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William Bishop

William Bishop

William Bishop was born in Owen Sound, Ontario in 1894. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914 and the following year transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.

Initially considered a mediocre his extraordinary eyesight and his willingness to practice, turned him to one of the outstanding flyers of the First World War. Promoted to commander of the Flying Foxes, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for scoring 25 victories in twelve days. On 2nd June 1917 he won the Victoria Cross after a single-handed attack on a German aerodrome near Vimy Ridge. During the war Bishop wrote Winged Warfare, an autobiographical account of his experiences as a pilot.

By the time the First World War ended Bishop was able to claim 72 victories. Only Manfred von Richthofen (80), Rene Fonck (75) and Mick Mannock (73) had better records.

After the war Bishop became the first Canadian Air Marshall and throughout the Second World War was director of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

William Bishop died in 1956.

Captain Bishop, who was sent out to work independently, flew to an enemy aerodrome at least 12 miles the other side of the line. Seven machines, some with their engines running, were on the ground. He attacked these from about fifty feet, and a mechanic, who was starting one of the engines, was seen to fall. One of the machines got off the ground, but at the height of 60 feet, Captain Bishop fired 15 rounds into it at very close range, and it crashed to the ground. A second machine got off the ground, into which he fired 30 rounds at 150 yards range, and it fell into a tree. Two more machines then rose from the aerodrome. One of these he engaged at a height of 1,000 feet, emptying the rest of the drum of ammunition. This machine crashed 300 yards from the aerodrome, after which Captain Bishop emptied a whole drum into the fourth hostile machine, and then flew back to his station.

I was flying over a layer of white clouds when I saw a two-seater just above me. This German machine was all alone. Neither the pilot nor the observer saw me. They flew along blissfully ignorant of my existence, while I kept carefully underneath them. I was only ten yards behind the Hun when I fired directly up at him. Although I managed to fire ten rounds I did not hit anything vital. I dived at him, firing as I came. The German observer shot at me with his swivel gun. I could now see my own bullets hitting the right part of the Hun machine. It burst into flames. A second later it fell a burning mass, leaving a long trail of smoke behind as it disappeared through the clouds.

While I have no desire to make myself appear as a blood-thirsty person. I must say that to see an enemy going down in flames is a source of great satisfaction. You know his destruction is absolutely certain. The moment you see the fire break out you know that nothing in the world can save the man, or men, in the doomed aeroplane. I flew away with great contentment in my heart.

William John Bishop

William John Bishop FLA (1903 – 27 July 1961) was a British librarian, the first editor of the journal Medical History, and a prolific writer. With his friend Frederick Noël Lawrence Poynter, he wrote about John Symcotts, a medical attendant of Oliver Cromwell in A Seventeenth Century Doctor and his Patients: John Symcotts, 1592?–1662.

After completing his early education from Sir Walter St John's Grammar School for Boys, he became a librarian assistant at the London Library and then assistant librarian to Arnold Chaplin at the Royal College of Physicians. He subsequently read papers to the History of Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and joined its library.

In 1946 the Wellcome Historical Medical Library appointed him as their librarian. Five years after publishing the book on Symcotts, he became the first editor of the journal Medical History. He wrote several other books and in retirement continued to contribute as librarian of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

He was elected to both the fellowship of the Library Association and honorary membership of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Billy Bishop

Bishop was the top-scoring Canadian and Imperial ace of WWI, credited with 72 victories (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/PA-1654).

First World War flying ace, William Avery (Billy) Bishop Jr., was born in Owen Sound in 1894. His father, William Bishop Sr., was a lawyer and the county registrar. William Bishop Sr. married Margaret Greene in 1881 and began construction on the Bishop home in 1882, which was completed in 1884. Billy grew up at 948 3rd Avenue West with his older brother Worth and younger sister Louise his other older brother, Kilbourn, had passed away in 1892.

Growing up, Billy Bishop was an outdoorsman and enjoyed riding, shooting and swimming. He also exhibited a keen interest in flight at an early age. As a boy, he crafted his own flying machine from an orange crate and bed sheets. He “flew” his craft from the roof of the house, only to land in his mother’s rose bushes.


Bishop attended Beech Street School (later renamed Dufferin Public School in 1910), just down the street from his home. As a teen, he attended the Owen Sound Collegiate Institute before enrolling at Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston, ON.

In the fall of 1911, Bishop began as a cadet at RMC. In his senior year, war broke out and, like many of his classmates, Bishop enlisted. He was given an officer’s rank and with his horseback riding experience and fine shooting skills, he was assigned to the cavalry.

Lieutenant Bishop began his military career in August 1914 with the Mississauga Horse Regiment. However, he was unable to sail overseas with his division on 1 October, as he had pneumonia. After his release, Bishop was reassigned to the 7th Canadian Mounted Rifles in London, ON. He and his division departed on 8 June 1915 and sailed overseas aboard the Caledonia. They arrived in England and were stationed in Shorncliffe military camp.

To The Skies

One day in July 1915, Bishop saw an airplane land in a nearby field and then take off again this event would change the whole direction of his career.

It was the mud, I think, that made me take to flying… I had succeeded in getting myself mired to the knees when suddenly, from somewhere out of the storm, appeared a trim little aeroplane.

It landed hesitatingly in a near-by field as if scorning to brush its wings against so sordid a landscape then away again up into the clean grey mists.

How long I stood there gazing into the distance I do not know, but when I turned to slog my way back through the mud my mind was made up. I knew there was only one place to be on such a day — up above the clouds in the summer sunshine.

William A. Bishop, Winged Warfare

Bishop discovered that it would be six months before he could be trained as a pilot, but if he became an observer, he could be admitted immediately. Bishop applied for a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps and became a RFC observer in September 1915. He was stationed with the No. 21 Squadron and went to the front lines in January 1916, where the Squadron flew missions deep into enemy territory.

A knee injury and some health complications delayed Bishop’s pilot training until October 1916. He began his ground training at the School of Military Aeronautics in Oxford. Due to his experience as an observer, he achieved top marks in the meteorology, radio and navigation classes. He was soon sent to Upavon Flying School on Salisbury Plain to begin his flying lessons. His final stage of training was an advanced course at No. 11 Squadron that included night flying. Bishop received his wings in November 1916 and was then assigned to Suttons Farm on the Thames for anti-Zeppelin night duty.

Flying Ace

In March 1917, Bishop was sent to the front lines in France where he joined No. 60 Squadron at Filescamp Farm. He had to wait until March 25 for his first real fight in the air, which ended with Billy shooting down his first German Albatross airplane and barely gliding back over the line to safety.

By the end of May, Bishop had recorded 22 victories. His most famous exploit, however, happened in the early morning on 2 June 1917 — according to Bishop, he flew across enemy lines and attacked a German aerodrome, shooting down three German planes. He managed to make his way back to his squadron by flying directly under four enemy airplanes. (Bishop’s account of the raid would become a focus of debate decades later.)

On 29 August 1917, Bishop arrived at Buckingham Palace, where King George V presented him with the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross for his actions up to the end of May, as well as the Victoria Cross for his actions on 2 June 1917. In September, he received his fourth decoration, a bar for his Distinguished Service Order.

The Flying Foxes

In September 1917, Bishop was granted leave and went back to Canada. He decided to write about his adventures and soon completed his book Winged Warfare. On 17 October 1917, Bishop married his sweetheart, Margaret Burden, at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto, ON. At the end of October, he was assigned to the British War Mission in Washington, DC.

In 1918, he returned to England with his wife and became the Commander of the new No. 85 Squadron, nicknamed the Flying Foxes. In May 1918, the squadron completed training and moved to the front lines in France, where they were stationed at Petit Synthe. The squadron flew the new S.E. 5a airplanes. It was then posted to St. Omer on 8 June 1918.

On 16 June, Bishop received a message recalling him to England to organize a Canadian flying corps by that time, he had recorded 62 victories. Within the next three days, Bishop was credited with 10 additional victories, bringing his total to 72 enemy aircraft. On 19 June, his final day in France, Bishop shot down five German airplanes in 12 minutes. This feat earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he was awarded on 3 August 1918.

Upon his return to England, Lieutenant Colonel Bishop became the commanding officer designate of the Canadian Wing of the Royal Air Force. Around this time, the French government awarded him the Legion of Honour and the Croix de Guerre with two palms.

In October 1918, Bishop and his wife, Margaret, returned to Canada. Bishop met with government leaders and gave public speeches to encourage enlistment in the air force. In early November, he sailed for England. On 11 November 1918, halfway across the Atlantic, the ship received news that the Great War had ended.

The Interwar Years

In 1919, Bishop began a lecture tour across North America, speaking about his wartime adventures. In March of that year, Bishop’s tour was put on hold after he collapsed on stage — he was later diagnosed with appendicitis. After recuperating, he resumed his lecture tour, but the public’s interest had dwindled.

In 1919, Bishop went into business with fellow Victoria Cross winner William Barker. They created Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes Limited, which provided passenger service from Toronto to the Muskoka Lakes. The partners also signed a contract with the Canadian National Exhibition to stage a daily show of aerobatics. However, after diving towards the grandstand during a show, their contract was cancelled. The company soon changed from passenger service to an airfreight delivery service, but shortly after, in 1921, Bishop was injured in a crash landing and the company eventually dissolved.

By the end of 1921, Bishop had returned to England as a sales representative for his friend Gordon Perry’s company, which sold the foreign rights to the Delavaud process of making cast iron pipe. During that time, Bishop was based in London.

In 1928, he dined in Berlin at the Berlin Aero Club with his former foes and was made a member of the German Ace Association, the only non-German to receive such an honour.

Bishop’s fortune was wiped out in the stock market crash of November 1929. His old friend Gordon Perry offered him the position of Vice President of Sales with McColl-Frontenac Oil in Montréal, QC. The family moved back to Canada in 1930.

The Second World War

Bishop had maintained his connection with the Royal Canadian Air Force since the First World War and was appointed Honourary Group Captain of the RCAF in 1931. In 1934, Bishop began taking flying lessons to requalify for his license.

In 1936, Bishop was made an Honourary Air Vice Marshal by William Lyon Mackenzie King. In this position, he advocated more funds and expansion of the Royal Canadian Air Force. On 10 August 1938, Bishop was appointed Honourary Air Marshal and made head of the Air Advisory Committee.

Canada declared war against Nazi Germany in September of 1939. In December, the Canadian government agreed to a proposal that Canada become the training centre for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

On 23 January 1940, Bishop became Director of Recruiting for the RCAF, and the family moved to Ottawa, ON.He maintained a hectic schedule of travelling and speaking, but keeping up this pace was taking its toll. (In addition to his RCAF duties, Bishop had a cameo role in the 1942 Warner Bros. film Captains of the Clouds, which starred James Cagney.) On 7 November 1942, while making a speech in Hamilton, ON, he felt an excruciating pain in his stomach. He was flown to Montréal, QC, and rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with acute inflammation of the pancreas, which required an immediate operation. When Bishop was discharged from the hospital in January 1943, he went on medical leave.

He returned to his recruiting duties in March 1943 with more energy than ever. Bishop also completed a second book, Winged Peace (1944), which contained his views on the future of aviation. However, by his 50th birthday on 8 February 1944, he was close to total exhaustion.

After D-Day (6 June 1944), recruitment for aircrews stopped, even though victory had not yet been won. Bishop asked to be relieved of his duties by the end of the year. He was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath on 1 June 1944, as part of King George VI’s Birthday Honours.

Post-War Period

After the war ended in 1945, Bishop returned to Montréal and the oil business. He was semi-retired and spent many hours reading in his private library or engaging in various hobbies such as ice carving, soap carving or wood carving. Bishop would dress in his uniform on occasions such as Battle of Britain Day parades and Remembrance Day services.

When the Korean War began in 1950, Bishop volunteered his services but he was politely declined. In 1952, he retired from McColl-Frontenac and began spending his winters in Florida. Bishop died peacefully in his sleep on 10 September 1956 in his Florida home. He was survived by his wife, Margaret (died 1979?), and by his two children, Arthur (1923–2013) and Margaret Marise (1926–2013).

His death was reported around the world and Bishop was given a military funeral at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Twenty-five thousand people lined the funeral procession route. Bishop’s body was cremated and his remains were interned at Greenwood Cemetery in his hometown of Owen Sound, ON.


In 1982, a National Film Board of Canada production, Paul Cowan's The Kid Who Couldn't Miss, challenged the veracity of many of Bishop's claims, including his own account of the raid which won him his Victoria Cross. The film caused a furor in Parliament and the media. Investigation by a Senate sub-committee exposed a number of errors in this apparent "documentary" and confirmed that statements had been wrongly attributed and incidents shifted in time for dramatic effect. However, the senators were unable to demonstrate conclusively that Bishop's claims were valid and consequently recommended only that the film be labelled as "docu-drama."

Since then, the controversy has continued. In 2002, Brereton Greenhous (former Department of National Defence historian) published The Making of Billy Bishop, in which he claimed that the First World War ace had lied about the raid of 2 June 1917. However, other military historians, including Peter Kilduff and David Bashow (Royal Military College), have argued against this view.

Towards the end of his life, Bishop freely admitted that he had embellished some accounts of his flying exploits in popular publications such as Winged Warfare. However, according to Bashow, Bishop’s combat reports were very professional and tended to understate his success — these were the same reports upon which his Victoria Cross and other decorations were based.

Given the many gaps in British and German records (including the destruction of documents during bombing campaigns in the Second World War), historians have not been able to confirm all of Bishop’s combat claims — Kilduff, for example, could only confirm 21 of 72 victories. As the evidence is inconclusive, it is unlikely that the debate will ever be settled.

Without doubt, Bishop was both brave and skilled. Whether or not his combat claims were exaggerated, his daring and his success were an inspiration during the First World War. For many, he was — and is — a Canadian hero.

Events Prior to Vampyr

Bishop once worked for a canning factory before the factory closed. Losing his job caused Bishop's life to crumble and his alcohol use spiraled out of control. At some point Tom Watts, a close friend at the time, offered him a job, but nothing came from it for unknown reasons. Just prior to the events of Vampyr he was infected with the Blood of Hate altered Spanish flu and became a skal. Unable to quench his thirst for blood he began stalking the docks for victims. One person that he tried to target was Tom Watts, but Watts refused to leave the safety of his bar. This saved Watts from becoming Bishop's next victim, and Bishop's strange behavior caused Watts to the end of their friendship. At some point Sean Hampton learned of Bishop's behavior and sought him out.

Events of Vampyr

Jonathan Reid will begin searching for Bishop once he finds one of his recent victims. Eventually Reid will find Bishop preying on Sean Hampton, and the two will engage in combat.


Bishop was, and may still be, an avid outdoorsman, camper, and hiker. He had extensive camping experience in Africa. He also enjoyed canoeing, fishing, swimming, jogging, tennis, skiing and riding motorcycles. Bishop enjoyed working out several times a week. He was also a licensed amateur pilot who learned to fly in Botswana, Africa.

Bishop has an American Studies degree from Yale University and a Master's Degree in Italian from Middlebury College in Vermont. He was known to read extensively and may have kept a diary or journal. A longtime insomniac, Bishop reportedly had been under psychiatric care in the past and had used medication for depression. He drank scotch and wine and enjoyed eating peanuts and spicy food.

Bishop was described as intense and self-absorbed, prone to violent outbursts, and preferred a neat and orderly environment.


William Bradford Bishop, Jr. is wanted for allegedly bludgeoning to death his wife (age 37), mother (age 68), and three sons (ages 5, 10 and 14) in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 1, 1976. He then allegedly transported their bodies to Columbia, North Carolina, where he buried the bodies in a shallow grave and lit them on fire.  In March of 1976, Bishop was charged locally with murder by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Rockville, Maryland, and then charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.


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The political careers of the Bishop brothers, Thomas G. and William Jr., spanned a critical transition period for Coast Salish people in Western Washington between 1900 and 1935 that shaped subsequent discourse on Indian rights. Their mother was the daughter of a prominent Sdu'hubš (Snohomish) leader their father a former British seaman. Like hundreds of other young Native Americans, the Bishops grew up among elders who remembered Hudson Bay trading posts, naval long guns firing over Puget Sound, and the humiliation of signing treaties under duress. Yet their generation attended public schools and worked in sawmills and canneries. Many could "pass" as white, and many did, while others chose to confront racial stereotypes openly. Some defied federal regulations by attending traditional religious events, mainly in secret. Citizenship for Native Americans was achievable but risked giving up treaty rights, while renewing treaty identities risked reinforcing the reservation system and the federal Indian bureaucracy. Each in his own way, and both as staunch Republicans, the Bishop brothers empowered the Native peoples of Washington: William as a prosperous businessman and state legislator advancing socio-economic integration and political participation, and Thomas as the standard bearer for treaty rights and political recognition of historical tribes.

On Chimacum Prairie

When American settler militiamen burned down Hibulb, the main village of the Sdo’hobc (Snohomish) people, located where the city of Everett was later built, many wealthy and prominent Snohomish families were displaced. Among the refugees from Hibulb who settled on Whidbey Island were "S'lootsloot" (probably meaning "tied up all together," connoting wealth) and his teenage daughter "Lag-wah" (which could mean "points it out repeatedly"). Around the same time, William Bishop Sr. (1833-1906), an ordinary seamen on the British Navy's HMS Monarch, surreptitiously left the ship for a life in Washington Territory, settling at Chimacum Prairie on the Quimper Peninsula, south of Port Townsend at the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula.

It was likely there that William Bishop met Lag-wah, perhaps when S'lootsloot and his family visited Snohomish gardens at Chimacum Prairie. The couple married in 1858 according to their descendants' oral tradition. Their first-born, Thomas G., arrived in 1859, followed by William Jr. in 1861, and Elizabeth in 1866. Within a decade, Lag-wah, then known as Sally, and William had split up. William married Hannah Hutchinson, who came to live with him and his two sons on their Chimacum farm. At some point Sally married a neighboring farmer named Charles Williams, but Sally Bishop Williams largely disappeared from local records until her death in 1916. She likely continued to maintain contact with her sons, who both self-identified as "Snohomish" for the rest of their lives.

As teenagers both boys went to work in the family business: Thomas as a cheese maker in the profitable Glendale Dairy their father founded and William Jr. on the farm. Before he turned thirty, Thomas Bishop struck off on his own. The 1887 county census found him living in a boarding house in Port Townsend, married to Swedish-born Inger Lou Carlson, and working as a butcher. Whatever the reasons, William Jr. remained at home in Chimacum while his older brother began a new life in the city.

In 1889 the elder Bishop left the management of the Glendale Creamery to William Jr. and moved to Port Townsend, where he went into commercial real estate and then built a brick mansion for his retirement with Hannah. Much of the commercial property was inherited by William Jr. when his father died in 1906.

William Bishop Jr. in Olympia

In 1898 William Bishop Jr. bought 500 acres from his father's neighbor at Chimacum, Reuben S. Robinson, with a house that he substantially rebuilt, and a shed that became his office. Two years later, he married a young Swiss-German immigrant, Madeline Ammeter, and began a family. Throughout his 35-year-long political career, Bishop continued to support himself from his dairy farm, "one of the best in the Northwest" with more than 125 Holstein cows, and the Glendale Creamery, which employed about 20 local men ("Adding to His Herd . ").

Between the creamery, the farm, and the Port Townsend real estate, William Jr. had the means to pursue a career as a Republican state legislator. First elected to the state House of Representatives in 1898, he remained a fixture in Jefferson County and state politics until his death in 1935. As a legislator William Jr. rarely referred to his Snohomish ancestry but it was no secret, occasionally referenced in news coverage of his career in Olympia.

After one term in the House Bishop set his sights on the so-called joint state Senate seat shared by Jefferson, Clallam, and San Juan counties, which in practice rotated between Port Townsend and Port Angeles. Bishop lost the Republican nomination in 1902 to the incumbent, Senator Cyrus Clapp of Port Angeles. After election to a second term in the House in 1904, Bishop made another try for the senate in 1906. Spurned by Clallam and San Juan County Republicans, who had their own favorites, Bishop announced that he would run as an independent. This attracted a blistering public attack by the leaders of his party for desertion and splitting the ticket.

The deadlock led to local Republicans choosing John L. Blair of San Juan County. An editorialist for The Seattle Times hinted that the nomination fight had racial undertones, writing that Jefferson County had experienced a "narrow escape," saved by the "whites" of San Juan and Clallam Counties when they pushed forward "a white man from Friday Harbor" instead of Bishop (September 20, 1906, p. 6). Bishop, unfazed, was re-elected to the House in 1908. In 1912 he was a Republican elector in the Electoral College, voting for William Howard Taft (1857-1930). When the three counties again disputed the Republican nomination for state Senate in 1914, he was considered a kingmaker:

"Bishop, who lives at Chimacum, in Jefferson County, is one of the best known dairymen in the state and also a prominent timber owner and logger. He has a wide influence that, while not dominating Jefferson County politics, makes him a factor that must be considered" ("Two Republican Fights . ").

After one more term in the House (1917-1918) Bishop finally ran successfully for the state Senate in 1918, and was re-elected in 1922. During his tenure he chaired several legislative committees including the appropriations committee, a position of considerable power. He danced with Madeline at the first inaugural ball for Republican governor Roland Hartley (1864-1952) in 1925, which marked a sea-change in Washington politics at the time.

Bishop was outspoken on a wide range of issues affecting rural Washington counties, from state funding for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis to maintaining adequate inspectors under the state's pure-feed law. He advocated taxing growing urban electrical-power utilities, and stumped for expanding the state's ferry system, arguing that it helped farmers on the peninsula and islands sell their products to mainland Washington competitively. He won greater power for the state Fisheries Board to regulate hatcheries and canneries, and increased restrictions on hunting and sport-fishing licenses. An old-line Republican, he advocated the dismissal of teachers with "Bolshevist" ideas however, he championed establishing a state-funded program of school nurses, and co-sponsored bills to redistribute tax revenue from wealthy to poor school districts.


His oratory was such that when a severe attack of influenza silenced him during the March 1920 special session of the legislature, The Seattle Times took note of the absence of the "spellbinder" from debates ("Spellbinder Very Silent . "). In all of the press coverage of his legislative activities, only once was he ever identified as "son of an Indian mother," and that was when he opposed re-naming Mount Rainier in 1924, arguing simply that most of his fellow legislators were also opposed to a change ("Washingtonians Urged to Fight . ").

In 1925, Bishop drew statewide attention for opposing labor-union lobbying to raise the legal age for full-time employment to 18 years, demanding on the floor of the state senate to know why the unions were more concerned about the measure than "the fathers and mothers" of the state.

"I will tell you why. It is because between the ages of 16 and 18 hundreds of thousands of young men leave school and begin to learn trades or go out into the world seeking a living in commercial or other pursuits. Statistics show that 80 per cent of school children leave the institutions between 16 and 18 years of age. They go into the world because they want to earn money. Labor organizations want to keep this 80 per cent from working, from becoming competitors of the adults employed or seeking employment" ("House Kills Plan . ").

Bishop soon grew disenchanted with Governor Hartley. He publicly accused Hartley of neglecting rural counties. "Senator William Bishop, of Jefferson, a vigorous fighter, declared he had his coat off and war-paint on to do battle for the school and highway programs, as they now exist" ("Legislators Fight Hartley . "). He single-handedly blocked Hartley's recess appointments to state boards in 1926 by diverting them to the Senate rules committee and announced his intention to review the efficiency of all state code departments at the next legislative session. Pro-Hartley Republicans put up Walter Taylor to run against Bishop for the joint senate seat, and Taylor won. After Hartley failed in his bid for a third gubernatorial term, Bishop was re-elected to the Senate seat for one last term in 1932.

In January 1933 he suffered a stroke, and had to be accompanied by Madeline during his last month in the state Senate. He died the following year. The Seattle Times remembered him as an "old-line Republican statesman, a "farmer who produced some of the finest Holstein cattle in the United States," and the son of a pioneer who "married an Indian girl of the Chimaoum Tribe" [sic], and said:

"Short, heavy-set, and dark-complexioned, his black hair edged with white, the senator was a familiar figure in legislative halls for many years. He was fiery in debate and never hesitated to be absolutely frank in his opinions" ("Senator Bishop, Pioneer G.O.P. Leader . ")

Both Madeline and their son William sought appointment for the remainder of his term in the Senate but were opposed by Clallam and San Juan counties. William ran unsuccessfully for his father's old seat in the legislature in 1938, bringing the Bishop family story in state politics to an end. The family dairy business also suffered irreparably from the Depression.

Thomas Bishop and the Northwest Federation of American Indians

Sometime before 1892, Thomas and Inger Bishop moved from Port Townsend to Tacoma with their three young children. Thomas continued to work as a meat-cutter for several years, and then bought a business of his own. By 1910 he was the owner of a confectionary store in downtown Tacoma, living on Prospect Hill with Inger, her elderly mother, and five children. Thomas's oldest sons were white-collar workers, Earl as a salesman in town and Roy as a tallyman at the port. A few years later, Thomas would experience an epiphany and build a career as a Snohomish Indian advocate for citizenship and tribal treaty rights, a role he played until his death in 1923.

A downtown Tacoma Republican rally in 1904, presided over by the 45-year-old Thomas Bishop, was the first evidence of any political ambition on his part. Following a costly, unexplained fire at his store in 1909, he became more active in politics. In 1912 he was a member of the Pierce County Republican executive committee for John Lawrence's campaign for governor, only to see Lawrence defeated by Ernest Lister (1870-1919). Thomas was rewarded in 1916 with party endorsement for state representative and might have joined his brother in Olympia, had his sympathies and goals not begun to shift elsewhere.

In 1914, inspired by the establishment of the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911, Thomas organized an unprecedented three-day gathering in Tacoma of 50 Western Washington Native leaders. Local newspapers reacted with a mix of romanticism and condescension:

"Gathering from the seashore, prairies and mountains to ask comforts for the old and enfeebled of their race to demand that the wrongs said to have been inflicted by 'unscrupulous' agents are righted . delegates from fifteen fish-eating Indian tribes of Western Washington convened in Tacoma this afternoon for a three-days' pow-wow. .

"The pow-wow opened with the singing of "America." Young braves, eager for the products of civilized culture, and wrinkled old chieftains, whose chief delight is to fish without hindrance and hear the wind in the trees without automobile horns to jar the symphony, rose, bared their heads and sang the anthem . " ("Fish-eaters of Sound . ").

The Times identified Thomas Bishop, a "retired merchant," as the organizer, although ironically described him as a Quinault rather than Snohomish ("Fish-eaters of Sound . "). The confusion may have arisen from the fact that Bishop arranged for Taholah, an elderly Quinault treaty signer, to recall the promises made by Governor Stevens as he had originally understood them in his own language. Taholah was star of the spectacle, a genuine old Indian without the smart suit that Bishop undoubtedly wore.

The stimulus for the meeting was a circular sent to Indian Agencies by Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane (1864-1921), a progressive Democrat appointed by President Wilson, in which he sought opinions as to whether American Indians were ready to be emancipated from government trusteeship. A highly publicized national campaign for Indian citizenship had been waged by author Joseph Dixon in 1913, with what the press perceived as overwhelming Native American support, and Lane was ready to prepare a recommendation to the president.

The Northwest Federation of American Indians (NFAI) was born as a result of the 1914 Tacoma convention. While it eventually unraveled during the Great Depression, it was reborn as the Inter-Tribal Council of Western Washington in 1953 to fight the Truman administration's "termination" policy and in 1967 became the Small Tribes Organization of Western Washington (STOWW), which in 2017 still functions as a base for advocacy and shared services.

At NFAI's second annual meeting at Tacoma in 1915, Thomas Bishop was elected president, and delegates "decided to form locals of the organization west of the Cascades and to forward to the department of Indian affairs at the national capital various reports of the different Indian tribes" ("Indians Elect . "). This took NFAI in a different direction than SAI. Modeled on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), SAI was composed of individual Native Americans, mainly professional men and women. NFAI was a coalition of communities, and linked upholding treaty promises with meaningful citizenship.

In his Appeal to the Government (1915), Bishop focused on the treaty rights to continue hunting and fishing, and to receive allotments of farm land. Land was an issue on reservations as much as for off-reservation communities. Henry Steve explained the situation on the Tulalip Reservation:

"The Indian signers of that treaty were promised land from Everett to the Stanwood country, but when our land was surveyed by the government all we got was the present Tulalip Reservation. There is not enough acreage to go around among those who live there. I know old Indians, who never had any land. I can show you hungry Indians on the Tulalip Reservation who are fed by their neighbors. They ought to have the land that was promised to them" ("To Procure Land . ").

Secretary Lane directed Charles E. Roblin to prepare a list of landless Northwest Indians. Roblin relied on census reports prepared by Indian Agents on reservations most Native families were living off-reservation, however, and were more likely to appear on federal and state enumerations, which Roblin did not consult. Meanwhile, NFAI authorized Bishop to seek redress for treaty claims in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Bishop in Washington, D.C.

Roblin's report, completed in 1919, vindicated Bishop's assertion that thousands of Washington Indians had never been allotted land. When the president did not act, NFAI concluded that litigation was inevitable. The U.S. Court of Claims lacked statutory jurisdiction at that time to hear such a case, so Bishop secured the support of Representative Lindley Hadley (1861-1948), Republican of Bellingham, just beginning his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, to prepare and sponsor a bill giving the Court of Claims authority to hear the case of landless Washington Indians. Bishop and Thomas L. Sloan of the Omaha Tribe, the first American Indian lawyer admitted to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at hearings on the Hadley bill. Dr. Charles M. Buchanan, Superintendent of the Western Washington Indian Agency, spoke bitterly against it, arguing that Bishop's arguments were bogus and his motives suspect. The bill cleared House and Senate committees in February 1920, but when Bishop returned to Tacoma in April 1920, its fate remained uncertain.

With the jurisdictional question still before Congress, Bishop turned his attention to the White House. Republican Warren G. Harding took office on March 4, 1921, and Bishop wielded his Republican Party connections to arrange an audience. On June 20, 1921, "in the course of an extended conference at the White House," President Harding discussed reforms in the Indian Service with "Thomas Bishop of Seattle [sic], a Snohomish Indian," and a delegation of Native leaders, who explained that they stood against:

"the autocratic powers entrusted to the superintendents of the several reservations, and against the petty dictatorships of civil service employees of the Indian Bureau. The Indians want a larger voice in the handling of their own business affairs, and also want more of the minor officials of the Indian Service appointed directly by the President without regard to Civil Service regulations. They maintain that the Civil Service produces a horde of autocrats not easily removable" ("Harding to Probe . ").

The following year, Bishop presided over an all-day NFAI meeting at Mount Vernon to discuss treaty claims, and in 1923 he organized an even grander meeting on the Tulalip Reservation attended by some 500 delegates. And then, within months of each other, Thomas G. Bishop and Warren G. Harding were dead.

At the time of his death, Bishop was on the threshold of national prominence as an Indian civil rights leader. While organizing in Washington state and lobbying in Washington, D.C., he also managed to attend the Society of American Indians meeting in St. Louis in 1920, where he was elected SAI Secretary-Treasurer, and to testify at congressional hearings on recruiting American Indians into the armed forces. "Many of you dwelt upon the idea that to give the Indian citizenship would be to have him robbed," he told Congress, "[b]ut his greatest fight now is protecting himself from those who are attempting to guard him" (Army Reorganization, 2231). The surest way to protect individual Indians, Bishop argued, was to make Indians responsible for other Indians.

"I believe that the Indians should be given self-determination on their reservations. There are many of them on the reservation to-day more able to handle their own property, determine the rights of their property, and guard their people than the agents the Indian Bureau places over them" (Army Reorganization, 2232).

He issued the call for all Indian-interest organizations to attend SAI's 1921 meeting in Detroit: "Let us all go to this big Indian pow wow and show that American Indians (natives) are very much alive" (Hertzberg, 194). The Detroit convention called for abolishing the federal Indian Office and granting unconditional citizenship to all American Indians. The second goal was attained in 1924, too late for Bishop to relish his share in the achievement. Bishop clearly separated his roles as a Northwest Indian leader seeking treaty rights and as a national Indian leader seeking individual freedom and citizenship. A schism between integrationists and tribal nationalists tore SAI apart after his death.

The Hadley bill became law and, two years after Bishop's death, retired Olympia judge Arthur Griffin (1862-1947) was retained to pursue the case. He collected more than a hundred affidavits from elderly Coast Salish people listing property they had lost as a result of federal misfeasance and inaction, ranging from village sites and potato fields to fishing grounds. The case crept through the federal Court of Claims at a snail's pace until 1934, when it was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Hadley bill had opened the court to "all claims . both legal and equitable" that Western Washington Indians might have. The federal judges ruled that the United States had never recognized explicitly that Western Washington Indians had legal or equitable rights to any property therefore there were no claims to litigate. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this result.

Congress could have sent Northwest treaties back to the Court of Claims but in the depths of the Depression, Native people had no money to renew the fight. It remained for the Truman Administration to create a special Indian Claims Commission in 1946 to address grievances throughout the country, albeit with only one possible remedy: cash compensation at the value of the lands when lost (a few dollars per acre). The commission would not complete its work for 30 years, just in time for the 1974 ruling known as the Boldt decision upholding fishing rights promised in the treaties.

Thomas Bishop's decade of organizing and advocacy had lasting effect on the Coast Salish of Western Washington, beyond setting the stage for land claims settlements and recognition of treaty rights long after his death. Because NFAI organized its membership by tribes and its chapters engaged the Indian bureau as if they were representing tribes, it helped form tribal councils in Washington State 20 years before the Congress adopted the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which authorized American Indian reservation communities to form local governments. Bishop's exhaustive interviews of elders also preserved the memories of Coast Salish whose lives spanned the entire century since Hudson's Bay traders arrived on Puget Sound. In the words of Lawrence Webster (1899-1991), founder and first curator of the Suquamish tribal museum, "History could have died if Tommy Bishop did [not] start asking questions" in the 1910s (Harmon, 182).

The Bishop Legacy

The Bishop brothers' political paths crossed only once, during the period when William Jr. was smoldering over his defeat by the Hartley Republicans. Thomas was already dead, but his crusade for land rights was entering a new phase, as Judge Arthur Griffin began submitting evidence and arguments to the Court of Claims. Encouraged by Griffin, the tribal chapters of NFAI organized more formally as legal entities. This included the "Snohomish," about equally divided at that time between the Tulalip Reservation and the Chimacum Valley. Senator Bishop briefly assumed his older brother's role as tribal leader, helping draft the constitution of the "Snohomish Tribe of Indians" in 1926, incorporating it in 1927, and serving as its first president while Samish leader S. J. Kavanagh took the reins at NFAI.

It did not work out the way either of the Bishop boys hoped. After fighting by the thousands in the First World War, American Indians were granted blanket citizenship by Congress in 1924, although the courts ruled that this was not inconsistent with continued federal administrative oversight of Indian reservations. In a superficial turnabout in 1934, Congress decided to delegate power gradually to tribal councils on reservations but perpetuated Indian Office oversight and left off-reservation Indians out of the bargain. Substantial Congressional recognition of tribes' inherent self-governing authority would not come until 1975, more than 40 years after Thomas Bishop's original treaty case failed in the courts.

The Bishops' own tribal community, the Snohomish Tribe of Indians, remains unrecognized by the federal government despite a century of activism. In 2003, the Department of the Interior ruled that the Chimacum community led by the Bishops existed only to pursue claims against the government and that the only genuine Snohomish were those living on the Tulalip Reservation.

William Bishop Jr. (1861-1934)

Courtesy Jefferson County Historical Society (Photo No. 1.1178)

Thomas Bishop worked to organize "landless Indians" and promote treaty rights at gatherings like this Treaty Day Celebration, Tulalip Reservation, 1912

Photo by Ferd Brady, Courtesy UW Special Collections (88.11.66)

State Senator William Bishop Jr. (at left) and family, Chimacum, Jefferson County

Early years

William was the elder of the two children of Robert I of Normandy and his concubine Herleva (also called Arlette, the daughter of a tanner or undertaker from the town of Falaise). Sometime after William’s birth, Herleva was married to Herluin, viscount of Conteville, by whom she bore two sons—including Odo, the future bishop of Bayeux—and at least one daughter. In 1035 Robert died while returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and William, his only son, whom he had nominated as his heir before his departure, was accepted as duke by the Norman magnates and by his overlord, King Henry I of France.

William and his friends had to overcome enormous obstacles, including William’s illegitimacy (he was generally known as the Bastard) and the fact that he had acceded as a child. His weakness led to a breakdown of authority throughout the duchy: private castles were erected, public power was usurped by lesser nobles, and private warfare broke out. Three of William’s guardians died violent deaths before he grew up, and his tutor was murdered. His father’s kin were of little help, since most of them thought that they stood to gain by the boy’s death. His mother, however, managed to protect him through the most dangerous period. These early difficulties probably contributed to William’s strength of purpose and his dislike of lawlessness and misrule.


After the Puget Sound "Indian War" of 1855-1856, a number of high-status Coast Salish refugees relocated to Chimacum Prairie, south of Port Townsend at the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. There they built a new life as neighbors, spouses, and business partners of European immigrants. The nucleus of this economically integrated, but self-consciously "Indian" (and specifically "Snohomish Indian"), community was the dairy farm of William Bishop Sr., a former British seaman, and his Snohomish first wife, "Lag-wah," also known as Sally. Not only did other mixed-ancestry households buy land or camp around the edges of the Bishop property, but William and Sally Bishop's sons -- Thomas G. Bishop (1859-1923) and William Bishop Jr. (1861-1934) -- became pioneer Native American political leaders: Thomas as founder of the first inter-tribal treaty-rights organization, the Northwest Federation of American Indians (NFAI), and William Jr. as an outspoken state legislator and first president of the Snohomish Tribe of Indians. Descendants of William and Sally Bishop and their Native and mixed-ancestry neighbors continued to live in the Chimacum area and to identify as Native American, many specifically as Snohomish, into the twenty-first century, although in 2003 the Snohomish Tribe of Indians was denied federal recognition.

A Tale of Two Wars

In 1854 a savage war was raging on the shores of the Black Sea between the western European empires and Ottoman Turkey, allied with Russia. Concerned that the Russian Imperial Navy might cross the North Pacific to harass British settlers on Vancouver Island, the British Admiralty directed one of its small Pacific squadrons to destroy the Russian naval operations center at Petropavlovsk on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. The first engagement was a disaster for the attackers, who were beaten back by the big Russian coastal guns. HMS Monarch, an 84-gun ship of the line, under orders to reinforce the task force, arrived months too late. Meanwhile the Russians, although victorious, quietly abandoned their base, depriving the Royal Navy of a decisive battle. Without another shot being fired, the humiliated British warships dispersed to warmer latitudes.

The Monarch retired to Esquimalt Harbor on Vancouver Island to refit and re-supply. Two of its ordinary seamen, William Bishop and William Eldridge (1835-1902), friends since their childhood in Maidstone at Kent, England, slipped ashore, procured a small boat, and made for freedom on the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They eventually stumbled into the town of Port Townsend, which in 1855 was not much more than a few wooden cabins on the tip of the Quimper Peninsula, a projection at the northeast corner of the larger Olympic Peninsula. A few miles to the west, on the shores of Discovery Bay, was a large S'Klallam community whose principal ši?áb (or wealthy burgher) was Chetzemoka (ca. 1808-1888), called "the Duke of York" by the Hudson's Bay Company and American settlers. Like most Coast Salish leaders, Chetzemoka initially welcomed the business brought by settlers.

Coast Salish social organization, best described by ethnographer and linguist Wayne Suttles (1918-2005), was competitive and meritocratic. Men and women strove through professional skills and helping organize the labor and talents of others to make their names famous, gaining influence and amassing the good will, property, and creditworthiness that could be applied to future projects. Marrying children into distant villages was an important part of building personal wealth: each marriage created a new network of kinship and business relationships abroad, a subsidiary business. It would be said of a wealthy person, "s/he has a lot of friends," using the term (in the Straits language) sčé?čǝ? (pronounced scheh-chuh), which can also mean "cousins" or, broadly, "valued relatives." Coast Salish ši?áb arranged marriages with Hudson's Bay Company and American Fur Company employees in this spirit. The first arrangement of this nature in the Port Townsend area involved William Robert "Blanket Bill" Jarman (1820-1912), who lived with the Port Discovery S'Klallam community for some time and married a high-status S'Klallam woman in 1854.

American settlers in the Puget Sound area had meanwhile antagonized their indigenous neighbors. While Bishop and Eldridge were still rolling in the swells of the North Pacific, swabbing the decks of Monarch, American volunteer militiamen were burning Hibulb, the main palisaded cedar-plank village and trade center of the Sdu'hubš (Snohomish) people, located strategically on the river of that name where the city of Everett stands today. Hibulb appears to have coordinated a large share of pre-contact sailing-canoe traffic between Puget Sound and the Gulf of Georgia, and its leaders quickly recognized the value of partnering with the Hudson's Bay Company once it had opened its post at Fort Langley near present-day Vancouver, B.C., in the 1820s. Owing to their numbers, widespread influence, and friendship with the British merchants, the Snohomish were regarded as a threat to the recently established American settlements around Seattle, where they were blamed for sporadic murders. As 1854 drew to a close, Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862) authorized volunteer militia companies to roam the east shores of Puget Sound and "teach them a lesson they would not soon forget" (Bagley, 56). Stevens also directed Seattle merchant and local Indian agent David "Doc" Maynard (1808-1873) to re-settle Indians on the west shores of the sound, by force if necessary.

The destruction of Hibulb displaced many wealthy and prominent Snohomish families with strong business ties to the Hudson's Bay Company, making this militia action also a slap at John Bull. Among them were "S'lootsloot" (sometimes written "S'hootst-hoot," probably s'ƛ'uc?ƛ'ut, meaning "tied up all together," connoting wealth) and his teenage daughter "Lag-wah." Together with many other refugees, father and daughter settled at Deg w adx, another large fortified Snohomish village, located at Cultus Bay on Whidbey Island. Months later, about the time that Bishop and Eldridge learned that they would be crossing the Pacific to Kamchatka, S'lootsloot had to bear the additional humiliation of signing the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, that opened Snohomish and other Native lands to non-Native settlers in exchange for peace and protection. His signature can be found alongside those of his cousin "Snah-tahlc," also from Hibulb and known as "Bonaparte" to the Hudson's Bay Company for his imperious manners, and "Chief Seattle," who helped persuade his in-laws and business partners around Puget Sound to agree to a treaty, arguing that while promises might be broken by the Pastun ("Boston men," meaning Americans), they were better than nothing.

Bishop and Eldridge arrived at Port Townsend less than a year after the treaty, and Bishop served briefly in the territorial militia during the subsequent "Indian War" (1855-1856), perhaps better described as a police action against the faction of Puget Sound Native peoples that rejected diplomacy and felt that the Americans had to be driven away before there were simply too many of them to fight. While the USS Decatur was bombarding the dissidents' positions around Elliott Bay, Snohomish people were re-grouping and rebuilding on the beach at Whidbey Island.

William and Sally at Chimacum

There once was a Native village at the mouth of the creek that drained Chimacum Prairie on the Quimper Peninsula, south of present-day Port Townsend. Its occupants were not Coast Salish, like the rest of the Native villages of the Salish Sea, but rather a branch of the Quileute people who lived on the Olympic Peninsula's Pacific seashore. The "Chemakum" village of Tsetsibus and the other Quileutes across the Olympic Peninsula were separated ages ago, they said, by a tsunami. Proud and troublesome, according to Coast Salish traditions recorded in the 1850s by George Gibbs, the Quileute village of Chimacum was razed by a coalition of Salish-speaking villages in the 1820s, perhaps as retribution for Chimacum piracy along the critical sailing canoe trade route linking Puget Sound and Vancouver Island.

Not long after they reached Port Townsend, Bishop and Eldridge reportedly took the suggestion of an established settler, Loren B. Hastings (1814-1881), to follow an "old Indian trail" inland to Chimacum Prairie, where the two young renegade British seamen bought 160 acres in partnership (McCurdy, 135). Among the early non-Native settlers in the Northwest, "prairie" generally denoted treeless herbaceous meadows. They could be natural wetlands or else cultivated camas fields, which were frequently established in seasonal wetlands and kept treeless by the careful periodic application of light, flashy fires. Prairies were a magnet for early settlers, who could clear and plant them easily without cutting and burning rainforest. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) reported finding fields of potatoes growing around Chimacum in 1841, perhaps evidence that the Coast Salish victors of the Chimacum raid had maintained the gardens of the defeated villagers.

It is unclear exactly when or where William Bishop met S'lootsloot's daughter but it was probably soon after he and Eldridge settled at Chimacum. If some Snohomish were continuing to maintain and seasonally harvest old gardens at Chimacum Prairie, this may have brought S'lootsloot and his family to the newly fenced Bishop-Eldridge farm. By oral tradition among their descendants, William Bishop and Lag-wah married in 1858, although there is no record of the marriage. Their first-born, Thomas G., arrived in 1859, followed by William Jr. in 1861, and Elizabeth in 1866. "Lag-wah" (probably Lá?g w as, which can mean "points it out repeatedly," not inappropriate for a strong young woman who had survived war, displacement, and marriage to an exotic foreigner who was soon to leave her) meanwhile became known as Sally Bishop or Sally Klasitook.

Like many other young white men who settled in the Salish Sea region in the 1850s, William Bishop found a welcome among Coast Salish families eager to attract in-laws with new skills, as well as legal status in Washington Territory. Most Coast Salish people would not attain U.S. citizenship until 1924, and even then they suffered federal restrictions on their freedom and property if they were living on Indian reservations -- and varying levels of discriminatory treatment by their neighbors if living off-reservation. They could not file lawsuits, hold public office, vote, or testify under oath. Although it was possible to obtain individual dispensation from the federal Indian Superintendent at Tulalip, or from local judges, it was easier for Native families to absorb some of the young newcomers, who were mostly unmarried. In the growing number of mixed families in the latter half of the nineteenth century, women taught traditions, while the men worked and voted, and the children, if they were raised beyond the reach of the Indian Agents and federal Indian boarding-school system, attended public schools. Ceremonial events such as feasts, the "winter dance," and the Indian Shaker Church, linked reservation and off-reservation families, financed by dollars earned at mills and canneries.

In 1860 the first federal census of Jefferson County found 530 persons more than a dozen men had Indian wives or "housekeepers" (often not legally married). As immigration from the East Coast and northern Europe increased after the American Civil War, more Jefferson County settlers were married couples and marriageable "white" women. Indian reservations were also being surveyed, organized, and allotted, with growing administrative pressure on Native families to take up farming plots on reservations rather than earning wages at canneries, mills, and logging camps alongside non-Native neighbors. Mixed families, common before 1870, became unwelcome on the reservations, where white in-laws were deemed troublemakers by federal Indian Agents. (Such was the fate of Bonaparte's granddaughter Anastasia, married to the Scottish businessman Alexander Spithill.) By the 1880s mixed families were also unwelcome in a growing number of "white" communities, where they were denigrated as "squaw men" and "dirty siwash" (a derogative derivative of "Salish").

In 1868 William Bishop Sr. married Hannah Hutchinson, an Irish immigrant, who came to live with him on the Chimacum farm with his sons by Sally, Thomas G. and William Jr. Divorced or abandoned, Sally Bishop disappeared from local records until 1880, when she was enumerated as the wife of Charles Williams, a Finnish farmer at Chimacum a short distance from the Bishops with two young children by his first wife, Mary, also a Native woman, and two by Sally. In the 1881 census, Charles Wlliams has yet another Native wife, Cecilia, who is helping raise his four children by Mary and Sally. There is little further information on Sally Bishop Williams until her burial at Chimacum's Greenwood Cemetery in 1916, but it is likely that she continued to live in the Chimacum area, maintaining contact with Thomas and William Jr., who both self-identified as "Snohomish" for the rest of their lives.

William Bishop Sr. Grows Rich

The elder Bishop's fortunes grew. His Glendale Dairy produced cream, butter, and cheese for the seaport and military establishment of Port Townsend, and was increasingly shipped by steamer to markets in Seattle and Tacoma. Creamery income was reinvested in local real estate. As teenagers his sons went to work in the family business: Thomas in the dairy as a cheese maker, according to census records, and William Jr. on the farm.

By 1887 Thomas was married and living in Port Townsend a few years later he and his wife moved their family to Tacoma where Thomas owned a confectionary store. Later Thomas would build a career as a Snohomish Indian advocate for citizenship and tribal treaty rights, a role he played until his death in 1923. William Jr. remained at home in Chimacum, where in 1889 his father turned over the management of the Glendale Creamery to him. With the income from the farm, creamery, and, after his father's death, real estate in Port Townsend, William Jr. had the means to pursue a career as a Republican state legislator. First elected to the state House of Representatives in 1899 and to the state Senate in 1919, he was a fixture in Jefferson County and state politics until his death in 1935.

William Bishop Sr. moved in 1889 to Port Townsend, where he built and leased a commercial block on Washington Street in 1890 (as of 2017 the building houses the Bishop Hotel). He followed by buying the Roma Saloon on Water Street in 1894, and finally by raising a brick mansion for his retirement with Hannah in 1896 at the staggering cost of $4,000. Much of the commercial property was inherited by William Bishop Jr. when his father died in 1906.

The elder Bishop was described by some of his contemporaries as "a very energetic little man" with a distinct lower-class English accent (McCurdy, 136). He also appears to have shared a tendency to boastfulness with others of his generation of settlers, claiming that he had seen combat in the Bering Sea aboard the Monarch, which is not borne out by Admiralty records. As to whether he approved or disapproved of his two Native American sons' interests in their Snohomish ancestry and treaty rights, we have no evidence.

The Chimacum Community

The Bishop farm had meanwhile become a magnet for Coast Salish families and seasonal farm workers. Many other families of mixed ancestry settled in the Chimacum precinct after 1870, representing a large portion of the remaining off-reservation Snohomish as well as descendants of S'Klallams and Alaskan Natives, attracted by friendly neighbors, rich farmland, and wages at nearby logging camps and sawmills. William Bishop Sr. began growing hops at Chimacum in the 1880s, with the crop eventually rivaling his creamery as a source of income, and the annual hop-picking drew up to a hundred Native people from throughout the Puget Sound region to camp, work, and socialize around the Bishop homestead. Hops were shipped as far away as Chicago. As late as the 1920s, scores of S'Klallams and Makah from farther west on the Olympic Peninsula camped in the Bishops' apple orchard every summer on their way to salmon-fishing and hop fields.

In the quarter century that William Bishop Sr. dominated the economy of Chimacum, he was like a traditional ši?áb who made his name famous by establishing a new village. A dozen families of mixed ancestry coalesced around William and Sally, even after they had separated. The newcomers included two of Sally's cousins from a high-status upstream family of the Sqíx w ubš (Skykomish) people, William Hicks and his sister Boedah (1834-1928), who were siblings of "Tseul-tud" (Sultan John), a founder of the town of Sultan in Snohomish County. Their Skykomish River village apparently regarded itself as part of the wider consortium of villages centered at Hibulb, and judging from the number of signatories to the Treaty of Point Elliott, it was second only to Deg w adx (Cultus Bay) in wealth and importance (with seven signers, to nine from Cultus Bay). It is intriguing that the evolving Native community at Chimacum centered on descendants of women from two of the leading Snohomish villages at the time of contact.

The Hickses established their own settlement at the mouth of Chimacum Creek, identified in early photographs as an "Indian camp" complete with cedar-plank cabins and canoes. In 1877 Boedah Hicks married Edward Strand (1818-1910), a Finnish immigrant who had settled in the valley in 1852, built its first mill and farmed. Their five daughters raised children at Chimacum, forming a large extended family in which, according to an interview conducted in 1986 with three of her great-grandchildren (grandchildren of her daughter Clara Strand Woodley), who knew her and regarded her as a grandmother, Boedah continued to serve as cultural teacher. Descendants self-identified as American Indian, and continued to be members of the "Snohomish Tribe of Indians," founded by William Bishop Sr.'s sons Thomas and William Jr.

Another pillar of the Chimacum community was Martin Shaw, who first appeared at Port Ludlow as a 9-year-old boarder on a small farm. Shaw later took up work at Chimacum, boarded with the Strands, and about 1898 married Malvina Strand. Years later, Malvina signed an affidavit affirming her Snohomish Indian ancestry in which she claimed that Martin was "one-quarter" Tsimshian from Alaska. According to grandchildren of Clara Strand Woodley, when interviewed in 1986, William Bishop Jr. and Martin Shaw were fast friends, and their homes were the social centers of the Chimacum valley in the early twentieth century.

The elder Bishop's partner William Eldridge married a Native woman named Mary in 1859 and had six children. In the 1870 census the Bishops had seven neighbors with Native wives, and 15 mixed children in the neighborhood including the Strand children, while the Hickses were nearby at Irondale. Although most of the identifiable women in this community were Snohomish, they were on cordial terms with their S'Klallam neighbors at Port Townsend and nearby Discovery Bay. One of the names frequently encountered in oral history interviews is Patsy, son of the "Duke of York," who lived nearby and worked at the Irondale mill.

After Senator Bishop

By the 1920s, William Bishop Jr. was an influential state senator and the unofficial but undisputed leader and peacemaker at Chimacum. As one of Clara Strand Woodley's grandchildren recalled in a 1986 interview:

"Senator Bishop did a lot of that he separated a lot of deeds, both legally and physically, because he had a pretty tough hand when he spoke, you just dropped what you were doing and went back to business, and they all respected him, and I think he was one Snohomish Indian who you could say did take care of things, he spoke with authority, he had a big place there, he had a big dining room, and he would put out food for whoever was there" (Barsh interviews, transcription, pp. 6-7).

The fact that a significant portion of the Chimacum community was of Native ancestry, including a powerful state senator and owner of the valley's principal business, did not extinguish racial prejudice. On the contrary, Chimacum's old Native families experienced increasing social discrimination and ridicule as their proportion of the county's population decreased, and Port Townsend grew self-consciously more "white." Negative sentiment against Indians and "squaw men" was also building in neighboring San Juan County at the time, as described by James Tulloch in his memoirs. One of Clara Strand's grandchildren described going to school in Jefferson County this way:

"[W]hen we went to school, we were kind of ostracized down here, we were known as siwash clamdiggers, my dad took it on me . he was sorry he had ever married an Indian, he didn't want me playing with any of those siwashes, I always went to school with a white shirt and a tie, because he didn't want me classified as an Indian because I was white -- my brother and sister were darker" (Barsh interviews, transcription, pp. 4-5).

The publication of The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald's 1945 memoir of farming at Chimacum in the late 1920s, had the effect of outing and ridiculing the Native families of Chimacum in the growing hostile social environment of mid-century Washington. MacDonald wrote that her Indian neighbors were so dirty that she had to disinfect her home with Lysol after their visits: "The more I saw of them the more I thought what an excellent thing it was to take that beautiful country away from them" (The Egg and I, 212). She also lampooned the old-timers who were friends and in-laws of the Native families at Chimacum, depicting them as hopelessly incompetent bumpkins.

Four years after the book appeared, Albert Bishop and his children sued MacDonald for libel. Albert Bishop was not a relative of the Snohomish Bishops federal census records show that he was a white American of Swiss descent born in Utah. However, the negative public attention directed at the "siwash" Bishop, Strand, and Hicks families was so intense that the "white" Bishops felt humiliated as well. A Seattle jury found for the defendant, who maintained that her characters were not identifiable as the Albert Bishop family. Of course, the trial itself identified publicly who was being lampooned. One of Clara Strand Woodley's grandsons, who was in his twenties when The Egg and I was published, remembered the effect of its publication this way: "Well, it's all right for her to make money [but] it was a put-down for the Indian people, everyone that read it from this area was really hurt by it" (Barsh interviews, transcription, p. 6)

The popularity of The Egg and I, which was made into a Hollywood movie, helped to erase the memory of the Bishop brothers as Jefferson County "pioneers" who happened to be Snohomish Indian and proud of it. The final humiliation was not to come until 2003, when the U.S. Department of the Interior ruled that the aggregation of Native families around the Bishop dairy farm was not a "community," was not "Snohomish," and had no historical leaders or organization and that the treaty rights of Snohomish people could only be exercised by the enrolled members of the Tulalip Tribes, whether or not of Snohomish ancestry. The irony is that Thomas Bishop and William Bishop Jr. represented their own community at Chimacum as well as the Snohomish living on the Tulalip Reservation when they agitated for recognition of treaty rights from the 1910s through the 1930s.

When British sailor William Bishop jumped ship in 1855, he could scarcely have imagined that his sons would include the first Native American to be elected to the Washington State Legislature and the founder of the first inter-tribal organization promoting treaty rights. Or that his family farm would create the nucleus of a post-treaty Native community that would continue struggling for recognition and rights long after his death. In a further irony it was Thomas who moved to Tacoma, became what decades later would be called an "urban Indian," and yet focused his career on treaty rights. William Jr. stayed on the farm, with its Native farmworkers and neighbors -- effectively an off-reservation Indian community -- but chose a career in mainstream state politics that had him fighting for the dignity of non-Native rural citizens confronting economic change and marginalization after the First World War.

For the History of Our State's Food, Land, and People curriculum, click here

Sally Bishop Williams (center), with four young girls

Courtesy Jefferson County Historical Society (5.93)

John Fuge (left) and William Bishop Sr.

Courtesy Jefferson County Historical Society (Photo No. 1.546)

Indian home on Chimacum Creek, Jefferson County

Courtesy Jefferson County Historical Society (Photo No. 14.276)

Native American men picking hops in Chimacum Valley, possibly on William Bishop farm, Jefferson County

Into the Air

By 1915 Bishop had transferred to an air regiment as an observer. After his first training flight, Bishop wrote the following words, quoted in The Courage of Early Morning "This flying is the most wonderful invention. A man ceases to be human up there. He feels that nothing is impossible." Bishop flew on reconnaissance missions for four months before taking sick leave. He had a bad knee and a heart murmur and could have been discharged from duty. But Bishop decided he'd rather become a pilot. Within a year he earned his pilot's license and logged flying hours patrolling the southern region of England against zeppelin attacks as part of the Home Defense squadron.

In early 1917, Bishop joined the Sixtieth Squadron of the British Third Brigade, the best fighting squadron in France. He was positioned across the trenches from Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron, 1892–1918), the best pilot of the war and part of the "Flying Circus" of German ace pilots. The life expectancy for rookie pilots who flew against the Red Baron was about eleven days.

After four days of orientation flights, Bishop survived his first dogfight (airplane battle), downing an enemy plane. Within several weeks Bishop had become an ace (according to the French system of records, a pilot who has shot down five or more enemy planes) and had established himself as his squadron's best pilot. When Bishop was named an ace, General Hugh M. Trenchard, the commander of the Royal Flying Corps, congratulated him, saying "My boy, if everyone did as well as you've done, we'd soon win this war," as quoted by William Arthur Bishop.

Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

I am seeking information about William Gerald Bishop (also known as William Arneck and under a number of other names). Bishop was a leader in the American Nazi movement before and during World War II, a propagandist and organizer who went so far as to plan a coup d'état. I already have located a great deal regarding his activities from 1935-1947 and am working with various national archives to extract more. However, there are two topics on which I have found very little. One is his history prior to 1935 (other than the various stories he told, all of which are highly suspect). I do not think anyone can help much with this, as he seems to have risen from total obscurity, but would be grateful for any pointers.

However, his fate after November 1947 is of great interest and there may be some relevant records. After being detained in federal facilities (including Ellis Island) during the war, he was subject to deportation (some claimed he was actually Austrian, though he denied this). Ultimately he exhausted his legal appeals and was deported to Austria on or about 11/18/1947. He may have been turned over to the Soviet authorities as a kind of indirect execution, but there are indications that he survived. The right-wing paper "Common Sense" (not a trustworthy source, but the editor was a friend of his) reports that he was alive and well shortly after the deportation. And a 1951 CIA report regarding Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl and Raimund Strangl alludes to him in a way that suggests he was still living and probably connected with some sort of low-level intelligence work. The CIA disavows all knowledge. I suspect that he may have been recruited to work for the CIC or CIA due to his multilingual fluency and credibility with the former Nazis they often employed, but he also may have been freelancing. There is a likelihood that he died (probably executed by the Soviets) in the early 1950s, but it is also possible that this did not happen until years later.

Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop
Cara Jensen 07.01.2021 15:06 (в ответ на Stephen Joy)

Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series titled Intelligence and Investigative Dossiers (IRR) Personal Files in the Records of the Army Staff (RG 319) that contains a personal name file for William G. Bishop XE066676 .  For access to the declassified non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at [email protected] .

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

We also suggest that you request a search for records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for William Gerald Bishop.  For instructions, please visit their website at Requesting FBI Records .  In addition, you may wish to contact the National Archives of the United Kingdom , the State Archives of Belgium , and the Austrian State Archives   to request any records regarding the earlier reported deportations of William Gerald Bishop.  

These files may give you background information on the birthplace and parentage of William Gerald Bishop which you may use for further research. 

We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

I had requested records from the FBI and CIA (among other agencies) with limited success (CIA will neither confirm nor deny, etc.). But I had not found the file to which you refer! It is an exciting discovery, and I have reached out to the Archives in hopes of clearing up some of the lingering questions about this man. Given that he dropped out of sight well before I was even born (and I'm no kid), his history and doings seem surprisingly relevant today - especially in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, in which he would certainly have played a major role.

I am less sanguine about finding information regarding his life before his first FBI contact in 1935. Nearly every story he ever told was a lie (we know this because there were so many different ones). My sense is that he probably was an American who rose from obscurity - there is some indication that he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps at one point, and he is believed to have worked in various menial capacities. But maybe the file you located will contain some information about this as well!

Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

For William Gerald Bishop activities prior to 1935. Immigration records (Passenger and Crew Lists) for NYC arrivals indicate that he was an extensive transatlantic traveler. Most probably as a bartender or steward on the luxury liners of that period. Listings include three arrivals from Southampton, England (9-29-1925, 11-11-1925, 12-23-1925) and one from Hamilton, Bermuda (3-24-1927). Opportunities for making good and bad contacts. More recently (1-2-1939 and 5-31-1939), he is indicated as arriving again from Southampton, England.

Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

Wow! Remarkable, Mr. Deuble - this is the first confirmation I've seen that he did, in fact, move internationally - and that his name really was William Gerald Bishop, though I was reasonably sure of that before.

May I ask how you obtained access to, and searched, these passenger and crew lists? Forgive me if the answer seems obvious I'm a newbie to historical research, more familiar with quantitative analysis of psychological test data. But I would like to be able to examine these manifests for myself. (Update: I did find some ship's manifests online, including one from Bermuda for the 3/24/27 date, though Bishop's name did not seem to be there. Perhaps I had the wrong ship?)

Thank you for your assistance!

Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

Stephen Joy - Source was ancestry,com. Delete Hamilton, Bermuda item. This source also indicated: (1) NYC arrivals from Southampton, England for WEB seven times (1925 - 4, 1938 -1, and 1939 - 2), and Honolulu, HI arrivals from Southampton, England for WEB two times (1938 -1, 1939 -1) WEB marriage in Depham, MA in 1929 and (3) WEB's WWII Draft Registration Card 2-16-42.

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