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The Murder of Richard M. Bishop

And other info of the Bishop Family

Hawkins County, TN.

1 Jan. 1866


Family story was the following; Richard M. Bishop went to an election and while there, got into a heated argument with an unknown person. When his horse came home (Grainger County), without him, (early evening) his family went out looking for him and found him along side the road--shot to death.

No one had a clue as to when or where or this happened.


Richardís son, Joseph Larkin Bishop, who moved his family to Erath County, TX in or about early 1890s, was known to have said; " I'm the man, that killed the man, that killed my Daddy." This was passed to the TX Bishop descendants. This was passed to me by cousin Glenda of Erath Co., TX. The TX Bishops had heard the same version about the murder as the TN Bishops.


My husband and I began to look thru microfilmed newspapers, knowing we would find this story . We looked for the years 1870-1890's, at the time not knowing the death date of Richard and finding nothing.


Following the advice of cousin Hallie, Dallas Tx. (Price / DeBord descendant ) I sent away for pension records, In pension application for Mahala [Price] Bishop, I found the following information: JACKPOT


Richard enlisted in US Army 1 Jan 1864 at Rutledge/ Strawberry Plains Tn. (He served as Pvt. A Co. 4th Inf, Tennessee Volunteers). papers have both places listed. He was listed as a deserter in Aug. 1864, but reinstated to active duty and served with his company until it disbanded 17 Aug. 1865.

Now to the good part.... In affidavits, local Hawkins County men, recalled the murder. They placed the murder, 1 Jan 1866, County Court day in Rogersville, Hawkins County, Tn Bishop was shot with a pistol in the store/business of William Sturm. The man at the end of the pistol was the notorious, William O. (Bill) Sizemore.

After finding this information , I began to search for a reason for this murder. First stop Hawkins County Court House........... I still have no answers.


It seems that Sizemore was charged with the murder 5 June 1866, this is the only record I have been able to get my hands on (thanks to Shelia Johnston) and it does not give a reason for the murder..As far as I can tell, Sizemore never came to trial because BILL Sizemore was killed by Iredell Willis 11 Oct. 1887 That same day, Willis was shot off his horse by an unknown person believed to be a a man named Burton.


To date I have not found a newspaper article on this.... There must be one somewhere. If I am correct, there were no newspapers published in Hawkins, Grainger, or Hamblen County in 1886. Does anyone have an idea where I can look and possibly find more information on the Murder of Richard M. Bishop.? Of course there may be someone out there who can solve this mystery I am keeping my fingers crossed :-)


We started researching this family for First Families Of Tennessee, about 3 years ago after finding JOSEPH BISHOP our earliest Bishop in Tn 1787.... Before that, the Bishops in Grainger County had no idea where their ancestors came from. Although the mystery is not completely solved, I feel grateful to have learned the amount of information we have today.


RICHARD M.BISHOP,(1823-1866) Hawkins County,TN married 30 Nov.1848 MAHALA PRICE (1830-1910) Hawkins County, Tn.

Richard, Mahala and children came from Hawkins County Tn. to Grainger County, Tn after the 1860 census was taken in Hawkins County. Mahala is listed on Grainger County census records as head of house 1870-1910. Richard and Mahala are burried on the old Bishop homeplace in Bean Station, Tn.

Children of Richard and Mahala are:


(1) BEERSHEBA, b 1850, Hawkins County, Tn. married James LONG,


(2)JOSEPH LARKIN BISHOP , b.1853,Hawkins County, Tn. married Sarah C. BROOKSHIRE in KY.


(3)ROBERT L BISHOP,b,1854, Hawkins County, Tn.married (1) Mary Grant WOOD, In Ky. (2) Leone/Leah HARRIS,(3) Alice KINGSOLVER he fathered 10 children.(DIRECT LINE)

The photograph was taken abt 1891, of ROBERT L. BISHOP and Family.(3rd wife and 6 of his 10 children)

back row, Robert, holding TENNIE, SUDIE, JOHN WESLEY, DOLLA, and ALICE BISHOP.

front row: wife, ALICE KINGSOLVER-BISHOP, holding Grover Cleveland,her brother also husband of Alice Bishop, is JOSIAH KINGSOLVER holding their first born, Mary.

Interesting story about Rob. He and his brother Joseph L. drove some horses to Ky for a sale. (I'm sure they had relatives there but haven't found the connection yet)They stayed for a while, met and married to Ky. gals. Rob married Mary, before 10/ 1874 and Joseph married Sarah......

Mary and Rob had two children, John, b. 10/1874 and Alice,b.1875. Mary died before 10/1878.....Rob brought his children back to Grainger County,Tn where his mother lived....One Sunday he attended a Church gathering and saw an old girlfriend there, Leah Harris d/o James B and SUSAN (Harris) HARRIS (Before leaving for Ky, Rob and Leah were said to be engaged.) Leah came up to Rob and told him "Look at that boyís shoes, they're on the wrong feet, You need me !" Little John's high top button up shoes were indeed on the wrong feet.. shortly after this on 31 Oct. 1878, Rob and Leah were married in Grainger County, Tn This story was told to me by Alice Bishop- Frey, Denver, Co., the d/o John Wesley Bishop. Leah (the subject of this story) died before Oct 1889 as Rob married his 3rd wife 10 Oct 1889.

She was Alice KINGSOLVER d/o Andrew and Martha (ODOM) Kingsolver. Alice raised Robís first five children and gave him five more. She endured some hard times after Rob died in Jan 1898. My husband's grandfather, Joseph Larkin Bishop, b. 5 Dec. 1897, was only six weeks old at that time.

Alice found work at the Tate Springs Resort. She would leave home before daylight and return home after dark. The older children cared for the younger ones. Alice married Will Hodge abt 13 years after Robís death. She died in 1946 and is buried in Dalton Cemetery

. ...Rob and Leah along with their first daughter Dolly, are buried in the Meadow Branch Cemetery, near the Church of the Brethren, which they attended.

Joseph "Joe" Bishop, married MAGGIE BELL LONG,4 Aug 1916, Grainger Co. Tn. She was the daughter of BILL and MARY (LONG) LONG. They are buried in Dalton Cemetery also. Their daughter ANNE MAE BISHOP is the mother of my husband, Dewane "Wayne" Bishop


Child (4) of Richard and Mahala is CHARLES, b abt, 1857, Hawkins County, Tn. lived with sister Bersheba Long in 1870 census....NFI Would like to find descendants


(5) MARY, b 1860, probably Hawkins County, married Will Phulps, (aka Phillips lived in St. Clair area of Hawkins County)


(6)WILLIAM,b abt 1864, probably Grainger County, Tn. NFI Would like to hear from descendants.


(7)LUTISHIA ALICE,b. 1868, Grainger County, Tn. married a Pascall, and was the only one so far I can find a WILL for.


(8) HAGAN,b. 1872, Grainger County, Tn. believed to have died young...NFI


(8) NANIA, b 1879, Grainger County, Tn. married Henry LOCKE..(Hawkins County, Tn.)



Richard M. Bishop, a descendant of Joseph Bishop b abt 1760 probably Va/NC. and died in 1828, Morgan Co. AL (per cousin Mark) and Elizabeth Wilson (d/o Samuel Wilson I ) Elizabeth's death date and place are yet to be found. Richard M. was the s/o Samuel Bishop and Nancy Cole.

Mahala Price was the d/o of Henry Price 11 and Elizabeth (Kyle?)

All early pioneers of Hawkins County, Tn.


(1)MASON, b. abt 1784,in probably, VA. married MARY UNKNOWN , he died 1857, MS.(per cousin Mark)


(2)ISAAC,b. abt. 1787, Hawkins County, Tn.married ELIZABETH HAMBLEN, Hawkins County, Tn. d. 1869, Madison County, MS.


(3)SAMUEL, b abt 1794, Hawkins County, Tn. ( DIRECT LINE)


(4)MARY, b 1789,Hawkins County, Tn. married MICHAEL MCCANN, Hawkins County. died 1840-47, AL.


(5)JOHN W. (?William/Wilson?), b. abt.1792, Hawkins County, Tn., married SARAH HAMBLEN,d. abt.1850, prob. AL.( per cousin Amy)


(6)ELIZABETH, b 1797, Hawkins County, Tn. married GEORGE STIPE, JR.Hawkins County. she died 1878, McMinn Co. Tn.(per Dewight Stipes)


(7) CHARLES, b bef. 1787, married CAROLINE GRIFFIN, AL. believed to have moved to TX. (Theory of Mark)NFI would like to hear from descendants.


(8)ANGELICO,b 1800, Hawkins County, Tn.married ROBERT CHILDERS, (per Cousin Sarah) in AL. Angelico/Angeline died in Graves Co. Ky.1854


(9) FANNY, b. 1802, Hawkins County, Tn. married WILLIAM LIPE, Hawkins County.

Children of SAMUEL BISHOP and Nancy Cole are


(1) GARTNEY,b abt. 1811, Hawkins County, Tn.NFI


(2)MASON,b. abt 1812, Hawkins County, Tn.NFI


(3)RICHARD M. b 1823, Hawkins County, Tn. (direct ancestor)


(4) SAMUEL, b abt 1824-5, Hawkins County, Tn., captured at Battle of Big Creek, (The Blue and Gray, The Battles, Shelia Johnston)would like to hear from descendants


We can assume Nancy (Cole) Bishop died shortly after Samuel was born. !824-25 I have no information on Nancy Cole. I would like to hear about her ancestors.Samuel married ANNA CARTER,20 years his junior, born in Alabama. Samuel died in 1865 and Anna died in 1866, Hawkins County. Their grave sites are unknown, but believed to be in the Marble Hall Area. Children by Anna:


(1)WILLIAM CARTER (W.C.)b. Nov 1826, Hawkins County, Tn. married,(1) LIZZIE JOHNSON,1846, Hawkins County,married (2) Loretta J. Humphreys,in Tx.1858, and MAGGIE STIPE,1882 in Tx. She was the d/o James Stipe of Hawkins County.( thanks to cousin Dewey, we now know what the C. in W.C. stands for)

Photo is of W.C. Bishop. Courtesy of Linda Debord Bishop and Glenda Johnson Stone.

Interesting little story out of TX per Cousin Glenda who lives near the old W.C. Bishop homestead..... Cousin Glenda went looking for the grave of L.J. Bishop. She knew L.J. was burried on W.C.'s old ranch. While there she met a cowboy who told her L.J.'s name... Loretta! He went on to say that Loretta's spirit still haunts the grounds and that she got really upset if one of the cowboys brought their young ladies to the ranch. Loretta is buried in the field, exact spot still unknown, while her broken stone lies against the barn.


(2)ROBERT, b. 1827-8, Hawkins County, married NANCY JANE CRUSE, from Ms.(per cousin Sharon)

(3) MARY, b. abt 1834,Hawkins County, Tn. married(1) C.G. Gillett, Hawkins County, and (2) ? BLACKFORD,in TX.


(4) ELIZABETH, b. abt. 1842, Hawkins County, Tn. married PETER POINDEXTER, Hawkins County,,,,NFI, would like to know more about this family.



I hope to hear from people with connections to this family. I also hope to hear suggestions as to how to find the reason for a murder that happened so long ago...


Thanks to our County and State Genealogy Web Sites, we sit in the comfort of our homes and travel to these other states, looking for clues of our ancestors... Along the way I have met cousins who have an interest as I do, and are willing to share information, in hopes we may one day, have a complete picture of this BISHOP FAMILY...

.. .

COUSINS: Glenda Johnson-Stone (Joseph Larkin Bishop descendant TX), Mark Smith (Isaac Bishop descendant AL/MS), Amy Bishop-Flowers (John W. Bishop descendant AL), Dewey Meeks (W.C. Bishop descendant,TX), Sharon Shire(Robert Bishop descendant, TX), Sarah Anderson(Angelico Bishop descendant, AL/MS/KY),


Written by;



SOURCES: Hawkins and Grainger County Tn. Census and Marriage records and Deeds,

Civil War pension records of Mahala Bishop(service of Richard M. Bishop)

Death records, Graves Co. Ky

Marriage records, Morgan Co. Al.

Tennessee in The War of 1812, by Sistler

Abstract of Isaac Bishop's War of 1812 Pension Files(Mark)

Notes of; Hallie Price-Garner (Price History), Claudine Mulherm, Sam Lawson, Prentice Price, and Catherine Wilson- Shreve