Monday, August 01, 2011

"Ilion South" in Orlando

Jessie Mallory Thayer/O'Neal's home at 614 Lake Ave. in Orlando.

Although the Mallorys’ landmark Chariton home, Ilion, was demolished in 1955, the final Mallory home --- in Orlando, Florida, still stands --- recognized as that city’s finest remaining example of the Queen Anne style.

This seems to be an example of the great unfairness of life since it is known as the Poyntz-O’Neal House after is builders, Oliver and Minnie Poyntz, and Jessie (Mallory) Thayer/O’Neal’s final husband, William R. O’Neal, who moved in with Jessie and her mother, Annie, after marrying Jessie during 1914. Jessie is, at best, a Florida footnote.

Jessie (left) purchased the house at 614 Lake Ave., looking east over what now is known as Cherokee Lake (then called Lake Minnie after Minnie Poyntz), for $5,000 in 1909.

During that same year, after long and bitter court fights over Mallory property in Lucas County had ended, professional movers arrived in Chariton to pack the contents of the Ilion which then were shipped by rail to Orlando and, presumably, arranged in this house.

Jessie’s mother, Annie, died here at age 81 during March of 1923. Jessie died a few months later, during November, at an Orlando hospital, age 60.

Jessie had married O’Neal, an Orlando social, civic and business gadfly, during 1914 and he had moved in to the house, then known as “Three Pines," with Jessie and her mother.

Upon Jessie’s death, O’Neal (left) received a life interest in the house that presumably was fortified by a purchase agreement since it continued to be an O’Neal home until 1975.

William R. O’Neal died during 1946 at age 82 and his unmarried daughter from his first marriage, Mabelle Copeland O’Neal, continued to live there until her death at age 86 during 1975.

The home was sold by Mabelle’s estate in 1976 and has changed hands several times since --- for $890,000 at public auction soon after the turn of the 21st century (the asking price had been as high as $2.1 million). It remains in private hands.

While tracking the Mallorys, those of us involved often have speculated about what became of the Ilion’s contents (I’d like to find photographs taken during the Mallory era, for example). Some furniture not shipped to Florida reportedly ended up at Slab Castle, a Penick family retreat down along the Chariton River that later burned. We know family items were passed on to Mallory uncles, nieces and nephews. But it seems likely that the bulk of the Mallory furniture and related items remained in the house during O’Neal tenure into the 1970s and then were dispersed.

I’ll be posting more about Jessie and her Florida home at some point to the Mallory Castle blog. In the meantime, if you’d like to see a street view her Orlando house, you can find it here.

Added to the Mallory's Castle blog, "Jessie marries Deming Thayer."

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