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October 23, 2006


Sandra Etemad

I found this article after reading Scott O'Dell's young adult novel, "Sarah Bishop." It was an interesting novel, but just ends abruptly; since it claims to be based on a true story, I found that ending odd. This article certainly provides the closure I was looking for! I don't always need "closure" in novels that I'm reading, but since it's based on a true story, the book's ending was very unsatisfying (she returns to her cave after an eventful visit to Ridgefield. It is peaceful. The End.) Thank you for this interesting piece! I think a book about hermits and recluses like Sarah Bishop would be really interesting, and I'm betting there's one out there. If anyone knows of something, I'd be appreciative.


wrong her brother died

Pat Kriss

The land that Sarah Bishop's cave is located on is private property. There have, however, been guided walks to the cave in the past with the permission of the landowners. You might want to contact the Westchester County Parks Commission to find out if a walk might be coming up. The site is not far from Mountain Lakes Park.

I have been to the cave once. It is wild and beautiful, with the smell of pennywhistle all around it, and a commanding view in the distance of Long Island. Do protect yourself against ticks if you should be able to find a sanctioned walk.

John Muse

I'm interested in visiting the cave, or at least finding it on a map. Could someone mark it on Google Earth and send me the link, or post the latitude and longitude, or give directions? Thanks.


Laurel Roy

My mother's father's name was Robert Maxwell Bishop. The family was originally what was known as the "Connecticut Valley". Both of my parents were born and raised in North Adams, MA.

It has long been believed, but never proven as no one has traced the family that far back, that Sarah Bishop is a direct ancestor of ours. If there are any family names, please e-mail me. Thank you.

It may amuse you to know that Roger Williams-the founder of Rhode Island IS an great great great...uncle of my mother's.


Thanks, Tom. I inadvertantly typed "New" for North Salem and will edit accordingly.

My Ridgefield ancestors were contemporaries of Sarah Bishop during the late 1700s. One wonders what they made of her: doubtless nothing other than their neighbors did.

Tom Andersen

Interesting stuff, although the historical accounts are ultimately more interesting than the myth-making. The eyewitness stories don't make her sound all that crazy at all -- eccentric certainly but not crazy enough to not be able to take care of herself. And of course there are lots of other examples of "hermits" living out their lives in the woods, away from civilization. The Adirondacks had several, at least, including Noah John Rondeau, who lived long enough to become famous for being a hermit.

I lived across the road from Sarah Bishop's Rock some years ago. My recollection is that it's actually in Mountain Lakes Park, which is owned by Westchester County, although the truth is I walked to the cave area from Mountain Lakes and could easily have crossed the border of North Salem into Ridgefield without knowing it. If you walk a bit to the north, you come to the highest point in Westchester County.

You mention that she was buried "in the Episcopal Church cemetery in New Salem, New York." I'm not sure what you mean by New Salem, or if it's a typo. South Salem, North Salem and even a place that sometimes is still called Salem Center are all close to Sarah Bishop's cave, but I don't know of a New Salem.


What a fascinating story! In this day and age, I wonder if she would have been permitted to live out her life in that way. At the request of his family, the sheriff came one day and took our aged and very eccentric neighbor, Bill, to the mental hospital where he will spend the rest of his days, I guess.

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