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 W.C. Bishop Family 

Parts of this was transcribed by Nancy S. Shire from a book titled "The Lone Star State", title page "The History of Texas," subtitled "The Leading Families of Central Texas," by Lewis Publishing Company 1896.(beginning on page 862) The rest is info she added.


"W. C. BISHOP. -- About the middle of the present century, when emigration from the older states of the Union began to pour into the new state of Texas, there landed in Karnes county a young man, ambitious and enterprising and determined to make his mark in the world. He had been a stage driver at his old home in Tennessee. Here for a time he followed the same business, then turned from staging to stock-raising, and from that to farming; and as the years passed by Dame Fortune smiled upon his efforts and rewarded him with success that is granted to but few. Now in these years which mark the close of the century, we find this same young man, W. C. Bishop, known throughout the country as Colonel Bishop, one of the largest landholders and wealthiest men of Erath county. The history of such men as he is both interesting and instructive, and it is with a feeling of satisfaction that the biographer turns to a review of his life.

"W. C. Bishop was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, November 28, 1826, son of Samuel and Anna (Carter) Bishop, natives of Tennessee and Alabama respectively. Samuel Bishop was a son of Joseph Bishop, one of the early pioneers of Tennessee, and both father and son followed agricultural pursuits and figured prominently in the community where they resided. Samuel Bishop served under Jackson in the Creek Indian war. He died in Tennessee, in 1865, and his wife passed away in that state the following year. Both were members of the Missionary Baptist church. Eight children constituted his family, by his two wives, their names in order of birth being as follows: Gartny, Mason, Richard and Samuel, by his first marriage; and by the second marriage, W. C., whose name heads this article; Robert, who came to Texas with W. C. in 1849, settled in Karnes county, and died there some years later; Mary, wife of C. G. Gillett; and Elizabeth, wife of Peter Poindexter, of Tennessee.

"Colonel Bishop was reared on his father's farm. He attended the common schools of the district and spent his youthful days not unlike other boys of Tennessee. In 1846, at the age of twenty years, he married and began life on his own responsibility, farming first and then beginning his career as a stage driver. In 1854 he came to Texas and located on the San Antonio river in Karnes County. Here he drove stage for several years, and had many unique and exciting experiences incident to life in a new country, and formed many pleasant acquaintances among the traveling public of that day. Soon after coming to Texas he made investments in cattle, and when he quit staging it was to give his whole attention to the cattle business, in which he was largely engaged in Karnes County until 1873, when he sold out and came to his present location in Erath County. Here he bought a tract of land with small improvements thereon, and in this county continued the stock business on a large scale and also carried on farming operations. Gradually he disposed of his stock and turned his attention more particularly to his farm and its improvement until of recent years he keeps only enough stock for the support of his farm. The Colonel and his son now own one thousand acres in one body, a magnificent tract unsurpassed by any land in Erath county, and the Bishop homestead is one of the best improved and finest country places in all the country round. The residence is a commodious and attractive one. The barn and outbuildings are first-class in every respect, and everything about this delightful home gives evidence of culture and refinement as well as wealth. The Colonel now has most of his land rented.

"To that page which tells more particularly about his domestic life woudl we now turn. Colonel Bishop has been married three times. His first wife, nee Lizzie Johnson, whom he wedded in Tennessee in 1846, was a daughter of Thomas Johnson, of that state. Mr. Johnson was a respected farmer of Tennessee, and passed his life and died there. Mrs. Lizzie Bishop accompanied her husband to Texas and shared his frontier life until 1857, when she was called to her last home. She left two children, viz.: James A., now a cattle man of Presidio county, Texas; and John B., a farmer of Erath county. In 1858 our subject married Miss L. J. Humphreys, daughter of James Humphreys, who had come to Texas from Louisiana as early as 1833. Mr. Humphreys belonged to Houston's army and at the time of the San Jacinto battle was out as a scout. After the Republic was formed he settled down to farming on the Trinity river, near Liberty, where he passed the rest of his life, and died in 1860. This second marriage was blessed in the birth of five children, namely: Priscilla, wife of Stephen Spirey, Wilson county, Texas; Ellen, wife of J. W. Spirey, Concho county, Texas; Betty, who became the wife of George Briston, both now deceased; and John H. and James, deceased. The mother of this family died in 1863. She was a member of the Methodist church. The Colonel's marriage to this third and present wife was consummated in 1882. Mrs. Bishop, whose maiden name was Miss Maggie Stipe, is a daughter of James Stipe, a Tennesseean who moved with his family to Missouri. In Missouri both Mr. and Mrs. Stipe died, and after their death their children all came to Texas. Mrs. Bishop has given birth to two children, Annie and Richard."

There are a few more paragraphs concerning Colonel Bishop, but they contain no genealogical information and are concerned with his financial dealings, his gains and losses in the cattle ranching business, going on to state that he had a "commanding personal appearance," that he was a Democrat, a Mason, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Since discovering this article (thanks to my distant cousin and descendant of W. C. Bishop, Dewey C. Meeks of Greensboro, NC), I have contacted other Bishop researchers who are descendants of Joseph Bishop. My Robert Bishop, William's brother, is a mere blip on the family tree -- he was evidently in poor health and it is a wonder he lived at all to marry my great-grandmother (Nancy Jane Cruse) and father two daughters, my paternal grandmother Annie Malinda Bishop and her sister Louella Sally Bishop. Family lore says that he suffered from "Lung Fever." He died in 1867 or 1868 and left little more than his surname to his daughters; I don't even know for sure when he died or where he is buried.

The Gillette and Johnson families can be found in the 1860 census of Karnes County, Texas. One of the Johnson daughters, Josephine, married one of the Gillette sons, and my father remembered his mother (Annie Bishop) talking about her cousin "Josephine Gillette."



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