"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Bishop, George W., in his day one of the able and widely known men of nothern Wisconsin, for a number of years proprietor of the New North newspaper of Rhinelander, and who was intimately concerned with state affairs, was born at Oconomowoc, Wis., June 20, 1862. His parents were Samuel and Harriet BISHOP of Whitewater, Wis. Following his school days he learned the printer's trade, and in March 1888, with Walter POLLOCK, he bought the New North, becoming shortly afterward sole owner. A little later W. C. OGDEN became his partner, having purchased a half interest in the business, which again passed into Mr. BISHOP'S hands in 1894. From that time until his death on May 26, 1904, he was the sole owner. Actively interested in the success of the Republican party, he in his capacity as newspaper editor, was one of the foremost to secure the nomination and election of Governor Edward SCOFIELD in 1896 and 1898 and during that administration acted as secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Immigration (created by the Governor) later giving it up in order to become a member of the State Board of Control, which position he filled with great credit, within a few months being elected vice president of that body. After the advent of Governor La Follette in 1900, Mr. BISHOP felt that he was not in harmony with the adminstration, and though pressed to hold the place, resigned. For a couple of years he was largely interested in the cut-over lands of this part of the state and was instrumental in securing an immigration that has steadily grown. A local journal, the New North, in speaking of Mr. BISHOP'S demise, said in part: "A career that promised much in public honor and preferment is ended. Possessed of that rare gift of securing friends wherever he went and a personality that retained these friendships; abilities that eminently fitted him for a public career and a full degree of physical strength, the time seemed near at hand for a greater recognition of his services, but the large volume of work handled as a public official was overtaxing and finally the strong mentality broke down. Since January, 1903, every effort has been put forth by medical experts and friends to assist in his recovery. During the latter period of 1904 he improved so rapidly that great hopes were entertained that it might be permanent. The winter months Mr. and Mrs. BISHOP spent in California, but in April there appeared indications of a return to the malady and they returned to Wisconsin. From about May 15 his decline was rapid up to last Thursday morning, when the end came which brings to all peace." Funeral services were held at Whitewater on the following Saturday with interment in the family plat at Fort Atkinson. The news of Mr. Bishop's death brought testimonials from numerous personal friends and newspaper journals, all of a high character. One of these printed in the Madison State Journal, was from "Uncle Dick" PETHERICK, formerly a member of the State Board of Control, who, after paying a tribute to his personal character and making reference to the close friendship that had existed between them, said, speaking of Mr. Bishop's public career: "As a member of the Board of Control he was the moving spirit that introduced many reforms, some of which have become permanent features in the business of the state that no waves of 'reform' can wash away. One of these changes was in the manner of buying supplies in bulk after competitive bidding, instead of having each institution purchase for itself." Mr. PETHERICK further testified that, "Although Mr. BISHOP was an ardent Republican, he never allowed political considerations to interfere with merit in making appointments or promotions in the public service, and it can be truthfully said that at no time in the history of the Board of Control was there less politics in its actions than during the time when George W. BISHOP was its moving spirit." The Milwaukee Sentinel editorially spoke of Mr. BISHOP as "a man of unbounded energy, bright intellect, and sterling integrity," going on to say: "In his younger days the joy of living was so strong that he would leave the dry details of business at any time to engage in a basefall game or other athletic sports. Later one he took into the serious work of life the same energy and force that he characterized him as a young man. When he was appointed to the State Board of Control by Governor SCOFIELD he entered upon the discharge of his duties with an apparent determination to do all the work of the board, and the night and day he labored to make a record administration of the state institution. There are few men in Wisconsin who had a wider acquaintance that George BISHOP, and there is none who has more warm personal friends that he had in the state. He made friends easily he invariably kept them to the end, for he was true to every obligation of friendship. When he had an opportunity to do a favor he did not stop to consider how the act would affect himself. He did what he believed to be right and took his chances. But it was his quaint wit in conversation, his genius for epigram, metaphor and illustration that will longest be remembered by those who acquaintance with him was of a superficial character. No man could hear George BISHOP talk for ten minutes without remembering him. Had he been gifted with the ability to write as he talked, he would have made a national fame as a humorist, but his wit left him when he grasped the pen. He then became an ordinary, everyday newspaper man like his follows." Mr. BISHOP was married at Lake Mills, Wis., on Nov. 20, 1884, to Edith KRETLOW of that place.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from page 221-222 (with picture); History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.

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