One House’s Story: The Nabor Family

The Nabor House on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2019. (Source:

I have driven past this home on Tuscarawas Avenue in New Philadelphia many times and thought, after my passing it again the other day, it was time to explore its history and discover what stories it had to tell. It is a story connected to two others already told.

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

Nicholas Neighbor (1762-1848) acquired land near Zanesville, Coshocton County, Ohio in 1826 and shortly after moved his family there from New Jersey. The Neighbor surname is, not surprisingly, often spelled differently in the historical record. The youngest son in the Neighbor family was named Mathias Sharp Neighbor (1813-1895) and he worked as a merchant in Newcomerstown in the 1830s and 1840s. While working in Newcomerstown, he met and married Margaret Ann Miller (1826-1913) in the fall of 1844 and the couple relocated to New Philadelphia, Ohio. It was after this move that Mathias began spelling his last name as Nabor.

Mathias and Margaret moved into a brick home on East Avenue in New Philadelphia and there they raised their four children. During the Civil War, but unrelated to the war itself, the Nabor’s eldest son died leaving two other sons and a daughter in the household. After the war, Mathias partnered with Civil War veteran Oliver Powleson and opened a short-lived hardware store in New Philadelphia. After Powleson sold his interest in the store to Nabor, Mathias operated the store under his own name for a short time with the help of one of his sons.

  • Record of the marriage of Mathias Nabor and Margaret Miller in Tuscarawas County, Ohio in September 1844. (Source:
  • The Nabor family as recorded in the 1850 census for New Philadelphia, Ohio. (Source:
  • Advertisement for Mathias Nabor and Oliver Powleson's hardware store in New Philadelphia, Ohio, May 1866. (Source:

The youngest of the Nabor sons left New Philadelphia in 1867 to attend the United States Naval Academy. Following his graduation in 1871, he was assigned to ships in Asia where he spent the next couple of years. After his return, he was diagnosed with a mild case of tuberculosis and the Nabor family decided to sell their house on East Avenue in 1882 so that their two sons and Margaret Nabor could move to the drier climate of Southern California. It was believed that the less humid air would benefit their ill son’s health. Mathias stayed behind in New Philadelphia, along with their only daughter. It was also around this time that Mathias was contracted by the city to serve as the night watchman; keeping an eye out for fires and criminality.

Their youngest son only lived for one more year after the move to California, succumbing to his condition in the summer of 1883. The Nabor’s daughter was named as the recipient of most of her late brother’s estate. Margaret remained in California with her other son, now working as a salesman, for another year or so before returning to New Philadelphia. The family resided during this period in a rented home on Front Street. Their second son would die in 1891 while still in California. Whether his sister once again was his beneficiary is unknown, but shortly after his death she purchased a parcel of land from Joseph McCullough on Tuscarawas Avenue and constructed a new home there for her parents and herself.

  • The purchase of the lot on Tuscarawas Avenue, New Philadelphia, Ohio by Flora Nabor, November 1891. (Source:
  • The Nabor lot circled on the map of New Philadelphia, Ohio found in the 1908 Combined Atlas of Tuscarawas County. (Source:
  • The Nabor House shown on the 1910 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map for New Philadelphia, Ohio. (Source:

The house they built was, and still is, a wonderful example of the Queen Anne style of architecture with many of the features one would associate with that style. It is part of the subset of the spindle work style with a hipped roof with cross gables, a pedimented porch with decorative moldings covering the entrance only, leaded glass windows, and decorative eave decorations. Mathias Nabor would only live in the home for a few years, dying in the spring of 1895 after serving as the city’s night watchman for twenty-five years.

After the death of her husband Margaret Nabor applied, and was approved, to receive pension benefits for her son’s years of service in the navy while her daughter worked as music teacher. Margaret outlived her husband and all of her children after the Nabor’s daughter died in September 1910 from a heart attack. She continued to live in the home on Tuscarawas Avenue another three years until her death in March 1913. Mathias and Margaret Nabor, and two of their children, are buried in Fair Street Cemetery in New Philadelphia.

  • Headstones of Mathias and Margaret Nabor in Fair Street Cemetery, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2012. (Source:
  • The Nabor House on Tuscarawas Avenue, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2019. (Source:
  • The Nabor House on Tuscarawas Avenue, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2019. (Source:
  • The Nabor House on Tuscarawas Avenue, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2019. (Source:
  • Overhead view of the Nabor House and lot on Tuscarawas Avenue, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2022. (Source:

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.


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