False hope in the search for Margaret Bishop/McElrath  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , , ,

Margaret Bishop, later Margaret McElrath (maiden name unknown), was my wife's 2nd-great-grandmother. Click the McElrath tab on the right to read more about my search for her.

On my first trip to the Georgia Room at the Cobb County Central Library I found a book that listed marriages in Spartanburg County, South Carolina 1785-1911. The line that immediately caught my eye was the following:

Man - Bishop, _____
Woman - Margaret A. Wolf
File - 2165
Lived - 1870

At first I was pretty stunned that I completely forgot to take a picture of the page. I also forgot to read about all the other Bishop's mentioned on the page. And I totally forgot to properly cite my source. All I could think about was "Hey! I just found Margaret Bishop's maiden name!"

Eventually I came around and looked at the rest of the page:


I actually took this photo on my next visit to the library. This is so much easier than photocopying.

Anyway, let me point out a couple of things that caught my attention. The first is an entry for Calvin Rufus Bishop's (who I suspect married Margaret around 1870) parents a few rows above:

Man - Bishop, ____
Woman - Elizabeth Ann Collins
File - 443
Lived - 1849

And another line right above Margaret Wolf's entry of another Wolf on the same file:

Man - Bishop, ____
Woman - Adaline L. Wolf
File - 2165
Lived - 1870

The 'File' number is from the Probate Court record and the 'Lived' indicates that this is when the file was recorded and implies these people were alive at the time. The reason I thought this was my match was the year. My assumption is that Calvin and Margaret were married in 1870 and had their first child in 1871. In 1870 Calvin would have been 18 years old.

I started research the Wolf family members in Spartanburg County and the first thing I saw was that in the 1870 Census, Margaret Wolf lived next door to Calvin with another Bishop family. Turns out she lived there with her sister Adeline, who married a Bishop:


This made me think I was obviously on the right track. In researching the Wolf Family I came across a PDF file written by Dan W. Olds who lives in Spartanburg. I read the file with interest, but since it was published in the year 2000 I decided to contact Dan and see if he had any new information.

My theory was that Margaret and Adeline married Bishop men of different generations since it seems that Margaret was much younger. I thought that while Margaret married Calvin, Adeline married his uncle James. Dan got back to me and sent a much newer file as well as suggesting that he hit the library and try to help me out. That was very nice of him to do and I thought I would finally get my answer.

One of the problems I had with my theory is the birth year for Margaret Wolfe not matching the one of Margaret Bishop. Dan confirmed my fears in his e-mail:

"I did go to the library today and convinced myself that the Margaret A. Bishop I want is not the same as yours.

I did look at the McDowell estate papers. One set of heirs were the children of Jane Wolf. At first, the administrator could not remember their names but in the Feb. 1870 distribution, the five of them signed as A. L. Bishop, Margaret A. Bishop, Elizabeth Cantrell, Harriet Seay and Wm. P. D. Wolf. None of the husbands were mentioned.

Second, I found the SC Death record for Mrs. Margaret Ann Bishop, age 81, d. 28 March 1927, daughter of Noah Wolfe and "DK" [don't know] as mother.
Also the Spartanburg Herald of March 29, 1927, carried the obituary of Mrs. Margaret A. Bishop, 81, wife of G. C. Bishop who survived and mother of five sons and four daughters who were survivors. Her parents were not named but she was survived by one brother, W. P. D. Wolfe of Charlotte."
And guess what, when I looked at my database I found Ann Wolf married to George Columbus Bishop. He was the brother of James A. Bishop who married Adelina A. Wolfe. So two brothers married two sisters and that makes sense. And both these guys are the brothers of Andrew Berryman Bishop, Calvin's father. So these two Wolfe women were Calvin's aunts. I got close, but not close enough.

On my trip to the Fulton Library I looked through the Atlanta City Directories and found another piece of information. When Margaret McElreath (not McElrath or McIlrath) shows up in 1897 she is listed as widow of Ira:


And there is no Ira McElreath anywhere. I tried every possible database and every spelling. I even tried to figure out who Emmett and Walter McElreath were and they are too young to be siblings of Ira. But guess what? Their grandfather is from Spartanburg, SC. So there might be something there.

I did uncover Margaret's Obituary in the Atlanta Constitution from Jan 14th, 1912:


(This was a lucky break because it doesn't show up in Ancestry's new search. The only reason I found it is that the computers at the library still use the old search and it was the first hit I got.)

I know I will figure this out, but it's just taking forever and I am running out of clues. I tried to find burials in Cobb County and Marietta, but no luck there. I need to find out where Greenberg and Bond's Chapel was and where their records are today. I am going to try to find her other descendants and see if any of them know who she was, but that is not going to be an easy task either.

Nobody said genealogy is easy, right?

This entry was posted on Friday, November 7, 2008 at 11:07 PM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

Enjoyed reading your post.
I too am trying to locate the Greenberg and Bond mortuary, but can only google-find references to other obituaries. The Atlanta Historical Society tried very hard but came up empty.
Have you had any success since November?

October 7, 2009 at 7:41 AM

Post a Comment