Bridget Bishop

By Correy Pelletier

Another Accused in the Salem Witch Trials

She was thought to be the first accused witch in Salem. Bridget Bishop was married three different times, since her first two husbands died. The third marriage was to Edward Bishop, who worked as a lumber worker. Being remarried after a husbands' death was normal, but she was not. She did not have any children what so ever. Bishop was accused by more people than any other witchcraft defendant and she was the first witch hanged in Salem, since she had a crazy life style and way of dressing. Like she would wear a black cap, black hat, and an absurd vest that were looped and bordered with different and that is very odd for a Puritan in the 1600's. "This was a showy costume for the times. Aside from encouraging rumors and social disdain, this "showy costume" was used as evidence against her at her trial for witchcraft." (Douglas Linder) In that time period everyone tried to be normal and only wear simple colors such as white or black to show everyone they were indeed plain. The trial would be soon and her odd clothing showed she was out of place and should not be reckoned with. Showing that you could not be too careful in those times except for not so poor little "goodie" Bridget. Even though she was a member of Mr. Hale's Church, but she still loved gossip and kept it running by talking about her public fighting with her different husbands, entertaining visitors at her house, drinking and being the mistress of two well working taverns in town. The odd outfit would later be used in her trials for being too colorful and frilly and were often sign of the devil for fashionable outfits. Soon after she was given a warrant for the arrest of witchcraft and she had been to the courthouse before. More than a decade before this she had been charged with witchcraft and had been in the courthouse for violent public fighting with her husband. Bishop had not yet seen or even met any of the accusers until her trial. Some girls would cry out in agony as if she had been causing them pain. She did not go with this and denied that she was ever a witch.

More Information

The craziness of witchcraft and suspicion all started when she had first created a tavern in her house and the late night drinking, feasting and the merry company began. It brought in local youths and traveling sailors and they played insane games that were loud and would not allow the neighbors to sleep. One time one of her neighbors came in angrily and threw some game pieces into the fire since she indeed would spend long hours at night in the house tavern. The neighbor would soon forgive and make up with her with, but would tell Mr. Hale about the incident and would go into a distracted mind state. Bridget was accused of murdering the neighbor, but Mr. Hale testified against it and said it that Bridget was victimized by gross misrepresentation. "Some other neighbors of Bridget's (while she was Goody Oliver), John and Rebecca Bly, bought a pig from her and did not pay for it on time. She came to their house and argued with them about it. Afterwards the sow was taken with fits and foamed at the mouth."(Mai-Linh Gonzales Westwood) Her neighbors tried to be kind but Bridget was not a far sharer and did like other people or even cared what they thought. Showing that even the smallest of things could tick her off and how untrustworthy she was.She was an insane woman and very demanding wanting things her way.Bishop would be examined again in the Corwin house for troubling the girls Mercy Lewis and Ann Putnam and thought of making them sign the Devil's book. A claim by Jon Walcott sister said that she hit her and tore her coat and it appeared that this was there. She was not a proper villager and said that she had never been to places in the town and did not know people due to the fact that she was in problem formed relationships with her neighbors. The not knowing of people passed and she denied all the accusations made. That put her in the Salem Prison to wait for a trail. The trial had begun after two weeks,they had evidence, it was proven, and the testimony showed that witchcraft had a small occasion to be true and only goes by the beholders. She was examined for a teat or mark on the body and they had found one on her back in the shape of a small hairy animal and then the mark had withered on her skin and said to be taken off by the devil to protect her. Judges then testified that she was a witch, she did not defend herself in anyway in the two day time period, then a few more days later the general court legalized her sentence was to be hanged. She was then hanged another few days later on an oak tree's branches and that was the last of Bridget Bishop.

Work Cited

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Linder, Douglas O. "Bridget Bishop." Bridget Bishop. N.p., 2009. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

Westwood, Mai-Linh G. "A Sketch of Bridget Bishop." A Sketch of Bridget Bishop. N.p., 1991. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

The Trial of Bridget Bishop