This page part of the Wallowa County AGHP Site
Contributed by Carole A. [Bishop] Lange
I have copies of several old letters written by the Hiram Smith Bishop family in the 1870 & 80s to Oliver Bishop and/or John Lent in the Wallowa area. They mention local names like the Devaneys and Bilyeus. There are also some names I can't make out. I have transcribed them to the best of my ability.
Alen died the first day of dec. 1873. The rest of them was well. Uncle Charly has sold out and is going to Palouse in the spring. Arthar Bishop has had the scarlet fever. We havnít heard from them for a long time. Crabtree is a big river. Ora and Ella is fat. Ora is about as big as Ella. Pa shingled Oraís hair. If you want any garden seds write in the next letter and tell what kinds and we will send them, I will close. Write soon this from
To Oliver Bishop and John Lent
Scio Jan. 26
Dear Brother and Cousin, it is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to let you know that we are well. Pa traded fan(?) and the colt to Fleetwood for a mule and five dollars. He has traded five 4 times since you left. A. Gainer(?) has moved back on his place. Mel Hamilton and Moses Smith of Scio was married New Years Day. Old Mister Hewit died the other day.
Uncle William (is there a missing page?)
Now Boys I will write some in Williamís letter that was commenced Jan. 26.
This is Feb. 2. We still enjoy pretty good health for which we are thankful to
God the giver of all blessings. We have nice weather it is cold nites but warm
threw the day. We have our new land pretty nere ready for the plow. We have
got 20 acres of bresh cut on the hill and valley. If the Lord prospers us with
a good crop this year we want to stop some of the interest that is keeping us
pore. Interest never stops for wet or dry weather. There was a man down here
that was in your valley last June. He says it froze ice a inch thick in June.
It that so. I would like to go up there this summer if I can and the Indians
There is talk of a narow gigue (narrow gauge) RR from Salem through Scio, Lebnonon, Brono Hill and to Spring Field. It will be commenced this spring. Times is very hard. Money is a cash article and produce is low. Ora can sing. Try John yet. Ella & Ora will send you a peace of there new dres. They think it is awful nice they went over to kinders this morning to see a calf that was born and only had 3 legs. I was at Cris Hardmans last week. Her sister lives with them. They had many questions to ask about you. They live on the road to Albany. We have 10 young lambs. We want you to write often. Give us all the news This is for both of you from Pa & Ma.
I will send you a paper. Do you take one?
Scio May 20, 1883
Loved ones in Wallowa Valley. Our children we embrace this opportunity to write you a few lines after the busy time of the year has past and the sun is shining and the grass is growing & the little lambs is skipping and playing on the hillside. We finished sowing and planting on the 11 of May 1883 put in all of our farm and all of the north part of A.P. Janes farm, he called it 45 acres, planted 18 bushel of potatoes. We have a splendid garden planted in March, onions, lettuce to eat. We had the bigest swarm of bees today that you ever saw. Elmer has been to providence to meeting today. Old Mr. Riley was the preacher. Now children, I wanted to visit you this spring but having
to buy spring wheat. It took my loose cash. We have all of our flower to by till harvest. Chauncy bird (bred?) the young filley we got of Mart Bilyeu. Has a no. 1 colt. We have 52 young lambs. The rain has been plenty. March to the 25 was like summer. Then it rained most of the time for a month. It rained Sunday but not much wind. The old Whitlock place is deserted. Pack Bilyeu bought it for pasture. George Devaney is teaching school on Hungry Hill. Our children is going. Frank Devaney was married last Thrusday to Mary Perry, Minnie is as pretty as a pinck(?). She is pulling my whiskers so I can hardly write. She has long curly hare. We wish you much joy to your big boy. We will keep the picture of his hand &
foot till we see him. Canít you come down this summer and make us a visit. We would be awful glad to see you and your big boy. Chauncey, Hannah, Agnes, Clinton kindly says if you will come down she will go home with you. Do you have any bad colds up there? We have all had it but Will. Tuesday I am going to Scio after dinner but have not had time to finish this letter. We got a letter from you Uncle Lewis Bishop. He sent us the sad news of the death of you Uncle William Bishop. He died the 19 day of March, but died in the triumphs of the living faith. Friday morning May 25. Not very well. You Ma has an awful cold and Minnie had a
hot fever last night caused I supposed from cold. The weather is verry pretty. I am going to town today and to Jeffersonís tomorrow if all is well enough. They have a big boy 1 week old last Monday. Weight 9 pound. That is Thomas and Mary Holt. Mary is getting along all right. I want you to write. Let us know what kind of a spring you had up there. How soon will they have the Rroad finished to Grand Round? How close will run to you? What paper do you take? Weekly News Portland & Cincinnaty Gazette? We have our yard & grapes pretty nere paled(?) in but while we are busy in fixing up for life we are trying to live the life of the richeous. Pray for us my sheat is full from Pa and Ma Thomas Richardson is all well. The Bilyeus send there best respects to John McCubbens.
Scio Sep 9 1883
Loved ones on the east (or coast) fork after the busy time of the year has past I will try to wright you a few lines to let you know we are all well excepting me. Marvel and me was stacking straw. I was pitching up on a high rick and a stick droped in my sholder. I am awful lame. We have got our harvest thrue. We had a long run. Commenced Aug. 10. Three hands & 2 teams finished on the 7 of this month. We had 21 hundred and 2 bushels of grane, wheat 772 bushels, the balance oats. We have had the dryest summer we have had in this valley
Visitors have come. I must quit. Well this Sep 23 we received a splendid letter long and good from you. Ella and Ora was sick yesterday but is better today. My shoulder is better but not well. We canít tell now whether we can visit you or not. Will is going to leave us one week from tomorrow. We got a letter from O. P.and Chauncy and Oliver is going to Walla Walla with a 4 horse team. Be there the 2nd and 3 of Oct. Will will start the first and meet him there. If all is well I may go with him. If I go I expect to prospect the country good. Not for gold but for a home if I like it. I will either rent our farm or sell it. I think it will be better for your Ma.
I think of looking for a sheep ranch. James Weddle, John, Cyrus, and Silas Compton is gone. I would like to see you all and have a pleasant visit with you & would like if we could live close together. Thomas Holt would go but he has the Jefferson mill rented & has taken a contract to clean out the mill race. One of Mister Gaines little girls is verry sick with measels and scarlet fever. Now we will write a little to our grand children. We are always glad to read your loving letters. Be kind and loving to Pa & Ma & to each other. Learn to be moral while you are young. That will make you good and good people
Make a Good government
Market wheat, seed oats, seed potatoes1.00. The children wants to wright. I will close. Bring to here from you (?) to all from Pa & Ma
(Grand Pa Bishop)
brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, we have three calves. We have a
pet lamb and three little kittens. Ora is 9 years old
today. I am 11. Our school commences tomorrow. George Devany is our teacher. Remember me.
Brothers and sisters, Nephews and nieces, I am nine years old today. We had a quilting. They was 16 ladies here. Remember me.
May 16, 1885
Dear Nephew, I take my pen to scribble you a few lines. This leaves us all well. Hopeing it may find you and the rest of our willow folk well. Your pa passed a way on the 12 of this month at four oíclock in the evening. He died very easy without the slitest struggle. You boys had out (ought) to one of you come down. Your mother is-----------do. Whether to sell the place or not. She talks some like coming up there if she can sell this summer. Things looks lonely here now. The crops looks pretty well at presant. As the girls is going to write I will quit. Write soon.
May 16, 1886
I will try and write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along. We are all well. Well, Merritt is going to town to mill this morning. We have lettuce, mustard greens and carrots and onions big enough. We are talking of going to Jefferson Saturday or Sunday. All of us went after strawberries yesterday. It is pretty lonesome. I wish Will could come down here and stay this summer. The rest of the folks is eating breakfast so I will close hopeing to hear from you soon. From Ora Bishop
May 16, 1886
Dear Brothers I thought I would write a few lines to let you know how we are
getting along. We are all well. Mary went home
yesterday. There is going to be a grange picknic at Jefferson. The ninth, tenth and eleventh of June. We will go if noghing
happens. There is a good many strawberries this year. Ma is picking lettuce for dinner. I guess I wonít go to school any this
summer. Will, I wish you could come down and stay a while. I will wash today. I want you to write. I will have to quit. Write soon and often. From Ella Bishop.
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