in court records, (probably by a sensitive descendant), is the presentment on March 31, 1640, of "Francis Nurse a youth for stealing of victualls (food) and for suspicion of breaking (into) a house."After Francis and Rebecca married, they lived for the next 30 years in the more thickly settled part of Salem, "near Skerry's" not far from where the bridge now crosses to Beverley. By trade he was a tray maker and artisan and in addition, he worked a small farm.

Around 1645, she married Francis Nurse, who had also been born in England, some time between 1618 and 1620. Her husband was a "tray maker" by trade, who likely made many other wooden household items. Due to the rarity of such household goods, artisans of that medium were considered esteemed. In 1672, Francis served as Salem's Constable. Together the couple had eight children, four daughters and four sons. Nurse frequently attended church and her family was well respected in Salem Village. It was later written that she had "acquired a reputation for exemplary piety that was virtually unchallenged in the community," making her one of the first "unlikely" witches to be accused.

The family of Rebecca Nurse and other victims forced Reverend Samuel Parris to leave Salem in 1697.

Children of Rebecca Towne and Francis Nurse:

They had eight children, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Rebecca, John, Samuel, Sarah, Mary and Francis.


Offspring of Rebecca Towne and Francis Nurse (1618-1695)  ¢
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Nurse (1645-1719) 1645 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts 10 December 1716 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Elizabeth Smith (1652-1673) Elizabeth Smith (1652-1673) Elizabeth Vary (1655-1684)
Rebecca Nurse (1648-1719)
Samuel Nurse (1649-1715) 3 February 1649 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts 15 July 1715 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Mary Smith (1660-1716)
Michael Nurse (1651-)
Sarah Nurse (1652-1699) 1652 Marblehead, Essex County, Massachusetts 1 September 1754 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Michael Bowden (1651-1740)
Mary Nurse (1657-1749) 1657 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts 28 June 1749 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts John Tarbell (1652-1715)
Francis Nurse (1660-1716) 3 February 1660 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts 5 February 1716 Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Sarah Craggen (1664-1707) Sarah Craggen (1664-1707) Elizabeth Sawtell (1668-)
Benjamin Nurse (1666-c1747) 26 January 1666 Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States 1747 Framingham, Massachusetts, United States Tamesin Smith (1671-1713) Tamesin Smith (1671-1713) Elizabeth Sawtelle (-aft1747)


#g1: Offspring of Thomas Nurse (1560-) and Alice Daulton (c1560-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Francis Nurse (1612-1695) 18 January 1618, Bristol, England 22 November 1695, Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts Rebecca Towne (1621-1692)


Footnotes (including sources)

¢ Children
  • AWT gives her 15 children, but the number of duplicate names suggests serious unreliability. For the record, the additional children are: Elizabeth NURSE b: 9 Jan 1664/5 in Salem Village, Essex Co., MA; Samuel NURSE b: ABT 1667; Sarah NURSE b: ABT 1669; Rebecca NURSE b: ABT 1671; Mary NURSE b: ABT 1673; Michael NURSE b: ABT 1675; John NURSE b: ABT 1677.