Edward Bishop II, my 9th great grandfather, was born February 23, 1647 in Beverly or Salem Massachusetts. He married Sarah Mary Wildes in 1670 and they had twelve children – ten sons, two daughters. My 8th great grandfather was their son Jonathan, their seventh born child.
Edward Bishop, my 10th great grandfather, was born around 1620 in Kingston, Surrey, England and died in 1705 in Salem, Massachusetts. His first wife, my 10th great grandmother, was Hanna Moore. She gave him three children, including Edward Bishop II (1647-1711). His second wife was Bridget Playfer whom he married in 1687. Edward II was already married to Sarah Mary Wildes and the father of eight of his twelve children when Bridget became his stepmother.
Correction: Thanks to Nora and her research (Found Here) we now suspect that our Edward was not married to Bridget Playfer. I’m still going through her research and will make further corrections. Also look at the comments made by Bill Bishop on this post.
Bridget was born around 1632 in Norwich, England and on April 13, 1660, she married Samuel Wassalbe in Norwich, Norfolk, England. They had two children – Benjamin in 1663 and Mary in 1665 before Samuel died in January 1666. On July 26, 1666, Bridget married Thomas Oliver and gave him a daughter in May of 1667 – Christian. Thomas died in 1679…and in 1687 she married Edward Bishop.
In a book about the Oliver’s – the following was written about Bridget:
Following Mary Oliver’s death, Thomas married again on 26 July, 1666 in Salem a woman by the name of Bridget Playfer (perhaps Playford) Wasselbe, the widow of Captain Wasselbe. Bridget Bishop was born in England about 1640 and emigrated to Salem in 1660. Bridget was well known for her argumentative ways and her sharp tongue. On one occasion, Bridget and Thomas were required to stand in the town square back to back and gagged because of their disruptive fights.
Thomas and Bridget Oliver had a daughter Chrestian (Christian) born 8 May 1667.
Rumors circulated among the townsfolk that Bridget’s “spirit” or “specter” could be seen wandering about. A black servant of the Putnam family claimed to have seen her specter in the rafters of the Putnam’s barn. He also claimed that the apparition threw pears and apples at him. Thomas Oliver died in 1678 or 1679 in Salem, and an accusation of witchcraft was leveled against his widow. The circumstances surrounding his death led people to believe that she might be practicing witchcraft.
Edward Bishop and Sarah Bishop were arrested on April 21 with Sarah’s stepmother Sarah Wildes, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Nehemiah Abbott Jr., Mary Easty, Mary Black and Mary English.
On April 22, 1692, Edward and Sarah Bishop – along with seven others were examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.
On June 2, 1692, the initial session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer was called. Bridget Bishop was the first to be pronounced guilty of witchcraft and condemned to death. Bridget was the first hanged from the Salem witch trials, on June 10, 1692.
Sarah Wildes Bishop was also the niece of Rebecca Nurse, who was hanged for witchcraft on July 19.
Edward II was present at the hearing of April, 1692, in which Sarah Cloyce was accused of witch-craft. Hearing John, an Indian servant of Rev. Parris accusing her by giving false testimony, Edward “cured that servant be a good flogging and declared his belief that he could likewise cure the whole company thus afflicted.” Because of this, Edward and his wife Sarah were arrested.
They were also accused because they ran an inn that served drinks to underaged patrons and allowed ‘shovel’-board to be played at all hours of the night. Sarah Bishop owned and lived at an inn located in Salem Village, next door to Christian Trask. Trask confronted the Bishops about the late night revelry, and a few weeks later supposedly committed suicide by slashing her own throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
Edward and Sarah escaped with the help of their sons Samuel and Edward III from the prison in Boston in October of 1692. They moved to Rehoboth, Mass and ran a tavern there for ten years.
In a 1710 affidavit attempting to gain recompense for the damages they’d suffered and to clear their names, Edward Bishop said they were “prisnors for thirtiey seven wekes” and required to pay “ten shillings pur weeake for our bord” plus five pounds.
Sarah Wildes Bishop’s stepmother, Sarah Averill Wildes, was not so lucky. She was convicted and hanged for witchcraft on July 19, 1692.
This family lost two of the women in it and had their properties seized during the Salem Witch hysteria. Samuel Bishop claimed his parent’s property and held it for them, but they never returned to Salem.
Edward and Sarah were arrested…and she had eleven children at home. An infant – Jeremiah – born in March of 1692. They had their twelfth child, Ebenezer, in 1695.
We often hear about the horror of the witchcraft trials, but they were about a power play. The people that were accused, convicted and killed were by and large the people that owned the largest plots of land, had the most successful businesses or made the most noise. I’m proud that my ancestors not only survived..and thrived… but were also the types of people that made noise.
Edward Bishop II (1647 – 1711)
Jonathan Bishop (1686 – 1752)
Gould Bishop (1712 – 1801)
Zadock Bishop (1749 – 1848)
Joseph Bishop (1773 – 1863)
Elizabeth Bishop (1802 – 1853)
Phoebe Foy (1824 – 1902)
Elvira May Smith (1857 – 1927)
Olive May Lougee (1883 – 1956)
Lester Fremont Eldredge (1909 – 1991)
Charles Sherwood Eldridge (1938 – 2013)