Front Street in New Philadelphia is lined with working class houses from the beginning of the 20th century. Many are of similar style and size and, among them, is a house occupied for four decades by the family of a blacksmithing son of an immigrant. This is that house’s story.
Note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
The Glauser family arrived in Tuscarawas County in the middle of the 1850s when two brothers, Jacob (1815-c. 1855) and Nicholas (1818-1890), immigrated from Switzerland. Jacob travelled with his wife Magdalena (1815-1898) and family while Nicholas was still single at the time of their immigration. Jacob Glauser died shortly after arrival in Tuscarawas County, leaving a widow and four children. Within a year of his brother’s death, Nicholas married his former sister-in-law and raised his brother’s children as his own.
The Glauser family settled in Goshen Township where Nicholas worked as a successful stone mason. He and Magdalena had two children, a son and a daughter, of their own to add to the family by the time of the 1860 census. Nicholas trained his step-sons in the stone masonry trade while arranging for his youngest son with Magdalena, Edward Glauser (1859-1941), to learn the blacksmithing trade.
Edward worked and waited until he was in his mid-thirties before he decided to settle down and start his own family. He married Anna P. Auman (1868-1923) in 1886 and they shortly after welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 1887. Edward’s father fell ill in 1890 and began the process of preparing his estate, selling some land to his step-children and drafting his will. Nicholas died in September 1890 and left his estate to his wife and natural children. Four years later Edward and Anna purchased Lot 7 in the Jane’s First Addition neighborhood in New Philadelphia for the sum of $1,400.
The purchase price of the property would indicate that a structure was already on the lot at the time the Glauser’s purchased the property. The wood frame house is a less complicated version of the gable-ended Italianate style, with simplified features. The house does has typical Italianate features including tall, slender arched window openings, an L-shaped front porch, and a side entrance with a porch-like feature. It may also, at one time, have had decorative brackets along the deep eaves of the roofline.
Edward and Anna needed the home because, by the time of the purchase, their household had grown to include four small children. Edward was also already operating a small blacksmithing shop located at the corner of two alleys on the east side of the first block of South Broadway. The single-story, wood frame shop was catty-corner from James Congleton’s broom factory at the intersection of modern 1st Drive SE and Allen Lane SE.
The blacksmithing business must have been good because Edward rebuilt and enlarged his blacksmith shop in the first years of the 1900s. Edward and Anna’s son Carl (1891-1956) began working in his father’s blacksmith shop by the time he was 16 years-old and Edward and Carl became formal partners at the beginning of 1911. Meanwhile, the Glauser’s other son, Norman (1889-1960), was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad and their eldest daughter Della (1887-1966) worked as a clerk in town. The entire family continued to live in the house on Front Street until the 1910s when the children began to marry and start their own households. The only child left at home by the 1920 census was their youngest daughter Florence (1892-1976).
Edward Glauser became a widow in November 1923 when Anna passed away from what, at the time, was referred to as Bright’s Disease. Edward continued to reside at the house on East Front Street and, after Florence moved to California, Della and her son moved into the home as well. Sometime in the 1920s Edward and Carl determined to close their blacksmith shop and Edward essentially retired from the trade while Carl went to work for a local manufacturer. Edward continued to live in the Front Street home until he sold the home in the mid-1930s and went to live with Norman and his family in Uhrichsville.
Edward Glauser died at his son’s home in 1941 at the age of 81. His family lived, grew up in, and called the house on East Front Street “home” for nearly forty-years.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.