Information regarding Dickinson and Helen Bishop

Apr 13, 2012
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I thought perhaps this tangential history regarding the Bishops may be of interest to someone.

My husband and I bought our home in Dowagiac, MI in 2008. Some time after moving in, we learned from multiple reliable local historians and previous owners of the home that Dickinson and Helen Bishop were returning from their honeymoon on board the Titanic to take residence in our house. From what I understand, Helen may have been the first passenger into lifeboat #7, the first lifeboat lowered into the sea. Thus, as far as we know, the first passenger off the Titanic ultimately returned from the ordeal to our home.

A current fellow Dowagiac resident owns an original 1912 Dowagiac telephone directory with the listing reflecting Dickinson (and Helen) Bishop's 1912 address and phone number, confirming the address: 203 Main Street.

A good portion of the interior house looks much as it did in 1912, as it went through many years without changes to much of the interior woodwork, and, despite its age (built in ~1890), little remodeling of significance has taken place. An antique lamp mounted to the atrium staircase is thought likely to be original to the era of the Bishops. The kitchen still has a large original Victorian ice chest that can be filled from a back porch. Our four young children enjoy the history associated with the house and are a bit sad we plan to move in the coming year or two.

I took my children to visit Helen's grave on the 100th anniversary of the sinking. As is well-documented, Helen died in 1916, several years after suffering a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident in 1913. (Ironically, I am a physician specializing in rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury.)

PS: Here is even more detail regarding the location of Helen's grave and our visit:

see Helen Walton Bishop (1892 - 1916) - Find A Grave Memorial

also see Find A Grave Contributor: Sally C. Palmer , which indicates her actual burial plot ("She is in Lot # 14 Block O").

finally see For Dowagiac family, Titanic anniversary hits home: They live in the former residence of couple who survived the tragedy | MLive.com for pictures.