The Puritans traveled from England to America in the early 1600s. The Puritans that founded Salem, Massachusetts left England in 1608. They had many reasons for leaving England. Mostly to "establish themselves as rightful interpreters of the Bible independent of an inherited social and cultural order" (Pilgrims and Puritans: Background, pg. 1).
They left aboard the Arbella; most of the members she housed were gentlemen, ladies, and the upper classmen. She was coming to America for religious freedom, that among other things. They wanted a place where they could meet in the way they wanted. So they formed a Company to meet for getting instructions as to how to best follow God. They also had a hope that they could convert the Indians to Christianity.
The Puritans believed that the Church of England had not under gone the changes that they thought were needed. They felt they needed to "achieve and preserve the simplicity and purity that had been lost" (Pilgrims and Puritans: Background, pg. 1). .
The Puritans believed in preaching not rituals. They believed that God had sent them to "build His kingdom in the wilderness" (The Story of New England, pg 33). They also believed man found happiness and heaven through intelligence. Puritans lived in fear of an eternity in hell, the Puritans projection of a bad life here on Earth. And they believed that the devil tempted them more than ordinary Christians. They believed signs of witchcraft was a sure sign of the devil at work.
The people of Salem built houses, well the rich people did. Those less fortunate lived in tents for a time. The houses had wooden chimneys and thatched roofs. This caused many fires. The town had a meeting hall, much like many England cities. The Market Square most likely surrounded the hall. The governor his manor on the outskirts of the city. Narrow lanes connected the entire city. A church and graveyard, a public grazing yard and a public school finished up the town.