|Little Home Histories, Part 75 -- The James Stanton Home, 1837-.|
by Holloway, Dorothy L.
The old and unique brick house built by James Stanton about the year 1837 holds particular interest for the writer because my mother, Helen Hall Holloway, was born there in June 13, 1899. James Stanton was born near Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, in the year 1811, a son of Henry and Clary Patterson Stanton -- who come from North Carolina in 1800. James married Rachel Schofield of Virginia on March 31, 1830 in the Stillwater Meeting House, and to them were born two sons and two daughter; David, Lindley, Edith, and Lydia. At the age of 25 years and 28 days. Rachel Stanton was laid to rest in the Stillwater burial grounds on September 1, 1836. On June 28, 1843, James again said his marriage vows, this time to Charity Bundy. The meeting records show that he was held in high esteem by the meeting and served on many committees, also as a companion to Benjamin Hoyle during his religious Visits to Ohio Yearly Meetings in 1849. While living in the home that he built, James passed away at the age of 40 years and was buried at Stillwater on January 20, 1851. After his death, three commissioners were appointed; William Green, Joel Doudna, and John Starbuck, to decide how his land was to be divided. A decision was reached to sell the farm altogether. In 1853 Joseph Stanton bought the house. Some of the later owners were; Israel Wilson - 1858, George Tatum - 1861, and Joseph and Anna Hoge who owned it for 25 years.
From Stillwater Meeting House, we travel southeast on Sandy Ridge road to Pidgeon Point -- now known as Mount Holly -- and continue on to the left and the turn right up a slight grade, at the top of which a road turns sharply off Sandy Ridge to the left. We follow this road down a steep grade and pass the well-preserved and attractive former homestead of Eli Stanton. If we go down another steep grade and then up a slight rise, at the top is spread before us the 151 acres on which the old home of James Stanton is located. Grandfather and Grandmother Hall recall that from this point on toward the house, the road was lined with huge cherry trees -- now gone -- that yielded wonderful crops of large sweet cherries of perfect quality, which sold in town for 50 cents a bucket.
The old brick house which stands on a gentle southward slope, is screened by a closely set row of stately pine trees on the west; a lone pine stands in the front lawn to the north. The house itself, reflects the character of its builder by presenting a plain but very substantial type of architecture mingled with a suggestion of Southern influence. Originally there was a double decked porch running the full length of the frame part on the west side. This porch was provided with a closed stairway leading to the upper deck and access to the back bedrooms in the frame section -- presumably for the use of hired help.
The main foundation measures twenty feet by thirty feet; and averages twelve feet high and sixteen inches thick throughout. It is built of carefully dressed and perfectly squared sandstone of various sizes fit together so perfectly that no mortar joints were used. Even today the walls stand straight and true. The largest stone measures 5 ft. 2 in. long by 19 in. deep by 16 in. thick, and there are many more that approximate that size. On top of this foundation, walls built of hard-baked bricks measuring 8 1/2 inches by 4 inches by 3 1/4 inches rise to a height of 18 ft. 5 inches -- to the eaves and are 14 inches thick. After more than a hundred years it is difficult to find imperfections in either the bricks or mortar joints, and the walls stand true with no indications of cracks or bulges. In the front or north wall of the house there are ten openings supported by sandstone lintels in perfect condition. The top row of openings consists of five evenly spaced windows and the bottom row of four windows with one door in the middle. The window openings measure 5 ft. 6 in. high and 3 ft. 2 in. wide and are equipped with double sash -- each of which is divided into six lights measuring 10 in. by 14 in. The front door measures 3 ft. by 7 ft. and is without question the original, since the paneling is strikingly unique in design.
Entering by the front door, we step into a small hall and face a stairway leading to three bedrooms on the second floor. On our right and left, doors open into large west and east living rooms. Each of the five rooms is equipped with a small fireplace. In the south wall of the east living room we go through a door and down three steps into the dining room and continue on into the adjoining kitchen. Turning to the east wall of the kitchen we pass through a door into the well room. Directly above the dining room, kitchen and well room there were three rooms of corresponding sizes and this section of the house was of frame construction and formed an ell extending southward from the east end of the main brick building. The doors throughout the house are equipped with iron latches of unique design which are placed unusually low. From the well room a flight of steps leads downward to a landing, off of which opens two doors, one leading into the main basement and one to the outside. These doors are supported by wooden frames which are spiked to the stone wall with square, hand made nails. From this landing more steps continue downward into a room measuring approximately 10 ft. by 10 ft. by 12 ft. high, the walls of which are constructed of stones identical to those used in the main foundation walls. A door in the east wall leads to the ground level and there is a window in the south wall to light the stairs and one window in the east wall about 6 ft. from the floor. The joists for the floor above the spring room are hand hewed poplar and chestnut logs measuring 5 in. wide by 8 in. deep. This room is unquestionably the outstanding feature of the entire house, since it houses a wonderful spring of clear, cool water which rises from the earth and flows into a large sandstone bowl approximately 4 ft. in diameter and at least 2 ft. deep. While most of the early settlers of Belmont County selected a home site near a good spring of water, James Stanton evolved the quaint idea of building his home over a spring, thereby protecting it from outside risks of contamination and insuring its quick and comfortable use during all seasons and any sort of weather. We younger folks have listened many times to our elders reminiscing of "The house built over the spring." what an unusual idea it was and what an extraordinary spring it had proven to be. No wonder then, that gazing into the depths of this beautiful bowl of pure, clear water and beholding our reflected image therein, we should have impressed upon our consciousness the great and everlasting service that nature bestows upon mankind, for we surely know that before us, this crystal pool has reflected the images of hundreds of good people while they tasted its's cool freshness. Joseph and Anna Hoge, who owned the property for 25 years installed a food elevator that raised and lowered from the spring to the floor above, thus saving many steps up and doom the stairs. Before them Israel Wilson installed a pump in the well room that pumped the water from the spring to the floor above. My Grandparents, who lived in the James Stanton home for five years used a long trough constructed to accommodate several milk cans that utilized the overflow from the spring for the purpose of cooling fresh milk. The present owner, a Mr. Wade, has built a modern cement spring house about 30 ft. east of the old spring and is installing a gasoline engine to pump the spring water through the entire house.
The old barn stands today on it original foundation of stones identical to those used in the house foundation and measures 40 ft. by 60 ft. The framework of hand hewed timbers, held together by wooden pins and handmade nails appears to be rigid and straight. The hewn log joists that support the floor are placed close together and most of them are good solid timber.
When we young people of today delve into the busy lives of our ancestors, we wish it were possible to step into the past and sit with them before their log open fires -- listening to the crackle of the burning logs mingled with exchanges of that homespun wisdom which was born of simple living and good fellowship. Then we might grasp more fully the true reasons for that pioneering spirit which built strong characters and contented lives.
Source: Written by: Dorothy L. Holloway and Harold L. Holloway, Wheeling, W. Va. James Stanton is a great, great, great Uncle of Dorothy Holloway.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
CO-AUTHOR: Holloway, Harold L.
DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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