FREDERICKTOWN -- Say what you will about the pitfalls of social media — and there are plenty — but it can turn a local history column into a discussion with results. Last week we ran an antique postcard image identified as the Bishop home on “Route 2, Fredericktown.”
As readers chimed in, discussion pointed out similar houses in the area. Heather Randall Gaudet noted the similarity between the pictured house and one in Waterford. Though the house bore a similarity, she and other family members decided that it wasn't quite the same, though one wonders if it was a popular design used by a builder in the area in the late 1800s and/or early 1900s.
Another similar house was cited by Tiffany O'Malley and Kelly Angle as “the house by the tracks on Beckley.” Again, it seemed similar, but not exactly identical.
The Waterford lead prompted a discussion of local postal routes.
“I grew up in Waterford,” Kathy Gantz said, “and I think we were Route Three.”
Amber Tims Beach noted that she delivers in the Waterford area and that for the last 18 years, it has been Route Two. But the route label may extend over several roads. Sheri Sears noted that she grew up west of Fredericktown on Ohio 95, and it was designated Route Two.
Meanwhile, Dan White plunged into research files and found census reports for the Bishop family in Morgan Township in 1900, then closer to Fredericktown in 1910. Galen's parents were named Orin and Ida, so it appears likely that the correspondent of our postcard was Orin Bishop. The farm where they lived in Morgan township was between Newark Road (Ohio 13) and the railroad tracks.
There is a small house on the property which may or may not date back to the time period under discussion, but it is very different in appearance from the postcard photo.
The Bishop family's move to Fredericktown matches up with the identification made by Michele Carr.
“This looks very similar to my parents home,” Carr wrote. “Norton & Eileen Dumbaugh. It’s on rt 95 (9912 Mt. Gilead Rd.). We moved there when I was like 13, which would have been around 1980. Not sure it’s the same house, but looks very very much like it.”
Michele posted a picture of the house, which on close inspection, does appear to be identical to the house in the postcard, matching in its distinctive front windows and off-centered front door. This placement of the house also matches two important pieces of information: Dan White's identification of the Bishop family's property, and Sheri Sears' observation of Ohio 95 being postal Route Two.
Applying the outline of the original property to a modern map, it can be seen that the parcel corresponds to the spot next to Buckeye Bookkeeping Solutions, which is on a small lot long ago sold off from the farm property the Bishops bought. On the 1871 map of Knox County, the property — including the smaller lot — was owned by a George Scott. By 1896, Scott had sold the southern half of his property to L. Wright, who sold off the small lot and later sold the rest of the property to the Bishops.
And the other point, though less definitive, still points toward the same conclusion: though postal routes are indeed subject to change, at least one person can confirm living on the same road and knowing it as Route Two.
An additional point that Dan White noticed was that one of the neighbors of the farm seen on the 1896 map is a Linn, and our correspondent mentioned both a “Ray” and a “Mrs. Lynn” in the postcard.
White looked it up and found that Mrs. Linn's daughter Mary married Ray McDonald in 1909. More pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
It appears that our readers have tracked down the original farm that this correspondence emerged from.
Today, Mark Dumbaugh lives in the house, which is on the south side of Ohio 95 just over the hill west of the Ohio 13 overpass, just past the Goodwill store and Buckeye Bookkeeping Solutions, right before the lane which leads back to the Schafer Driveline factory. The factory sits on what was originally the farmland which yielded the wheat that Orin wrote about threshing in the original postcard.
What change a century can bring!
Congratulations and thanks to all the readers who chimed in to solve this little mystery.