Simpson Bishop

Simpson Bishop was the oldest of the eight children of John Bishop and his wife Elizabeth Simpson of Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.

When Simpson was about 8 years old, his mother died, seemingly during or as a result of giving birth to his sister Elizabeth Bishop. His father quickly re-married (a total of 3 further times).

Simpson married Elizabeth Taylor of Soham, and the couple went on to have eight children.

Simpson and his family moved to Little Wapses Farm in Twineham, West Sussex at the time of the 1851 census, working as an Agricultural Labourer - perhaps as tenant farmers. Next to them at Great Wapses Farm was the Male family, also from Cambridgeshire.

The family return to Fordham, Cambridgeshire in time for the birth of what was to be the last child in 1858, and the final baptism before Elizabeth's death from tuberculosis in January 1860.

By 1861, a widowed Simpson and his family appear living at 'The Black Cottage', joined by son James Simpson Bishop's wife and 6mth old daughter. Within 2 months, Simpson has re-married, this time to Elizabeth Ellinor of Burwell at Newmarket, Suffolk, but there is no evidence to show that the couple had any children. Their marriage was to last only four years, when Elizabeth died aged 38 of a liver disease.

After Elizabeth's death, Simpson moves the family away again, taking four of his children (Keziah, Joseph, Eliza, Harry) to Higher Booths, Lancashire, England, where most of the family would begin working in the cotton mill industry for a number of years.

In the April of 1868, he marries for a third time, to widow Sarah Washington (née Brown), but on the 1871 census night, the couple are not living together. Both are noted as 'Head' of their respective households - with Sarah living with her Washington children 7 doors away. They are both noted as 'Married'. Simpson is noted here as a 'Farm Lab', whilst his children are all working within the cotton weaving industry.

In 1879, after the deaths of three of his children between 1873 and 1875, Simpson boards a ship named 'Spain', and together with his married daughter Ann Elizabeth Eve, her husband George, and their children, they sail to New York, USA, where they pass through immigration on 8th July 1879.

By 1880, Simpson can be found living with them in the small town of Minonk in Woodford County, Illinois, USA. This is the last I can find of him for definite, although in October 1886, a James S. Bishop is naturalized at the County Court of Woodford County, but unfortunately the index card leaves the persons date of birth and US arrival date marked with nothing more than an 'x'. Is this Simpson becoming an American citizen? Either way, I've so far failed to find a UK or US death, nor any incoming passengers from the US to the UK.

Meanwhile, his third wife Sarah continues to say that she's married on census forms but isn't living with him right up until 1901 when she finally states that she is a 'Widow'.

What became of Simpson, who sometimes turns up as James Bishop, Simson Bishop, James Simpson Bishop (also his son's name), and Sampson Bishop, is anyone's guess.

Whilst it seems that Simpson was father to 12 children, there are plenty more Bishop births in the area - so there could easily be more.

Life Events


  • 1818 at Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 3rd January 1819 at St. Andrew's Church, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • Elizabeth Taylor (1819-1860) on 30th December 1840 at St. Andrew's Church, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • Elizabeth Ellinor (1826-1865) on 19th June 1861 at Newmarket Register Office, Newmarket, Suffolk, England.
  • Sarah Brown (c.1829-19??) on 12th April 1868 at Haslingden Register Office, Lancashire, England.


  • James Simpson Bishop (1842-1901) married Ann Bailey Bowers (1843-1889).
  • Louisa Hannah Bishop (1844-?) married Walter Mason (18??-?)
  • William Bishop (1847-19??) married Sarah Swann (1846-?)
  • Ann Elizabeth Bishop (1850-1942) married George Eve (1848-1917)
  • Kezia Bishop (1851-1874)
  • Joseph Bishop (1853-1937) married Margaret Jane Horne (1853-1928)
  • Eliza Bishop (1856-1874)
  • Harry Bishop (1858-?) married Maggie Holmes (1877-?)
  • Sarah Elizabeth Bishop twin (1868-?) married William Crawford (c.1860-?)
  • John Frederick Bishop twin (1868-1869)
  • Jane Bishop (1870-1938) married Joseph Exley (1869-19??), and later to Benjamin D Yates (c.1879-?)
  • John James Bishop (1873-1875)

Census and Residence

  • 1841: 21yrs, Market Place, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1851: 32yrs, Little Wapses, Twineham, West Sussex, England.
  • 1861: 39yrs, The Black Cottage, Fordham, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1871: 48yrs, Reedsholme, Higher Booths, Lancashire, England.
  • 1880: 56yrs, Chestnut Street, Minonk, Illinois, United States of America.


  • 1841: Labourer
  • 1842: Malster
  • 1851: Agricultural Labourer
  • 1861: Shepherd
  • 1868: Under Gardener
  • 1871: Farm Labourer


  • At some point between June 1880 and 1901, presumably in the US, but maybe the UK.


  • Not yet known.

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