Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Coolest People!

I swear I "meet" the some of the coolest people!

There's a couple in a town close by that I have yet to actually meet in person, but hopefully they will stop in soon.  They sent me an email a few days ago and introduced themselves and yesterday they sent an email of a picture of the house that used to be on the empty lot next door to us!

You can't imagine how many times we've wondered and tried to find out what the house next door used to look like and all we could discover was that there was a bungalow there at one time and that it was long gone when the Methodist Church (across the street from us) bought the lot.  We were able to see on the 1877 map of Trenton that there was definitely a different house there (not to mention that bungalows didn't become popular until several decades later.) Why did it seem important to us to find out what the house looked like?  Well, for the simple reason that it was also an Elder family residence.

Henry Lucas Elder built the original house on our lot-the part that remains is our kitchen, dining room and the two rooms above.  His brother, John Wesley Elder, built a house next door.  I'm don't recall at the moment what Henry Lucas did for a living (he had an office or shop on court square) but we do know that John Wesley was the President of the Gibson County Bank which he founded along with his nephew, Horace McClung Elder, (Henry Lucus' son) who worked for him at the bank under the title of "cashier" (which I suspect held more responsibility that today's cashiers.)  I don't know when this picture was taken, but when Horace built the addition to the house he would have been around 46 and John Wesley about 74.  I wonder if these two are John and Horace?  I'll have to ask Donnie if he knows.

So,  we always wondered what John's place was like, especially since it was next door.  Now we know-thanks to some good people who were willing to share!

Our house is to the left of this one.  The house to the right still exists.  I'd say this photo was taken around 1895 as the city's tree-lined streets planting project is fairly established.

Our house-taken around the turn of the century-J.W. Elder's house was to the right.

The house to the left of ours was also owned in part for a short time by one of the Elder family, W.L. Elder, (who I believe to be William L. Elder, Horace's brother) who purchased it with James R. Deason.  W.L. Elder later transferred his half to James who then became full owner until his death when his law partner (of the firm of Deason, Rankin, & Elder) Henry "Harry" Houston Elder, (Horace's son) handled the Honorable James R. Deason estate which was then purchased by M. H. Holmes who I believe was the Holmes who was also one of the partners.

The house to the left of the Deason/Holmes house (which later became Holmes Funeral Home, then Shelton Funeral Home) was the home of Quinton Rankin who was also one of the law partners until his murder in 1908.  His widow later remodeled the whole house, removing the 3 arched openings on the upper and lower porches and replacing them with the large columns, giving it the appearance it has today.  I'll have to make it a point to see if the new owners happen to have a picture of the house in its original design.

What I find interesting is that you can't start talking about one of these people or houses without talking about half the town since they all link to each other, but these are/were the four houses in a row that all have intertwining histories. 

Deason, Elder, Holmes, with Bobbitt-a colleague from Humboldt (in order right to left with Bobbitt in the doorway-if I remember right)

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