In my last blog, I made reference to the fact that Christopher Columbus had not discovered America.

I worry how long, for how many years, Trump’s lie about having won the 2020 election will be considered truth by many.

A non-fact also engrained is Paul Revere’s ride. He didn’t do it. Israel Bissell did. How many have even heard of Israel Bissell? I have written about Bissell in the past. First time 12/10/13 “Israel Bissell” and most recently 1/1/23 “How Israel Bissell Was Cheated.”

My first blog repeated. It tells the story.

Listen, my children, / And you shall hear /  Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

The distinguished American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made Paul Revere famous when he penned the above opening lines to his famous poem.

One problem, however. It was not Paul Revere who was the hero in 1775 at the time the first shots were fired at Lexington which marked the beginning of the Revolution. It was Israel Bissell. Historians suspect that Longfellow took a bit of literary license. Bissell did not rhyme as well as Revere.

Paul Revere did make a ride that day. Several men did. Historians conclude Revere only rode somewhere between 1.5 and 20 miles shouting….. To arms, to arms, the British are coming.

Israel Bissell rode 345 miles. The trip took 4 days and 6 hours. He rode from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia. The trip was over the Old Post Road.

Longfellow apparently took further literary license with the actual words Bissell shouted…..To arms, to arms, the war has begun. Again for rhyming purposes.

Bissell carried with him a message from the colonists’ General Joseph Palmer. The message told of the Lexington attack and what the colonists should do to prepare for the British invasion. The message also stated that its bearer, Israel Bissell, was charged with alarming the citizenry. He was to be given fresh horses along the way as needed.

Bissell rode two horses to their deaths on the four day trip. His first horse died 2.5 hours into the trip at Worcester. A second died further along the way.

Every community Bissell passed through rang Church bells and fired muskets. Many colonists supported a war with the British and were happy to know it had begun.

In the 1950s, two columnists writing for the Berkshire Eagle wrote poems finally giving Bissell credit for the ride. Gerard Chapman and Clay Perry.

Chapman’s poem was appropriately titled Israel Bissell’s Ride. Certain lines read as follows.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear

Of Israel Bissell’s yesteryear:

A port less patriot whose fame , I fear,

Was eclipsed by that of Paul Revere…..

Perry’s poem was titled I. Bissell’s Ride. Certain lines from the poem read as follows.

Listen, my children, to my epistle

Of the long, long ride of Israel Bissell,

Who outrode Paul by miles and time

But didn’t make a poet’s rhyme…

Two questions arose over the years having to do with Bissell.

The first is whether he actually made it to Philadelphia. Documents from the time indicate an Issac Bissell who only rode to Hartford. He stayed in Hartford. He did not continue the ride. He was a less than an honorable man. He billed the new United States government for a six day stay in Hartford.

Historian Lion G. Miles came up with the story. He found his information in only one source. The Massachusetts Archives. All other historians and documents disagree with Miles. Issac was not Israel.

The other issue that arose was whether Israel Bissell was of the Jewish faith. I was amazed at how much time and effort was spent to arrive at a definitive conclusion. Israel Bissell was not Jewish.

A few historians believe that Bissell’s ancestry was of a Norman French / Swiss source. The majority however concluded that Bissell was part of the Byshelle family who in 1639 left Birmingham, England. The family was part of a Puritan group. All Bissell’s were determined to have been descended from the Byshelles.

I suspect Bissell’s first name Israel is what caused the inquiries. Historians discussing the Bissell issue pointed out that most children born in the colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries were given Biblical names.

So goes the story of Israel Bissell. A man almost forgotten not by history, but by poetry.

On to Clarence Thomas. A Washington Post writer described Thomas’ luxury vacations as…..That’s what friends are for! Another wrote…..The Supreme Court Justice lifestyle is for me!

DeSantis seems to do and say everything wrong. Ain’t no Presidential timber in him!

His most recent wrongdoing involves his three young children. He takes them everywhere as he campaigns. Such is not the way little kids should be treated. It is hard enough for the candidate to campaign. However to drag his young ones along to impress people what a great parent he is is totally misleading. He is brutalizing the kids.

His head is screwed on wrong!

What I live and learn! How I live and learn! One way from my readers. Many who are friends also.

One is Fred Klein. New York City labor attorney. He and his wife snowbirds six months a year in Key West.

I wrote concerning my experience Friday night at the Thai Island Restaurant and sushi. Fred came back at me with some interesting information.

The Thai was in the James Bond movie License to Kill. I recall writing a few weeks ago about parts of License to Kill having been partially filmed in Key West. I missed the Thai part.

The bar at the Thai appeared in the film as the fictitious Barrelhead Bar located on Bimini in the Bahamas.

Even more interesting is Michael G. Wilson who was the sole screenwriter for License to Kill. Wilson was once Fred’s law partner.

Wilson wrote most of the Bond movies partnered with another. Several with the famed Richard Mailbaum. Due to the Writers Guild of America Strike in 1988, Wilson wrote the entire movie License to Kill alone.

Wilson also made cameo appearances in every James Bond movie made since 1977. He even got to talk in one. He had a few lines in License to Kill.

A small world indeed.

Enjoy your Sunday!


  1. Absolutely love that Thai restaurant, go there every time we’re in Key West. Although I don’t know why anyone would eat sushi in a Thai restaurant. That’s like Taco’s in an Italian joint.

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