Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Builders: Where are they now?

It helps to be fond of both vintage buildings and tombstones to understand why I generally track down the final resting places of the people who built (and in some cases merely occupied) big old houses that catch my fancy. It's interesting to see how their final monuments compare to the residential monuments to themselves, constructed in life.

That comparison is fairly easy to make in the case of the grand old house on East Auburn Avenue, featured last week in three posts entitled "Kay's Garden."

Harry Penick built the first version of this house during 1897-98 for himself and his bride, Mabel Wadleigh. Mabel died during 1902 and the house was extensively damaged by fire later the same year. Harry then built another home for himself elsewhere in Chariton and sold what remained of this one.

Harry died of a heart attack in Seattle, his final home, on Oct. 27, 1940, and his remains were returned to Chariton by his third wife, Ruth, for burial on the family lot in the Chariton Cemetery after graveside services on Oct. 31. Although his headstone here is a modest one, he shares the glory of the Penick family stone --- in keeping with the scale of the house he built.

Although there are some indications that the unfortunate Mabel was buried initially in Chariton, her remains now repose in the Wadleigh burial place --- Oquawaka Cemetery in Henderson County, Illinois.

Harry sold what remained of his East Auburn Avenue house to George W. Larmer and his wife, Emma, who moved in with their family during May of 1903. George died on Jan. 20, 1924, and was buried in what then was a new subdivision of the Chariton Cemetery, still owned at the time by the Stanton family. The family stone here is entirely in keeping with the house occuped in life.

Emma Larimer died at the family home on Dec. 6, 1940, and her grave is marked by a headstone similar to George's on the family lot.

The Larimers' daughter, Edith, married Howard Custer Copeland and the East Auburn Avenue house became their home, too.

Upon his death on June 15, 1950, Howard was interred in the family mausoleum built upon the death of his father, Howard Darlington Copeland, during 1913. The mausoleum is located not far northeast of the Larimer lot.

By the time Howard's widow, Edith, died on March 4, 1978, she had decided not to join him in the mausoleum and was buried more conventionally on the Larimer family lot with her parents and siblings although within view of the mausoleum.

Howard's and Edith's daughter, Harriett, then moved from Ottumwa full-time into her parents' home with her husband, Dr. David Holman. They decided to move from Chariton to Mesa, Arizona, during the 1980s, dispersed the contents of the family home and sold it to Rex Johnson, its current owner.

David Holman died Feb. 15, 1993, in Ottumwa, and his cremated remains were placed in the Copeland mausoleum. Harriett died Jan. 3, 2003, and her cremated remains were placed beside his in the mausoleum.

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