There was a family of builders who, during the last half of the 19th century, may have accounted for many of the houses and buildings constructed throughout the city of New Philadelphia. It is only fitting that we look at a house that they not only lived in but may have even constructed.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
There are alternate spellings of the Eberhardt name that appear in the historical record including Eberhart and, rarely, Everhart.
Jacob Eberhardt (1802-1861) learned the carpenters trade by working in his father’s shop in Baltimore, Maryland in the early 19th century. After finishing his training he decided to migrate to Ohio to establish himself in that emerging state. Jacob initially settled in Stark County before relocating to Warren Township, Tuscarawas County in the 1820s. Shortly after his arrival in Ohio Jacob married Margaret Mowls (1804-1863) of Carroll County in 1825 and the two began to raise their own family.
The Eberhardt family grew over the next twenty-five years, with the sons learning the carpentry trade from their father. Among the sons was Charles Eberhardt (1830-1899) who, after finishing his training with his father, moved to Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County and married Nancy Carns (1831-1880) in the fall of 1851. Charles and Nancy had six children before the Civil War but despite that, and his more advanced age, Charles ended up a Private in the 126th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the fall of 1862. After serving with the regiment for a little over a year, and likely due to illness, Charles was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps.
After the Civil War, and likely to take advantage of the opportunity living in a growing city afforded, Charles moved his family to New Philadelphia. Based on later records of the family’s residences, they probably settled on the southeast end of the city. Like his father before him, Charles trained his sons in the carpentry trade and the emerging industries in New Philadelphia provided ample work for the family. One of Charles and Nancy’s sons was McClelland Eberhardt (1861-1939) who completed his apprenticeship with his father around the time of his mother’s death in 1880 and then, a few years later, married Jennie Noftsker (1864-1943) in 1884. The Eberhardt family of carpenters, including at least one of Charles’ younger brothers, were able to parley their business success into political positions as well. Charles served on city council and was nominated in 1885 to serve as one of the Trustees of Goshen Township.
There is a wonderful article detailing Charles Eberhardt’s 52nd surprise birthday party that was reported on in the New Philadelphia Ohio Democrat. Click here to read it.
Like many in the Eberhardt family, McClelland Eberhardt worked for his father on his many projects throughout Tuscarawas County and, like his father, made his residence on East Front Street in New Philadelphia. An August 1890 issue of the New Philadelphia newspaper reported that Charles and his sons had built over a dozen homes that summer alone. It would not be surprising to discover that the Eberhardt family was responsible for the building of many of the residences located in that area of the city. McClelland and his family, now including two children, were residing in a home on the 400 block of East Front Street when his father passed away in the spring 1899.
After the death of his father in 1899, and between 1900 and 1905, McClelland purchased three lots on the southside of the 300 block of East Front Street including the home that sat on the southwest corner of East Front Street and South 2nd Street. This home, built around 1890, may very well have been one of the dozen or so homes constructed by the Eberhardt family of carpenters in 1890. Around the same time as the property acquisition there appeared in the newspaper a report of marital troubles between McClelland and Jennie, but the couple reconciled shortly afterwards. McClelland and his family were recorded as living in the home in the 1907 Directory for the City of New Philadelphia.
The house they lived in was constructed in the Queen Anne style of architecture that had become popular beginning in the early 1880s. The date of the construction of the Eberhardt house is recorded in the county auditor records as being 1890, consistent with the style and time-period when the Eberhardt’s were building many homes in New Philadelphia. The house was designed as a cross-gable version of the style with steeply pitched roofs, textured surfaces in the gable-end eaves, and large porches with decorative spindles and details. Most of these details are still visible on the house today.
McClelland and Jennie Eberhardt had two children, a son and a daughter, when they moved into their new home sometime during 1906. The son, Harry Eberhardt (1885-1950), was trained as a carpenter by his father and shortly after moving into the home left Ohio to go work for his uncle Charles Eberhardt (1861-1918) in Texas. He returned to the Eberhardt home in the summer of 1911. The daughter, Donna Eberhardt (1892-1970), was an accomplished musician who after graduating from school offered lessons in the violin at the Eberhart home.
McClelland Eberhardt worked as a carpenter throughout his life, though he never achieved the political and social status of his father he did earn the nickname of “Dandy.” McClelland died in January 1939 and his wife Jennie died four years later. Neither Harry nor Donna Eberhardt married and they continued to live in the Eberhardt house on East Front Street after the death of their parents. After Harry died in 1950, Donna was the last Eberhardt to reside in the house. After her death in 1970 the house left the Eberhardt family, but the family’s 80+ year connection to the home remains.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.