Being an unaccomplished horseman of sorts, I have been on what I would call some fairly long horseback rides when I dabbled in endurance riding. In fact, I have heard some of my cohorts and friends complain after being in the saddle for a mere 3 hours. Some of you who have never ridden a horse or who have only been on one a short time, aren’t aware of the stress on a rider’s body and the aches and pains you develop if you are not in good shape when you ride a considerable distance. So, if we complain after only a few hours, I wonder how guys like Frank Hopkins and Israel Bissell felt after their long rides. Some of you may have read my post awhile back on Frank Hopkins, of Hidalgo fame, who called the mustang horse the most significant animal in American History, and who was arguably the greatest horseman ever and winner of over 400 endurance rides ranging from 50 miles to over 3,000 miles, all on mustangs. These men spent a lot of time on the back of a horse. So, who is this Bissell character? Well, his first name is Israel and not much is known about him but he accomplished a truly heroic 345 mile ride when, as a twenty-three-year-old postal rider, he rode over four days and (I wasn’t going to include this because it is so small ) 6 hours, and I am going to say that his horse was a mustang as well since there is nobody around to refute that) This ride was from April 19, 1775, to April 23, 1775, between Boston and Philadelphia, telling people the war had begun. Maybe if he yelled the British are coming he may have gone down in our history books.
But talk about being under appreciated, many historical documents listed his first name as Trail and a guy by the name of Paul Revere (this was before he met the rest of The Raiders) received all of the press and glory for his ride and yelling “The British are coming, the British are coming.” At least that is what I was told he said but I can’t confirm that.
What must have made all this stardom Paul received all the more galling to Mr. Bissell, is that Mr. Revere’s ride was only 19 miles but at least Israel got a floor cleaner named after him? Heck, this is my story and I can tell it how I want.