Saturday, July 18, 2015

Former occupants: Where are they now?

I got to wondering this morning if folks still tell Marilyn and Jack Cavanaugh, who live in this great old house on East Auburn Avenue --- "Oh, you live in the Foote house."

Or, decades earlier, how long it took for Verle and Louise Foote to be acknowledged as masters of their own home --- rather than as occupants of "the Stanton house."

I still call it the Stanton house --- and I've always admired it. When I was a kid it was occupied by Helen (Marcy) Stanton and her son, Dr. Edwin M. Stanton --- the family dentist. So in my mind, their name has stuck to it.

That's just the way it works in a small town.

This is the oldest house in the block where it is located --- most likely built during the 1880s, possibly during the late 1870s based upon the roofline and the details of the cornice. I'd be willing to bet that the porches, the long front windows on the first floor, the porte cochere and other details are results of a turn-of-the-20th-Century makeover.

I've not been able to figure out who built it, even though it would have been one of Chariton's grander houses when it sprang up here in an almost rural neighborhood. The big brick house and grounds of the David D. Waynick family would have occupied more than half the block to the west; the more modest home of Dr. D.W. and Martha Waynick, the area to the east.

At some point during the late 1880s, Charles R. and Minnie Kirk --- then on the ascent in Chariton social and business circles --- purchased the house and moved in.

Charles Kirk, born in 1858, was a native of Harrison County, Missouri, who arrived in Chariton during 1884 to open a drug store on the square. He married Minnie Gray at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Chariton on Dec. 29, 1886, and they began housekeeping in rented quarters.

The Kirk fortunes rose because he was an astute businessman who developed a profitable sideline --- dealing in fine horseflesh, notably Percherons. This end of his business enterprises took him to France on occasion, where he personally selected horses for export to Iowa.

At some point during the late 1880s, Charles and Minnie purchased this house and moved in.

Sadly, Minnie developed tuberculosis about 1892 and on May 7, 1896, died at Las Vegas, New Mexico, where she was staying in the hope the climate there would improve her health. Her remains were returned to Chariton and interred in the Stanton Vault, then fairly new and among the more prestigious places in town to take up postmortem residence.

The following year, Charles sold the family home to Dr. Theodore Parker and Helen Stanton. They moved in with their family during October of 1897.

During June of 1898, Charles married as his second wife Alice Howard and they built a new home elsewhere in Chariton where they lived until about 1910 when they moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was president of the Percheron Importing Co. About 1915, however, he began to experience severe mental problems that forced his retirement, then during March of 1917, a fatal stroke. 

He died March 10, 1917, at the home of his brother-in-law, a physician, in Osceola and Alice brought his remains to Chariton for interment, initially in the Stanton Vault, then on the lot of her grandparents, Cyrus and Christiana Larimer. Alice remarried not long thereafter and moved to California.

Alice is buried in California, but it's not clear where Minnie's remains repose. When the Stanton Vault was demolished, remains identified as hers were found and reburied with others in the vault's footprint. However, various families evacuated their loved ones' remains from the vault as it deteriorated and Minnie also has a tombstone on her parents' lot in the Chariton Cemetery.

Theodore P. Stanton, born Sept. 26, 1853, was a son of pioneer Chariton physician James Eddington Stanton, a native of Belmont County, Ohio, who arrived in Lucas County with his family during 1862. Dr. J.E. Stanton also was a principal organizer during 1863 of the "new" Chariton Cemetery, still in use today.

Two of J.E. Stanton's sons, Theodore and John Henry, also became physicians. They practiced as partners at first, but established separate practices during the 1880s. Dr. John H. Stanton also carried the family interest in the Chariton Cemetery forward. 

T.P. Stanton married Helen Marcy, of Fairfield, during 1894, when he was in his early 40s, and three years later, they purchased and moved into the Charles R. Kirk home on East Auburn. There were five children: Margaret, Louise, Edwin, Lucian and James.

Both of the physician brothers, Theodore P. and John H., died during 1922. John H., then principal owner of the Chariton Cemetery, was buried in the Stanton Vault. Theodore P., however, chose to be buried more conventionally elsewhere in the cemetery, which proved to be a wise choice. The vault eventually was demolished and its occupants, including many of the Stantons, reburied in something of a heap where it once was located.

Helen Stanton continued to live in the East Auburn home with her son, Edwin, and daughter, Margaret Stanton Larimer, until her death on April 17, 1956. Edwin Stanton died 10 days later as the result of a heart attack. After that, the property was sold eventually to the Foote family who occupied it for nearly as long as the Stantons had.

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