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New England Families: Genealogical and Memorial

Source: William Richard Cutter, New England Families: Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 4 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company for Clearfield Company, 1994, [originally published in 1913]).

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BISHOP – The surname BISHOP is of ancient English origin. Just how the title of a sacred office of the Catholic church came to be used for a surname is lost in the obscurity of ancient history. It is suggested that it must have been a personal name or a nickname of some progenitor, just as majors and deacons are sometimes given. Other names, like POPE, are of this class. BISHOP was in common use in England as a surname many centuries ago, and no less than eleven immigrants came from there to Massachusetts before 1650 with their families. Various branches of the English BISHOP family bear coat-of-arms and have had titles and dignities of various sorts.

(I) Thomas BISHOP, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, died February 7, 1674. His estate was valued at above five thousand pounds, which was a large fortune for the times. He served in many public offices. He was in the general court in 1666. Records show that in 1685 Captain Thomas BISHOP lost a ship sailing to the Barbadoes. He married Margaret ———, and had sons, Samuel, John, Thomas Jr., Job and Nathaniel.

(II) Samuel, son of Thomas BISHOP, graduated at Harvard College in 1665, and died at Ipswich in 1687. He married Hester COGSWELL, and they had nine children. The widow, Hester or Esther, married (second) Thomas BURNHAM in 1689. Children: Margaret, born May 17, 1676; Samuel, February 6, 1678-79, mentioned below; John, September 20, 1685. The names and dates of birth of the other children are not known.

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