Giles Corey – 1612-1692
Accused during the infamous Salem witch trials of wizardry, Corey defiantly refused to enter a plea. English common law required a plea before a trial could proceed; to obtain the plea, the law prescribed pressing with weights until it was obtained. Corey, 80 years old at the time of his accusation, endured two days during which more and more rocks were laid on him. Reputedly, he refused to speak, except for his final words: “More weight.” Because he was not tried, his estate passed to his heirs and was not confiscated by Massachusetts. He figures as an early American example of refusal to yield to injustice.