Postcard-Tiverton-bar

A postcard from 1910 is encrypted in three different ciphers. Can a reader solve this unusual cryptogram?

David Allen Wilson has pointed out an interesting Reddit discussion to me. It is about an encrypted postcard showing a motive from Tiverton, Rhode Island. Here’s the picture side of the card:

Postcard-Tiverton-pic

As can be seen on the address side, the card was sent to an unmarried woman named Lillian R. Blake in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Postcard-Tiverton-tex

Fall River, MA, is only seven miles away from Tiverton, RI, although the two towns are located in different states. Apparently, the card was sent from a place in Massachusetts, but I can’t see which one.

 

Three different encryption systems

The sender probably was the lover of Miss Blake (most encrypted postcards were sent by men to their spouses). He used three different encryption systems:

  • The top line is encrypted in a secret writing.
  • The middle part is based on a number alphabet.
  • The lower part is coded in a pigpen variant.

Probably, all three codes are simple letter substitutions. While the top line might be difficult to decipher (there are only ten characters for analysis), I’m pretty sure that my readers will be able to solve the two remaining parts. If somebody has a clue, please let me know.


Further reading: Four encrypted postcards wait to be solved (part 1)

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Kommentare (13)

  1. #1 Norbert
    15. Mai 2017

    The number parts:
    I HEARD THAT YOU GOT AN EARLY
    START SATURDAY MORNING,


    YOUR FRIEND
    ERNES[T]

  2. #2 Norbert
    15. Mai 2017

    The pigpen part:

    WILL AND I WENT EELING
    SATURDAY BUT ONLY
    GOT A FEW. WHEN ARE
    WE GOING TO PLAY WHIST
    AGAIN.

  3. #3 Thomas
    15. Mai 2017

    The first part:
    Dear friend?

  4. #4 Norbert
    15. Mai 2017

    I am pretty sure that the upper symbol part is

    DEAR FRIEND,

    and that the single word in the bottom line is

    FROM.

    If only the middle part was easier to read …

  5. #5 Thomas
    15. Mai 2017

    There is a transcription (https://m.imgur.com/a/cTX58 ) which might yield (I’m not sure):

    “Hope you got us the hill alright this time”

  6. #6 Thomas
    15. Mai 2017

    correction:
    “up” instead of “us”

  7. #7 David Wilson
    USA
    15. Mai 2017

    Vielen Dank! I have written the person with the postcard.

  8. #8 Thomas
    16. Mai 2017

    In 1911 Lillian R(ay) Blake (1885 – 1973), who in 1910 lived in Fall River, 144 Prospect Street (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RVL-93YJ?mode=g&i=22&cc=1727033) married William Ernest Oldmixon (1887 – 1964)
    (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DBL5-QL?mode=g&i=754&cc=1469062). This might have been her friend Ernest and the sender of the card in 1910.

  9. #9 Thomas
    16. Mai 2017

    More about the connection between the sender and the recipient of the postcard:

    In 1910 (William) Ernest Oldmixon, a carpenter by profession, lived in Dighton (Mass.), Elm Street. In the same street lived William Blake, 51 years old, also a carpenter, see https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RNT-49B?mode=g&i=36&cc=1727033.
    According to Oldmixon’s WWI registration form from 1917 he worked for William Blake in Dighton. The recipient Lillian Blake was born in Dighton in 1885 and worked as a servant in Fall Rivers in 1910. Probably Ernest’s employer William Blake was Lilian’s uncle (1910 her mother Clementine Blake lived in Taunton together with Lillians younger brothers and sister, a husband isn’t mentioned, perhaps Lillian’s father had died before 1910). Unfortuntately I can’t make out whether the upper part of the postmark contains “Dighton”.

  10. #10 Thomas
    16. Mai 2017

    Lillian’s father was Thomas L Blake (b. 1857) from Dartmouth, Mass. He had a brother, William B Blake, who was 12 years old in 1870 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDSK-HRN). Ernest’s employer William B Blake was 51 years old in 1910, therefore it is very likely that Ernest’s employer was the brother of Lillian’s father.

  11. #11 Gerry
    16. Mai 2017

    @Thomas: Yes, the upper part of the postmark contains “Dighton”. I took another vintage postcard from 1907 and rotated the postmark until the partial postmark overlapped the nearly complete one:
    http://imgur.com/a/noU96

  12. #12 Thomas
    17. Mai 2017

    @Gerry

    Ingenious idea! Now we can be pretty sure that the sender was William Ernest Oldmixon.

  13. #13 Klaus Schmeh
    18. Mai 2017

    @Norbert: Thank you very much for solving this postcard!
    @, Thomas, Gerry: Thank you for the additional information!