One House’s Story: The Kreiter Family

The Kreiter House on North Wooster Avenue, Dover, Ohio, 2013. (Source:

There are many large and decorative homes lining North Wooster Avenue in Dover, Ohio. Nestled among them is a somewhat more modest house that was once home to a Dover grocer and his family.

A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.

While it has been difficult to establish details about Benjamin Kreiter’s (1821-1866) life before his arrival in Ohio, some can be inferred from later sources. Benjamin was born in Pennsylvania, possibly in York or Lancaster Counties given the prominence of the Kreiter surname in those locations. As a child he either served an apprenticeship with, or was the son of, a woodworker learning carpentry and cabinet making. He likely decided to relocate to Ohio after completing his apprenticeship, this would place his arrival sometime around 1840 or so.

He was living in Canal Dover in 1844 when he married Maryland-born Elizabeth Criswell (1822-1892). Benjamin acquired lot number 137 on the northeast corner of the intersection of West Third Street and Walnut Streets. Benjamin built a home and a cabinet shop on the lot and there the Kreiter’s welcomed five children into their family between 1846 and 1860, all sons. During the Civil War Benjamin, despite being in his early 40s, enlisted briefly in the 126th Ohio Infantry Regiment before being discharged for health reasons. Benjamin returned home, but his health never improved and he died in 1866.

  • The record of the marriage of Benjamin Kreiter and Elizabeth Criswell in Tuscarawas County, December 1844. (Source:
  • The Kreiter household recorded on the 1850 Census for Dover. (Source:
  • The location of the Kreiter Home and Cabinet Shop on the NE corner at the intersection of Third and Walnut Streets in Dover, Ohio, 1875. (Source:
  • Record from Benjamin Krieter's estate naming Elizabeth as his Executrix, December 1866. (Source:

Elizabeth was named the sole Executrix of Benjamin’s estate and eventually sold Lot 137 as part of the estate process. Meanwhile, her sons were pursuing careers after completing their educations. Their youngest son, Clarence Kreiter (1860-1927) began as an agent of the U.S. Express Company in 1882 but eventually was hired as an agent at the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad Depot. That is where Clarence was working when he married Caroline Dixon (1862-1934) in 1885, the daughter of wealthy and successful New Philadelphia manufacturer Thomas Dixon (1815-1890). Shortly after their marriage they purchased part of a lot on North Wooster Avenue for $2,150, indicating that a dwelling already sat on the property, and Clarence went into the retail grocery business.

The house on North Wooster was built in the very popular Queen Anne style of architecture, with many features typical of that style. The house is a 1500 square foot, story-and-a-half variant of the hipped roof with lower cross gables style. The home includes, or would have included, details like an abundance of decorative elements, steeply pitched rooflines with cross gables, an asymmetrical façade, decorative spindle work on porches and gable trim, and turned post porch supports on a pedimented front porch. The retains much of its original footprint, though some of the more original decorative elements may have disappeared or altered.

  • The marriage of Clarence Kreiter and Caroline Dixon reported in the New Philadelphia newspaper, October 1885. (Source:
  • The Kreiter residence noted on the 1908 Atlas of Tuscarawas County map for Dover. (Source:
  • The location (highlighted in red) of Clarence Kreiter's grocery store in 1907 on a copy of the 1907 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map for Dover. (Source:
  • The Kreiter House as it appeared on the 1926 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map for Dover. (Source:

Clarence and Caroline had only one child, a daughter born in 1887, during the course of their marriage. The family had a very active social life hosting parties and travelling frequently to Cleveland to visit family members there. Clarence’s grocery business was located on the 200 block of Factory Street in Dover and it appeared that he principally focused all of his attention to his business and in acquiring properties in Dover. The Kreiter’s daughter, who never married and continued to live with her parents, worked in the family’s grocery store as well during her youth.

Clarence went out to do yard work on the morning of Thursday, September 29, 1927 and began to feel ill. He decided to go lay down in his bedroom and suffered a stroke and hit his head on a piece of furniture as he fell down. Clarence never regained consciousness, dying a few hours later. Caroline survived her husband by seven years, dying in 1934 at the age of 73. Clarence and Caroline were buried in the family plot in Cleveland’s Riverside Cemetery. The Kreiter’s daughter continued to live in the home on North Wooster until her death in 1977 at the age of 92.

  • Clarence Kreiter's death reported in the New Philadelphia newspaper, September 1927. (Source:
  • Caroline Kreiter's death reported in the New Philadelphia newspaper, April 1934. (Source:
  • Clarence and Caroline Kreiter's headstone located in Riverside Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, 2016. (Source:
  • The Kreiter House on North Wooster Avenue, Dover as it appeared in 2013. (Source:
  • The Kreiter House on North Wooster Avenue, Dover as it appeared in 2013. (Source:

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.


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