52 Ancestors #8: Edward Bishop II UPDATED

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.

Bishop Arrest Warrant

Bishop Arrest Warrant

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.

Salem Witch Memorial Stone

Salem Witch Memorial Stone

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.

Sarah Averill Wildes Memorial stone

Sarah Averill Wildes Memorial stone

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)


About T.K. Eldridge

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17 Responses to 52 Ancestors #8: Edward Bishop II UPDATED

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 7 Recap | No Story Too Small

  2. Tabitha Bishop says:

    Hello I have been looking into our family history . I am unable to find Edward Bishop parents. It seem to stop at Edward husbon of hanna. Have you found anything ?? Thank you

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  4. Nora says:

    Edward Bishop (born about 1617-1620) did not marry Bridget (nee Playfer) Wasselbe Oliver. This Edward was still married to Hannah in 1692 when they both signed a petition in support of Rebecca Nurse. I have a blog with some articles explaining sources (including deeds and tax lists) and reasons for these conclusions. My blog is bridges2yesteryear.blogspot.com. There are some excellent journal articles and books about these Bishop’s as well, which I mention in my blog. Bridget’s husband was Edward Bishop, sawyer, of the town of Salem. He signed his legal documents with an “X”. Edward Bishop who was married to Hannah lived in Beverly, in the Bass River area, and his legal signature was a mark also, but it was his initials, “EB”.

  5. Michael Heuss says:

    Hi – thanks for this post. Now I’ll have to redo some of my info on Edward and Bridget, but I’d rather have it all correct instead of colorful.
    What brought me here was a look for parentage for Edward and Hannah. Do you have any info that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

    • T.K. Eldridge says:

      This is what I have for Edward’s parents:

      Edward Bishop b. 1593 Kingston, surrey, England d. 1695 Salem, MA
      Married Avis Abbott on 27 April 1612 in Bridgeport, Dorset, England
      Avis Abbott b. 1590 Bridgeport, Dorset, England d. 4 August 1673 in Bridgeport, Dorset, England There is no record of her ever coming to America.

      Son Richard b. Dec 5, 1612, Essex, England
      son Thomas b. 1618 in Surrey, England
      son Edward b. 1620 in Surrey, England
      son Nathaniel b. 1621 in Surrey, England
      Edward arrived 1639 in Salem, according to the US & Canada passenger & Immigration lists index

      listed as a member of Salem Church in 1645, Occupation: Constable in 1660

      Thomas died on Feb 7, 1670 in Ipswich, MA and Richard died in 1671 in Piscataway, New Jersey, Nathaniel died 10 Jun 1687, Boston, MA.

    • T.K. Eldridge says:

      This is what I have for Hanna’s parents:

      Hanna Moore Bishop’s parents are Thomas Moore and Martha Yonges.

      Thomas was born around 1615 in England, according to the US New England Marriages prior to 1700. Other sources have him born 1616 in Southwold, Suffolk, England to Thomas and Ann Moore

      Thomas arrived in Salem in 1636 according to the US & Canada Passenger & Imm. Lists.

      He married Martha Youngs/Yonges on 31 July 1636 in Massachusetts

      According to the Mass. compiled Census & substitutes index, he was a Freeman on 18 May 1631 in Mass Bay Colony.

      Thomas died 27 June 1691 in Southold, Suffolk, NY

      Martha was born around 1613 in England and arrived in New England in 1635 according to the US & Canada Passenger & Imm. Lists.

      Other sources have her as Martha Sarah Yonges, daughter of Christopher Yonges and Margaret Elwin/Elivin b. 1 July 1613 in Reydon, Southwold, England.

      Martha died 27 June 1671 in Southold, Suffolk, NY – same day as Thomas, according to US Find A Grave, Early New England Records and a Millenium File.

      They are buried in the Old Burying Ground, First Presbyterian church, Southold, NY.

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  7. Bill says:

    I wanted to put in a little friendly skepticism. I believe the evidence against Edward Bishop, Sr. and Edward Bishop, the sawyer may not be as strong as some believe. I think the strongest evidence is the comparison of their marks. Also, other sources also state Edward, Sr. could not be the husband of Bridget, because he and his first spouse Hannah signed a petition in support of Rebecca Nurse in 1692. It is also worth noting that someone signed both Edward and Hannah’s names to the petition. The handwriting for both signatures is virtually identical, but I also noted that Edward did not use his initials as a mark on the petition. To me these two facts provide the best support of the argument that Edward, Sr. was not the husband of Bridget.

    Unfortunately, I believe that the documents which purport to show the signatures and marks of the various Edwards are merely handwritten copies made by the County Recorder. Note that some of the deeds were recorded several years after their enactment. I think that the process in those days was to take an original document to the recorder and he would copy it verbatim by hand, including signatures into the county record books. It is possible, however that some of the signatures and marks in the books are original.

    Also, Edward, Sr. may well have been a husbandman, but that does not eliminate the possibility that he switched occupations to sawyer.

    Regarding the tax rolls, if they were property tax rolls, the possibility still exists that Bishop owned more than one property. The neighbors of the properties would be the same on the rolls regardless of whether Edw. Bishop actually lived there.

    One source forwarded the proposition that after Edw. Bishop and Bridget married, she moved to his place in Beverly and rented out her place in Salem Town. This could account for the confusion between Bridget and Sarah Bishop that existed, especially if one believes the map produced by W. E. Upham showing Edward, Sr.’s house next to the house of Edward, Jr. and Sarah on the same property. Evidence in support is the testimony of John Bly and his son in 1692 that they did some work at the “old house she (Bridget) formerly lived in.” Bly testified that he performed this work about 7 years prior, which would have been about 1685. Some sources put Bridget’s marriage to Edward between 1685 and 1687 and it could be possible she moved to Beverly at that time. Also, your records indicate that Bly was a neighbor in Salem Town. The testimony of Bly opens the door that Bridget moved sometime after 1685.

    It is also curious that Bridget’s preliminary hearing was in Salem Village, not Salem Town. Bridget testified that she had never been “in this place before,” but she could be referring specifically to the village hall building, not Salem Village. Also of note is that an Edward Bishop was recorded as a member of the Salem Town church and an Edward Bishop was a founding member of the Beverly church. Thus, Bridget would have been a member of the church in Salem Town and possibly later Beverly, but not Salem Village, which could help account for her unfamiliarity with the location.

    Conversely, it is possible that Edward, Sr. could have moved to Bridget’s property in Salem Town, while still retaining his property in Beverly. Finally, the possibility exists that Edward and Bridget were still married, but living separately at the time.

    It has also been said that Bridget lived on Conant Street. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much with the riddle, as the location of her house in Salem town is about where Conant Street is today, however, the road in Beverly that Edward, Sr. and Jr. lived on is also known as Conant Street.
    While researching this, I found a deed recorded in Essex Co., dated March 17, 1706, which proves that the Edward who moved to Rehoboth was the father of the person we know as Edward, III. The deed states that Edward and his brother Samuel received land from their “honorable father Mr. Edward Bishop of Rehoboth.” This deed was signed by Edward, Samuel and their wives, Susanna and Mary. I also noted from my deed search that Edward, III at some point moved from Beverly to Salem Township. I would like to pin down exactly where he lived in town, but haven’t gotten that far.

    I still have yet to decide for myself whether Edward, Sr. and Edward the sawyer were the same person. It is entirely possible that there were more than four Edward Bishops in the area at the time, supported by the fact that in 1695 an Edward Byshop signed a petition against Salem Village Pastor Samuel Parris (instrumental in the Salem Witch trials) and another Edward Byshop signed a separate petition in support of Parris. Note that the spelling of the last names are different than the spelling used in other documents of the time. The documents are available online.

    I am a direct descendant of Edward Bishop, Sr., Jr. and III, so I would love to see this definitively resolved, but remain skeptical – Bill Bishop

    • T.K. Eldridge says:

      Wow – thank you for that Bill! And we share two Edward Bishop ancestors at least – the third born Edward is the brother of my ancestor, Jonathan.
      Just to add to the confusion, someone said they suspected that there were two “Edward Bishop/Byshop” families in the region – and that bigamy may have been part of it. I don’t buy the bigamy angle – too few people and news traveled too far – but two families is possible. Not likely – but possible.


  8. Bill says:

    I forgot to mention another deed recorded March 28, 1684, in which Edward, Sr. gives all of his property in Beverly to Edward, Jr. The original deed as recorded, is dated October 8, 1673, which leads me to believe that the Edward born ca. 1620 gave his property to the Edward born ca. 1648. The other possibility is that Edward born ca.1648 gave all his property to Edward born ca. 1670, but i think its highly unlikely to give all that land to a 3 year old.

    Also, of note is that the person we know as Edward, Jr. becomes Edward, Sr. in the deeds and the person we know as Edward, III becomes Edward, Jr.

  9. Sandy Forde Beckworth says:

    Edward Bishop is my 9th great grandfather. I have been unable to verify who his parents are. Do you have any information?

    • T.K. Eldridge says:

      His parents were Edward Bishop (1620-1705) & Hanna Moore (1634-1680)

      Mass. Applications of Freemen
      Name: Edward Bishop, senr.
      Date: 18 Apr 1690
      Residence: Salem Village
      Original Source: Inter., Vol. II. pp. 12-14.

      He was born in Kingston, Surrey, England and arrived in Salem sometime between 1639-1645 (two separate immigration lists)
      He married Hanna Moore in Chelmsford, Essex, MA in 1646, and daughter Hanna was born in April of 1646. Edward Jr was born Feb. 1647 and Mary b. Aug 1651.
      Hanna was born 26 Dec 1634 in Naumkeag, Essex, MA to Thomas Moore and Martha Yonges.

  10. Scott Bishop says:

    My dads name is Edward Charles Bishop and lived in New Castle, PA He died a couple years back, but I remember him talking about Bridget Bishop and that we were related to her.

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