Clinton county's observance of Ohio's sesquicentennial gets underway Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7 with the Pilgrimage of old residences in and near New Vienna.
New Vienna plans for opening the celebration have been carefully laid and the pilgrimage, under the supervision of Mrs. Homer K. Williams, has taken in not only representative houses but old places full of charm, peculiar for the type of architecture and rich in fine old pieces of furniture, collections of china and glass and other articles.
Hostesses have been selected to receive guests the two days of the pilgrimage and the garden clubs are making lavish arrangements of flowers to grace the rooms of the houses. Tickets are sold for the pilgrimage and the proceeds will go to the Clinton County Historical Society.
So that visitors may know something of the history of each of the houses the owners have written descriptive articles about them. Today is presented the story, in picture and words, of the Charles G. Blackburn [1900-1975] residence.
The Charles Blackburn home known as Mapleshade, was built in 1837 and 1838. Many interesting stories of its building have been handed down by persons connected with its beginning.
Francis Woodmansee, great-grandfather of Mrs. Minnie Hadley, former resident of New Vienna, purchased several hundred acres of land between New Vienna and Highland. He had lived in New Jersey and had the business of selling cord wood in New York City. During the war of 1812 he was licenses as a privateer. Having decided to move to Ohio, he obtained $30,000 in gold and silver, bought kegs of nails, and placed the precious load between layers of nails in the kegs. These were transported by ox cart across the mountains to Ohio. The driver of this wagon was William Chamberlain, a great-great uncle of Miss Martha Johnson, Mrs. Will Levo, and Dr. James Johnson of Wilmington, and of Charles Johnson, Miss Addie and Ethel Johnson, Mrs. Will Holmes, Mrs. Harley Phillips, and William Johnson of New Vienna.
[William Chamberlain, 1795-1873, was the father of one son (who died unmarried) and five daughters. Oldest daughter Anna, 1820-1898, married Michael Mount Johnson, 1818-1912, and lived most of her adult life in the New Vienna area. She and Michael had ten children.]
After buying his land, Woodmansee decided to build a house modeled after his New Jersey home, and so it is that the house is colonial in style with a wide center hall but differing from the southern colonial style in that the ceilings are lower. It was originally heated by seven fireplaces, three of which were equipped with cranes. Five of these fireplaces are still opened and usable.
* * *The bricks were burned on the place and the timbers are walnut and oak. Of particular interest is the woodwork, all of which is fluted and was made by hand. Each mantel downstairs has a different pattern. The curved walnut stair rail is supported by slender turned spindles. The knobs on all the doors of the house are small brass ones imported from England. The brick on the house front is laid in a Flemish design with every other brick laid end ways. Nothing is known of the man whose hands and skill did the actual work of building, but there must have been a "touch of the artist in that artisan" or these extra beauties of workmanship would not have been added.
Very little change has been made in the house in its life time of 116 years [as of 1953] except to add modern conveniences. At some time a porch with iron work was added. The kitchen fireplace ceased to be used for cooking, first replaced by a wood burning stove and in modern times by electricity. Electric lights replaced candles. But the wide oak boards of the floors, the time darkened bricks of the fireplaces, and the huge stone steps at the front door remain, as does most of the house, as it was when Francis Woodmansee saw it completed in 1838.
Of added interest is a painting made of the house in 1882 and given the present owners by Mrs. Hadley. On display June 6 and 7, will also be a [paper torn] collection of old china [paper torn] Mr and Mrs. Harry [paper torn].
Pilgrimages host [paper torn] residence will be [paper torn] Hamilton, Mrs. Homer Bohl, Mrs. Beryl Nobel, Mrs. J. Gurney Terrell and the Blackburns' daughter, Mrs. Hugh Young, Jr.
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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