Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Which Edward Bishop Was Witch? – Edward Bishop

B. about 1620 in England
M. before 1646 in Massachusetts
Wife: Hannah (last name unknown)
D. after 1694 in (probably) Salem, Massachusetts
Emigrated: unknown

There were three Edward Bishops living in Salem at the time of the witch trials (some researchers have speculated there was a fourth) and this Edward was the oldest of them. He was born in England in about 1620 (some have given a date as early as 1611). Nothing is known of him until he turned up in Salem, Massachusetts in 1639. He was married to a woman named Hannah (possibly her last name was Moore) and they had at least three children who were baptized in Salem between 1646 and 1651. One of these children was also named Edward.

There is evidence that the elder Edward was living in Salem at the time of the witch trials; he appears along with wife Hannah having signed a petition in defense of one of the accused, Rebecca Nurse. Another of the accused women who was tried before this date was Bridget Bishop, the wife of Edward, presumably the son. Later, an Edward Bishop identified as the son of Bridget's husband Edward, presumably the grandson of the elder Edward, was brought up on charges of witchcraft along with his wife Sarah.

Bridget Bishop became famous as the first person found guilty at the witch trials who was then executed. Edward Bishop the son was her third husband; she had married her first husband in England in 1660 and her second in the Massachusetts colony in 1666. Her second marriage involved accusations of witchcraft after her husband died, but no trial. As the wife of Edward Bishop in 1692 Salem, Bridget was again accused of witchcraft. Several town members, including a group of teenaged girls, claimed she had caused them harm with just a glance, and several people testified that she appeared as a specter in their homes. She denied the accusations, but was found guilty, and was hung from the town gallows.

Some time after this, the youngest Edward Bishop and his wife Sarah were arrested in a separate case. They ran an inn out of their home in Salem and it was known for serving "drinks to underaged patrons and allowed 'shovel'-board to be played at all hours of the night." A neighbor who complained about their behavior was found a short time later dead from an apparent suicide — a slashed throat from a pair of sewing scissors — and this was thought to be witchcraft caused by Edward and Sarah. They managed to escape jail, though, and were said to have hid until the witch trial craze was over.

It is not known when the elder Edward died; some have said 1694 and others have given dates as late as 1711. The relationship between of the Edward Bishops of Salem can never be proven completely, but the scenario of father/son/grandson seems likely from all of the circumstantial evidence.

Sources:
Wikipedia article on Edward Bishop
Salem Witchcraft with an account of Salem Village and a history of opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects, Charles Wentworth Upham, 1867
A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, James Savage, 1860

2 comments:

  1. I am a direct legitimate granddaughter of Edward Bishop of the Salem witch trials of Mary Bishop and her final marriage to Robert Colbourne colburn colborn. We have countless direct legitimate children born through her. WE were of Ipswich.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a direct legitimate granddaughter of Edward Bishop of the Salem witch trials of Mary Bishop and her final marriage to Robert Colbourne colburn colborn. We have countless direct legitimate children born through her. WE were of Ipswich.

    ReplyDelete