Bishop was born in England during 1640. She married George Wasselbe in
1660 and then emigrated to Salem, Ma. While in Salem, she got married again,
this time to Thomas Oliver around 1664. 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.
rumors circulated amongst the townsfolk that Bridget's "spirit" or "specter"
could be seen wandering about. A black servant of the Putnam family claimed
to have seen Bridget's specter in the rafters of the Putnam barn. The servant
also claimed that the apparition threw pears and apples at him. When Thomas
Oliver died in 1678, an accusation of witchcraft was leveled against Bridget.
The circumstances surrounding his death led people to believe that she
might be practicing witchcraft.
tried by the Court of Assistants and it is speculated that the case was
dismissed as there are no colonial records which contain the trial. After
her husband's death, Bridget found herself destitute. Even though Thomas
had left her with the house and land, any money that was provided for Bridget
was taken by her husband's creditors. Because of these circumstances, Bridget
was forced to petition the town for relief.
married again, this time to a well-respected man named Edward Bishop. He
had served on various town committees and boards while living in Salem.
He moved to Beverly, built a saw mill and became one of the founders of
the Church in Beverly. Many people thought the marriage between Edward
and Bridget was strange and, like the first two, did not escape heated
conversations and violent arguments.
opened an unlicensed tavern in their house, and was suspected of entertaining
some of the local townsmen after hours. Her flagrant actions and sharp
tongue would soon bring about the warrant for her arrest and the charge
of witchcraft on April 18, 1692. Bridget was executed by hanging in Salem
on June 10th, 1692. Bridget was the first person to be executed for witchcraft