1915 Letter from J.B. Bishop to Pearle Brasher

Among the many items my husband’s grandmother, Pearl Brasher Stufflebean, saved was a note written to her in 1916 from J.B. Bishop.

J.B. Bishop to Pearle Brasher

The postmark is quite difficult to read as it went over the stamp. It looks like May 1916, which is the year that Pearl graduated. It is less likely given Pearl’s and J.B.’s ages, but it could be 1918.

NOTE: It seems she used the “Pearle” spelling during her high school years.

Pearl and her mother moved around after her parents divorced in the early 1900s. She was born in Hopkins County, Texas, but lived in Hobart, Kiowa County, Oklahoma for a few years when she was around five or six. In 1910, she was living in Hale County, Texas with her mother, her stepfather, Charles Horne, and baby half brother, Aulton.

Charlie owned a laundry business and the family moved several times. One of their stops was Floydada, Floyd County, Texas. Pearl kept in touch with at least two friends from Floydada, Gladys Felton, who wrote to Pearl in 1918, and J.B. Bishop who wrote this note in 1916. I am guessing that she likely attended high school there for a year or two, although she graduated from Noble High School in Noble, Oklahoma in 1916. She lived with her father and stepmother at that time.

Note from J.B. to Pearle

You remember the promise you
made last year on condition that
I graduates. So what say Pearle.
as ever J.B.

This note poses some questions for the reader, two of which will remain unanswered. First, did Pearl write back to J.B.? Second, what promise did she make? Third, exactly who was J.B. Bishop?

The last question is the easiest to answer because J.B. stayed put in Floydada. He was John B. Bishop, born 12 December 1897, making him two months older than Pearl, who was born 9 February 1898.

John was the son of Stamps DeWitt Bishop (1870-1915) and Eugenia (Jennie) McDaniel (1874-1961). Given that his father died in 1915, I wonder if J.B. thought about dropping out of school to help his family and Pearl encouraged him to stay on and graduate?

As for the promise that Pearl made to J.B. – this is just speculation, obviously – but perhaps he wanted to date her and she promised to go out with him if he graduated. Of course, that meant she would have had to have traveled from Noble back to Floydada or else J.B. would have had to have gone in the other direction. That would have been quite a journey as the two towns are about 300 miles apart.

If the promise was a date, I don’t know if Pearl ever wrote back to J.B. or not. If she did, she likely announced her marriage to Earl Stufflebean, which took place a short three months later on 10 August 1916.

J.B. went on to marry Nola Kate Caudle on 2 August 1924. She was born on 6 August 1901 and died on 16 October 1998. J.B.’s life was much shorter, as he passed away in 1970. Both are buried in Floydada, Texas.

However, J.B. did have two daughters. Although both of them have also passed away, J.B. has one surviving grandchild and I have found an address for her. I wonder if she would like to have the original note that her grandfather wrote to Pearl one hundred years ago?

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