Alice Martin Clark Bishop


The story of Alice is sad, but needs to be told.  She was a famous (infamous), person.  The mother of Damaris Bishop (wife of William Sutton) who became one of our grandmothers.  The 7th woman to be put to death in America.  She was one of the early pilgrams but unfortunately is made famous by the terrible murder of her own child, Martha.

There is some speculation as to who her parents were.  I have seen speculation that she was born onboard the Mayflower.  Other research indicates that her parents are Francis Martin and Prudence Deacon.

We can only speculate as to the reasons for this murder.  It could have been post-partum depression, as she had only given birth to Damaris 2 years before.  I have done quite a bit of research and speculation is rampant in the genealogy world as to her motive.  She had a hard life.  She lost her husband George Clark, father of her first two children, Martha and Abigail.  And her second husband, Richard Bishop, was a smalltime thief and a scoundrel.

I will reveal here what I have learned about Alice.


From the actual trial records:

*These sheweth, that on Jul the 22cond, 1648, wee, whosse names are

vnderwritten, were sworne by Mr Bradford, gouerner, to make inquiry of the

death of the child of Allis Bishop, the wife of Richard Bishope.


Wee declare, yt coming into the house of the said Richard Bishope, wee saw

at the foot of a ladder wh leadeth into an vpper chamer, much blood; and

going vp all of vs into the chamber, wee found a woman child, of about

foure yeares of age, lying in her shifte vppon her left cheeke, with her

throat cut with diuers gashes crose wayes, the wind pipe cut and stuke into

the throat downward, and a bloody knife lying by the side of the child, with wh knife all of vs

judg, and the said Allis hath confessed to fiue of vs at one time, yt shee

murdered the child with the said knife.







Rachell, the wife of Joepth Ramsden, aged about 23 yeares, being examined, saith that coming to the house of Richard Bishope vppon an erand, the wife of the said Richard Bishope requested her to goe fetch her som buttermilke at Goodwife Winslows, and gaue her a ketle for that purpose, and she went and did it; and before shee wente,shee saw the child lyinge abed asleep, to her best deserning, and the woman was as well as shee hath knowne her att any time; but when shee came shee found her sad and dumpish; shee asked her what blood was that shee saw at the ladders foot; shee pointed vnto the chamber, and bid her looke, but shee perseiued shee had kiled her child, and being afraid, shee refused, and ran and tould her father and mother. Morouer, shee saith the reason yt moued her to thinke shee had kiled her child was yt when shee saw the blood shee looked on the bedd, and the child was not there.

Taken vppon oath by mee, WILLIAM BRADFORD,

The day and year aboue written.


At a Court of Asistants

before Mr Bradford, Gouer, Mr

William Thomas, gent, Assistants, the

shee did comite the afforsaid


October 4, 1648 (PCR 2:134)

Richard Bishope, of New Plymouth,

comited, vppon Martha Clark, her


The names of the grand

inditmetn, weer these:--

John Dunham, Sen,John Barker,

Isaake Weels, Josepth Colman,

Mr Thomas Burne,John Allin,

Robert Finny, Thomas Bordman,

Henery Wood, James Bursell,

Ephraim Hickes,Josepth Tory,

James Walker, Micaell Blackwell,

James Wyat, Daniell Cole.

Loue Brewster,


These found the bill a

The petty jurys names taht

Josias Winslow, Seni,Gyells Rickard,

Thomas Shillingsworth,John Shaw, Sen,

Anthony Snowe, Steuen Wood,

Richard Sparrow,William Mericke,

Gabriell Fallowell,William Brete,

Joshua Prat, John Willis,


Thes found the said Allice

of Martha Clarke aforsaid; and

against her, viz, to bee

from whence she came, and

hanged by the necke vntell



Of Richard Bishop...

Richard had a propensity to steal other peoples possessions in the

Plymouth Colony and later in Eastham. His wife's hanging gave Richard

some notoriety, but he remained in Plymouth and on March 6, 1649 was

presented at court for stealing a neighbors spade. He was judged guilty

and sentenced to both sit in the stocks and replace the spade prior to the

June court or be whipped. -C.W. Swift, "Cape Cod History and Genealogy",

(Yarmouth MA: p. 15).

He did not comply. He was in Eastham by 1654 and had tracts of land

allowed him. In 1670 he entered George Crisps property and helped

himself to the fleece taken from the sheep. He was arraigned and ordered

to pay thirty shillings, which he did. Soon after this affair, he left the

township with his family and removed to Piscataway, NJ. and lived with

his son-in-law, William Sutton. -Winsor's "Duxbury", p. 228; and

Monnette, "First Settlers of Piscataway and Woodbridge", p. 792.


Descendants of Alice Martin

 Alice Martin, born 1616, died October 1648 in Plymouth, MA

Married first: George Clark b: 1620  married about 1640 died before 1644

The children of Alice and George:

Martha Clark born about 1644, died July 22, 1648

Abigail Clark born about 1642

Married second: Richard Bishop b: December 05, 1612 in England  married December 05, 1644 in Plymouth

The children of Alice and Richard:

A. Damaris Bishop born 1645 in Eastham, Plymouth, MA   died February 06, 1681/82

Middlesex, NJ Married William SUTTON b: May 25, 1641 in Scituate, Plymouth,

MA  married July 11, 1666 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA died April 28, 1718 in

Piscataway, Middlesex, NJ

B. James Bishop born about 1646 married Mary HUDSON born after 1646  married

December 12, 1665 in Pembroke, Plymouth Co., MA died June 30, 1740 in

Pembroke, Plymouth Co., MA


Notes on Alice MARTIN:


Richard Bishop married Alice (Martin) Clark on December 5, 1644 [possibly as his second wife]. She was the widow of George Clark, and tragically ended her life by murdering her own child, and was subsequently hung therefor, in 1648. There is a mournful account of the murder by Alice Bishop of her daughter, Martha Clarke, 4 years old, July 22, 1648 (Savage, Vol. I, page 393). She also had another daughter, Abigail Clark. There is also reference to "Damaris, (wife of the first William Sutton), daughter of Alice and Richard Bishop". When William Sutton removed to New Jersey, Bishop sold his property at Duxbury, and went to live with him. Richard Bishop was called "of Piscattaway in Artercull or New Jersey," when he sold to Capt. Benjamin Church his property in the Colony (Winsor's Duxbury, page 228.).


Some Links to more research on Alice:

Female Executions in America

Before the Needle

Female Hangings 1632 - 1900