Dora Bishop 1857 to 1904 (my Great Grandmother)


When Dorothy (Dora) Bishop was born on March 22, 1857, in Berrien, Michigan, her father, John Kellogg Bishop, was 29 and her mother, Sarah Romelia Knapp, was 25.  

Dora married Juan James Hess on October 29, 1874, in her hometown in a church wedding. She was 17 years old at the time of her  wedding.  Juan was 24 years old.  The young couple had grown up having lived near to each other for many years. Their residence after marriage  was R.D. 5, Benton Harbor, MI.  This was the site of what would become a  successful fruit farm that Dora and husband Juan maintained.  It was located four miles southwest of the city.  

 Juan had originally purchased a 1/4 ownership of this farm that had been his father’s. Later, Juan bought out his three brothers so that the entire 80 acre farm was his.  He cultivated the land into an orchard growing peaches, pears, apples and cherry trees.  It was a very successful venture.

It would come to pass that this farm would later become the home where my father, Robert Lawrence Hess, and my Uncle, George Kellogg Hess, Jr., would spend most of their childhoods!  Juan Hess was Robert and George’s grandfather.

Dora and Juan had four children in 16 years. Only two of the children lived to adulthood.  They were Robert De Montel Hess and my  Grandfather, George Kellogg Hess, Sr..  Dora and Juan had lost their two other children during the year of 1880. The children who perished early were Hattie Hess b. 1875  and Perry B. Hess b. 1878. 

Dora died after a brief illness on October 15, 1904, in Benton, Michigan, at the age of 47, and was buried in Berrien, Michigan. Her husband Juan remained a widower until his death at age 78. She had been married to Juan for nearly 30 years. My grandfather, George Kellogg Hess, Sr., was only 14 years old at the time of his mother’s death.

A history of Dora’s family…

Dora’s father had been born in Herderson, Jefferson Co., New York in 1827 and in addition to his “rustic” education, worked on a family farm. When he was 17 years old, he left  New York with his family and became one of the pioneers in Bainbridge, MI.  It was there, in Berrien, Michigan, that he was wed to Sarah Romelia Knapp on February 2, 1848.   Sarah had entered into marriage at the age of 16.  After her family moved from New York to Michigan, her father worked as a ship-carpenter near St. Joseph, Michigan.

Dora’s siblings were:

Rosaltha Bishop b. 1849 d. 13 Jan 1873 Bainbridge, Berrien, MI

James G. Bishop b. 1852

Perry S. Bishop b. 1854

Frank Bishop b. 1844 (married to Carrie Maud Ives)

Arthur Bishop b. 1856

Clinton Bishop b. 14 April 1861 d. 24 May 1920 (married Lucy Mae Smith)

Fred Bishop b. 10 Jan 1862 d. 14 January 1941 (married Mary Bell Bratton)

John Kellogg Bishop, Jr. b. about 1867

Berd D. Bishop b. 24 March 1869 d. 19 Feb. 1960

Louise Bishop b. 1871 d. 19 Feb. 1954

As an adult, Dora was quite the entertainer and had frequent elaborate parties in her lovely country home.  She often made the social pages of the local papers.

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