McLean County, Illinois
MAHLON BISHOP, one of the large landowners of Le Roy Township and a successful and progressive farmer now living at Le Roy, was born on his father's homestead on section 15, Empire Township, this county, June 13, 1849.
His father, Hon. Mahlon Bishop, was born Dec. 25, 1810, in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, and his father, John Bishop, was a native of Virginia and a pioneer settler of Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio. The grandfather cleared a farm in the latter county, on which he lived and labored and reared a family, and there died.
Our subject's father was reared on this farm and received his education in the common schools. He was one of ten children born to his parents, and at twenty years of age rented land in his native county and began to do for himself. He was there married, and in 1834, accompanied by his wife and one child, started for this State with a cash capital of $200 in his pocket and two teams and six head of sheep.
The journey was made overland, and on his arrival here he found a log cabin near the farm of William Bishop, in Old Town Township. He lived in this cabin a short time, and while there entered eighty acres of Government land, the same being located on section 15 of what is now Empire Township.
There was a log cabin with one room on the claim, and in this the family made their home for four years before our subject's father was enabled to build another. He then erected a small frame house, and a few years later a commodious frame dwelling, and continued to reside upon this land until his death.
He was possessed of a wonderful amount of energy, and at one time was the proprietor of upward of 1,000 acres of land in Empire and West Townships. He filled many of the local offices and was for a number of years Justice of the Peace and also one of the Supervisors of his township, and in 1842 represented his district in the State Legislature. His death occurred Feb. 13, 1883.
His wife, Catherine Foley, was born in Clarke [ed., Clark] County, Ohio, Aug. 30, 1812. Of her union with Mr. Bishop eight children were born, and four of the number are yet living. The record is as follows: Nancy J. is the wife of Mark Craig, of West Township; Stephen Lewis (whose sketch is also given); Kate is the wife of William Hammond, a farmer of West Township, and our subject completes the four children who are yet living. James F., third in order of birth, died aged twenty-five years; Elizabeth, the fifth child, died when twenty-four years old, and Elias departed this life when twenty-two years old; Sarah A. died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Bishop were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The former was always active in church and school matters and was a Class-Leader in his church for many years. In politics he was a conservative Democrat.
As a representative of the old pioneers of the county, as well as one of her most distinguished citizens, we give the portrait of Mr. Bishop in this connection. The mother of our subject is still living on the old homestead at the advanced age of seventy-five years.
The subject of this notice was the youngest child of his parents' union. He received his early education in the district schools, and later in life attended a graded school at Le Roy, and also one term at Wesleyan University [ed., Illinois Wesleyan University], and likewise a commercial course at Bloomington. He made his home with his parents until his marriage, and in addition to farm labor was occupied in dealing in stock.
About a year after his marriage he left the parental homestead and moved to Le Roy, where he is at present living. He is the owner of 380 acres of the old parental homestead and, although he lives at Le Roy, manages the farm. He has it well stocked with horses, cattle and hogs, and is also interested in the buying and shipping of stock, and is extensively engaged in buying wool during the proper season, which business he has followed for the past fifteen years.
The old Indian trail running from the head of Old Town the old Indian fort passed diagonally across Mr. Bishop's farm and through the north west corner of Le Roy. One of the old Indian landmarks is still to be found also on Mr. Bishop's homestead, which is a hole cut by the Indians in an oak tree from which they had taken honey, but at present the orifice is almost grown over with a new growth. Mr. Bishop has an Indian relic, a veritable tomahawk, found by the father of our subject fifty years ago on his homestead.
Mr. Bishop was married Jan. 30, 1878, to Emma Smith. She was born in Licking County, Ohio, Oct. 30, 1860, and is the daughter of Wesley and Mary (Evans) Smith. Mr. and Mrs. Bishop have two children Mahlon L. and Aaron Leslie. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics he is a Democrat.
[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]
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