Mary Towne Esty was cited as an American Hero in historian Edmund S. Morgan's American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America (2009). Accused of witchcraft in 1692, she refused to sign a false confession of worshipping the devil. The Puritans were beset by Indian raids, especially on the frontiers of Maine and western Massachusetts. Because Salem was on the coast, the trading by ship was profitable. Mary lived inland in the town of Topsfield, near the community of Salem Village. Land near waterways and inland rivers became very valuable since transportation of goods was done by water on riverboats and barges. Carts were hauled by oxen, as horses had to be brought by ship from England and then bred and raised in the colonies. The land disputes affected magistrates, farmers, ship builders and the like, and they created tensions that erupted in feuds between the ruling families. When a group of young girls became afflicted by attacks from spectral spirits, the communities exploded. Caught in the furor was Reverend Samuel Parris, whose own daughter was the first to be afflicted. His financial straits forced him to ask for increased salary; even the wood promised in his contract was t forthcoming and his household suffered from the freezing winter weather. As the afflictions became contagious, a group of girls and teenagers seized the interest of Salem with their accusations of prominent citizens. Mary Towne Esty was one of these, and her story is based upon facts. It is an imaginative biography of this prominent early American woman.