The residents of Hinsdale Massachusetts are honored by a little known fact relating to the American Revolution.
Israel Bissell, who eventually came to Hinsdale and farmed land in the southwest portion of town, was a post rider on April 19, 1775 when British soldiers fired on the militia at Lexington. He, along with Paul Revere and William Dawes, set out to warn citizens of the events of the day.
Israel rode from Watertown to Connecticut and eventually to Philadelphia in an unbelievable five days, carrying a letter warning of the latest developments.
Israel Bissell lived out the remainder of his life in Hinsdale and was buried in the Maple Street Cemetery, where the people of Hinsdale continue to keep the memory of Israel and his courageous deed alive.
Bissell Story Revival
Wakeman revived the story of Israel Bissell's ride from its niche in the
archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1926 at the time
of the nation's Sesquicentennial when he wrote about Bissell's
record-breaking, almost five-day gallop from Watertown, MA to
Philadelphia, PA. One of several post riders linking the Committees of
Correspondence in eastern Massachusetts villages, Bissell was chosen to
carry the alarm about the British march on Lexington and Concord first
to Worcester, MA, south across Connecticut, then to New York City and
across New Jersey to Philadelphia's City Hall. Wakeman provided a time
table of the trek and described the effects of Bissell's alarm on the
communities along his trail, alerting colonists, including Israel Putnam
and Benedict Arnold, who hurried with re-enforcements to the
the villages along his route, as ordered, Bissell had to locate the
Committees of Correspondence or other town officials who copied and
attested receipt of the message, at times in their haste garbling the
hand writing, so that by the time he reached Philadelphia, his name on
the document looks like "Trail" instead of "Israel."
Another historian, John H. Scheide, in a paper presented at the American
Antiquarian Society in
story has since been told in several media: narrative, verse, radio
broadcasts and in a variety of publications: Yankee Magazine in
1956; a feature in the Washington Post newspaper April 20, 1975;
in Boston newspapers; in several Eagle newspaper columns; and in
an anthology of Revolutionary era documents published in 1975 at the
time of the U.S. Dayz. The two separate ballads by Eagle columnists,
Gerard Chapman and Clay Perry, wryly compared Bissell's long trek with
Paul Revere's short Middlesex ride which was interrupted, incomplete,
a copy of the Pennsylvania Society's document and Wakeman's article now
in the archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society in
Ransford also helped involve the Daughters of American Revolution with
the installation of a special marker and ceremony at Bissell's grave in
the Hinsdale Maple Street Cemetery, and encouraged Isadore Goodman of
the Pittsfield Isgood Realty Agency, with his donation of the 1.29-acre
Israel Bissell homestead site on Plunkett Lake Road as a gift to the
town of Hinsdale on October 23, 1972. And she helped the authors and
artist in the writing of their children's book about Israel Bissell,
"The Remarkable Ride of Israel Bissell as related by Molly the
Crow," writtten by Mrs. Alice Schnick of Moneterey and Mrs.
Marjorie N. Allen of Pittsfield and handsomely illustrated by Joel
Schnick, Alice Schnick's husband. With some forty-eight pages, it was
published in the US Dayz year, 1976, by J. B. Lippincott
at the time of another Patriots' Day and the two hundred twenty-ninth
anniversary of his trip, the Bissell message can be carried again, but
in a medium he probably could never have imagined, where messages are
spread world-wide instantaneously - and with no saddle sores and no
exhausted horses. Hinsdale Web sites [http.www.hinsdale200.org and
http//hinsdale-mass.org] parallel Bissell's bouncing saddlebag and his
shouts of alarm on the farms and village greens of five east coast
colonies. (Leonard F. Swift,
morning near 10 of the clock - Watertown
To all the friends of American liberty be it known that this morning before break of day, a brigade, consisting of about 1,000 to 1,200 men landed at Phip's Farm at Cambridge and marched to Lexington, where they found a company of our colony militia in arms, upon whom they fired without any provocation and killed six men and wounded four others. By an express from Boston, we find another brigade are now upon their march from Boston supposed to be about1,000. The Bearer, Israel Bissell, is charged to alarm the country quite to Connecticut and all persons are desired to furnish him with fresh horses as they may be needed. I have spoken with several persons who have seen the dead and wounded. Pray let the delegates from this colony to Connecticut see this.
(Signed) J. Palmer, one of the Committee of Safety.
On June 12, 2004 The GE ELFUN SOCIETY & local townspeople joined forces to spruce up the Israel Bissell Homestead on Plunkett Reservoir Road. The project included: rebuilding & painting a wishing well, clearing of brush, exposing the stone foundations & stone walls, making a path to the wishing well, installing a flag pole, installing trail benches, planting flowers and mulching around trees.
A special Thanks to the following people who have made this possible:
DJ SWAIL Excavating
Dave Swail, Dennis Petell, Adam Petell
Jones Sand & Gravel
stone for the path
Hinsdale DPW & Hinsdale Selectmen
Petell’s Auto Salvage & Bissellville Muster Team
John Goddard Builders
Hinsdale Volunteer Firemens Association & Muster Team
Hinsdale Dayz Committee –
(especially Phil Collins & Carole Forward)