It’s often said if you fall… just get back up again. You could say that again and again about the extraordinary life of my 7th great-grandfather Enos Bishop. It was a life of Indian ambushes, captivity, ransom, resilience, loss and War. His story needs to be told…
Enos Bishop was born in Ipswich, MA on January 31, 1725. He was the first son of Josiah and Sarah (Adams) Bishop. Sometime around 1740 Enos went with his father, Josiah, to Boscawen, NH to clear land that his father had been granted. It’s unclear if the whole family had plans to move there, or if Enos’ father was helping him establish land for himself.
In November of 1743 Enos, his father Josiah, and other men in the town formed their own military company in order to protect themselves from the Indians and the French. In the summer of 1744 while Josiah was working his fields he was attacked and killed by Indians. He didn’t go quietly though, as he tried to resist capture he was able to yell loud enough to warn the other settlers. He was the first person to be killed by Indians in that area.
In 1754 Enos Bishop was 29 years old. The settlers in the northern frontier were more exposed to Indian attacks, with this being a time when some fighting began leading up to the French and Indian War. In August of that year there was another Indian attack. This was a horrific attack on the Phillip Call’s family. Enos was one of thirteen men sent armed with muskets. When they arrived at the Call’s property, the Indians had already set themselves to hide in the woods, and as the men passed, the Indians ambushed. The men scattered, and Enos was captured. Enos was carried to Canada. They reached St. François in 13 days where he was sold to the French. In October while in captivity, Enos was able to send a letter to Rev. Jedediah Jewett of Rowley, MA:
“Montreal, Oct. 19, 1754”
“Rev. Sir. — The reason of my directing these lines to you is, because it seems most likely that they will sooner arrive to the hands of a person of your note than any body else. Before I proceed, I shall give you a short description of my captivity. That day Sir, in August last that you left my house in Contoocook, I was taken by the Indians, and by them taken to St. Francois, where we arrived in thirteen days; and after I had been with them eight weeks, they sold me to a French gentleman for 300 livres, which sum must be paid before I can be free — which looks somewhat difficult to me. But I hope that I have some friend in Rowley that will contribute part of that sum for my relief; and I shall take it as a favor to you, if you will move a contribution in your parish. There will be no difficulty in my redemption if the money be paid, and there is no difficulty in coming at any time in the year. In the winter people pass on the ice all the way to Albany, excepting a few miles. Inform the people at Contoocook that Melon and his wife are sold to a French minister near Quebec, and his boy in this town, and his oldest girl is with the Indians; their youngest child, I believe, died at St. Francois about a month ago. Samuel Schribner, who was taken at Bakerstown when I was, I hear is sold to the French at Chambly, about 12 miles from this place; and Robert Barber taken at the same place, sold to a Frenchman about a mile from St Francois. They all desire release.”
“I can write no more at present, only to ask an interest in your prayers, and beg leave to subscribe myself,
Your most obedient humble servant,
“N.B. Caution the frontiers to be on their guard. — if any person comes or sends for me, let them repair to Col. John Lydius of Albany for direction.”
During the French and Indian War, the Abenaki Indians continue these tactics of ransom, along with the French in order to help fund their war.
There is a belief that the money was raised in order to release Enos and others, but somehow never reached the captors. In October of 1756, two years later, Enos along with two others managed to escape. The account of his escape is written by an officer at the Fort No. 4 at Charlestown, NH, and printed in the New York Mercury of Oct 25, 1756:
“This day arrived Enos Bishop, an English captive from Canada, who was taken two years since. He left Canada twenty-six days ago it company with two other English captives Wm. Hair, late of Brookfield, enlisted in Gen. Schuyler’s regiment, and an unknown from Pennsylvania. They ran away from Canada without a hatchet, gun or fireworks and with no more than three loaves of bread and four pounds of pork. As they suffered much for want of provisions, his companions were not able to travel further… than a little this side of Cowass (Coos) where he was obliged to leave them last Lord’s Day without any sustenance but a few berries. Six men were this morning sent out to look for them, but it is feared they perished in the wilderness.”
Enos had a wife and three children under the age of four at the time he was taken. It is believed, by some, that his wife Elizabeth died while he was in captivity, but I have yet to find any source information to prove it.
Also, he must have felt a sense of duty, when in 1761 he was personally sent to rescue Moses Jackman, a young boy who was taken by Indians when he was eleven years old and held prisoner/slave for four years.
All this seems incredible enough, now we fast forward to Revolutionary War times:
In July 1775 Enos Bishop served in Col. Bedel’s regiment under Captain Osgood’s company of Rangers on the northern frontier, raised by the Colony of New Hampshire.
Enos Bishop is also listed as a member of the historic “Green Mountain Boys”
These muster rolls are recorded as Major John Brown’s Detachment. This places him at the Invasion of Quebec
The 1st New Hampshire Regiment was involved at the Battles at Saratoga. After review of the Revolutionary War Rolls, the timeline goes like this:
- Listed on muster roll June 25, 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga
- July 5, 1777 with the British forces advancing, General St. Clair made a decision to retreat
- Muster roll dated September 24, 1777, at a camp near Louden ferry. Enos Bishop listed as “missing since retreat July 7
- Muster roll dated January 5, 1778, Enos Bishop listed as “missing July 7th”
- Listed on Muster roll dated February 26, 1778 at camp Valley Forge
- Listed on Muster roll dated March 8, 1778 at camp Valley Forge
- Listed on Muster roll dated April 4, 1778 at camp Valley Forge
- Listed on Muster roll dated May 9, 1778 at camp Valley Forge
- Muster roll dated July 22, 1778 at camp North Cassel. Enos Bishop listed as “landing sick at Downingtown”
- Muster roll dated August 5, 1778 at camp White Plains. Enos Bishop listed as “sick at Downingtown”
- Muster roll dated September 7, 1778 at Camp White Plains. Enos Bishop listed as “Died August 12, 1778”
Click here for a detailed story about the Battle of Hubbardton
Click here for a detailed story about the Battle of Bennington
Click here for a more detailed story about the Battles at Saratoga.
Below is an amazing document that allows us to visualize for the first time, a description of my 7th great-grandfather Enos Bishop: January 10, 1778. He is at Valley Forge. 52 years old. 5 feet, 7 inches tall. Light complexion. Light hair. Light eyes. And the reason he absent from roll call is because he is “sick”.
Enos was one of the many that succumbed to illness during that winter at Valley Forge. A muster roll states that he is sick in January, but no mention of sickness in the months of February through June. So we can assume he overcame the illness and marched with the Army as they made their way out of camp in June that year of 1778. It was along the way that Enos became ill again, lost his fight and died on August 12th. I haven’t been able to find the location of his burial, but we know that he was left sick in Downingtown, PA.
Enos Bishop was 51 years old when he enlisted in the Continental Army for the ‘duration’ of the war. The average age of the soldiers was 20-25. At that time he had a wife and 8 children between the ages of 7 and 26. The sacrifices that he made were extensive for sure. His resilience, his bravery, and his stubbornness to never give up. I am truly grateful for this man that I can call grandfather. Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our freedom today. 🇺🇸
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