Charlotte Bishop 1860

Charlotte Bishop 1860

I have been looking on for information about the family histories of some of the guides at Mammoth Cave.  We all know that Stephen Bishop married Charlotte Brown, another slave he met at Locust Grove in Louisville when he visited in 1843.  Stephen died in 1857 of unknown causes.  This was a year after he and the rest of his family was emancipated. When Dr. John Croghan died in 1849 he specified that one of his personal servants be freed immediately, and the rest be freed after a period of 7 years. 

A suit was filed in 1856 to force the implementation of the requirements set forth in the will:  “In January 1849, Doctor John Croghan of Locust Grove died, entrusting Alfred and other slaves to Joseph R. Underwood and William F. Bullock. Croghan’s will directed them “to permit Col. George Croghan to use his said slaves during his life if he, the said col. George Croghan, should choose to reside at Locust Grove; and, if said col. George Croghan should not so reside, that the said Trustees should hire out the said slaves for seven years, and that said slaves should then be emancipated.” The petitioners state that seven years have expired, but Underwood refuses to free them unless they agree to leave the state, which they are “reluctant & unwilling to do.” The petitioners pray “that the defendants may be decreed to emancipate the plaintiffs as provided by the said will, & other proper relief.”

The pleas was granted and all of the slaves involved were given their freedom.

In 1860, Charlotte was a widow.  A photo of Stephen Lyman Bishop was posted by guide David Kem to the site.  Linked to Stephen Bishop was Charlotte Bishop with one citation – the 1860 census.  Here is a clip of the relevant portion of that document:



charlotteIt lists Gipson age 15, Marshal, age 12, and James age 10.  Who were these people?  And was this even the same Charlotte?   The census was taken on July 16, 1860 in Edmondson County, KY. There can’t be too many Charlotte Bishops in Edmondson County at the time. 

There is another reference relating to this time period.  Philipp DiBlasi prepared a document for training of people at the Locust Grove Historic Site entitled “What is known in historic documents concerning the enslaved individuals owned by the Croghans?” along with copies of the will itself and it numeration. 

DiBlasi wites: “Undoubtedly, the most valuable historic document concerning the enslaved individuals owned by the Croghans is found in the Jefferson County Court Order and Minute Book 2 1, pages 393 to 397,4 February 1856. These four pages record the emancipation of 28 enslaved individuals from both the Locust Grove and Mammoth Cave properties However, it does not indicate which of the properties each ofthe individuals are located. Comparing the probates from each of the properties, one can determine on which of these property the individuals resided In addition, the individual listing provides a physical description of each individual, including their height, age, weight, and any distinguishing marks. In several cases, the relationship of the individuals and surnames are provided. Because ofthe significance of this document, I have included the text of the entire document, below. Notes have been provided, following each description concerning which 1849 probate in which they are found.”

Stephen Bishop

It is ordered to be certified that Stephen Bishop, who this day by deed duly recorded emancipated by J R. Underwood Trustee of under the will of Jno Croghan dec’d, is 5 feet 10 112 inches high light mulatto – 39 years of age – long curly hair, 2 scars on his forehead & weighs about 160 pounds.  [Stephen is listed, simply as “Stephen” in the Mammoth Cave probate and his age is given as 27 years]

Charlotte Bishop

It is ordered to be certified that Charlotte Bishop, who this day by deed duly recorded emancipated by J R Underwood Trustee of under the will of Jno Croghan dec’d, about 29 years of age about 5 feet high, dark brown Complexion and Corpulantly built.  [Charlotte Bishop is listed in the Mammoth Cave probate as “Sharlotte” and her age is listed as 26 years]

Thomas Bishop

It is ordered to be certified that Thomas Bishop, who has been this day by deed duly recorded emancipated by J.R. Underwood Trustee of under the will of Jno Croghan dec’d, is about 13 years old, light brown Complexion.  [Thomas Bishop is listed in the Mammoth Cave probate as “Th. Bishop” and his age is given as 6 years]

This describes Stephen, Charlotte and their son Thomas.  The document also lists Alfred and his family. But what about the other individuals named in the 1860 census? 

The emancipation document suggests no marriages or “pairings” of adults at Locust Grove However, other family relationships are clear- those of children to their mothers. Two of the adult females (Sara and Sarah) have children who are listed as being theirs.

Sara (42 years old) would have been born in 1814. The record indicates that Sara had two sons -Jake and James Jake, who was listed as ten years old. Jake would have been born in 1846 James is listed as being seven years of age, suggesting that he was born in 1849.

It is ordered to be certified that [illegible- Jake? or Jess? (son of Sara’s), who has been this day by deed duly recorded emancipated by J R Underwood Trustee of under the will of Jno. Croghan dec’d, is about 10 years of age dark Complexion & scars from scrofula. [There is a “Jake” listing on the Locust Grove probate as being 5 years old. If his age of 10 years in 1856 is correct he would have been approximately 7 years of age in 1849]

It is ordered to be certified that James (son of Sara’s), who has been this day by deed duly recorded emancipated by J.R. Underwood Trustee of under the will of Jno Croghan dec’d, is 7 years of age – & black Complexion [James is listed on the Locust Grove probate as being 8 months old]

Could this be the James listed in the Charlotte Bishop household? He would be about the right age.

Three single teenaged individuals are listed as living at Locust Grove, two are females – Hannah Brown (18 years old) and Cynthia (17 years old) and a male – Gibson, listed as 17 years old. Gibson would have been born in 1839.  Gibson was listed as 7 years old in 1849, which would mean he was born around 1842, and would be 17 or 18 years of age in 1860.

Was the Gibson listed here, the same one in the Charlotte Bishop household? 

There is no mention of any individual named Marshall on any of the documents aside from the 1860 census.  I can’t find any other listings for a Gibson Bishop, nor a Marshal Bishop.  There are many for James Bishop, but none seem to match.  So it is still a puzzle.  I don’t know if the report is really for the Charlotte Bishop who was Stephen Bishop’s wife or not.

About Edward Forrest Frank

My name is Edward Frank. By training I am a geologist with published research on caves found in the United States, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I am the webmaster, BBS administrator, and run the Facebook Page for the Native Tree Society and am involved with tree research with the group. I am the author, or coauthor, of a number of tree related articles and publications available for download from the NTS website and NTS BBS. I edit the monthly magazine for the group - eNTS Magazine. I write science fiction and fantasy stories reflecting a lifelong love of the genres. Most recently I published a fantasy role playing game Knarf 4, available through Amazon Kindle. I have an extensive science fiction and fantasy library and have long enjoyed table top role-playing games. Not satisfied with commercially available games, I started creating my own game variations in the mid 1980's. Knarf 4 is latest version best version of those games. I also write non-fiction. I currently am working on a book on "The Old-Growth Forests of Cook Forest State Park, PA" targeting older children and teens. I am suave, sophisticated, funny, kind, considerate, thoughtful, brilliant, devilishly handsome, and above all modest.
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3 Responses to Charlotte Bishop 1860

  1. Karen Logsdon Phillips says:

    I am wondering if the Gipson and James could be “Brown’s”? I have heard that Charoltte was Uncle James brother?? Just throwing that out there…no proof.


  2. Edward Forrest Frank says:

    I have been wondering the same thing Karen. The post was my way of fishing for information or speculation. The problem with the Gipson is that he appears in the 1860 census as part of the Cox household, and Gibson appears on the census of the Charlotte Bishop household meaning they are two different people. (maybe not – but..) I thought James was a possibility, but there is a James Brown living with the Cox’s along with Gipson Brown. Still no clue about Marshall.


  3. Karen Phillips says:

    I had noticed that Gipson and James were in the Cox household…now, I have no idea why unless they were working for them.I also know that Aunt Hazel (95 yrs young) called Jim Uncle and his wife Aunt Sarrah. She assumed that Sarrah came with the Hunts to the area around 1840 but I can’t confirm that. That is one reason I started looking into their family. Lots of what if’s. 🙂


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