Author: Nora
•Friday, October 31, 2014
It has taken me more time than on other posts to write this one on my 5th great grandfather, Ebenezer Bishop.  He was the fourth generation of this Bishop line in America; and because he left such a wealth of documentation behind, I wanted to do justice to his ‘thoughtfulness’ to his descendants.  So please bear with me – this will be somewhat full of details and not as fleshed out or anecdotal as I would wish.  I’ll post this timeline in two parts

Part One ~ Birth to 1740 ~ About age 32

Ebenezer Bishop was born in Pomfret, Connecticut Colony to David Bishop and Rebeckah Hubbard on 25 March 1708.  At that time, Pomfret was also known as Mashamoquet.

21 December 1725 Appointment of Samuel Bishop, Ebenezer’s uncle, as guardian for Ebenezer’s interest in the share of an inheritance in the estates of grandparents Edward and Sarah Bishop, of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  He was said to be above the age of 14 and one of the “children of David Bishop late of Ashford” (Connecticut).

Probate Records - Bristol County, Massachusetts (click to enlarge)

24 January 1735/6 Purchased 7 acres from his brother David Bishop, land in Woodstock* (Connecticut – see note below) – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 13, page 25

29 October 1737 Declared his intention of marriage to Lydia Parker of Needham, Massachusetts.  Recorded in Woodstock* records

27 December 1737 Married in Needham, Massachusetts to Lydia Parker of Needham

28 March 1738 Purchased 80 acres in Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Josiah Ellice – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 11, page 184

30 August 1738 Sold 80 acres in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to his brother David.  Deed states that Ebenezer was “of Woodstock” and his occupation was “cooper” – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 11, page 183

6 November 1738 Birth of a son, William, to Ebenezer by his wife Lydia

30 September 1739 Admitted to First Congregational Church of Woodstock*, Connecticut, along with his wife

30 September 1739 Baptism of William, son of Ebenezer, in Woodstock*

20 March 1740 Baptism of Katherine, daughter of Ebenezer, in Woodstock*

28 March 1740 Death of Ebenezer’s daughter Katherine, aged about three weeks, in Woodstock*

3 March 1739/40 Sold 7 acres in Woodstock to Ebenezer Chapman.  Deed mentions brother David Bishop “of whom I purchased ye premises” – Worcester County, Mass. deed book 13, page 47

26 May 1740 Purchased 159 acres, 28 rods in Brimfield, Massachusetts, from Peter Haynes – Hampden County, Massachusetts (formerly Hampshire County), deed book M, pages 216-217

*Note:  It wasn’t until the year 1749 that Woodstock became part of Connecticut.  Until then it was under the jurisdiction of the county of Worcester, Province of Massachusetts Bay.  Because of this fortunate historical fact, I was easily able to search the Woodstock land records – since has Massachusetts deeds on line!

Part Two ~ 1740 to 1798 ~ age 32 to age 90

I doubt if Ebenezer ever acquired great wealth during his lifetime, but I do think he lived comfortably, buying and selling land in Brimfield (later called South Brimfield) from 1740 until about 1785.  He and his wife Lydia also became members of the First Congregational Church of Brimfield, and they had several children baptised there.  Five were found in the Brimfield Church records, but I’ve found evidence of three more children who weren’t in the Brimfield church records.  In all, I can find evidence of 10 children, the first two born in Woodstock, Connecticut and the other 8 probably in Brimfield, which was then in Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

  1. William born 6 November 1738
  2. Katherine born about the first week of September 1740; died 28 September 1740
  3. Ebenezer, Jr born about 1742
  4. Lydia born 10 August 1743
  5. Peter born about 1747; died 2 February 1805, Northeast Twp., Dutchess County, New York
  6. Elisha bapt. 9 April 1749; died August ?,1754
  7. Lucretia bapt. 6 January 1751
  8. Asa bapt. 23 August 1752; died 8 September 1813, Olive, Ulster County, New York
  9. Rebecca bapt. May 1756
  10. Maria bapt. 4 September 1757

An intriguing deed in 1743 has “Ebenezer Bishop of Needham in the county of Suffolk in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, Cooper” acting as “administrator of the estate of my father-in-law John Parker, late of Needham, husbandman, deceased”.  The land in Needham was sold to Nathaniel Dewing (Suffolk County, Mass. deed book 102, pages 64-65).

Could it be that Ebenezer took up residence in Needham for awhile so that he could better take care of his deceased father-in-law’s affairs?

In 1755, Ebenezer Bishop was among those from Brimfield who took part in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), serving in Captain Daniel Burt’s Company.  His son William was on the Brimfield list in 1760 under Captain Trustrum Davis.

And then there came the years 1762-1765, when newly-formed South Brimfield divided into two opposing camps, disputing the location for their new church building and whether it was fair for those who lived furthest from the location to have to pay taxes for it to be built and to hire its minister.  The divisions came to be called the west parish and the east parish.  I won’t keep you in suspense:  the east parishioners won, and the church was built in a place most convenient to those living there. Ebenezer Bishop and his family lived in the west parish, the part of South Brimfield which was finally given the name of Wales in 1828.

But during the years 1762 to 1765, there were four petitions – two from each side in the dispute – which were signed and presented to the General Court in Massachusetts Bay for consideration by the legislators there.  Signing the west siders’ petitions were Ebenezer Bishop, Ebenezer Bishop, Jr and William Bishop.  Among the east siders signing their peitions were John Bishop and John Bishop, Jr. The east side/east parish was soon after given the name of Holland.

Also in 1762, Ebenezer seemed to decide it was time to sell his oldest son William some of his farmland.  William was probably either newly married or about to be married then.

Ebenezer’s name appears in court records up to the year 1773, but I believe he resided in South Brimfield until about 1783, when he moved to Dutchess County, New York, where his sons Peter and Asa were living.

Although Ebenezer apparently didn’t leave a will, he and Lydia were both mentioned in Peter Bishop’s will dated 14 February 1792 in which Peter directed that his “honoured Father and Mother Ebenezer Bishop and Lydia his wife be decently supported out of my estate during their natural lives and at their decease to have a decent Christian burial”… (Dutchess County Wills, Book B, pages 506-507, proved 22 February 1805).

For Ebenezer Bishop, death came on January 22, 1798, at the age of 90.  The death of his wife Lydia Bishop followed his seven years later on March 17, 1805, at the age of 92  Both were buried in Winchell Mountain Burying Ground in Millerton, Dutchess County, New York.  (See Burying Grounds of Sharon, Connecticut, Amenia and North East, New York; Walsh, Griffen & Hoysradt, Printers, 1983; also see

As I said, a long, full life.

Author: Nora
•Friday, October 10, 2014
Yes, I do love deeds...and every other kind of land record, such as tax lists, ownership maps, and surveys, for they've been key sources in my research, helping me to link one generation to another.  of course before digging into land records, you need to know where to look for them, that is, the county or town where your ancestors lived at a particular time.  In the case of my Bishop ancestors, I learned this important fact only last year (2013), after 25 years of trying to find the parents and birthplace of my 3rd great grandfather John Fitch Bishop.

So as soon as I found John's birth record in South Brimfield, or Wales, Massachusetts (see my first post "One Less Brick Wall"), I was eagerly 'off to the races'.  The strategy was to find and analyze every available record for the town of South Brimfield and its parent town Brimfield, which mentioned the surname of Bishop, especially William and Catherine Bishop, my 4th great grandparents.

Along with the birth record kept by the town clerk, a record found on, another source popped up on Ancestry which mentioned the family of William and Catherine: a compilation of family histories in the town of Wales, Massachusetts, by Absalom Gardner[1].  On page 33, Gardner lists three family groups of Bishop's: the family of John and Elizabeth Hooper Bishop, the family of their son John and his wife Rebecca Davis, and the family of William Bishop -- also said by Gardner to be the son of John and Elizabeth -- and his wife Catherine Fitch.

According to Gardner, John and William Bishop, supposedly father and son, had resided on a parcel of land known as "the Nichols Place".

Seeing this, I revised my research strategy -- now I was looking for land or ANY records for this town which involved John and/or William Bishop, and also for a good description of a piece of land known as "the Nichols Place".

To my surprise, I found no record in Brimfield or South Brimfield which linked John and William Bishop.  However, I did find evidence that a William Bishop was the son of Ebenezer and Lydia Bishop. My next post will be a timeline for Ebenezer, showing the birth of a son named William on November 6, 1738, in Woodstock, Connecticut[2], Ebenezer's residence before moving to Brimfield.[3]

The first deed for this William Bishop was dated August 14, 1762, and it begins:
To all People to whom these presents shall come Greeting. Know ye that I Ebenezer Bishop of Brimfield in the County of Hampshire in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in new England, cooper, for and consideration of the sum of three hundred pounds lawfull money of sd Province to me in hand paid by my son William Bishop of sd Brimfield in ye County & Province aforesd, Husbandman.[4]
This record was in Volume 4, page 380.  In the same volume and on page 381 was a mortgage deed which begins:
To all People to whom this Deed of Mortgage shall come Greeting. Know ye that I William Bishop of Brimfield in the County of Hampshire in the Province of Massachusetts Bay in new England, Husbandman, for & in consideration of the sum of Fifty three pounds six shillings & eight pence lawful money to me in hand paid by my Honoured Father Eben'r Bishop of sd Brimfield, cooper.....etc.[5]
Both of these transactions are for the same 134-acre piece of land, which is evident from the description of the land, including the names of bordering land owners/neighbors.  A bonus in this mortgage, and another example of why I love deeds, is the mention of William's four sisters: Lydia, Lucretia, Rebeckah and Mary Bishop.  As part of the mortgage agreement with his father, William was to pay each of his sisters "the sum of thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence" on or before a scheduled date, which seemed to have been designed so as to give each sister her allotted sum when she reached 16 or 17 years of age.

Now for the second part of my research strategy involving land records, finding proof that the land William and Ebenezer (not John and Ebenezer William) had lived on was at some time referred to as "the Nichols Place".  By tracking that piece of land through all of the South Brimfield deeds, I found that proof.

The first helpful clue was thanks to a deed in 1794, several years after Ebenezer and William had left South Brimfield.  This description read "land and buildings which formerly belonged to Ebenezer Bishop & by him conveyed to his son William Bishop", a tract containing 135 acres which was bounded by (among others) William Weatherbee, Asa Houghton and Malachi Nichols.[6]

In 1802, Malachi Nichols purchased the same 135 acres from Josiah Hayward.[7]  And because of Malachi's ownership, the farm was called "the Nichols Place'.

There was one final 'clincher' for me, found on a microfilm I rented from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, FHL 954498, Massachusetts Tax valuations for 1784.  On the first page of landowners in South Brimfield were the following names, in this order:  Malachi Nichols, Benjamin Tiffany, Jacob Tiffany, Asa Houghton, William Bishop, Benjamin Tiffany jr and William Weatherbee.

This was evidence that this William Bishop was 'my' William, since he was a neighbor of both Malachi Nichols and Benjamin Tiffany, Jr, 'my' William's son-in-law.[8]


  1. Gardner, Absalom, A Compendium of the History, Genealogy and Biography of the Town of Wales, 1873, page 33. Accessed on
  2. Woodstock (Connecticut) Vital Records, page 65
  3. Massachusetts, Hampden County Deeds, Vol. M, pp 216-217; 1740
  4. Ibid, Vol. 4, page 380, 1762
  5. Ibid, Vol. 4, page 381, 1762
  6. Ibid, Vol. 35, page 606, 1794
  7. Ibid, Vol. 69, page 596, 1802
  8., Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (database on-line), Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011; record of marriage of Benjamin Tiffany & Parthena Bishop, November 27, 1783, in South Brimfield, Massachusetts