I tell the story of Virginia Walcutt Gay in my book, Clintonville and Beechwold. She was born May 9, 1831, and passed away on May 8, 1914. Mrs. Gay was a member of a Columbus pioneer family–daughter of John Macey and Muriel Brodrick Walcutt–and a sister of General C. C. Walcutt, once Columbus mayor. Her husband, Harvey D. Gay, died in 1878. This is Virginia’s private mausoleum at Greenlawn cemetery, section 32, lot no. 35.
First of all, in case you are wondering, there is currently no 218 Jason Avenue or 218 W. Pacemont. Pacemont Avenue was originally called Jason Avenue. The area where the orphanage stands was outside of the Columbus City limits in 1910 & 1920, during many of the years when it operated as an orphanage. When the western end of Jason/Pacemont was added as the “the Aldrich’s Riverside addition,” the house numbers were adjusted to compensate for all the new lots. The current address is 56 West Pacemont.
The boarding house/orphanage/nursery was run by Judiah & Mary Ella Throps (sometimes spelled Throp or Throop). Judiah was born in 1844, served in the Civil War, and died in 1913. (His occupation was listed as “Painter” and also, in 1910, as “Nursery.” Mary Ella was born in 1865, and died in 1933. (Her occupation was listed as “Housekeeper” and occasionally “Nurse”.) Both are buried in Union Cemetery.
According to the 1910 Census, the Throps had one 7 year old son living with them (son Ernest Throps). Mary was at the time 45 years old. They also had 12 young boarders living with them, all under the age of 6 and many just babies.
By the 1920 Census, Judiah had passed away. The 1920 census states that Mary (by this time, age 55) had 3 children living with in her household: Earnest Throps (age 16); William Throps (age 9), Mabel Leonard (a servant, age 29) and Glendus Leonard (age 5, listed as a boarder). (I can’t help wondering whether there were additional boarders, not listed by the census taker.)
By the 1930 Census, Mary was 64. By this time she had quite a few extra living companions: William Throps (son, age 19), Richard Throps (adopted son, age 4), Helen Gatewood (servant, age 22), Jeanne Paden (8), Oswin Poletzie (7), Shirley Poletzie (3), Elva Waton (18), Marie Obrien (6), Charles Jordan (6), Mick Tudor (3), Virginia Adkins (2), and Algie Donaldson (2).
This research was conducted by Scott Caputo of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main branch, Geneaology, History, & Travel Desk. We are so glad he discovered this history. Scott had a library client who knew that their grandmother had a child out of wedlock in 1910. The grandmother had put the infant in an “orphanage” located at 218 Jason Avenue, where he died shortly afterward. The infant was Harry White and is included in the 1910 census in a list of around a dozen “boarders” at this address. All are under 5 years old.
The house at 105 Weber was built around 1915, and current residents Tom and Margo Thacker have been researching the house and the family who lived there until 1965, the Ankrom family. The house itself is an Aladdin kit house; the images above are the Aladdin listing. In 1918 Charles Cornell, a machinist, lived in the house.
The Ankroms moved to 105 East Weber (shown in the photo on the right) around 1918/19. Solomon (1857-1935) was possibly a blacksmith, and may have been retired by the time he moved to Weber Road. Lydia Dixon Ankrom (1861-1948) was his wife. The family originally hailed from McArthur Ohio. Solomon and the rest of his family are buried in Sunset Cemetery.
After his marriage, son Lindsey (1884-1971) lived with his wife Grace Hafford Ankrom nearby at 100 Walhalla. In the wintertime the two households could probably wave at each other across the ravine. In 1918 he worked at the McDonald Steube Company Grocer Co., located at 60 East Gay Street. He married Grace Hafford Ankrom (1894-1975) in 1927. Prior to marrying Lindsey, Grace lived in the Hafford house at 100 Walhalla with her sister (and, I think, her brother). Grace was a teacher at Clinton School. For a bit more about this family, check my 100 Walhalla entry on this web site.
Estella (1888-1987) was Solomon and Lydia’s daughter. Estella never married, and probably lived in the 105 East Weber house until her death in 1987. She worked as a bookkeeper for Columbus Pharmacal on 326-336 Oak Street.
(Photos courtesy of Tom and Margo Thacker.)
In another entry on this web site, I mentioned that Lindsey and Grace Hafford Ankrom lived at 100 Walhalla with Grace’s sister Helen. Scott Hawley subsequently sent me some additional photos of the family and their home. Grace Hafford is Scott’s grandfather’s (Howard E. Hawley Jr.’s) aunt.
I wrote this article for the Clintonville Historical Society newsletter and am reproducing it here for your convenience…
Never Too Many Cookes…
by Shirley Hyatt
© Shirley Hyatt
We often think of Clintonville as having been established in 1847 near the intersection of Orchard Lane and North High Street on Bull family land, but we mustn’t forget that today’s Clintonville extends north to Worthington, and that other families contributed significantly to the development of Clintonville’s northern reaches.
One of the most vibrant little communities was centered near the intersection of today’s Henderson Road and North High Street (or more precisely, Cooke Road and North High Street). In streetcar days this was known as Cooke’s Corners, because it was established by the extended Cooke family.
Roswell Cooke came to Ohio from Connecticut in 1800 with his wife and five children. The two oldest sons, Chauncey and Rodney, took up adjoining land in the vicinity of today’s Henderson Road and North High Street. At the time the land was densely wooded, and the Cookes had to clear the land to establish their farms. By 1827 they operated large productive farms, had built grist and saw mills along the Olentangy River (near Weisheimer Road), and also operated a distillery.
Roswell died in 1827 at the age of 63. Son Rodney (1793-1833), a veteran of the War of 1812, married Laura Cowles and together they had nine children: Esther (married to L. J. Weaver), Roswell (m. Lorinda Skeels), Helen (m. John Good), Rosalia (m. John Webster), Rachel (m. William Buck), Laura (m. Lester Roberts), Rodney Romoaldo (m. Chloe Williams), Demon, and Henry C. (m. Abigail Taylor). Sadly, Rodney died when his youngest child was just 3 months old; wife Laura supported the family by working as a tailor. She herself lived until she was 73 years old.
Genealogies state that Henry C. was born “near Olentangy Park in 1825.” After his marriage to Abigail in 1852, he moved back to the old Cooke family homestead and gradually purchased property from the other Cooke heirs. Eventually he consolidated 300 acres of good productive farmland. Henry and Abigail had seven children: Clara (married to Wellington Webster of Findlay OH), Flora (m. J. L. Armstrong), Albert Clement (m. Lulu Brown), Edwin (m. Ella Haines), Mary (m. David Maize), Alice (m. Charles Hess), and Harry Lester.
Henry C. Cooke worked for awhile as a teacher, then as a farmer. He also went into the stock business (i.e. shipping stock). In 1879 he went into business with A. G. Grant to form Cooke, Grant, and Cooke, which constructed heavy masonry bridges. (This company’s projects may include the present Henderson Road bridge and a few others in the area.) Henry was one of the promoters of the Worthington and Columbus streetcar line. He was prosperous, and built a magnificent house along present-day North High Street at Deland Avenue. (You can see its photo in my book.)
I named the spouses of Henry’s children above to show how tightly knit the community was. The Webster’s family farm was south of the Cookes’ along today’s North High Street. The Armstrongs, the Maizes, and the Bucks, and Albert Clement Cooke, all lived a very short distance from Henry. Daughter Alice—a schoolteacher at the Clinton Heights school—had married one of the great-grandsons of Balser Hess and they lived in Henry’s grand home.
John Buck was one of the early pioneers who received a military land grant in the area; some records state that he sold the original Cookes their land. Descendents of John Buck had a market on North High Street; long-time residents still remember Buck’s market today, and short-time residents may still recall the Buck residence, an Italianate-style house just north of the northeast corner of Henderson and North High. The Bucks were related to the Cookes by marriage.
George Whipp came to the area with his wife and two sons from Maryland in 1833. Whipp had received 160 acres of land in return for military service, and he also purchased the mill property that had been built by the Cookes. (At some point in time the old mill on the river was called “Whipps Mill” and Henderson Road bridge was known as “Whipps Bridge.”) His son George (b. 1817) was initially a carpenter, and was credited with building many of the houses of Clinton Township. Son George married a neighbor named Lucinda Smiley in 1838, and they had 10 children (one of whom was also named George). The family farmed, and though much of the acreage was eventually sold off, the Whipp family continued to own a truck farm in the area. Old timers can still recall the big orange sign for Whipp’s Orange Mill, a fruit stand located at 4588 North High Street featuring fresh squeezed orange or pineapple juice. The Whipps were related by marriage to the Bucks. (Note: sometimes the family spells its name with one “p”.)
An article about this tightly-knit community warrants mention of two other families, the Aldrich family and the Phinney family. Orlando Aldrich (b. 1840) was a prominent judge, lawyer and OSU law professor. Aldrich was the first president of the Worthington, Clintonville & Columbus Street Railway Company and served in this position from 1891 to 1898; he subsequently held an office of the Columbus, Delaware, & Marion Electric Railway. Aldrich had purchased 23 acres of land on the southwest corner of Henderson and North High in 1882; it was a fruit farm called Maple Grove Farm. Aldrich had three great hobbies: horticulture, collecting great art, and collecting rare books about archaeology. He engaged in these avocations from his lovely house located about where Maple Grove Church parking lot is located today. According to artist and local historian Bill Arter, Aldrich had a magnificent view of the river and OSU campus from the turret of his house. This house was moved slightly, rotated, and completely revamped in the 1920s by subsequent resident Frank Sweigart. (For more information, see my web site, www.clintonvillehistory.com.) It’s from this farm that the area around Henderson Road and North High Street and the church get their names today.
Barnabas Phinney (ca. 1813-1899) came to the area in 1838, and purchased 60 acres of land near the northwest corner of today’s Henderson Road and North High Street. In addition to farming, Phinney was an investor in the toll road running from Columbus to Worthington, and in the electric streetcar company. He married Mary Smiley and was probably brother-in-law to George Whip. Their house was said to be majestic. They had no children, and after his death most of the property was sold. At some point (circa 1893) the house was sold to the Schreyer family, and then chopped into apartments. I would love to see a picture of this grand old home. In 1913 a fire broke out; the city fire department was called but there were no water lines that far from the city, and so the building burned to the ground. (Luckily, no one died in the blaze.)
By the early 1900s, this was a tight and thriving community. The houses were handsome. The Cooke family held annual reunions at the Cooke house—old photos show the family eating at long tables arranged in the shape of a “C,” and they kept an ongoing register with names of attendees and minutes. The community held plays to entertain each other, went sledding on today’s North High Street, went horseback riding along Indian Springs Drive, worked and had fun, and worshipped.
The original Cookes were said to be Universalists, but somewhere along the way most of them became Methodists. In 1842 Chauncey Cooke had leased a 32-foot by 99-foot portion of his land on the corner of Henderson and North High to the Clinton Township School district to be used for both education and religious purposes. A school house was built in 1878, and it was used by the Clinton Township School District as well as by local Christian worshippers. When Orlando Aldrich purchased his beloved Maple Grove fruit farm, his tract surrounded the school and church property, and Aldrich expanded the land dedicated for school and church purposes to three-quarters of an acre. In 1919, when the school district had ceased using the building for educational purposes, ownership of the building and land reverted to the Cookes. Family members agreed to sign quit claims, and the property was put into the hands of the Como Avenue Methodist Church until a neighborhood church could be formalized. In 1920 Maple Grove Methodist Episcopal Church officially organized and assumed ownership of the church they had probably long worshipped in.
The Cooke family had a family cemetery located on the southeast corner of Cooke and High. When Bishop Watterson High School was built in 1958, the graves were disinterred and moved to Union or Greenlawn Cemeteries.
Luckily the activities of the neighborhood were documented by Lulu Brown Ohsner–a Cooke family member, neighborhood resident and parishioner of Maple Grove Church who has since passed away—in some presentations to Maple Grove Church about 15 years ago. And, many Cooke and Whipp family members still live in the Columbus area, and have family photos and memorabilia. Henry C. Cooke’s contracting company Cooke, Grant, Cooke is still in existence; the current name of this company is the Fritz-Rumer-Cooke Co., Inc. It incorporated in Ohio in 1911, and still specializes in railroads and other general contracting. Sadly, most (though not all!) of the lovely homes owned by the Cooke family members have been torn down.
I recently had the benefit of reading an abstract from one of the north-side-of-Clinton-Heights-Avenue residents.
A couple interesting things from the abstract:
Calumet Street, according to the abstract, used to be called “Oak Hill” before the name was changed to “Beech Hill,” and then changed to “Calumet.”
The alley along the north side of Clinton Heights traversed through the school property and then to North Broadway. I have often wondered about this vacated alley, which runs behind the properties along the north side of Clinton Heights Avenue and the south side of East North Broadway. It’s a recessed, ravine-like greenspace that doubtless has many city services running along its banks. You can see this alley in the 1910 and 1920 maps on my web site. The rumor passed to me by former Clinton Heights neighbors was that the North Broadway residents had petitioned the city to vacate this alley, but when the city approved the request, they gave the alley property to the residents of Clinton Heights Avenue instead of splitting it between the residents of the two streets.
The abstract gave me specifics of the vacating. By ordinance No. 38053 duly passed by the Council of the City of Columbus, Ohio, on May 2, 1927, the first alley north of Clinton Heights Avenue “from Beech Hill Avenue to the west line of lot 68,” 12 feet, wide, was vacated. (No indication in City Council minutes of who actually submitted the petition, and I have not bothered to look.) The City Council minutes are attached <here>.
More about the land that became Clinton Heights Avenue…
Henry Cooke once owned part of the property that was later developed into the Clinton Land Company addition.
I have often read an old anecdote that James Chestnut, who owned the house on Wall Street, had blocked the improvement of North High Street along his property near Brighton and North High Street, because a beloved locust tree would be damaged or removed by the paving. The abstract bore some of this out. In the abstract (relevant pages linked here), the property developers were assessed $5400 for improvements in the Worthington and Columbus Plank Road, but, they said, these improvements were never made, because James Chestnut (and others) “were defendants procuring an injunction perpetually enjoining the making of said improvements along his premises.” The Clinton Land Company owners sued, or perhaps countersued, stating that they had been assessed conditional on improvement of North High Street, which improvements had not been made. Who won: You can read the attached excerpts of the abstract and decide for yourself.
In my book, I wrote that the first Clintonville Library was at 3317 North High Street, near the corner of Longview and North High Street. What an intriguing fact! The Columbus Metropolitan Library Biography, History, and Travel Desk had brought this to my attention, and even sent me copies of minutes from old Board meetings where this was discussed. I’ve scanned them and you can read them here:
I’ve subsequently found an article in The Booster that told the same library story.
Patrick Murnan lived from 1866-1937, and owned about 700 acres along North High Street north of Morse Road. I’m not going to repeat the story of Murnan here; it’s in my book. But, here’s a photo of the man himself.