To preserve the memory and hold in respect the deeds and services of the pioneers who have devoted their lives and energies to leveling the forest and taming the wild luxuriance of a new country, must ever be grateful to those who survive. While this is true, in regard to the world's great men in military life, it is equally true in all discoveries of science, as well as in building up of new communities, in prosperity, intelligence, virtue, and wealth. It has often been the case, that in the age in which the pioneer lives, his invaluable services fail to be appreciated, yet those who survive, have generally made liberal amends for any apparent neglect. The present generation is under lasting obligations to those who encountered the dangers, and endured the hardships of our new settlements to prepare the way for the advance of the standard of civilization, where hitherto the wild native roamed free and unmolested. We should long remember these fathers and mothers for such incalculable services in the cause of human improvement; for they deserve to be held in remembrance in all coming time as public benefactors. This sentiment, we trust, actuates all the members of the Pioneer society of Ashland County.
John Bishop was born January 22, 1793, in Frederick county, in the State of Maryland. At the age of thirteen years, his parents removed to Green County, Pennsylvania. His father, being in moderate circumstances, John was hired to work for a neighbor named William Estel, for ten shillings per month, and having amassed sufficient means, came to Licking county, Ohio, during the war of 1812. That county was then sparsely settled, and the pioneers had to endure many privations in the midst of war. Here he found employment for one year. He was then twenty years old, and remained one year. In 1814 he returned to Pennsylvania and induced his father’s family to accompany him to Licking county. At the close of the war, in 1815, he came to Orange township, then Richland, now Ashland, county. He found the pioneers of that region few and greatly scattered It was not uncommon to meet the red men in the woods, who were friendly to the whites, and often hunted in our forests. His first work consisted in digging the foundation of a new mill erected by Martin Mason, on the present site of Mr. Leidigh’s mill in the west part of Orange Township. There were then no villages in the township and none in the county. The mill was put in running order, to do a small business in 1816. In 1820, he aided in the erection of the first school-house in the township in the Hiffner settlement. In 1819, March 9, he married Miss Catharine Hiffner, daughter of Jacob Hiffner, a revolutionary soldier, who died about 1849. This lady was the choice of his youth, and he lived in great peace with her until about 1876, when she left earth for a happy home prepared for all the good. Mr. Bishop could exclaim with the poet:
She’s the star I missed from heaven, Long time ago,
and has now gone to join her in the happier land, never more to part.
There were ten children when the Bishop family arrived in Ohio. There are still living: Jacob, Catharine Weedman, and Elizabeth Young, all of whom now reside in the State of Illinois. Mr. Bishop leaves several members of his family in Ashland county. He resided about sixty-four years in this county, most of the time on his late homestead north of Orange.
Mr. Bishop had always been an industrious, unpretending farmer, and, by economy and uprightness had acquired a good property, which he divided among his children. As a citizen, socially and morally, he occupied a high place in the respect of his neighbors. He was among the earlier pioneers of the township--the Metcalfs, the Fasts, the Norrises, the Youngs, and the Uries. He helped to clear its forests, make its roads, erect its school-houses, and aid the pioneers by his kind offices. As a citizen he was kind and gentle in his manners, and, as a Christian, exemplary among his neighbors. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church for more than half a century, and deemed death but gain for the true Christian. Although regarded as a member of the Pioneer and Historical society of the county, advanced age and exposure prevented his meeting with his pioneer associates frequently.
Mr. Bishop died, after a brief illness, March 12, 1879, aged eight-six years, one month, and eighteen days. His work is done, and he has gone to rest. May he find the reward of the good and true.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell email@example.com