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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



STEPHEN L. BISHOP, residing in Empire Township, is a native of this county, and was born in Old Town Township, Jan. 14, 1835. He is the eldest son of Mahlon and Catherine Bishop; a portrait of the former is given in this album.

The great-grandfather of our subject was a native of England, and came to this country in company with two brothers. The three brothers had been in the military service of the mother country, and on arrival in this country they separated, one of them settling in New York, another in Virginia, and the third in South Carolina. The great-grandfather of our subject was the brother who settled in Virginia.

Mr. Bishop of this notice was but three months old when his parents removed to Empire Township, and has made that his home since, a period of upward of fifty-two years. He received his education in a pioneer school-house of this county, and he remembers that the first school he attended was held in a little log building on section 22, and it was taught by James Lincoln.

The neighbors made a "bee" and erected the building, which had split puncheons for floor and clapboards for roof, which were held in place by poles. There was a fireplace in the end of the building, made of dirt and sticks. It was in this rudely constructed building that he received his education. He assisted his father on the farm, and when large enough, teamed to Chicago and Peoria, it taking about two weeks to make the trip to Chicago with an ox team. The most tedious trip our subject ever had to the now great metropolis was in driving hogs to that city on foot.

In 1854 our subject bought Mexican soldiers' land warrants of Judge David Davis, which he laid on land in West Township. That same year he commenced to improve his land and continued to "squat" farm there until 1862. He then removed to Le Roy and embarked in the mercantile business, and was thus occupied until 1868, when he resumed farming in Empire Township. He has a large and well-improved farm located on sections 16 and 17, Empire Township, his residence being one mile north of Le Roy.

Mr. Bishop has been three times married; his first union occurred in 1855, and was with Miss Cynthia C. Craig. She was born in Old Town Township, this county, and departed this life before they had been married quite a year.

The second marriage was with Miss Cynthia Rice, and took place in 1858. She was born in Empire Township, this county, in 1837, and came to her death by the explosion of an oil can in her hand, being so badly burned that she only lived five hours after the terrible accident. Our subject in trying to save her nearly lost his own life. He was very badly burned, and was confined to his bed for nearly a year. His life was only saved by the best medical skill and care.

The third marriage of Mr. Bishop took place Feb. 2, 1882, Kate Crumbaugh being the other contracting party. She was born in Frederick County, Md., in 1839, and is the daughter of Esquire Gideon Crumbaugh, whose sketch will be found in this work. Mr. Bishop has two children living: Franklin, a son of his first wife, occupies a part of the homestead. He married Matilda Wamsley, and they have three children. The second child of our subject, Myra, is a daughter of his second wife, and is the wife of George Schrigley, and they are living in Empire Township.

Mr. Bishop was a Democrat until 1864, when that party proclaimed that the war was a failure, and he then became a Republican, and has since voted with and worked for the success of that party, and is at present Chairman of the Republican Central Committee. He has held the offices of Assessor and Collector of West and Empire Townships. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, holding fellowship with the Le Roy Lodge No. 221.

[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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