New Vienna Pilgrimage of Old Houses –
Jefferson Signed Patent for Land Where Brown Home Stands
(Editor's Note: The New Vienna Pilgrimage of old houses will open the county's observance of Ohio's sesquicentennial and will be held June 6 and 7. The owners of the houses have written the histories of their properties and told some of the interesting architectural points and the furnishings and other pieces which they contain. Proceeds of the ticket sale for the pilgrimage will go to the Clinton County Historical Society. The following is the story of the Dr. H. M. Brown residence.)
In June, 1794 a military land grant of 6,000 acres was made to John Jameson, a lieutenant colonel in the Army of Virginia.
Survey of the land No. 1320 was completed on November 7, 1795 and 1,200 acres of this densely wooded tract was assigned to Joshua Woodrow and the patent signed by Thomas Jefferson on April 14, 1806.
Joshua Woodrow then lived in Hillsboro, and in addition to the 1,200 acre tract in Clinton county he owned large tracts in Adams and Highland counties as well as considerable property in Hillsboro.
His will dated in 1829 is most interesting. In dividing his property among his six children he gave to his daughters, Lydia, wife of Johnathan Ellis, and Rachael, wife of Allen Trimble, 540 acres of the Clinton County tract. He also gave Lydia some money but wanted it expressly understood that any money owing him by her husband, Johnathan Ellis, be taken from this. However, he gave to Rachael Trimble a note of honor for $360 which he held on her husband, Allen Trimble.
Lydia's part of the 540 acres was described as the part on which the East Fork of the Little Miami River rises and in which Thomas King now lives. The corners of this part were designated as a white oak and ash, two ashes and a sugar tree, two ashes and a hornbeam and a stone near an ash and a hickory. [Not certain but I think this house is off of SR-729]
Probably the Thomas King then living in this land was a squatter, as there is no record to show that he owned any of it. The home of Lydia and Johnathan Ellis was probably a cabin in the woods, but there is no trace of it on the farm which is now owned by Dr. H. M. Brown.
This farm was sold by Johnathan Ellis Jr. to Isaac Woodmansee in1834 for $10,000. The deed was witnessed by Allen Trimble, one of the early governors of Ohio and then a resident of Hillsboro.
It is thought that the present brick homestead was built by Isaac Woodmansee from brick burned on the place.
In 1843 the property was deeded to Reuben Woodmansee whose will, probated July 30, 1864, was executed by his friend Zephenia Spear [sp?], great-grandfather of the present owner, Dr. Brown. [Zephania Spears* 1807-1898, is listed as the builder of the Swingley home in the mid-1800s.] This will requested that real estate be sold and money divided among the heirs.
The farm was bought in 1864 by Dr. Brown's grandfather, Washington Spear, for $14,353.30.
Here Dr. Brown's mother, Olive Spear Brown [1862-1934], lived when she was a small child. In an article she wrote for the New Vienna Reporter about the Snow Hill community at the time of the New Vienna Centennial she speaks of her home here and later in the home now owned by Thomas Swingley as being a "varitable girl's paradise" and mentions the sports afforded by the East Fork and the woods lying between her home and Snow Hill.
The home was later owned by Mrs. Brown's sister, Mrs. Iva Spear Bond, and it was during her occupancy that Dr. Brown as a small boy made many visits to this home.
The farm was later owned by Nathan Gregory, Harold Gilliland and others and was purchased by Dr. Brown in 1934.
At this time the house was in bad repair and much remodeling and reconstruction has been done.
What is now the living room was originally two front rooms with a fireplace and a front door in each room. The mantels in this room are the original ones. What was once the dining room is now the hall and kitchen. The present dining room is new and takes the place of a frame wing which served as the kitchen. Both porches and the downstairs bedroom and bath are also new. However the new parts are built of old bricks, selected to match those of the main part of the house.
Most of the furnishings of the house except in the dining room and one bedroom are colonial reproductions and hand hooked rugs are used in two rooms.
With the exception of two corner cupboards the dining room furniture is late Victorian as is also the walnut bedroom suite which belonged to Mrs. Lucinda Brewer Hildebrant, the maternal great grandmother of Miss Lois Brown. The chest of drawers in the southwest bedroom also belonged in the Hildebrant family. It is marked on the back with the initials of the cabinet maker and the date 1834. The open corner cupboard belonged to Dr. Brown's great grandmother, Mrs. Lovina Matthews Spears. The milk glass and other pieces of antique china and glass are parts of a large collection belonging to Miss Lois Brown. The breakfront desk contains some pieces which were wedding presents to Dr. Brown's father and mother, the late Dr. and Mrs. E. W. Brown.
Hostesses for the pilgrimage will be Mrs. David Morris, Miss Lucy Hildebrant, Mrs. Alonzo Hildebrant and Miss Helen Brown.
* According to the Cemetery Records of Clinton County, Olive Brown's maiden name was Spear. However, in the index Spear, Speer, Spears, and Speers are listed as interchangable.
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Houses in the 1953 New Vienna Pilgrimage of Old Houses include:
- Elmer Page-Wilbur Huffman-Hause House on Bernard Rd – built 1874
- Hillyard Farm - Paul Terrell Family Home on Bernard Rd
- Swingley House on SR-73 - Built 1853 (or 1836?)
- Carl West Colonial House built 1850
- Brown Home, possibly built by Isaac Woodmansee c1840
- Christy Home, Panhandle Road, c1850
- Charles Blackburn House built 1838