Don’t let the modern appearance of any home fool you. Every home, regardless of condition or modern use, has a story to tell. This is the story of a house that has seen better days but deserves to have its story told nonetheless.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
The Tidrick family arrived in eastern Ohio from Pennsylvania in the early 1800s, moving between Guernsey and Tuscarawas County during the first couple of decades of that century. Lawrence Tidrick (1773-1863) was the first and he, along with his wife Margaret Durlin (1773-1852), had five sons from 1793 to 1815. One of their sons, born in Ohio in 1812, was named Jacob Sherman Tidrick (1812-1875). Jacob married Sussanna Dix (1816-1898) in 1837 and settled on a farm in Guernsey County, Ohio.
The couple were living in the area around modern Birmingham, Guernsey County (called Milnersville then) when they started their own family. Their family included nine children born between 1840 and 1862, consisting of six daughters and three sons. Their youngest son, born in 1852, was named Durlin F. Tidrick (1852-1912). Durlin, along with his siblings, worked on the family farm as children before he went off to learn the painting trade. That trade eventually brought him to the growing city of New Philadelphia in search of work.
The painters’ trade in the late 19th century included more than just painting. They typically also offered plastering, wallpapering, whitewashing, and tarring in addition to painting. Once in New Philadelphia, Durlin met Elizabeth “Ella” Hogue (1855-1907) and the couple married in December 1878. At first the young couple lived and worked on the farm of a relative before moving into a home on the west end of Fair Street in New Philadelphia. Durlin began advertising his skills in the local paper and undertook a number of projects for the county and city during the 1880s and 1890s. Durlin and Ella never had any children and the house on Fair Street must have seemed far too large for just the two of them.
Around 1906, Durlin and Ella acquired a lot on southside of the 600 block of West High Street and began construction on a new, smaller home. The house was a simple home built a version of the affordable National Style referred to as “Gable Front and Wing.” The house’s one-story porch was originally L-shaped and covered both the house entrance on the west side as well as the front of the gable end. Durlin also constructed a small workshop and storage building on the back section of the small lot. It goes without saying that Durlin likely did all of the painting, plastering, and wallpapering himself. Unfortunately Ella never lived in the new home; she died in March 1907 after a months-long illness.
Durlin did not have to live in his new home alone for very long. A little over a year after his first wife’s death, Durlin married Lillie O. Dixon (1867-1929) in November 1908 in a private ceremony in his new home. Lillie was originally from Zoar, but had moved to New Philadelphia where she had been working as a cleaning woman. Two years later, and despite being 43 years old at the time, Lillie gave birth to a daughter in May 1910 giving Durlin his first child at the age of 58. The new house now had the family that Durlin’s old house had lacked.
Durlin continued to work in his trade until, in December 1912, he began to feel ill and not thinking it serious maintained his usual schedule. One Saturday that month he sat down in his chair after supper and complained of feeling poorly. The doctor was called, but by the time he arrived Durlin was already dead. At the time of Durlin’s death Lillie was pregnant with their second child, a daughter who would be born three months later. Lillie continued to live in the home until her death in 1929, and the daughters until around 1940 when the house was sold. Durlin, Ella, and Lillie Tidrick are buried in East Avenue Cemetery in New Philadelphia.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.