No John Dodge House in Waterford

Information distributed during the bicentennial in 1989 stated: “Visitors to Beverly-Waterford during the bicentennial have several places of historical significance to see … The Capt. John Dodge home on Ohio 339 … is believed to have been built about 1830.” (Reflections, April-June 1989, p. 6) A commemorative throw for the years 1789 to 1997 depicted seven old area houses, including the John Dodge House in Waterford. In Glen Chandler’s 1994 Memories of Yesteryear (p. 54), it 6is called the Capt. John Dodge House. Although Capt. John Dodge died in 1805 and could not have built a house in 1830, people conveniently solved this problem by assuming that the builder was the captain’s son, John Dodge Jr. (1787-1854), the founder of Beverly.

John Dodge never owned the land where the house sits and it was never his house. The house is on eighty-two acre lot 34 in Wolf Creek Allotment. Adjoining is lot 35, also eighty-two acres. Tracing the deeds for the two tracts is simplified because they were often owned by the same person.

On March 24, 1794, Rufus Putnam et al. granted eighty-two acre lot 34 to Asa Coburn [Sr.] and eighty-two acre lot 35 to Phineas Coburn in the Donation Tract. (Vol. 4, pp. 398-400) By 1797 Phineas owned both lots. With the exception of twenty-four acres, the two lots and other land were sold on June 29, 1797, to Daniel M. Baker of Vermont for $700. (Vol. 4, pp. 406-08) On August 9, 1797, Daniel M. Baker sold lot 34, lot 35 (minus 24 acres) and several other tracts to Samuel Stone of Vermont for $2,800. (Vol. 5, pp. 29-31) Although a deed transferring this property was not made until 1844, Levi Allen paid taxes on lots 34 and 35 by 1817. Levi, Sally (Sarah), and Solomon Allen were listed in a 1798 tax enumeration of Waterford Township. No doubt Allen’s Run behind the house was named for him.

Sarah Allen was probably a daughter of Ebenezer Peirce (Pierce). Levi became indebted to some of the Peirce family and he mortgaged sixty acres of lots 34 and 35 in 1813. (Vol. 12, p. 55) This land was sold to Parker L. Hall in 1842 at a sheriff’s sale. (Vol. 34, p. 295) Although a deed from Hall has not been found, most of lots 34 and 35 remained in the Allen name.

On June 22, 1844, Stone’s heirs sold the two eighty-two acre tracts (except 24 acres in lot 35) to Luman H. and Luther P. Allen for $262. (Vol. 32, p. 325) Both of these men were probably sons of Levi Allen. On September 18, 1846, Luther Pierce Allen of Fairfield County, Ohio, mortgaged an undivided half of one hundred forty acre lots 34 and 35 to George Harman and Allen Benedum for $1,500. The mortgage says this property “is well known by the name of the ‘Coburn Farm.'” The property was bordered on the south by the “John Dodge lot.” (Vol. 38, p. 242)

A house with a value of $95 first appears on lot 34 in the tax records in 1848 under the name Levi Allen. By 1850 a house with the same value is on lot 34, but now it is in the name of Luther Allen. This continued until 1854, when no building is listed on lots 34 and 35. Very likely this had been Levi Allen’s house; certainly not a brick house since it was only valued at $95. During this time the sons purchased Wolf Creek Mills located a few yards above the forks. (Vol. 40, pp. 623-24) In September 1848 Luther P. purchased his brother’s share of lots 34 and 35 for $400. (Vol. 44, p. 256) Luther, Ellen and six children were in the 1850 census of Waterford Township, but the location of their residence is not certain.

The Waterford Township tax records show Luther Allen paid taxes on 73 acres of lot 34 (valued at $745) and 67 acres of lot 35 (valued at $683) in 1857. No building value was listed on either lot. The next year (1858) Luther P. Allen paid taxes on the same land, but now a building valued at $300 is on lot 34. The brick house was probably built in 1857, since tax records run a year behind. On February 10, 1858, Luther P. (now of Washington County) sold the 140 acres and an undivided half interest in Wolf Creek Mills to Luman H. Allen of Meigs County for $6,000. (Vol. 49, pp. 44-45) This price certainly suggests that the brick house was now included on the property. In 1860 Luther P. (age 52), Ellen, nine children and Luman (or Lyman) H. Allen, who paid the taxes, were living in the house.

The Allen family’s last years in the house and subsequent owners will be discussed in the next article. This picture, courtesy of Jerry Barnett, was taken about 1934 when Clarence and Mabel Skipton Barnett owned the house. Either Lois or Wilma Barnett appears with the family dog. On the right the white building is the milk house and the building behind it the granary. All except the house are now gone.

Phillip L. Crane, a Waterford resident and Marietta history teacher for 32 years, will share stories of historical events in the Lower Muskingum Valley.