Will of James Bishop-Prince George County

When searching through one of my favorite web-sites about Virginia 
records http://www.image.vtls.com - I ran across a James Bishop under a
"lost wills" category. 

I just received a copy of the will yesterday and unfortunately, this is
not my missing James who had a son, Joseph, in 1836 since he dies ten
years too early. This James mentions a brother named George Bishop and
George's son, John Edmond Bishop. I first thought James had no children
because he leaves all his real estate, property, etc. to his "negro
woman" ANGELICA CHAPPELL and her son HENRY. 

However, the appraisers state their inventory and appraisment is for the
Estate of James Bishop Sr and James Bishop Jr so I'm not sure who's who 
and whether or not James Jr could be my James. The total property value 
is estimated at $1417.50 and includes SEVEN SLAVES including ANGELICA 
their freedom and she petitions the General Assembly of Virginia to be
allowed to remain in Virginia near her children and on the plantation
James has given her five years after her master's death. It appears that
state law at that time would have forced her to leave Virginia and the
Assembly is the "only tribunal to which she can apply that hath the power
to grant her leave to remain in this Commonwealth." 

ANGELICA is married to a "free man of color" named JOSHUA CHAPPELL. Four
witnesses (white neighbors evidently) write a letter on her behalf to the
Assembly attesting to her good character. James' will states the following:

        In the name of God Amen I, James Bishop, of the County of 
Prince George and State of Virginia being in a low state of health but 
of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and 
testament --- 

Item [?] I leave my negro woman ANGELICA and her son HENRY free. I also
leave all my somos[???] to ANGELICA her life and at her death to her son
HENRY. I give all my household and kitchen furniture, plantation utensils,
stock of all kinds, crops of corn V. to ANGELICA her life at her death the
balance to her son HENRY --- 

It is also my wish that my negroes, ???, JIMMY and POLLY should be hired
out for the support of my negro woman ANGELICA and her son HENRY until her
death and thin to go to HENRY [?].

I also wish that my Brother George Bishop son John Edmond Bishop should
have my small gun --- it is my desire that my just debts should be paid
out of such property as my escecutor may think best to be sold. This I 
acknowledge to be my last will and testament. Given under my hand and 
seal this sixteenth [?] day of March 1825.

Witness his
Edw. H. Neblete Jas X Bishop [seal]
Jas. Grussett mark
Jas Dum [?]

At a court held for Prince George County at the Courthouse on Tuesday
the 13th day of April 1825 this last will and testament of Jas Bishop
decd was presented into court and proved by the oaths of Jas Grassett
and Jas ???? two of the witnesses thereto and by order of the court it
is truly recorded.

Rich'd C. Williams N B. ??????

Attached is an inventory and appraisment of James Bishop's Estate made
this 26th day of April 1825. The list includes ANGELICA [$100], 
JIMMY-? [$320], PERCY-? [$250], LADY-? [$250], PETER [$250], POLLY [$100],
HENRY [$100]. 

Attached is this statement from the appraisers:

        We the undersigned appraising named in the annexed order of the
worshipful Court of said County, have this day appraised in current
money the Estate of James Bishop Jr and Jas. Bishop  ???? ????
statements herewith returned --- 
        Given under our hands this 26th April 1825.
Bauxton  Harrison
Travis Perkinson
James Grapwith [?]

At a Court held for Prince George County at the Courthouse on Tuesday
the 10th day of Jany 1826 These Inventories and appraisments of the
Estates of James Bishop Sr and James Bishop Jr ????????? and by order of
the Court they are truly recorded.
A. B. Stirdivant

[My note: Evidently, from the time James' will is written in 1825, and 
1830, when ANGELICA petitions the General Assembly for permission to
remain in Virginia, a law is enacted which either prohibits the right of
free blacks to live in the state or to own property or perhaps both.]

Angelica's Petition to the General Assembly as found at:
The Library of Virginia: Archives
Legislative Petitions
Prince George County Petition 9566
11 December 1830

To the General Alsembly of Virginia
        The memorial of ANGELICA CHAPPELL of Prince George County 
respectfully represents---- That under the last will and testament of 
James Bishop of said County of Prince George she was emancipated, as will
be seen by reference to said will a copy of which accompanies this
that he the said Bishop left all his real estate to her during her life,
that he gave her his household and kitchen furniture, plantation utensils,
stock of all kinds, crop of corn  during her life, that he also gave 
her the amount for which his three slaves, GENERAL, JIMMY and POLLY
annually hired during her life and at her death the whole of said 
property of every description to her son HENRY----

        Your humble petitioner has been informed that evidence of general
good conduct would not avail her object in a Court of Justice and that 
your honourable body is the only tribunal to which she can apply that 
hath the power to grant her leave to remain in this Commonwealth ---- 
        Freedom is a blesing that you can better appreciate than your 
humble petitioner who has been in bondage more than forty years and whose
heart sickens at the thoughts of accepting it on the terms of your statute.
At her advanced age being now about fifty years old, to leave the place of
her birth, give up the home left her by a kind and indulgent master, 
bereft of her children for they are all slaves except HENRY and to look
out for a Government more friendly to unfortunate blacks than Virginia is 
what your petitioner begs and intreats of your honourable body not to 

        It is not the purpose of your petitioner to question the policy
of the law which prevents her continuance in the State for she is well
aware of the many bad acts of persons of her colour and fully believes
that had they all been good and orderly persons, the Act inhibiting their
living in the commonwealth would never have passed. She has been apprised
that hard cased occur to many individuals under all general laws yet your
petitioner humbly hopes that if she show by the evidence of the most 
respectable white persons in the neighbourhood that nothing can be said 
against her general moral character. That the Administrator has now in his
hands about the sum of $300-- (exlusive of the rest of her land and Hires
of her negroes for the last year or two) which is certainly more than 
sufficient to place her above the necesity of depridating [?] upon society.

        And that the Administrator refuses to give up her son HENRY or to
suffer him to be carried out of this commonwealth she hopes that her 
application will not be in vain.  Set your memorialist therefore entreat
you to have reference to the papers accompaning this her memorial and 
determine whether she has been of good moral charactor and with the 
property left her (and she is all human probability beyond child bearing]
shall she be compelled to seperate her self forever from her children and
all her connection, or will your honourable body not rather say let her 
remain and enjoy what she has where she is for may not your humble petioner
expect from the wise men of the land that Justice and Consolation that it
is in their power to afford to an obscure old black woman who would ever
remember them with gratude. 
Her Angelica X Chappell mark

        We certify that JOSHUA CHAPPELL a free man of colour (and who is
now the husband of ANGELICA) has been personally known by us for several
years and had universally supported a good character, as far as our 
knowledge extends. Given under our hands this 30th day of Nov. 1830.

Josiah Mc,ordan [?]
R. G. Dunn [?]
Jno: S. Epes [?]

        We the undersigned have understood that ANGELICA an emancipated
slave intends petitioning the Legistature for permission to remain in the
Commonwealth, and feel it our duty to say, that she has always supported
a good character and we think it would be an act of justice and humanity
to grant her petition. Given under our hand this 30 day of Nov. 1830.

Josiah M. Jordan [?]
R. G. Dunn or Durm [?]
Jno: S. Epes
Th: P. Cocke

[My note: Cocke's Mill (near Flowerdew Plantation) and Jordan Point are
both located on the Prince George side of the James River with 
Charles City on the opposite bank.  This leads me to believe Mr. Cocke 
and Mr. Jordon mentioned above are ANGELICA'S neighbors and her master,
James Bishop, would therefore have been living in the general area of 
Capt. John Bishop's home of Charles City and could be his descendant.]

The outside of the Petition reads:

The Memorial of Angelica Chappell
Dec 11th 1830
Frances E. Rives

To remain on the table, if the pleasure of the Comm till the member from
P. George can be present _______________ Dec 16. Rejected ______________ 

(My note: On Aug. 21, 1831, Nat Turner led approximately 70 slaves in
his famous rebellion in Southhampton County, Virginia, less than a year
after ANGELICA asked for a waiver to stay in Virginia. Nearly 60 white
men, women and children were killed and harsher slave laws were enacted
as a result.  Although it is sad to think ANGELICA'S appeal to the 
General Assembly was denied and she and HENRY were probably forced to 
find a home west or north, had she stayed, she could have been subject 
to retaliation as a free land-owning black after the rebellion.  Perhaps
God wished to preserve her and HENRY'S [maybe a Bishop Cousin?] line.  It
would be interesting to find out what happened to them. 

Additionally, James Bishop's will was lost in Prince George County's 
records during the Civil War and had ANGELICA not petitioned the 
Assembly and used James' will in her memorial, we would never have never
learned of this piece of Bishop history.

If this information is already out there in David Bishop's Capt. John
history, I apologize. [David, I never could copy that file to my hard
drive, I'm embarrassed to admit!] I just found it interesting and
thought someone else might also.

Best of Holidays,
Contributed by: Donna Jo Bishop Wright

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