Author: Nora
•Friday, July 03, 2015
Lucy Goff, my 3rd great grandmother, was born in Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont, on the 20th of January 1785.  Her parents, Daniel and Lucy Goff, were married in July 1775 in Coventry, Rhode Island, where their first child Abigail was born.  By the fall of 1779, the young Goff family had moved to Vermont; their son Christopher Bailey Goff was born in the town of Shaftsbury.  And some time after 1788, they’d moved again – to Clarendon in Rutland County, Vermont.

These are the names and birth dates of Daniel and Lucy Goff’s children:
Abigail Goff, born 20 September 1776, Coventry, Kent County, Rhode Island
Christopher Bailey Goff, born 4 October 1779, Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont
Abner Goff, born 4 November 1782, Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont
Lucy Goff, born 20 July 1785, Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont
Eunice Goff, born 22 December 1787, Shaftsbury, Bennington County, Vermont
Elizabeth Goff, born 6 November 1802, Clarendon, Rutland County, Vermont

There are many land records for the Goff’s in Clarendon.  One early deed was to Abner Goff (Daniel’s father), “of Shaftsbury” from Noel Potter, “of Clarendon”, in December, 1785 and another tract from Potter in 1786.  Then in 1788 Daniel Goff, also “of Shaftsbury”, bought about 85 acres in Clarendon from Daniel Reynolds (reference Clarendon deed book 4, pages 104-105).

Although there are no deeds for John Fitch Bishop recorded in Clarendon or nearby, I found that he’d witnessed three for others of the town.  The first two were in 1802.  On the 15th of March (Clarendon Deeds, Book 6, page 465): John Forbes sold to Daniel Goff a small parcel of land 30 feet by 30 feet, in a deed witnessed by John Hills (the town clerk) and John F. Bishop.  The parcel of land was described as beginning at the northeast corner of John Hills’ blacksmith shop.

Could Daniel possibly have bought this land for his daughter and son-in-law to live on when they got married?  Some researchers of this Bishop family have said that John F. Bishop and Lucy Goff were married in 1802 in Clarendon.  Unfortunately, the town records are incomplete for that period of time.  I’m hoping someone can furnish the date of their marriage from another source.

The other Clarendon deed John witnessed in 1802 was from Peter, Phillip and Mary Parker, wife of Phillip, to Palmer Tripp (Clarendon Deeds, Book 6, page 435).  Then finally, in 1805 he was a witness to land sold by Tilly Ballard of Tinmouth to John Larnard of Clarendon (Clarendon Deeds, Book 7, page 217).

I’m mentioning these deeds because they help to create a timeline for John and Lucy before their move to Crown Point, New York.  For in 1806, John F. Bishop and Lucy purchased their first farm in Crown Point and began raising a family.  (For details about this deed, see my first post of September 26, 2014, titled “Biographical Sketch of John Fitch Bishop”).

Other than being mentioned as a party to the land transactions she and John were involved in, there’s very little to help document Lucy’s life in Crown Point.  That is until about the time of her husband’s death.  Either just before or soon after John died in 1840, Lucy Goff Bishop was visited by some Mormon missionaries.  She was moved by their message and converted to the LDS church, as did at least five of her children. 

Before leaving New York, Lucy had to take care of her husband’s estate, selling the farm to Cyrus Whitlock in 1842 and paying money owed to creditors.

Next in the time line is 1842-45 in Nauvoo, Illinois.  The names of Lucy Bishop and the children appear on the list of early LDS members, with the comment that they had moved their membership by letter from Crown Point, New York, to Nauvoo in 1845.  The family was actually in Nauvoo at least a year before that; in the fall of 1844 Lucy’s daughter Charlotte was united in marriage to Orson Pratt, with Charlotte’s sister Adelia Ann joining Orson in marriage in December of that year.

My remaining ‘brick wall’ with this family group is:  when and where did Lucy Goff Bishop die?  I’m unable to place her anywhere from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City after 1845-46.  I’ve been able to trace almost all of Lucy and John’s children and have been able to verify death dates and places for all of them except for Emeline and Julius. I’ll write more about the children in a future post.  But Lucy continues to be a mystery ancestor.  Other researchers have given a death date and place for her, stating she died on 27 July 1849 in Crown Point, New York.

The 27th of July is the same day and month of John Fitch Bishop’s death, but in 1840.  So has her death date been confused with his?  If anyone can help me with this by providing a source, I’d love to hear from you.
Author: Nora
•Thursday, March 26, 2015
So how do you sort out who’s who when there were four men named Edward Bishop living in the Salem, Massachusetts area at the same time?  The challenge is to avoid merging two or more of them into one person.  It’s a puzzle that calls for very close and meticulous analyzing of available records and documents, as well as reading the research and conclusions written by historians and scholars.  The Salem witchcraft histeria and its aftermath have held a great fascination for a multitude of us, and we’re fortunate that there’s a tremendous amount of documentation and research available on the internet, in archives, on microfilm and elsewhere.

I’ve made use of much of this material and have rented and looked at microfilmed records to help with this who’s who dilemma in my Bishop line.  To bolster the conclusions presented in my previous post, “Edward Bishop Times Four”, I’m recommending the works of two historians who have gone the extra mile in researching these Bishop’s.  Dr. David L. Greene and Marilynne K. Roach have written some excellent articles and books (see notes below).

In the previous post, I wrote mainly about the three Edward’s who lived in Salem Village. I’ll continue with what I’ve learned about the Edward Bishop who lived in the town of Salem and married the alleged witch Bridget (Playfer) Wasselbe Oliver.  Not much is known about this man as to where he was from and when he arrived in Salem.  His occupation was that of a sawyer, which partially helps to distinguish him from the other men of this name, who were described as husbandmen or farmers.  And as far as I could tell from the records, he never lived in the village of Salem – only in Salem Town.  Also - a careful scrutiny of those records and all available sources shows that it's doubtful that this Edward Bishop (the sawyer) was closely, if at all, related to the Bishop families in Salem Village.  He probably married Bridget in about 1685-87, several years after her 2nd husband Thomas Oliver died in 1679.  It’s believed that Bridget and Edward had no children together, but Bridget had a daughter with Thomas Oliver by the name of Christian, born in 1667.

Another fact setting this Edward Bishop (sawyer) apart was the way he signed legal documents.  He used a “mark” – that of an “X”.  Here’s an example of the way he signed his name (click to enlarge):
Example of Edward Bishop (the sawyer) mark
Edward Bishop (1st) of the Beverly/Bass River area also used a “mark”, but he signed with ”EB”, his initials.
Example of Edward Bishop (1st) mark
This Edward’s son Edward Bishop (2nd), who could obviously read and write, signed his full name. His wife Sarah signed with her unique “mark”.
Example of Edward Bishop (2nd) signature and Sarah (Wildes) Bishop's mark
Lastly, Edward Bishop (3rd) signed with his full name, while his wife Susannah used a “mark”.
Example of Edward Bishop (3rd) signature and his wife Susannah's mark
Another excellent source I looked at was the record of taxation for Salem, both for the town and the village residents, which was microfilmed and is available through the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City (film #968009; also film #877453).  The tax lists begin in the year 1689, and continue well into the 1700’s; so I viewed them up to about 1713.  The great thing about these lists is that the inhabitants were recorded by their various neighborhoods, similar to a census enumeration district.  This way, you can compare the neighborhoods from year to year, noting the close neighbors of each man and analyzing the changes, when one appeared or disappeared from a neighborhood list.

I found that Edward Bishop (sawyer) consistently appeared in the same neighborhood up to the year 1698 – this would have been where Thomas Oliver’s house had been and where his widow Bridget continued to reside after marrying Edward Bishop, up to 1692 when she was hung for allegedly practicing witchcraft.  Their neighbors were Ropes, Horne/Orne, Bly, Gray, Beadle, Epps and others.

The other men of this same name, residing in Salem Village, were also consistently listed among the same neighbors from year to year:  Cornelius Baker, Joshua Rea, Thomas Rayment, John Trask, Joseph Herrick, James Kettle, and Peter Woodberry, for example.

The lists are alphabetical, but through the use of published maps showing the land owners from 1692 and 1700, it’s easy to see who their nearest neighbors were and compare those names to the alphabetical tax lists. One caveat: maps can contain inaccuracies.  A couple of the map creators made subjective decisions about where the various Edward Bishop’s lived, locating Edward (sawyer) and his wife Bridget next to or with the Edward Bishop’s living in Salem Village.  That placement is not supported by any of the land or tax records, nor by the court documents generated by the witch trials of 1692.

In 1694, 2 years after Bridget’s death by execution, Edward Bishop (sawyer) purchased a new lot from Matthew Buttman or Bootman – still in Salem Town, next to Philip English and Benjamin Gerrish.  Another significant fact is that in this new neighborhood lived two men named Becket, John and William.  Edward (sawyer) had been appointed guardian of Bridget’s granddaughter, Susannah Mason, daughter of Christian (Oliver) Mason; in 1711 Susannah married John Becket.  As late as 1757, there was a land transfer from “John Becket of Salem in the county of Essex shipwright and Susannah his wife” to John Becket, Jr. for land which was bordered by “the premises and land formerly of Deacon Benj’n Gerrish…and westerly on land formerly of Phillip English...being the same which Matthew Bootman granted & sold to Edward Bishop as appears by a deed recorded in ye office for ye registry of deeds &/c for said County Libro 10 folio 3”.

Edward Bishop (sawyer) seemed to have delayed his move to the new lot until about 1698.  By the middle to late part of the year 1703, this Edward dropped off of the taxation list.  Edward Bishop (2nd) of Salem Village also dropped off the tax list after 1703; but his move is easily documented by the deeds recorded for him both in Essex County and in Bristol County, Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He and Sarah had removed to the town of Rehoboth in Bristol County in 1703.

Of especial interest is a Rehoboth deed dated the 16th of April in 1711 wherein Edward is referred to as an inn keeper.  This is important because it helps to clear up another confusion regarding the four Edward’s, which really has to do with their wives.  Bridget Bishop has often been mis-identified as the “goody Bishop” who ran an unlicensed tavern in the village and whose behavior and attitude in about 1690 had upset Christian Trask enough to cause her to become ‘distracted’ and to accuse “goody Bishop” of bewitching her.  Trask complained to Rev. John Hale, minister of the church in Beverly, where both Trask and Sarah Bishop were members.  Trask asked Hale not to allow “goody Bishop” to take part in communion and sought his consolation and sympathy for her “distraction”.   But Trask appears to have been conflicted and tormented by her own behavior and attitude toward Bishop.  After about a month of inner turmoil, Trask apparently cut her own throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
When Rev. Hale testified about this tragedy, either he misidentified it as referring to Bridget Bishop, or the court misfiled the testimony and added it to the other accusations and testimony against Bridget.  Bridget wasn’t a neighbor of Christian Trask, neither had she run an inn or tavern.  That would have been Sarah, wife of Edward (2nd).

Confusing enough?  Please see some of the following sources below for more clarification and if you’d like to read more about this tragic and very dramatic time in our history.

Notes and sources:

Greene, David L., PhD, “Salem Witches I: Bridget Bishop”, The American Genealogist 57 (1981): 129-138.
Roach, Marilynne K., “Where Did Accused ‘Witch’ Bridget Bishop Live?”, American Ancestors, Fall 2013, Vol. 14, no. 4, 45-57
Roach, Marilynne K., Six Women of Salem, 2013, Da Capo Press, Boston, Massachusetts
Roach, Marilynne K., The Salem Witch Trials, 2004, Taylor Trade Publishing, Lanham, Maryland
Author: Nora
•Monday, February 16, 2015

I’d like to use these next two posts to introduce the two earliest generations I’ve discovered in my Bishop line.  Also, I’ll try to unravel some of the confusing stories about the four men named Edward Bishop who appear in Salem, Massachusetts records in 1692, the year of the most notorious of the witchcraft accusations and hangings.  I refer to these four men as Edward Bishop (1st), Edward Bishop (2nd), Edward Bishop (3rd) and Edward Bishop, the sawyer.

Edward Bishop (1st), was born in England in about 1619-20 and died in Salem Village/Beverly on 13 January 1695.  He may have been in the village of Beverly, Essex County, colony of Massachusetts Bay as early as 1639, but most certainly by 1644, when he married Hannah More (or Moore).

In 1646 a lot of 40 acres was granted to Edward “at a meeting of the seven men of Salem…Dec. 28, 1646”, described as “lying neere to the ffarmes at Bass River head to Nicholas Howards lott”.  Here's a copy of that grant to Edward:

Three children are known to have been born to Edward and Hannah:  Hannah, baptised 12 April 1646; Edward (2nd), baptised 23 April 1648 – died in Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1711; and Mary, baptised 12 October 1651.  All three children were born in Salem and baptised at the First Church of Salem.

In 1653, both Edward (1st) and his wife Hannah were charged with “pilfering apples, a knife and a jerkin and for lying” (Edward); and for “stealing Indian corn and woolen and linen…, milking others cows, and for lying” (Hannah).  On the positive, ‘upright-citizen’ side, Edward Bishop “of Bass River” served as a constable in 1660.

Then in 1667, records of the town of Beverly show that Edward (probably the 1st) was one of the founders of the First Church of Beverly.

An Edward Bishop is noted to have served in King Phillip’s War in 1675-76; this could have been either Edward (1st) or (2nd).  But a record in the Essex County quarterly courts is definitely about the eldest Edward, the 1st.  From Volume VIII, June, 1681 (page 191), there is this court entry:  “Edward Bishop, aged sixty-three years, testified that John Balch, Benjamin’s father, owned it (some meadow land) forty years ago.  Sworn in court.”

A similar entry in the Essex County quarterly court in this same year of 1681 helps to verify Edward (2nd)’s year of birth.  In Volume VIII, June 1681 (page 110) is the following entry:  “Edward Bishop, aged about thirty-five years, testified that he heard Backon say that Dodridge was a good seaman….Sworn, June 27, 1681, before Bartho. Gedny, assistant.”

Edward (2nd) probably married in about the year 1669, to Sarah Wildes, daughter of John Wilde and Priscilla Gould.

Edward (2nd) and Sarah had a farm in Salem Village – near the border with Beverly – and also ran an inn or tavern, for which they ran afoul of the ‘powers that be’ for doing so without a license.

Their children were (born in Salem Village or Beverly):

Edward (3rd), born about 1671
Samuel, born about 1672; died 8 June 1726 in Attleboro, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
Jonathan, born about 1674; died in February of 1752
William, born about 1676
David, born about 1678; died in about 1716-17 in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut.
Priscilla, baptised 16 August 1681
Joseph, born 6 April 1683; died after 1711
Sarah, baptised 24 May 1685; died 10 November 1747, Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Benjamin, baptised 17 July 1687; died between 1711-1726
John, born about 1689; died 16 September 1748, Rehoboth, Massachusetts
Ebenezer, baptised 12 May 1695; died after 1711

There may have been one more child, but I’ve never found the record of another one’s name and birth date.  In the year 1710, Edward Bishop wrote to the committee in Essex County that was handling complaints of some of the accused and jailed in 1692.

After detailing their loss of livestock, property and ability to earn a living, he wrote:
the time that my sellf and wife were prisnors was thirtiey seven wekes all which tim cost me ten shillings pur weake for our bord besides other nesecri charges and prison fees which amounted to five pounds and I was cept from making eney improufment of my estate to provide for food for my family and had at that time twelve children the which I could have maintained out of the produce of my esteat could I have had the liberty to med the Improufment of It.
(See Essex County Records, Witchcraft Papers, 1655-1750)
Read more Salem records regarding this traumatic time at: 
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive

And for some interesting articles and images of early Salem, see this site:
Salem Pioneer Village 1630 

More on these four men named Edward Bishop in my next post, including some documents that will help show why Edward Bishop, sawyer, was probably not closely related to the other 3 men of this name who lived in Salem Village at this time.

Author: Nora
•Thursday, January 01, 2015
Imagine that you are a teenager in a modest household: parents, several siblings, living in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony, on April 21, 1692.  You hear the following being read as your parents are confronted by the constable, to be taken to the local jail:

There being Complaint this day made (before us) by Thomas Putnam and John Buxton of Salem Village Yeomen, in behalfe of their Majest’s, for them selfes and also for severall of theire Neighbours, Against Wm Hobs husbandman and Deliver’ his wife, Nehemiah Abot Jun’r weaver, Mary Easty the wife of Isaac Easty and Sarah Wilds the wife of John Wilds all of the Towne of Topsfield or Ipswitch:  And Edward Bushop husbandman & Sarah his wife of Salem Village………for high Suspition of Sundry acts of witchcraft donne or Committed by them Lately upon the Bodys of Anna Putnam & Marcy Lewis…..and others, whereby great hurt and dammage hath benne donne to ye bodys of said persons above named therefore Craved justice.
You are therefore in theire Majest’s names hereby required to Apprehend and bring before us..…..above named to Morrow about ten of the Clock in the forenoon at the house of Leiu’t Nath’ll Ingersalls in Salem Village in order to theire Examination Relateing to the premises abovesayd and hereof you are not to faile.
(Read the full arrest warrant in Essex County Archives, Salem, Witchcraft Volume 1, page 53.)

My 6th great grandfather David Bishop would have been just such a youth, a horrified witness as this atrocity beset his parents Edward and Sarah (Wildes) Bishop.

For they were living in Salem, Massachusetts, at the time of the horrendous witchcraft-scare that was rampant in much of New England – but particularly in Salem Town and Salem Village.  That misguided “witch hunt” was to mar or end the lives of wrongly-accused New Englanders numbering about 170 men, women and children in the Salem area alone, mostly women.  There, 20 of those accused met a gruesome end, 19 by hanging and one by being pressed to death.

The first person to be hung in 1692 was Bridget Bishop, who was NOT related to this Bishop line.  Although she’s often been mid-identified as the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem Village, this is not the case.  It’s the studied opinion of several scholarly and cautious researchers of the witchcraft scare in Salem that Bridget was the wife of Edward Bishop, “the sawyer”, who lived in Salem Town, whereas Edward Bishop, Jr. and his wife Sarah resided in Salem Village, as did Edward Bishop, Sr. and his wife Hannah.  I plan to devote a future post to the evidence which I hope will clear up some of the confusion.

Meanwhile, for original documents and accounts of the trials, see: Salem Witch Trials

While Edward and Sarah (Wildes) Bishop were never tried and convicted, they did spend 37 weeks in jail, first in Salem and later in Boston.  It was from the Boston jail that they were able to make their escape, the building not being of the strongest construction, it seems.  Their freedom was not ‘free’, however.  Much of their livestock and household goods were confiscated by the officials to pay for their ‘room and board’ while in jail, property amounting to an estimated £100.

For David and his 10 or 11 siblings, those long weeks of worrying that their parents’ lives would be ended by the hangman’s noose – or perhaps that they’d languish and die while still behind bars, must have been agonizing.

Surprisingly, after a short time of taking refuge some distance from the area, perhaps in New York, Edward and Sarah returned to Salem Village, residing there for about another ten years before moving to far more liberal Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

At least two of their sons, Edward, Jr. and Jonathan, remained in the area even longer.  David had left in about 1701, turning his back on the harsh ways of Essex County to make his new home in the settlement called Mashamoquett and later named Pomfret, in the Colony of Connecticut (see my previous post).  David’s name last appears on the Salem tax rolls for the year 1701.  His parents left for Rehoboth two years later; Edward’s name was last on the rolls in 1703 (see FHL film number 877453).

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

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