DeEtta Bishop Brisley was born July 13, 1863, just a little more than a week after her father, Buel Bishop, was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. DeEtta was born in New Albion, Cattaraugus County, NY. Her mother, Lucina, was attended to in the delivery by Dr. William F. Underwood. No official record of DeEtta’s birth or baptism exists, as testified to by numerous witnesses in Lucina’s petition for a Widows Pension.
The first record of DeEtta (age 1 1/2) is found in the New York State Census (June 1865) where she, her mother and her brothers are living in a log home with Lucina’s mother, Mary Ingols, in New Albion.
The 1870 Federal Census shows the entire family relocated to Little Valley. (One thing seen over and over in both state and federal census records is a variety of spellings in DeEtta’s name. She appears variously as: DeEtta, DeEtt, Deaette, Dutta, etc.)
Five years later, in the New York State 1875 Census, Lucina and her children are still in Little Valley, only now living in the home of Lucina’s brother, Charles Ingols, along with Mary Ingols, mother of Lucina and Charles.
Skip ahead another five years, to the 1880 Federal Census, and we find Lucina and her family still in residence with Charles. DeEtta is 16 years old and attending school. Listed on that same census is the man with whom she would be married for over 50 years: John Brisley (age 20).
Much happened to DeEtta over the next eight years, though records of her activities are yet to be unearthed. She gave birth to a son, George Fister, in 1882; followed by a daughter, Mary, in 1883. But who was their father? What happened to him?
DeEtta married John Brisley in 1888. We’ll pick up DeEtta’s story in another post.