Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


The history of America is replete with illustrations of the fact that it is only under the pressure of adversity and the stimulus of competition that the best and strongest in men is brought out and developed. Perhaps the history of no people so forcibly impresses one with this truth as the annals of our own Republic. The life record of John Riles Bishop is another proof of this fact, for in a business career he has won success, made for himself a record that makes his an honored name, and causes his life to be enshrined in the hearts of all with whom he is associated.

He is the son of Joseph and Cyntha Ann (Bishop) Bishop, his birth having occurred in Rush county, Indiana, April 30, 1842. His father was born in Richmond, Virginia, April 2, 1816, and his mother in Pulaski county, Kentucky, in 1815. When our subject was quite a small lad, his parents brought him to Iowa, first locating in Franklin township, and after a short time removing to Yellow Springs township. The first location mentioned was just south of the village of Mediapolis, on the Bolick farm, in 1845. Mr. Bishop received the average schooling commonly allotted to a farmer’s son in the free schools of his immediate neighborhood. He was a clever boy to assist his father in all the occupations on the farm, and at an early age was well versed in the care of field and meadow. His father passed away July 24, 1891, aged seventy-five years, and his good mother departed this life Nov. 3, 1883.

Shortly before his mother’s death, Mr. Bishop was united in marriage with Miss Lucy A. Meyers, a daughter of Elias and Abigail (Bougher) Meyers. Mrs. Bishop was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sept. 17, 1861. Her father is a native of North Carolina, and her mother was born in Iowa. The former is still living at the ripe age of eighty-four years. The mother passed to realms of glory Aug. 15, 1872. They had an old-fashioned family of nine bright children, as follows: Richard; William; John, deceased; an infant, also deceased; George, deceased; Henry; Lizzie, who married Raymond Humphrey, resides in Pleasant Grove; Lucy, wife of Mr. Bishop; and Joseph, deceased.

Providence was also most gracious to Mr. and Mrs. Bishop, giving unto them three daughters; Lulu, the beloved wife of Charles Heitmire, of Washington township, and they have one son, Glenn Oral, born July 29, 1904; Dora May, and Nellie Estella, both at home, the latter being a musician on the organ, and a sweet singer.

Mr. Bishop’s present farm of eighty acres, in Section 34, is a part of the old homestead bought by his father in 1846. When he entered upon it, it was in a wild and unbroken condition; but with much energy he set to work to clear it, and from time to time, as means and leisure would permit, he has added one improvement after another till now he has one of the best in the county. He has all the modern machinery, does general farming, and raises about one hundred and forty head of hogs and some fine cattle annually. He also owns thirteen acres of land in Section 6, Benton township. He is an esteemed member of Sperry Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has held some of the minor offices.

Politically, he is a decided Republican, casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln at his first election, but has never sought any public office, preferring to serve his party as a private citizen. Throughout his entire business career, Mr. Bishop has maintained a reputation that is unassailable. His open, frank ways have made him friends among all classes, and the careful, methodical means he has constantly striven to exercise have added much to his pleasures and successes in life.


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