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Hiram Bishop and Catherine Wiser

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Hiram Bishop, 1833-1928, and wife Catherine (Wiser) Bishop, 1838-1901

Hiram Bishop and wife Catherine (Wiser) Bishop
              courtesy of Zelma McCullough

Both Hiram and Catherine were born in what is now Pine Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania (Pine Township was formed in 1845 from North Shenango Township). Hiram was born on 13 February 1833, the second of at least seven children born to Ezra William Bishop and Jane (Smith) Bishop. By 1840 Ezra and family had moved nearby to Salem Twp., Mercer Co. (Mercer is adjacent to Crawford Co.). The 1840 census lists six children in their household but the names of only four of the six children are known. In 1850 when Hiram was 17 years old his father purchased a farm in Sandy Creek Twp., adjacent to Salem Township. On 29 January 1857 Hiram married Catherine Wiser in Crawford County.

Catherine Wiser was born on 7 September 1838, the fifth of seven children born to Asa Gallup Wiser and Anna (Bennett) Wiser. Asa and family were living in Conneaut Twp., Crawford Co., in 1840 so that is likely where Catherine was born. Asa purchased one-half acre in North Shenango in July 1845 and apparently died the following summer when Catherine was seven years old. Catherine, age 12, and her family are listed in the 1850 census of Pine Township. She was about 14 years old when her mother remarried in the early 1850s to John Minneley.

Catherine married Hiram in January 1857 and their first child was born in Pine Township the following December. Before their second child was born in October of 1859 they had moved to Vassar, Tuscola Co., Michigan. The 1860 census of Vassar lists Hiram as a "Sawyer" and he was a "Saw Miller" on the 1863 Civil War draft registration (incidentally, Hiram's brother, Ezra, died in the Civil War and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery). By 1870 the census lists Hiram as a "Dry Goods Merchant". His occupation on birth records of his children indicate he was a Merchant (1868); a Salesman (1872 - his granddaughter, Zelma, believed that Hiram sold Singer sewing machines at one time); and a Constable (1877). It is not known if Hiram or Catherine ever returned to Crawford County to visit, but at least they corresponded with family there their daughter, Eva (Bishop) Kitelinger, collected autographs including those of aunts, uncles, and cousins of both Catherine and Hiram back in Pennsylvania. The following was written in Eva's autograph book by Hiram and Catherine one month after Eva married in 1894:

Hiram and Catherine Bishop
                  entry in Eva Kitelinger's autograph book 

Around 1879 Hiram and family moved nearby to Thetford Twp., Genesee Co. where they purchased a small farm and apparently the local shingle mill. This small community in Thetford Twp. known as East Thetford or "Henpeck" was located at the intersection of M-57 and Belsay Road and had a population of about 50. The 1880 agricultural census indicates they had five acres and one horse, and the various city directories from the 1880s indicate Hiram was a lumber manufacturer/dealer. An article about their son, Elmer, in 1914 indicated he had been a "Shingle Weaver" in his youth undoubtedly working in his father's mill. Hiram and Catherine's eleventh (and last) child was born in Thetford in 1881. Their 11 children were:

Harlow D. Bishop
Genette Bishop
Elmer E. Bishop
Clara E. Bishop
Anna Bishop
Eva Bishop
Tillie M. Bishop
Clinton Henry Bishop
Fred L. Bishop
Maude Bishop
Morton Hiram Bishop

In addition to raising these children Catherine also worked at least part of the time as a seamstress (her occupation on the birth record of her eighth child in 1872 was listed as "Sewing Machine".  Catherine died at the age of 63 on 3 October 1901 in Thetford Twp., and was buried nearby in Thetford Cemetery. According to Hiram's obituary, "After the death of Mrs. Bishop, Oct 3, 1901, he made his home with his children until Apr 3, 1927, when he entered the Women's Hospital [in Saginaw, Mich.]", which is where he died at the age of 95 on 16 May 1927. Hiram was buried in Thetford Cemetery next to Catherine.

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