Tuesday, July 05, 2016

This old house: Bartholomew through Mumford

 This distinctive Queen Anne-style house with a corner tower at the intersection of  North 5th Street and Osage Avenue has been looking down at the mouth for quite a few years now, tattered and seemingly unloved. But recently it's attracted the attention of a young couple --- and a fresh coat of white paint. These are positive developments.

Their interest in the old building rekindled mine and I finally got around to tracking down its pedigree, something I've been intending to do. Some time.

To do that, I started in 1947 and worked my way back; 1947 because I'd stumbled onto a reference to the business that occupied it during that year. I have no idea who has owned the property since, but do know quite a bit now about its glory years --- stretching from 1900 when it was built by John W. Lyon in what once was David D. Waynick's orchard until 1946, when Stanton B. and Marie Hooper moved out.


Had you been in the market for a social event venue during the latter part of 1947, this would have been the address --- the Mumford Tea Room. Everything from weddings and receptions to card parties were held here. Supper was available every evening but Thursday; Sunday dinner, too, but by reservation only.

Tom and Mary Louise (Oden) Mumford  had leased the building with option to buy during early 1947 and were attracting considerable business by the end of the year. Sadly, Mrs. Mumford died at the untimely age of 34 during late February, 1948. Her husband --- with two young sons --- accepted a less demanding postition at the country club and the business closed and the contents of the building were auctioned. After that, residential tenants moved in again.

Until the previous year, the tea room site had been the home of Stanton B. and Marie I. (Vincent) Hooper, who had lived there for more than 30 years --- the longest period of owner occupancy in its history.

"Stant" Hooper, among children of the extravagantly named Major Gardiner and Pocahontas (Millan) Hooper, was born during 1877 in Nebraska where his parents had moved --- from Chariton --- during 1871. Marie was a daughter of William T. and Harriet (Admire) Vincent. They had married in Chariton during 1903.

The Hoopers, who had no children, purchased the house for roughly half what it had cost to build during 1915 from his first-cousin, Stanton M. Custer, and his wife, Dora (Brown) Custer. There was good reason for the bargain-basement price. The dwelling had been badly damaged in a fire during late 1914 and not fully repaired. Once it had been repaired, the Hoopers moved in.

Stant Hooper had begun work for the Railway Postal Service during 1903 on the C.B.&Q. main line from Chicago to Council Bluffs. During 1929, he was appointed clerk in charge and that required a moved to Chicago until retirement in 1939. The Hoopers kept their home in Chariton during those years, however, living in it frequently when not in Chicago (keep in mind that travel between Chariton and Chicago was very convenient in those days, especially for railway employees).

Upon retirement in 1939, the couple returned full-time to Chariton and made their home in the North 5th Street House until 1946 when his health began to fail. They held a downsizing auction during early June 1946, moved to a smaller place nearby and put the house on the market. 

Stanton Hooper died on Jan. 21, 1947 and was buried in the Chariton Cemetery. Marie had many years ahead of her. She died in Chariton on March 16, 1984, age 101.


Stant Hooper's cousin, Stanton M. Custer, had purchased the North 5th Street house with his wife, Dora, from Albert E. and Orilla A. (Waynick) Dent, distant cousins of mine, during 1904 --- just four years after it was built.

Stanton Custer was a son of James Bradford and the legendary Susannah (Millan) Custer --- a sister of Stant Hooper's mother, Pocahontas. He was a painter and decorator by trade, working in partnership with his brothers. Dora, nee Brown, was a native of Washington, Iowa. They had two daughters, Virgina and Alice.

The Custers lived in their spacious home for approximately 10 years, entertaining often within a family and social circle that included several of Chariton's most prominent families --- including their Copeland cousins.

But disaster struck just before Christmas, 1914. Here's how The Chariton Leader reported the fire in its edition of Dec. 24, 1914, under the headline, "Residence Burned: The Fine Home of Stant Custer Badly Damaged."

"About noon, on last Thursday, the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Stant Custer, in the northeast part of the city, took fire, it is thought from the furnace, and was soon a mass of flames, the fire creeping up through the rooms between the walls, but did not break through, leaving merely the hull. The fire company responded and did good work, but most of the contents were either destroyed or damaged to such an extent as to be valueless. This was the residence erected (sic) by Mr. Albert Dent and was one of the best in the city, Mr. Custer coming into possession of it a few years ago. The house and contents were covered by policies of insurance amounting to $4,500, but the damage and loss exceed this. The adjusters came on Tuesday and the loss has been settled, and the work of repair will being soon."

Although the Custers may have begun to repair the home, they eventually decided to sell it instead early the next year for $2,250 to their cousins, the Hoopers, who completed the job.

With her home and most of the family belongings gone, Dora Custer set out early in 1915 with her two daughters for California, seeking a new home --- with the understanding that Stanton would join her there. This didn't work out, so the Custers continued to live in Chariton for a time, acquiring the Woodlawn Avenue home of his brother, Walter S. Custer, who died later in 1915.

Prior to 1920, however, Dora had moved to Des Moines with their daughters and Stanton finally joined them there.

Stanton Custer died in Des Moines on June 16, 1931. Dora died during February of 1939 in Los Angeles, where both of her daughters then were living. She had taken Stanton's cremated remains with her when she moved west. Following her own cremation, both were interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.


Albert E. and Orilla Dent were close to having it all when they purchased John W. Lyon's "fine residential property" in the Orchard Addition during September of 1901. They moved into the almost new house two weeks later.

Beyond their back door to the east was only open country. The Rock Island rail line would not be built for 12 more years. Several fine homes had been constructed to the southeast along an extension of Auburn Avenue culminating in Darlington Heights, home to Howard Darlington and Carrie (Custer) Copeland, that crowned a rise just before the land dropped away into a creek valley feeding into the Little White Breast.

Albert, born in 1852, came to Chariton from Belmont County, Ohio, in 1875. Several of his relatives already had located here, including my great-great-grandmother, Sarah Jane (Brown) Dent-Chynoweth, and a variety of other Dent and Chynoweth kinfolk. He went to work in the store of Chariton pioneer David D. Waynick, married the boss's daughter, Orilla Ann, during 1879, and in 1884 was made a partner in the operation after the death of David D. He became sole proprietor during 1886 after buying out other heirs.

Orilla had grown up in what for its time was a rather grand home to the southwest, its grounds bounded by the current Auburn Avenue, North Seventh Street and Osage Avenue. Her new home had been built in what once was her father's orchard.

The Dent store, A.E. Dent & Co., purveyors of dry goods, boots and shoes, was located on the north side of the square, where Adam Bahr's Edward D. Jones financial services offices now are located. The Dents had three children --- Daisy, Blanche and Robert, the latter a surprise who had been born some 16 years after Blanche.

Newspaper reports suggest that the Dents entertained frequently in their fine new home, but their residence there would be limited. By 1901, other members of the extended Dent family were moving west to the area of Spokane, Washington, and Albert and Orilla had invested in ranch land there.

In September of 1903, the Dents were offered the opportunity to sell their business to the newly organized Chariton Dry Goods Co., managed by George Israel, and took it. They had spent time in Spokane and liked the area --- especially Orilla, who suffered from asthma and hay fever and found that the climate improved her health.

So they decided to sell their fine home, too. Orilla and the children moved west immediately; Albert joined them during November.

The Dents lived in Washington for the remainder of their lives. Albert died in Seattle on Oct. 3, 1936, age 84; Orilla, also in Seattle, on June 16, 1941.


John Wesley Lyon, carpenter and contractor, began to build the big house at the intersection of Osage and North Fifth, during May of 1900 for his family --- wife Martha; children Claude and Martha II. It had been completed by fall at an estimated cost of $4,000, a substantial chunk of change in those days, and the family moved in.

Lyon, born in 1862, was a native of Sandyville in Warren County who had begun working about 1893 with Orion A. Bartholomew, a Chariton attorney who had just platted 56 residential lots, bisected by a street he named Orchard Avenue, in David Waynick's former orchard and christened the result the Orchard Addition to the original town of Chariton.

Lots sold rapidly during the next few years and Lyon became the go-to contractor for new houses there, including up to 15 modest cottages built for resale by Bartholomew himself. John claimed, during 1901, to have "built the entire Orchard addition."

A year after building that fine new house, however, the Lyon family sold it to Albert E. and Orilla  A. Dent and left town, briefly.

The Patriot of Sept. 26, 1901, reported: "A.E. Dent has purchased the handsome residence property of J.W. Lyon in Orchard addition and with his family expects to move into it week after next. Mr. Lyon and family expect to leave the latter part of next week for Goldbar, Wash., to reside. They go for the benefit of their son Claude's health."

Washington didn't work out for the Lyon family however, and they soon were back in Chariton where John took up his business again and prospered. Eventually, he went to work in Ottumwa, then relocated to Louisiana and, finally, to California, where died died at age 91 on Jan. 23, 1954.


O.A. Bartholomew, who provided the site for the Lyon home, always was called "Colonel" despite the fact he had been breveted a brigadier general at the close of the Civil War. He was an Indiana native who had been admitted to the bar there during 1860, just before the Civil War broke out. After the war, he married Mary J. Smith during 1866 in Indiana and they came west to Des Moines, where he resumed the practice of law.

During 1871, the Bartholomews acquired a large farm in Benton Township, just southeast of Chariton along the Blue Grass Road, and moved here. He went into partnership with Theodore M. Stuart and prospered mightily. The family home and its grounds in Chariton encompassed an area now bounded by Woodlawn Avenue, South 8th Street, Stuart Avenue and Highway 14 with the C.B.&Q. rail line bisecting it.

Chariton was growing rapidly during the 1890s and Bartholomew knew opportunity when he saw it. The 56-lot Orchard Addition to the city of Chariton was one of his principal entrepreneurial endeavors, developed about 1893 on land purchased from David D. Waynick's heirs that included Waynick's large orchard. That allowed Bartholomew, when advertising lots there, to brag that each contained bearing fruit trees --- then an asset.

The Bartholomews became the parents of six children, five of whom survived childhood: Ethel, Charles, Levi B., Frederick R., and Orlo A.

Beginning about 1895, the family began to spend its summers at a cottage on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis and as the years passed, three of the four sons located permanently in Minneapolis. During 1914, Orion, Mary and their daughter, Ethel, who had not married, sold out in Chariton and moved to Minneapolis, too. He died there on Sept. 17, 1919, age 82. The family is buried in that city's Lakewood Cemetery.

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