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Deliverance Parkman: A Wealthy and Prominent Citizen of Salem, Massachusetts

Deliverance Parkman: A Wealthy and Prominent Citizen of Salem, Massachusetts

Deliverance Parkman was a man of many accomplishments and interests during his lifetime. Born on August 3, 1651, in Boston, Massachusetts, he was the son of Captain Elias Parkman, Sr. and Bridget Everleth Parkman. Over the course of his life, he became one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of Salem, Massachusetts.

Parkman was married four times in his life. His first wife was Mehitable Waite, whom he married in 1671. He married his second wife, Sarah Verin, in 1673. His third wife, Margaret Gardner, he married in 1685, and his fourth wife, Susanna Clarke, he married in 1704. Although he had at least six children, only two daughters lived to adulthood.

Parkman was the commander of a merchant vessel called "Fraternity", which he used to export salted codfish, lumber, and rum around the world. As a result of his successful business ventures, he became one of the wealthiest men in Salem. Later in life, his fourth wife inherited The Ships Tavern, which they would run together for many years. This tavern was where Bridget Bishop, the first to be accused of witchcraft in 1692, was examined.

In 1673, Parkman purchased a house and some land from one of his future father-in-laws. This house was located on the corner of North and Essex Street in Salem, directly across the street from where the Witch House currently stands today. This house, like the House of the Seven Gables, was part of the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story “Peter Goldthwaite’s Treasure". 

Deliverance Parkman died on November 15, 1715 at the age of 64. He is buried at the Old Burying Point, also known as Charter Street cemetery, in Salem, Massachusetts. His four wives and his children who did not live to grow up are also buried in the cemetery. Deliverance's headstone is intricately carved. It includes a skull atop a soul effigy with an hourglass on either side of the skull. Elaborate vines and rosettes are carved down each side of the stone. The stone itself is inscribed as follows:

"Here lyes Buried ye Body of Mr. Deliverance PARKMAN, Mercht., d. 15 Nov 1715, Aged 64 yrs, 3 mos, 12 dys"

Photo: Charter Street Cemetery - Salem, Massachusetts

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