'Mr. Montgomery County' Recalls How It was In Days Gone By, Mexico Ledger Wellsville -- County fairs, annual picnics and homecomings stir the memories of almost everyone, but there are those who remember much farther back than most. Howell Bishop of Wellsville is a Mr. Montgomery County when it comes to recalling area facts. The Montgomery County Fair of 1898 will always be special to Howell. That year, he and his parents, Sam C. and Alice Hayden Bishop, and eight brothers, Eluid, Wilford, Clarence, John, Addison, Roy, Harry and James, won a prize for having the most sons in the family. Most of the boys had middle names in honor of some outstanding person. Roy Cleveland speaks of the era when he was born; Harry Stanley got his name from Stanley of the David Livingston story; Howell was named for a lawyer friend of the family. The Middletown Picnic was originally a tri-county event and was held at Crutcher's Grove. It is now held at Middletown. He mentioned the Old Fiddlers contest and was asked if he were one. "No", he replied, "I never got farther than the Jew's harp." The Homecoming at Bethel Church near Wellsville will take Howell Bishop back to boyhood attendance (he's been going there for 90 years), Sunday School superintendent and many official duties while his own family was growing up. He served on the board for 60 years. The Sam Bishop family lived between Wellsville and Montgomery City. The address was Montgomery City but trading was mostly done in Wellsville since Wellsville had a poultry market. The Bishops bought turkeys and geese to the plant, sometimes having to stand in line for half a day to be waited on. Mother Bishop raised geese with more than the market in mind--she wanted the feathers for a feather bed for each of her sons. The family always traded at Reed's. Even from way back, the Bishops of the Montgomery County area have been farmers. In 1849, an uncle went to San Jose, Calif. Howell's father went there in 1881 and worked for the uncle in road building for seven years. California was still a territory and considered by the younger man as being too rough in which to raise a family, so he came back and bought a farm in the country he knew best. The uncle gained considerable popularity and today there is a river caller "Bishop's Creek" and a town of Bishop in California. While the family traveled ???ie, it stayed close. All the boys, except Roy, who went to the university and studied agriculture, were farmers. He was one of the first county agents and located in Livingston County, Illinois. Roy, 96, lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he and Howell are the only living members of their generation. Howell remembers seeing six of his brothers each plowing a row around the field at the same time. Machinery has changed all that, but he thinks farming has grown too big. He lost a farm in 1933 during the Depression. He got work at LaClede Christy Mining Company in 1937. In 1941, he bought a farm west of Montgomery City and lived there until retirement a few years ago. Howell Bishop had one of the first automobiles in the county. His was a "Moon," manufactured in St. Louis. In going to St. Louis, the cars went by ferry across the river at St. Charles. Roads were bad and the fabric tires were not good so it took a long time to reach the city. It was good to reach a brick road in St. Johns. Gasoline was 8 cents a gallon and cylinder oil 15 cents. Random recollections include an exciting time in 1907 when they let the high school pupils out to see presidential hopeful Howard Taft, who was whistle-stop campaigning at Montgomery City; the money panic of 1907 when script was used instead of money. Teddy Roosevelt broke that up; the Chautauqua that came every year with informative and interesting entertainment, such as a part of Sousa's Band, the Swiss bellringers, and Russian dancers for only $2 for the season; helping Ed Marlowe in building the Methodist Church, South, a brick building now owned by Burton W. Smith. Howell Bishop said his grandfather owned a slave, Scott Randolf, but he was like a member of the family. A college for blacks was established in Montgomery City at one time. Howell Bishop was born in Callaway County in 1891. He was married to Minnie Frances Harris who died in 1961. Their children are Mildred Fipps, Virginia Crouch, Barbara Fort, all of Wellsville, and Calvin Bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska. There are 15 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Howell lives in a mobile home near Virginia and William Crouch. In recent years, he has made two trips to Alaska where son, Calvin and grandson, Click, are building roads. He is well informed on Alaskan conditions, explaining that the roads are built with blacktop since the ground beneath, although permanently frozen, may give during warm weather. With 23 hours of sunshine out of a day's 24 hours, the temperature can get pretty high. His afternoons are spent at the Senior Citizen Center where such interests as card playing and visiting have a special appeal to the jovial, alert and young-at-heart gentleman going on 92.
Date: 7 Dec 1997 From: Margaret J Fullerton (MargPhilF@aol.com) Granville Addison Bishop and Mary Ann Spears Wingfield Bishop had at least a slave boy [Scott Randolf?]. He helped Mary Ann dig the grave and bury Granville in the dark of the night after the shooting. - Margaret
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