Name: Peter Bishop Sr
Place: possibly Virgnia
Died: after 1818
Place: prob Wythe County, Virginia
The evidence below strongly indicates that Peter was of German descent
and that his last name was Anglicized from Bischoff. A chair he made is in
the possession of descendants. Inscribed on the bottom are the initials
JPB. From this we can reasonably conclude that his birth name was Johann
Peter Bischoff, but it's yet to be proven.
In March 2019 Katherine Rowe of the Wythe County Genealogical and
Historical Association wrote,
John and Peter Bishop were Germans who jointly took up 300
acres of land on Reed Creek in 1794, most likely coming here via
Pennsylvania.... Robert Sayers, one of the larger landowners in the area,
kept a detailed account book which survives and mentions both Peter Bishops.
In 1804 he exchanged wool and other goods with Peter Sr. for weaving done.
He exchanged hides for tanning done by Peter Jr.
As her source, Ms Rowe lists Early Adventurers of the Western
Waters, Volume III, Part 2, by Mary B. Kegley, pp.589-592, 770.
The 1793 tax list for Wythe county lists the following
Name Tithes Horses
Bishop, John 1 3
Bishop, Phillip 1 1
Bishop, Peter 1 4
It's assumed that that John and Peter may have been brothers. This is
likely the Phillip Bishop listed as a deceased heir on Peter's 1818 deed.
It may be no coincidence that these three names appear on the 1790 census for
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, below. If we accept these interpretations, we'd
have this family:
From Master's thesis, Germans on the Western Waters: Artisans,
Material Culture, and Hybridity in Virginia's Backcountry, 1780-1830,
Spenser David Slough, 4 May 2015.
The Shaffer family of Shenandoah County, VA, headed by Daniel and Anne
[Hudlow] Shaffer, arrived to Wythe's Ft. Chiswell area sometime before
1802. Daniel and Anne took up land adjoining that of fellow Germans David
Simmerman, Daniel Sponsler, and Peter Bishop [Bischof]. By 1817/1818,
however, the Shaffers moved to Wayne County, Indiana, leaving behind their
140 acre tract to the benefit of their son, Jacob who lived with neighbors
and in-laws Peter and Margaret Bishop. In 1818, Peter and Margaret ceded
their 440 acres of farmland to Shaffer on the condition that he and their
daughter and Jacob's wife, Catherine care for them for the remainder of
their lives (James C. Spraker, "The Shaffer Family," Wythe County
Historical Review, 59 (January 2001): 6-12).
The deed, Peter and Margaret Bishop to Nathaniel D Harris and Jacob
Shaffer, is found in Deed Book 7, pages 160 and 161. It's followed by the
agreement between the Bishops and Harris and Shaffer on pages 161 through
163. Both documents are dated 11 April 1818. Peter's heirs as listed in
the agreement are,
- heirs of Phillip Bishop deceased
- Peter Bishop Jr
- John Robert Penner (son of Peter Penner deceased)
- Betsy Haymore
- Cynthia Childress (who Bishop raised from infancy)
- Polly Montgomery
- John Reed
His relationship to the Harrises and Shaffers isn't noted. However, it's
known that Shaffer married Peter's daughter, Catherine Bishop, and Nathaniel
Harris's wife is known (through a biography of
their son) to have been Margaret Bishop. The agreement is fully transcribed below.
Note especially that above Peter Bishop's "signature" (for it's not his),
is written "(name in dutch)." I'm not sure just what that means, but it's
further indication that his was one of the many Pennsylvania Germans living
in the area.
Bishop & Wife, Agreement with Harris & Shaffer
N D Harris
12 July 1830
Articles of Agreement made the Eleventh day of April in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen Between Peter Bishop and
Margaret his wife on the one part and Nathaniel D Harris and Jacob Shaffer
of the other part, all of the County of Wythe and the State of Virginia
Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the performance of the covenants
hereafter mentioned the said Bishop and wife have by their certain indenture
of Bargain and sale dated this day given granted bargained and conveyed to
the said Harris & Shaffer B[---?] tracts of land lying in the County of
Wythe containing together 440 acres more particularly described in said
deed, also the c[---?] of an entry of [blank] acres and the said Bishop
further gives and grants unto the said Peter and Margaret, and whereas this
said Peter Bishop hath a claim to one thousand acres of land purchased from
Zachariah Cox & [blank] Marchin situate on Bear Creek on Tennessee River
which if obtained and the title cleared out, I wish the proceeds of the sale
thereof equally divided among all my children except that whoever takes upon
himself either the said Harris or Shaffer to clear out the title of said
land shall be paid for his time and expenses incurred thereby and shall be
moreover improved to sell and convey the same to the purchaser or
purchasers. And the said Nathaniel D Harris and Jacob Shaffer in their part
for and in consideration of the foregoing gift, and covenants fo agree to
and with the consent of the said Peter and Margaret that the said Harris is
to have possession of the lands lying in the County of Wythe during the life
of the said Bishop & wife and the said Harris to maintain and support them
in their old age decently and comfortably in diet and clothing so long as
they live, and if the said Harris or his heirs should fail to support them
as before [stated?] then the said Shaffer is to take possession of the said
property and perform the same covenants that said Harris was bound to
perform and if he shall fail as aforesaid then the said Harris and Shaffer
forfeit all benefits to these covenants except so far as they or either of
them may have advanced money towards the payment of the debts of the said
Bishop with the legal interest that may [-----] on such payments and the
said Harris or Shaffer (as the case may be) is hereby bound to support one
house and two heads of cattle during the life of the said Peter and Margaret
and to pay all legal and just debts that may be brought against him to the
said Bishop and the said Harris & Shaffer are to pay the following sums of
money in the manner hereafter mentioned to wit: to the heirs of Philip
Bishop dec'd within six months after the decease of the last survivor
(either Peter of Margaret) Fifty dollars in current money —
To John Robert Penner son and heir of Peter Penner dec'd with twelve
months after the death of the last survivor Forty dollars current money.
To Peter Bishop Jr of his heirs within eighteen months after the death of
the last survivor Fifty dollars current money.
To Betsy Haymore or her heirs within two years after the death of the
last survivor Fifty dollars current money.
To Cynthia Childress whom the said Bishop hath raised from her infancy
Fifty dollars current money within two years and a half after the death of
To Polly Montgomery or her heirs ten dollars within three years after the
death of the last survivors and to John Read or his heirs one dollar within
3 years of the death of last survivor.
And after the said Nathaniel D Harris and Jacob Shaffer or their heirs
shall have the benefit of all debts that are due [unto?] said Bishop from
And after the said Nathaniel D Harris and Jacob Shaffer or their heirs
shall have fully complied with all the covenant contained in the forgoing
article of agreement then the land lying in the County of Wythe and all the
personal Estate are to be equally divided between the said Harris and
Shaffer provided each of then shall have paid an equal proportion of the
debts and gifts above set forth to be enjoyed by them and their heirs
For the true performance of the foregoing covenants the parties bind
themselves jointly and severally each to the other firmly by these presents
in witness whereof we have hereunto set out hands and seals the day and year
Teste. his ) (name in dutch) [Seal]
Ruben X Hill ) Peter Bishop
Margaret X Bishop [Seal]
Nathaniel D Harris [Seal]
Jacob Shaffer [Seal]
At a Court held for the County of Wythe at the Courthouse on Tuesday the
14th of April 1818 —
This Article of Agreement between Peter Bishop and Margaret his wife,
Nathaniel D Harris & Jacob Shaffer was acknowledged in Court by the said
Peter, Nathaniel & Jacob as their act of Deed and — to be recorded
R Crockett CC
Peter Bishop's Reconstructed Family
For information about his patrilineal descendants, see Patrilineal Descendants of
|Phillip Bishop ||
||Given he was on the 1793 tax list, he was probably the
eldest son. But it's also possible he was a brother. He died by 1818.
It is not known whether he had children, only that he had unnamed heirs.
||She married first Peter Penner (-c1798), 12 Feb 1792
(or 1796). Another webpage says the marriage was 1786. Obviously, I
need to see the original record. She married secondly Robert
Montgomery, 25 August 1815. Marriage record says that "Polly" was the
daughter of Peter Bishop.
||Married Robert Hadley, 24 July 1796
|Catherine Bishop ||1779-1881
||According to her obituary, Catherine was born 5 May, 1779 in
Montgomery County Virginia (now Wythe). She was born in Married Jacob
Shaffer, 10 April 1804. Marriage record, at least as
transcribed by Family Search, says "Caly [Caty] Bishop to Jacob
Shaver." The 1880 census lists her as 101 years old and in good
health. She and both parents are listed as being born in Virginia.
There's an 12 May 1818 marriage for Cynthia Childress, daughter of
Caty Bishop, to Jacob Hoback. The findagrave.com entry for Cynthia
says that she was born in Wythe on 5 Apr 1800, and died in Floyd
County, Virginia on 8 May 1891. This would be the Cynthia Childress
who Peter raised from childhood.
||Married Elizabeth Myers, 11 May 1807. The marriage record says that
"Betsy Mires" was the daughter of Christopher Myers.
||Married Nathaniel D Harris, 27 March 1813 in Patrick County,
Virginia. The Harrises moved to Adams County, Illinois in 1830. Her
birth year is estimated from the 1850 and 1860 census records in Adams
County. He died there in 1869.
I received a copy of this birthday notice for Peter's daughter, Catherine,
from her descendant, James Spraker, in August 2019:
Southwest Virginia Enterprise, 7 May 1879
Mrs Catherine Shaffer, [whose maiden name was Bishop,] relic of Jacob
Shaffer, dec'd, and mother of Messrs. James, Jacob, and Joseph Shaffer, of
this county, celebrated her 100th birth-day on Monday. A sermon
commemorative of the event was preached to a large congregation at Siloam
Church, three miles distant from her residence, by her grand-son, reb.
Preston mays. Mrs. shaffer was born within less than a mile of where she
now lives [7 miles east of Wytheville, on the N. C, road] on the 5th May,
1779. she has 12 living children, 7 of whom reside in this county and 5 in
the West, 47 grand-children in this county and a large number in the West,
numerous great-grand-children and several gr. gr. grand children. The old
lady attended the preaching last Monday, and seemed to enjoy the sermon. A
gentleman who was present represents her as in good health — looking
better than he had seen her for several years. She is probably the oldest
person in Southwest Virginia.
Here's a remarkable passage from "Bailey file."3
The author of the notes is not mentioned.
If Zachariah was the son of James Bailey as the court record
states.... Could Elizabeth Hadley have been his mother? Who was Elizabeth
Hadley? A mention of another court recorded states that Elizabeth Bishop
brought a suit against Robert Hadley for marring [marrying] her when he
already had a wife August 20 1796. Peter Bishop, Valentine Kegley, and
Philip Phry appeared as witnesses. Maybe if Elizabeth was Zachariah's
mother she was unmarried at the time he was born, then married Robert Hadley
in desperation. Zachariah was born October 10, 1794 and died April 7, 1884
in McDowell Co WV. James Bailey was believed to be married to Margaret
Stinson at the time, so why did he bind his son, Henry to Elizabeth Hadley,
if not that she was the childs mother?
This not only mentions Peter Bishop, but the name Valentine (Kegley) is
introduced. Phry is of interest also because there was a (Johann) Valentine
Fry (1786-1833) in Wythe, a son of Johann Valentine Frey. The Kegleys and
Freys of Wythe County look to have been Pennsylvania German.
Mary Bishop and her first husband Peter Penner is mentioned in a
discussion about the Penner family.4
Here is some information I have learned the past week on John R. Penner in
Wythe County Virginia. He is the son of Peter Penner and Mary Bishop. John
R. filed a suit against some Bishop heirs for his part. I wasn't able to
look in the box that these are located in but it is mentioned in a Book
written by Mary Kegley on the Families of Wythe and Montgomery Counties and
listed the sources from the courthouse that she got the information from.
The Peter Penner father of John R. is the Peter Penner Jr. and he married
Mary Bishop February 12 1786. Mary Penner and Peter Bishop administered the
estate of Peter Penner May 8 1798 and Mary was appointed guardian of her son
John R. Penner. His mother [married] Mary 3 more times after the death of
Peter Penner and in one deposition it stated John R. was 3 months old when
his father died.
Other Public Records
1810 > VIRGINIA > WYTHE > NO TWP LISTED
Series: M252 Roll: 71 Page: 528
Peter Bishop 11111 01101
Interestingly, there is no male of sufficient age in the following entry
to qualify as the head of household.
1810 > VIRGINIA > WYTHE > NO TWP LISTED
Series: M252 Roll: 71 Page: 529
Peter Bishop Junr 11000 10200
There is one other Bishop listed for Wythe county for that year:
1810 > VIRGINIA > WYTHE > NO TWP LISTED
Series: M252 Roll: 71 Page: 531
Augustine Bishop 00010 00000
An uncited lineage on the net provides a long Virginia lineage for an
Augustine Bishop, as follows. There is absolutely no evidence that links
him to Peter and I don't believe this is a fruitful line of pursuit since it
appears far more likely that Peter Bishop was of a German family. Still
it's worth noting for now.
John Bishop (1595-1662) m Elizabeth Booker
John Bishop (1638-1722) m Sarah Lawrence
John Bishop (1670-1716) m Sarah Harmon
John Bishop (1690-1713) m Mary Moss
Harmon Bishop (-1790) m Amey Avoris
Augustine Bishop (-) m Mary M Bride
These entries are found at
Bishop, Peter & John Apr. 10, 1798 Wythe County
300 Reed Creek, adj. Peter Bishop & John Montgomery
Bishop, Peter, Sr. Sep. 1, 1809 Wythe County
120 Reed Creek, adj. his own & John Bishop's land
And because Wythe County was formed out of Montgomery County in 1790,
this entry may also be of interest:
Bishop, John & Dec. 11, 1793 Montgomery County
144 Little River/New River
No Bishops are found on the 1820 census for Wythe county. There are no
census records in Wythe County for Jacob Shaffer's family in 1820 and 1830,
although a Jacob Shaffer does appear in Preston county for those years.
It's clear from the 1840 census (not surprisingly), that Peter and Margaret
Bishop were not living with the Shaffers. Surely they had died by that
Jacob Shaffer (Pendleton County, 1840): 00020011 - 001200
A google search finds only two mentions of the name Peter Bishop for the
Catherine Bishop (1786-1881), the daughter of Peter Bishop and Margaret
Bischof, married Jacob Shaffer in Wythe county 24 Dec 1802.2
A Peter Bishop administered the estate of Peter Penner 8 May 1798. Peter
Penner had married Mary Bishop. We can assume, then, that there may have
been familial link between Mary and Peter Bishop. [link]
Catherine Shaffer is found on the 1880 census for Black Lick, Wythe
county, Virginia with her son Joseph Shaffer, 55. She's listed as 101 years
old, born in Virginia, and both parents born in Virginia.
Bishops in Pennsylvania
We see from the above that Peter was of German descent, particularly
considering that the entry above his name in the 1818 document, as noted
above, states "name in dutch." That can't be ignored. And since we've yet
to find him in Virginia before 1793, we should look to Pennsylvania.
However, it's possible his family never made a stop in Pennsylvania. If he
was, indeed, born in Virginia, it's likely his parents immigrated from
1790 > PENNSYLVANIA > DAUPHIN > REMAINDER OF CO
Series: M637 Roll: 8 Page: 180
Peter Bishop 1 1 2
1790 > PENNSYLVANIA > LANCASTER > MT JOY TWP
Series: M637 Roll: 8 Page: 223
William Bishop 3 0 3
John Bishop 1 4 4
Godlieb Bishop 1 1 4
Peter Bishop 1 2 3
Philip Bishop 2 1 6
1790 > PENNSYLVANIA > YORK > BERWICK, CUMBERLAN
Series: M637 Roll: 9 Page: 461
Peter Bishop 1 2 5
It's interesting that the Lancaster census shows John, Peter, and Philip
and that all three names appear on the 1793 tax list for Wythe County,
Virginia. According to a wikitree page, this is the family of Wilhelm
Bischoff and his wife Anna Steinman. Wilhelm was born in Germany 9 Mar 1719
and died at Mt Joy in 1783. His will (Book X, volume 2, p. 45, Lancaster
County) includes the following interesting provision,
If Philip and Godlys [Godlieb] should incline to change their Religion on
account of their wives who are not baptised, then the other Brothers shall
drive them out and they shall have but ten pounds for their share and no
more and if one or the other of my said children should renounce the
Evangelical Confession of Faith, such child shall be entirely excluded and
shall have nothing.
Other lineages state that his son Peter died in Pennsylvania in 1815.
This might not be the correct track to follow.
Two Peter Bishops are found on the 1800 census for Pennsylvania. The
Peter of Lancaster might well have been Wilhelm's son.
1800 > PENNSYLVANIA > DAUPHIN > LOWER PAXTON TWP
Series: M32 Roll: 40 Page: 192
Peter Bishop 10010 20100
1800 > PENNSYLVANIA > LANCASTER > MT JOY
Series: M32 Roll: 39 Page: 19
Peter Bishop 11010 00010
All original portions ©
Michael Cooley, OrbitInternet.net -