I recently travelled through Dover, taking a route I don’t usually take, and came upon this home sitting on the corner of what was once a busy Dover neighborhood. I hoped that the house had a story to tell me, and I was not disappointed.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
Where exactly Samuel Hammond (1812-1878) came from is still a bit of a mystery. His birthplace is recorded differently on a number of historical documents, mentioning New York, Maryland, and England. There was a young man from England named Samuel Hammond, born in 1812, who enlisted in the United States Army in 1840 and served in a cavalry regiment during the Mexican War. This information may be relevant given Samuel’s later life and what he named his eldest son. Regardless of where he was born, he was living in Tuscarawas County by 1847 when he married Martha Knisely (1825-1897) of the prominent New Philadelphia Kniselys.
When Samuel and Martha were accounted for in the 1850 census for Canal Dover, Samuel was recorded as working as a Butcher. The couple had started their family by the time this census was taken, listing their first child, Zachary Taylor Hammond (1849-1934), named after the famous Mexican War general and President. The Hammonds had three more children before the American Civil War began and, despite his advanced age of 50 years old, Samuel received a commission as a Lieutenant in the 12th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Was this because he had served in the cavalry during the Mexican War? It is an interesting possibility. The 12th served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina from 1864 to 1865, taking part in a number of engagements throughout the theater. Samuel was discharged at the end of the war and returned home to Dover.
Samuel’s butchery must have been fairly successful during the 1870s as he was apparently a respected member of the community. He was appointed as the Dover Street Commissioner in the early 1870s, as well as being in a leadership role in the local Masonic Lodge. It was likely during this time period that Samuel constructed the simple brick house located prominently on the corner of West Fourth Street and Broad Street in Dover. Samuel died in the early fall of 1878 and the newspaper lamented the loss of “our old time friend” who was “an honest and industrious citizen.” Martha and her unmarried sons, including Zachary, were recorded as all living in the same household in the 1880 census.
The Hammond House is a very simple, two-story brick version of the very popular Italianate style of architecture. Specifically it is of the “simple hipped roof” variety with a central hooded front door and a small porch with decorative posts and details covering just the entrance of the home. It has the tall and narrow, hooded windows so common of the style as well as the deep eaves that may have, at one time, been adorned with decoratively molded and painted corbels. The house certainly predates the county auditor’s recorded date of construction, as available maps clearly show the house on the lot before that date and the family’s historical timeline would indicate a construction date more in the 1870s.
Samuel and Martha’s eldest son, Zachary, worked as the collector of revenue for the Ohio Canal for ten years before Samuel’s death. He undertook a new business venture in 1881. That year he and one of his brothers joined a partnership in the brickmaking business, opening and operating the Red Hill Brick Plant. Zachary principally worked as the firm’s bookkeeper, remained unmarried, and continued to live with his mother in the house on West Fourth Street until her death in 1897. Newspaper accounts of the era indicate that the Hammond brothers met with success with their brickmaking operation and Zachary parleyed that success into purchasing for a time the Central Hotel in Dover in the late 1890s.
When the 1900 census was taken, Zachary Hammond was recorded as owning the house on Fourth Street but was renting it to another family while he was living in the home as a “boarder.” While the brickmaking business may have been successful for the family in general, Zachary appeared in the newspapers of the period for a number of less-than-savory reasons. He was the plaintiff to a very public 1904 lawsuit against a man who furnished liquor to the hotel who he claimed defrauded him. Zachary argued that he was incapable of consenting to the business deal, or receiving any legal notifications about the deal, because “he has been continuously drunk for several months.”
Zachary’s nephew, Jesse Hammond (1890-1951), and his family moved into the house with him sometime between 1910 and 1917. Jesse was the son of Zachary’s younger brother Francis “Frank” Marion Hammond (1857-1952) and was working as a bookkeeper for a local building supply firm in Dover. Jesse rented the home from his live-in uncle until moving to Stark County where he partnered with another man and formed the Shafer-Hammond Lumber Company. Zachary continued to live at the home on Fourth Street until sometime after 1924 when he moved to a home on Seventh Street in Dover.
The Hammond House on Fourth Street changed hands sometime in the late 1920s after Zachary Hammond moved to Seventh Street. Perhaps because of his drinking, and combined with his advanced age, Zachary found himself in and out of the county infirmary during the last several years of his life. On a Friday night in June 1934, 84 year old Zachary Hammond took out a knife and cut his own throat. Initially he seemed to recover, but his injuries combined with his age were too much and he died a month later on July 25, 1934. Zachary Taylor Hammond is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dover, Ohio.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.