There is a little house in New Philadelphia that I’ve walked passed numerous times and, as it still looks like it is beloved by its owner, was curious about its history. It turns out it is the story of a late 19th century family matriarch, her status as an esteemed resident, and her modest life and home.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
There was a blacksmith shop that sat for many years in the 1800s at the south end of Third Street (modern 2nd Street SE) at Front Street in New Philadelphia. That shop was owned and operated by a German immigrant named Jacob Young (1811-1887), though the name has been written in some earlier records as Jung. When Jacob arrived in Ohio is not known for certain, but it was likely around 1840 or so. Jacob was working as a blacksmith in New Philadelphia at least as early as 1850 when he, his family, and a handful of apprentices appear on the New Philadelphia census rolls.
He and his Ohio born wife Susan Himes (1818-1889) had five children, among them a daughter named Mary A. Young (1846-1912). It is possible that, during the 1850s, one of Jacob’s apprentices was a man named Frank Carey (1829-1883). Frank’s birthplace is sometimes given as Canada and other times as Vermont. When the Civil War began, Frank enlisted in the 51st Ohio Volunteer Regiment as did many other members of the New Philadelphia community. He would rise to the rank of Sergeant in Company A and served as one of the honor guard on President Lincoln’s funeral train after his assassination. These guards were the only ones permitted to move the President’s coffin during the extended tour.
Frank Carey married Mary, his previous Master’s daughter, in February 1871 and the couple lived in her parents’ home on Front Street. It was a good situation for Mary since Frank was often travelling, frequently to New York City, working as a travelling salesman. Frank sold cutlery, though for which manufacturer is unclear. Living with her parents was especially useful after the birth of their son, Charles, in 1879. Unfortunately Charles would not have his father long because at some point Frank contracted tuberculosis and died from the disease in March 1883.
Mary and Charles continued to live in her parents’ home, able to collect on Frank Carey’s service pension, until after her father passed away in 1888. Following Jacob Young’s death, and perhaps with some inheritance in hand, Mary purchased a portion of Lot 288 on North Third Street in 1889 and there built a small home for herself and her son. It was a modest, story-and-a-half home built in the Gable-Front Family style of National folk-architecture. Designed to resemble a simplified Greek Temple, the house changed little over the forty-years that Mary and her son lived in the home. Indeed, its exterior appearance has changed little since it was originally built nearly 130 years ago. They would likely recognize the home as it sits today.
Charles Carey trained and worked in a printing shop and, after a short stay in Pittsburgh working for a printer there, returned to the Carey home to work as a printer with one of New Philadelphia’s newspapers. Mary, at some point, transferred ownership of the home to her son. Charles remained single until he was in his early thirties, finally marrying in the fall of 1910. He and his new bride lived in the Carey home with Mary after the marriage, perhaps to help care for Mary as she began to show symptoms of an illness.
Mary Carey’s illness began in the early 1890s, though the condition was not so bad that it affected her daily life. That changed drastically in the spring of 1912 when she began feeling serious stomach pains for nearly five weeks. Mary was diagnosed with stomach cancer and the disease took her life in June 1912. Mary was remembered as having “withstood her illness with wonderful fortitude” over the course of her lifetime. Charles and his wife continued to live in the home for several years after Mary’s death, but Charles eventually took a job with a newspaper in Warren, Ohio and the little house left the Carey family for good.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.