Archive for the ‘Genealogy’ Category

House Genealogy: City Directories

Friday, December 14th, 2007

On Sunday, I went to the library to look at city directories. The library does not have a complete set of directories, but I gleaned some interesting tidbits anyway, and supplemented them with a little census work.

1920-21 City Directory:  our street existed (and was not named Oak, contrary to the plat record we saw at closing). No reverse address listings in the directory, and I didn’t go through all the listings to see if anyone lived at our address.  I have not been able to find a 1920 census for our street.

1927-28: Charles D. Bates lived here. He was a contractor with three children under 18 and no wife. (He wasn’t listed at all in the 1920-21 directory.)

1929-30: Lucy Leigh Brown and her sister Katherine lived there. Lucy was a music teacher and owned the house (or else her sister did). Per the city directories, the Browns lived there through at least 1939. (Gap in city directories from 1939-1947.) (In 1935, the house to the south was occupied by Kappa Kappa Gamma.  The local chapter was founded in 1925.)

1930 census: Catherine (b abt 1893, and with no occupation) owned the house (worth $6500), and her sister Lucy Lee (b abt 1898, a violin teacher) lived with her.  Both were born in Missouri.  Also in the house were: (1) Morris (age 23) and Anna (age 20) Rosenberg, renters from New York ($35/month) with no occupation (although Morris had attended school within the year – perhaps he was a university student), and (2) Francis and Margaret McClure, renters from Virginia ($20/month), both age 60, and age 57 at the time of their first marriage. The Rosenbergs were newlyweds, while Francis did something blurry with grain, except that he was unemployed. Perhaps the upstairs was already divided into apartments in 1930? (No one in the house had a radio.)

1947: Wm. H. January and Aug. C. Fuquay* lived there. Neither was identified as owner. Mr. January worked for the Ozark Floor Co.** (Lucy and Katherine had moved to 336 St. Charles.)

1951: Our house was now known as the January Apartments, a five flat with the Januarys occupying Apartment 1. Others: 2, Herman A. Tuck, Jr.; 3, Paul H. Bollinger; 4, Reed E. Tyson; and 5, Eug. O. Griffith.

1955: 1, Wm H January; 2, Donald B Mosley; 3, Bradley W Kidder; 4, Tyson E Reed [sic]; 5, vacant.

1957: 1, Wm H January; 2, Donald B Mosley; 3, Clara A Ridder; 4, Chas E Scharlan, Jr; 5, Wm B Fisher.

1959: 1, Wm H January; 2, Donald B Mosley; 3, Mrs Clara A Ridder; 4, Chas E Scharlan, Jr; 5, Richd M Akers.

1961: 1, R Keith Bolar; 2, Donald B Mosley; 3, Knox M Broom; 4, vacant; 5, vacant. (At the same time, my dad lived at 335 N Gregg Av.)

1962: 1, Dick Vromana; 2, Donald B Mosley; 3, Knox M Broom; 4, Tom Tunnell; 5, Bryant McCarley.

1964: 1, Wm L Owens; 2, Donald B Moseley; 3, Randall A Tomlinson; 4, Travis B Tunnell, Jr.; 5, S Lee Bowman.

1965: 1, Billy E Lowrey; 2, vacant; 3, Geo L McConnell Jr.; 4, Travis B Tunnell, Jr.; 5, vacant.

1966 and 1968: Lucy L Brown, music teacher, resides at 112 S University. (Katherine is gone. Lucy is not in the 1969 directory. Perhaps she died. I found a Lucy Brown, b 29 Apr 1889 and d Feb 1969, in Fayetteville AR in the Social Security Death Index.)

1966: Wm. H and Mable C January, and Thomas W., all working for the Ozark Floor Co., reside at 432 N Washington. (James C and Bobbie J January of Ozark Floor Co., reside at W Ash St.)

Remaining issues: Is the street name spelled with one R or two? Are there more city directories at the University? Or somewhere? Need to do title work. Need to talk to Mr. January’s son Tom.

*An Augustus Coyle Fuquay (or Gus) was born July 31, 1895 in Cero Gardo, Arkansas, and married Grace James 15 Feb. 1939 in Washington County, AR (where Fayetteville is). He registered for the WWI draft in Broken Bow, OK in 1917 (where he had a wife, who was probably not Grace), registered for the WWII draft in 1942 in Fayetteville (living at 319 W Maple then), and died in Broken Bow, OK in 1979.

**Ozark Floor Co. is still in business (although only since 1948 per their website) and still associated with the Januarys. Tom founded his own flooring business, Tom January Floors. Mabel (8 Oct 1903-Aug 1975) and William H (25 Jan 1903-11 Feb 1993) January obtained their social security cards in Illinois.

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We own the house!

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Fairly uneventful closing this morning.  I signed lots of papers and produced a check and driver’s license.  Don also produced a driver’s license and signed somewhat fewer papers.  I hear that the lender had not yet authorized payment so the sellers went home empty handed, for now.  (We went home after exchanging pleasantries, rather than stick around to watch them sign.)

We did get one clue about the house at closing.  I read the exceptions to the title insurance, and asked if they had a photocopy of the plat of record so they went off and made me a copy.  We learned that the street’s name was originally Oak with an alley behind.  I’ll have to look at the scale and see if the alley disappeared or if it became a street. (Might explain why I couldn’t find the street’s current name in the 1920 census.  It had changed by 1930, though.)  I forgot to ask if they had an abstract of title — maybe we could call the title company next week.

Our Realtor took us to lunch at James at the Mill.  Delicious.  (It just received 4 diamonds from AAA.  Again.)  I had meatloaf, which was presented like a filet mignon, complete with bacon wrapped around it, layered on spinach and mashed potatoes.  Warm chocolate cake.  Also delicious. Per its website, “The Historic Johnson Mill dat[es] back to 1835 and was reconstructed in 1867 after being burned during the Civil War.  The modern renovation of the mill was designed by world renowned architect James Lambeth.”  He also designed the restaurant itself from scratch for his daughter and son-in-law, and it is beautiful.  (They are also associated with Ella’s Restaurant at Carnall Hall on campus.)

Then, we went off to the house to see how much demolition we could do in two and a half hours.

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Our other houses, Part 4 Ashland house (Italianate) genealogy)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

 lp_finished_exterior_07.jpgSo this is our orphan Italianate, all dressed up and waiting for a new family.* The house genealogy I’ve done confirms my belief that it is considerably older than the 1893 date used in the listing papers.** (The town incorporated in 1893, so that may be where that date comes from.) The Italianate style is a bit uncommon for our town. We know of three in the immediate area, while there are dozens of Queen Annes, four-squares, Dutch Colonials, center entry Federals, and bungalows. I assume the relative scarcity is due to the age — by the time our inner Chicago suburb was being developed after the Chicago Fire, Italianates had gone out of style.  Also, some of the Federal style houses may be Italianates stripped of their gewgaws.

It presently sits on 1.5 lots, and in 1885, it was the only house on the block. The deed from that year refers to a number of lots [6 or 12] sold for a relatively minuscule price, which included a barn and a house. The land and house were sold at auction after the mortgagee defaulted on a loan.

The next house on our block was probably built in 1887, based on the sale of some land to Mrs. Lyon — her house is kitty-corner behind ours. (I’m working from memory because my house genealogy notebook and clippings are in storage.) Her house is a Queen Anne/farm style. Most of the other lots were sold in turn by about 1930, except that our house’s owners kept three lots until about fifty years ago.

By the turn of the last century, our Italianate was home to a stone merchant and his family and it probably occupied just those 3 lots. (There was a limestone quarry less than a mile from the house. Our study/dining room has a lovely fireplace with limestone “bricks” which I speculate came from the quarry.) After his death, his wife and children stayed in the house for quite a few more years.  He was a Christian Scientist, probably a founding member of the local church, and when he died, Avery Coonley*** of Riverside preached the funeral from the house.

His widow apparently made something of a living as a professional whistler. (Not this kind of Whistler, although I understand that his peacocks would have been noisier.) She went to Chautauquas**** and would whistle bird songs and the like. Eventually, she married a minister (Episcopal? American Baptist? I forget, but not Christian Science; it’s written down in that house notebook) and moved back East.

After that family sold the house in the 1920s, it was owned by several (4? 5?) families over the next thirty years. Often, they had a boarder. The second upstairs bathroom was there quite early as there was a clipped advertisement in our house file for a boarder, and it mentioned the private bath. At one point, a piano teacher lived there. Her student concerts were in the double parlor.

Then, in the 1950s, the owners sold 1.5 lots (the corner lot plus half a lot) to our present neighbor Caroline who built a nice ranch on it. Just before 1962, the owners remodeled a bathroom or two, installed olive green sculptured carpet throughout the downstairs, and sold it to our immediate-past POs, who lived there until 2005. Mr. PO died in the 1990s, Mrs. PO stayed there another ten years while developing dementia. When we bought the house, she had moved to a nursing facility nearby.  Several of their children still live in the area, and one lives just a few blocks from us.

* We’re hoping our orphan will soon be adopted!  We have a signed contract with people who had been waiting for their house to be adopted.  We are in the inspection, attorney review stage.  The full house inspection is today.  (Already had bugs inspection and radon inspection.  They waived lead testing.)  Will be holding breath until later in the month when/if we close.

** Our local historical society has a phenomenal set up. They have for years clipped articles from the local papers and filed them by address. So, if you want to know something about your house, you go there and ask for your house’s file. I had the file for our Italianate long before we had closed on it. (I just wish I had an ancestor who lived here so I could do some easy person genealogy.)

*** Yes, that Avery Coonley. Don and I have toured part of the Coonley estate during a Riverside house walk. Coonley had Frank Lloyd Wright design it and it was apparently Mr. Wright’s favorite Prairie style house.

**** My own great-grandmother and her father (my great-great-grandfather) used to play violin at Chautauquas.

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