Author: Nora
•Thursday, December 04, 2014
I wish I could give you more details about my 6th great grandfather, David Bishop.  David’s short life meant that he left fewer records and clues.  By my reckoning, he lived to be about 39 years old, not even half as long as his father’s son Ebenezer's 90-year life span.

Here’s how I arrived at his approximate birth date:

  1. Birth order:   according to his parents’ probate records, David was fourth or fifth son of Edward and Sarah Bishop.  His older brother Samuel was born about 1675, if his gravestone dates are correct (see for his burial record in Bristol County, Massachusetts Bay Colony).
  2. Salem Village Petition:  A 1695 petition of Salem Villagers (Essex County, Massachusetts) who were against the continued ministry of Samuel Parris contains a column headed “young men 16 years old”.  Under this heading are Samuel Bishop, Jonathan Bishop, David Bishop and William Bishop (names all spelled “Byshop”).
  3. Salem Village Tax or Rate Lists:  David Bishop’s name first appears on the list of 1699.  By 1702, his name is no longer included.

(Click to Enlarge)   Salem Village Anti-Parris Petition of 1695.  Used by permission from the First Church of Danvers.

Using those sources, I came up with approximately 1678 for the year of his birth.  To be among those young men who were at least “16 years old” in 1695, he had to have been born by 1679.

David probably departed from Salem in about 1700/01, relocating in the town of Woodstock in Windham County, Connecticut Colony.  In Woodstock, David married Rebeccah Hubbard on February 4, 1701/02 (recorded in the Woodstock Congregational Church records).

David’s life once he left Salem is documented partly through histories of towns in Connecticut Colony, partly from vital records of Pomfret and Woodstock and partially from court records, such as land records and town meeting records (Ashford, Connecticut).  He would live for only about 16 years more after leaving Salem, residing (according to deeds) in the young settlements of Pomfret (Mashamoquett), Killingly and Ashford, all in present-day Windham County.

The births of his children are as follows – all born in Pomfret except for one:
  1. Sarah Bishop         15 December 1702
  2. Rachel Bishop        5 March 1705
  3. John Bishop - 1 February 1707
  4. Ebenezer Bishop   25 March 1708
  5. David Bishop         27 March 1710
  6. Rebecca Bishop     27 April 1712
  7. Mary Bishop - 28 December 1715 (born in Ashford)

I haven’t yet found the first deed for David Bishop; the earliest I’ve found so far is from the 22nd day in January 1702/03 and begins as follows:
To all Christian People unto whom these presents shall or may come David Bishop of Mashamoquet in ye county of New London in ye Colony of connecticut in New England and Rebecca his wife, for and in consideration of ye full and compleat sum of nine pounds current silver money of New England unto them in hand by John Hubbard of Woodstock in ye county of Suffolk in her Majesty’s province of ye Massachusets bay in New England, husbandman……deliver unto the sd John Hubbard and his heirs…..a certain tract or parcell of land in Mashamamoquett containing thirty seven acres of upland and an acre and half of meadow….. (Pomfret, Connecticut deeds, Volume 1, pages 132-33).
The latest deed found for David and Rebecca Bishop was on the 18th day of May 1714 (Pomfret deeds, volume 1, pages 23-24).  In this deed Caleb Jackson of Ashford, husbandman, in consideration of the sum of “twenty four pounds current money” paid by “David Bishop of Killingley in the county of New London in the Colony of Connecticut….weaver....", sold to David land lying in Ashford containing about ninety acres.

It’s confusing that the deed refers to David as being “of Killingley” in 1714.  It may be that he lived there for a short period of time before moving from Pomfret to Ashford.  The history of Pomfret says that David Bishop was among those who petitioned the colonial assembly for a charter to establish the town of Pomfret in 1713.  And yet a history of Windham (History of Windham County, Connecticut, Edited by Richard M. Bayles, published 1889, by Preston, New York. See pages 524-25 and 992-93), stated that in 1712 David Bishop (among others) bought land of James Corbin and “joined the eastern settlement” of Ashford.  I’m still looking for that land record in which David bought the land from Corbin.

But what I can state here with more certainty is the approximate year of David’s death:  late 1716 to some time in 1717, probably in Ashford.  Before my recent research into Ashford town records, I had only found what other researchers had found: that he died before the winter of 1725.  Bristol County, Massachusetts probate records in that year for David’s mother Sarah Bishop referred to the heirs of her son David, so we just knew that he had died some time between the death of his father Edward in 1711 and Sarah’s death in 1725.

But we can come closer to reckoning his date of death through the town records of Ashford, Connecticut.  First, on page 4 of the records I found recorded the marriage of Benjamin Allen to Rebecca Bishop on 31 December 1717.  Next, among the records of the town meetings, David Bishop was listed as one of those who cast a dissenting vote in the meeting on October 3rd 1716 (page 23).

The last clues come from two other citations in the town meeting records.  One was on March 5, 1718 in which Ashford proprietors agreed “to draw for their farms on lotts and likewise drad (sic) as follows”.   Listed at number 9 on this list is “David Bishop heirs”.

Then at the meeting of December 29th in 1718 (page 48) is found the following vote:
Voted at sd meeting that the Town doe grant to the heirs of David Bishop an equal share of all Divisions of Land.  Here’s a copy of that record (click to enlarge).
Proprietors Records, Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut, 1705-1770, page 48.  (Click to enlarge)

I’m hoping to discover more about David’s brief life and also to verify that it was his widow Rebecca who married Benjamin Allen in 1717.  If any researchers have more details about this couple, please share them with us.  My email address is