Bishop house front

The Bishop family home is presented on this real photo postcard from around 1910.

FREDERICKTOWN -- In the course of collecting materials for this column, I sometimes find items which open the doors to past stories. Other times, the information that is there is insufficient to unlock the past.

This particular card is a bit odd in that it appears to have been written out and addressed, but there is neither stamp nor postmark on the card.

Was it never sent?

Whoever wrote it identified their address only as “Fredericktown Rt #2,” which sounds like a rural route designation. I have no idea what road or roads Route #2 may have been, but the fact that it isn't Route #1 suggests it was further out of town.

The addressee is identifiable, at least: Galen Bishop, of Columbus. Galen Daniel Bishop was born in Morrow County in 1884, and later moved to Knox County with his family. But by 1910, he is living in Columbus, where he was employed at the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad as a clerk in the depot.

The depot is such an architecturally distinctive building, it was preserved even after the T & OC railroad merged into the New York Central Railroad in the 1930s, and the passenger service was transferred to Union Depot.

Bishop's work as a clerk appears to have also involved writing and editing, for he is credited as co-author of a book published in 1915 in Columbus as a reference guide to the sort of air brakes used in industries such as railroads. Whatever else his duties involved, they must have been demanding.

His World War One draft card describes him as having gray hair, even though he was only 34 years old! He lived to be 65 and passed away in 1950, and is buried in Sunset Cemetery in Columbus.

The identification of Galen D. Bishop as the addressee of the card leads us to his family in Fredericktown. His father was Orin Bishop, and his mother Ida's maiden name was Wilson. Orin is likely the writer of the postcard, for he mentions that “Hoy arrived O.K.” Hoy was one of Galen's brothers.

The writer says, “Just finished threshing 207 bushels of wheat,” again suggesting that the house must have been well out into the countryside around Fredericktown. He adds, “Molly and Ray, Grandma and Anna and Mrs. Lynn were helping mother. Everybody is well,” then sends birthday greetings.

The information about threshing wheat and Galen's birth date of August 20 suggests that the card was written in early August. The year is trickier to establish.

Galen left Knox County by 1910, when he's first listed in a Columbus city directory on Dennison Avenue, the same address as on the card. By 1914, he marries Ethel Stoops of Columbus and moves to a new apartment. This suggests, then, that the card was written between 1910 and 1913.

The location of the Bishop farm near Fredericktown, though, is elusive. Galen's draft cards tell us that he was born somewhere in Morrow County. By 1900, the family is in Morgan township, in southern Knox County, according to the census. By the time of this postcard, they have relocated to some place near Fredericktown, identified as Route #2.

Does anyone recognize the house or the family?

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