The following letters are in the posession of John Lupton of USA
who is a descendant of John Bishop, the recipient of some of the
letters. They are published here with his consent.
My own wife is a descendant of Martha Bishop (nee Towan) and her
great grandmother from Plymouth, UK, is mentioned in the letters. If you are interested in the families mentioned in the letters
please contact me (Bob Sanders) at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. John BishopCumberland, Alleghaney CountyState of MarylandAmerica)Redruth, August 24th, 1874My Dear Children,I hope you will forgive me for not answering your welcome letter before, when I received it the young woman that writes for me was very busy and could not answer it then. Since I forgot that it was not answered. I believe my recollection is going away. I do suffer so much weakness and lightness in my head. I received the money all right, and very thankful I was for it, every little is a great help to me. I do think sometimes that I am a great burden, but I may not be here long to trouble any of you for I am going weaker every year. It is a long time since I had a letter from Nicholas and Mary. I suppose have forgot she have got a poor old Mother home here, she have not wrote me since her second marrage [sic]. Times home here are very dead, there is nothing doing and provisions are very dear. I don't know what the place is coming to I hope this letter will find you all enjoying good health. Henry was down seeing me at Witsonkite, he said he must come to see me while I am here for he can't see me when I am gone. All his family was well then, I have not seen Arthur going on two years, he have been sending for me to come up, but I am not able to undertake the journey, for I fall away with lightness in my head, and I am almost a cripple in my hand with the rhumatic [sic] . I am nights that I can't sleep in so much pain. I am wished poor old soul to be left to myself if Kate was not with me, I don't know what I should do and I ain't fit to be in any one's house. She have got to work hard to maintain herself, she is not very well now, but she must work sick or well.Dear John, I hope you got payed your money that you had out in the foundry all right. We here [sic] times are very bad in America, but I hope it is not so with you. There is no money coming back, that it is making it worse for this place, there is a lot out of work and shops breaking it so bad times sure enough, but we have had a beautiful summer.Give my love to Nicholas and all the rest. Give my love to your wife and dear little children. Kate send her love to you all, I must conclude with my love to you and remain your loving MotherMartha BishopP.S. write soon and leave me know you are getting on, God bless you all.
Redruth, January 6th /81My Dear Children,I write you a few lines to leave you know that that [sic] I am very bad. I may be here a few weeks longer or I may not. God only knows, I am in his hands, he must do what seemest best. I have got a wound in my stomach. I can't keep anything down and the doctor can't do much for me, but I don't want for anything. My Dear John, I should like to see you once more if you could come home. I think you could do better here then [sic] out there. You have got plenty of company and I am all alone. I have a woman that come here and sleep with me but I should like to see you once more, the foundry is going to work, you would be able to get work there and here is the house and every thing handy for you after I am gone while Henry do live. Answer me at once, don't delay no time and say if you are coming home, that the House may be left as it is, if not it will have to be torn up, if I am taken they will keep it till a letter come from you. If it is not the will of the almighty that I shall see you again I hope to meet you all in heaven. I am preparing for it. I hope to meet you all there.I expect this will be the last opportunity I shall have of writing you. I wish you all well.Your loving MotherMartha Bishop
57 Pembroke St. Devonport January 5th '88My Dear Brother,Seeing that it is now several years since I have heard from you, and hearing from Henry's son that your address is unaltered, I thought I would write a line or two to let you know how we are doing at home.Henry is still at Charlestown, enjoying the best of health, while three of his children, Emma, Janie, and Willie are at Plymouth, and the other, Harry, is at Hayle. The both girls are married now, Janie being married about 3 months ago to a Mr Scott, engraver of Plymouth.I have given up my trade for several years now, and am carrying on a grocery business, which I have had for 16 years. My family consists of four boys and a girl, viz, Arthur, aged 18 years, John Henry, nearly 14, William James, 11, Jane Towan, 7, and Thomas Towan, 6. We are all pretty healthy, and have general cause to be thankful.I wrote a letter to send you when mother died, but owing to the birth of my last-named child, I neglected to post it, & was afterwards ashamed to send it. I hope that this letter will find yourself and family in happy circumstances.If you hear from any of the rest of the family in America, I should be glad to know how they are getting on. With kindest regards and best wishes to you all, I remainYour affectionate brother,Arthur BishopP.S. If you condescend to answer this, I shall be able to send you a cabinet portrait of my whole family, taken on Decr 24th 1884.
57 Pembroke St.DevonportJuly 25th '88My Dear Brother,You must excuse me for not answering your last letter before, but with business and one thing and another we have been very busy. We were glad to hear from you, although your letter contained very sad news; it must have been a great trial for you to part with your beloved wife, but the Omniscient knows best, and when you can lay your own loss aside, you will see that it it's all for the best. She must have been a very great sufferer, and was no doubt glad to be released, especially after she had been given up by the doctors. Of course, we sympathize greatly with you in your loss, and pray that you may have grace to bear it.We were surprised to hear that Grace has been so long dead - your letter contained the first intimation of the fact. Of course, we knew about Nicholas being dead, but nothing about the daughters. The fact of the matter is that we hear from none of you, and therefore know nothing of what is transpiring, and I think that Henry is in much the same position, for he scarcely ever knows anything about any of you.Henry's wife was here about 3 weeks ago, and read your letter - she was also surprised and sorry at the news it contained. Henry is still working at Charlestown, and apparently in good health; the younger Henry is at Redruth getting 32/ a week with Mr. Sara, the other 3 children are in Plymouth: Emma has married a draper, Janie has married a goldsmith & engraver, and Willie is working with Spear, Emma's husband; - they seem to be all getting on pretty well.I quite expected to hear that there was a little army of nephews and nieces in America, although there are not many in England. We are glad to hear that you are all getting on so well. I see that your family is also beginning to enter into matrimony and maternity (I say maternity because you have so many daughters, and we must of course go with the majority).We are all doing pretty well, of course our family are all young as yet, none are as yet away earning their own livings: the oldest, Arthur, is however at college, and if all is well will enter on his profession as a schoolmaster about Christmas twelvemonths - the others are all at school, but Jack the IInd, who will be 15 in February, will be coming home in the business soon after his next birthday. The youngest will be 8 in May, and is getting a regular young Scamp; his name seems happily applied - he is called Thomas Towan, & he, in some respects, answers to the traditions of the name. Janie is the only girl. She will be 9 in May, and is growing up a fine girl. Willie, the centre-piece of the group is 12 in October next - he is getting on very well at school, being in the 6th Standard, so that he promises to be a good scholar on leaving.With kindest love and best wishes to you all, hoping that you are all doing well, & wishing to be remembered to the rest of the family, I remainYour affectionate brother,Arthur
United District, Northwest Nebraska ConferenceMethodist Episcopal ChurchJohn H. Bishop, PastorWhitney, Neb., Dec. 29th, 1923My Dear Cousins Ada & Mary,It seems rather queer to me to write to real first cousins in America. We have made a host of very close friends out here, but as for relatives - that is quite a new experience. I wrote sometime ago, to a cousin whose name was given to me as Mrs. M. C. Gurley [youngest sister of Ada and May] & in that letter I explained that I am the son of your uncle Arthur, who I understand was the youngest of the family of 17. Uncle Henry was the oldest of the family & was more like a grandfather to me. He was over 80. I am sending you a copy of our local paper, (but you must excuse printer's errors, as this is a very small town) but nevertheless, you may find it interesting. Also I am sending you a copy of the Minutes of the Conference, & on the front page is a photo of my Dist Superintendent Dr. Finkel, who has been elected as our delegate to the General Conference at Springfield, Massachusetts, to be held next May. If you can arrange to go there, he will be delighted to meet you & tell you all about us. I am also enclosing a Snap-shot of our son John Reginald, feeding his pet lamb. He is 15 years of age & in the 10th grade this year. A Basket ball star & an all-round athlete. He is also our chauffeur for our Ford sedan on long drives. Perhaps your pastor could let you have a copy of the Minutes of your Conference. I would like to see one. We like it splendidly out here & I have great prospects, but the winters are cold - much colder than England. Some day, I might transfer back East, where we can take a vacation in England.Maryland climatic conditions seems to appeal to me. If you are ever writing to Cousin Tangye in Pittsburgh, Kansas, tell him I should like to hear from him. We might get to meet him sometime, as he is living much nearer.I well remember my father speaking of the Tangyes, & I think there is a branch of that family in Birmingham England. Cornish tin mining is in a bad way now, & hundreds of miners there are making for Michigan. Now I must close, with all Best Wishes for a Happy New Year, from us all.Sincerely your Cousin,John Henry BishopP.S. My parents always told me that I was named after my Uncle in America.
M. E. ParsonageWhitney, Neb.March 25th, 1924My Dear Cousin Ada,I have been away for a week, burying one of my old parishioners on a former charge, & also attending our District Conference. I also had a funeral just before I went, & another one today. So you see I am kept busy.Nest Sunday I start a two weeks Revival Series, and I am to be my own Evangelist, so I am replying to your welcome letter at once. I thank you very much for the minutes of conference. I have not studied them yet, but will do so later. I can already see, that it is one of the oldest conferences, with a long list of retired preachers.I think Maryland is much more like England than out here. You appear to be conservative back there. I like the West, & although I received an English education & training, they tell me I am essentially a Western man now. I had 6 years as a public representative in the Lloyd-George Party of Liberals, from 1903 to 1909, & so have always fought for Liberty & the masses.I observe you have a few fine charges & a whole lot of small salaried ones, but the Methodism is about the same. My Superintendent is well satisfied with me, & so I do not think I am likely to leave this part of the Country. I am enclosing a snapshot of my wife & self, taken on Xmas day. We think, & the folks think, this is a good picture.If I ever do come East I shall certainly call on you, & also cousin Fanny [Gurley], and if any of you ever come out West for a vacation we shall be mightily pleased for you to come & visit us. Cousin James Tangye is not so far away & he might be likely to pay us a visit sometime. Glad to say we are all quite well. I remainYour Aff. CousinJohn Henry Bishop