Author: Nora
•Monday, February 16, 2015

I’d like to use these next two posts to introduce the two earliest generations I’ve discovered in my Bishop line.  Also, I’ll try to unravel some of the confusing stories about the four men named Edward Bishop who appear in Salem, Massachusetts records in 1692, the year of the most notorious of the witchcraft accusations and hangings.  I refer to these four men as Edward Bishop (1st), Edward Bishop (2nd), Edward Bishop (3rd) and Edward Bishop, the sawyer.

Edward Bishop (1st), was born in England in about 1619-20 and died in Salem Village/Beverly on 13 January 1695.  He may have been in the village of Beverly, Essex County, colony of Massachusetts Bay as early as 1639, but most certainly by 1644, when he married Hannah More (or Moore).

In 1646 a lot of 40 acres was granted to Edward “at a meeting of the seven men of Salem…Dec. 28, 1646”, described as “lying neere to the ffarmes at Bass River head to Nicholas Howards lott”.  Here's a copy of that grant to Edward:

Three children are known to have been born to Edward and Hannah:  Hannah, baptised 12 April 1646; Edward (2nd), baptised 23 April 1648 – died in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1711; and Mary, baptised 12 October 1651.  All three children were born in Salem and baptised at the First Church of Salem.

In 1653, both Edward (1st) and his wife Hannah were charged with “pilfering apples, a knife and a jerkin and for lying” (Edward); and for “stealing Indian corn and woolen and linen…, milking others cows, and for lying” (Hannah).  On the positive, ‘upright-citizen’ side, Edward Bishop “of Bass River” served as a constable in 1660.

Then in 1667, records of the town of Beverly show that Edward (probably the 1st) was one of the founders of the First Church of Beverly.

An Edward Bishop is noted to have served in King Phillip’s War in 1675-76; this could have been either Edward (1st) or (2nd).  But a record in the Essex County quarterly courts is definitely about the eldest Edward, the 1st.  From Volume VIII, June, 1681 (page 191), there is this court entry:  “Edward Bishop, aged sixty-three years, testified that John Balch, Benjamin’s father, owned it (some meadow land) forty years ago.  Sworn in court.”

A similar entry in the Essex County quarterly court in this same year of 1681 helps to verify Edward (2nd)’s year of birth.  In Volume VIII, June 1681 (page 110) is the following entry:  “Edward Bishop, aged about thirty-five years, testified that he heard Backon say that Dodridge was a good seaman….Sworn, June 27, 1681, before Bartho. Gedny, assistant.”

Edward (2nd) probably married in about the year 1669, to Sarah Wildes, daughter of John Wilde and Priscilla Gould.

Edward (2nd) and Sarah had a farm in Salem Village – near the border with Beverly – and also ran an inn or tavern, for which they ran afoul of the ‘powers that be’ for doing so without a license.

Their children were (born in Salem Village or Beverly):

Edward (3rd), born about 1671
Samuel, born about 1672; died 8 June 1726 in Attleboro, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
Jonathan, born about 1674; died in February of 1752
William, born about 1676
David, born about 1678; died in about 1716-17 in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut.
Priscilla, baptised 16 August 1681
Joseph, born 6 April 1683; died after 1711
Sarah, baptised 24 May 1685; died 10 November 1747, Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Benjamin, baptised 17 July 1687; died between 1711-1726
John, born about 1689; died 16 September 1748, Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Ebenezer, baptised 12 May 1695; died after 1711

There may have been one more child, but I’ve never found the record of another one’s name and birth date.  In the year 1710, Edward Bishop wrote to the committee in Essex County that was handling complaints of some of the accused and jailed in 1692.

After detailing their loss of livestock, property and ability to earn a living, he wrote:
the time that my sellf and wife were prisnors was thirtiey seven wekes all which tim cost me ten shillings pur weake for our bord besides other nesecri charges and prison fees which amounted to five pounds and I was cept from making eney improufment of my estate to provide for food for my family and had at that time twelve children the which I could have maintained out of the produce of my esteat could I have had the liberty to med the Improufment of It.
(See Essex County Records, Witchcraft Papers, 1655-1750)
Read more Salem records regarding this traumatic time at: 
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive

And for some interesting articles and images of early Salem, see this site:
Salem Pioneer Village 1630 

More on these four men named Edward Bishop in my next post, including some documents that will help show why Edward Bishop, sawyer, was probably not closely related to the other 3 men of this name who lived in Salem Village at this time.