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Putnam has land disputes with Francis and Rebecca Nurse.
Francis Nurse is well-respected in the community, and owns a good deal of land - "three hundred acres, and their children (are) settled in separate homesteads within the same estate". Francis had originally rented the land, and it is a point of speculation that, "as he gradually paid for it and raised his social status, there were those who resented his rise". One of Francis Church's neighbors is Putnam, and the two had once fought a land war which "grew to the proportions of a battle in the woods between partisans of both sides". The battle was legendary, and lasted for two full days.
Another point of dispute between the Church and Putnam families concerning land might have stemmed from Church's action of joining with landowners whose property was contiguous with his, breaking away from Salem town authority, and setting up "Topsfield, a new and independent entity whose existence was resented by old Salemites". Taking these conflicts into consideration, it is not surprising that when the witchcraft hysteria hit Salem, "the guiding hand behind the outcry (against Rebecca Nurse) was Putnam's" (Act I, Scene 2).
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