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Watercolor in sepia of a forest with deer and paw paw trees by Tom Lohre.

Paw Paw Patch, watercolor on paper, 7" x 5"

The annual block party went on with the big tarp.

The big tarp came in handy for the 2013 block party.

Resor Mansion, 20" x 16", oil pastel melted on canvas using a Lego robot

Click image to see larger image.

Clifton Family, 24" x 20", oil on canvas, December 2009

From: Randy rresor at gmail dot com
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 3:11 PM
Subject: Your Web page on Evanswood Place


Mr. Lohre,


I happened on your charming page about Evanswood Place when I was searching for information on the history of my family. I am a descendent of Reuben P. Resor, although I've never lived in Cincinnati and haven't spent too much time there. My grandfather was also Reuben Perry Resor (he was born Charles Oliver Resor, Jr. but changed his name). And therein lies a small mystery.

My grandfather was born shortly after 1870. He had two younger brothers, Walter (about whom I know nothing but his name), and Stanley, who is very well known. My grandfather was not an admirer of his own father, so the family stories go (that's why he changed his name, although I don't know when or where that occurred). During his teenage years he left home and went to New York to work for the Standard Oil Company (there was only one in those days, prior to the anti-trust case brought by the Theodore Roosevelt administration).

Now here's the mystery. The story handed down through my family (although my grandfather died in 1955, when I was three, his second wife, my grandmother, lived to 1981) is that Charles Oliver Resor was a layabout and something of a scoundrel who didn't work if he could avoid it, and the family lacked for money. I suppose, but don't know, that Reuben left home because his parents could not or would not provide a college education for him. I don't know whether Walter went to college, but Stanley (as everyone knows) went to Yale. This suggests that Charles came into an inheritance at some point after my grandfather left home, and was able to provide better for his two younger sons. I don't know if there were other children as well.

In any case, my grandfather Reuben did well for himself. He went to night school to learn accounting, and rose through the company ranks to become Treasurer of Standard Oil of New Jersey. He retired in 1939.

Reuben married for the first time early in the 20th Century (I presume in New York), and he and his wife had three daughters. He then divorced her some time around 1915, and astonishingly enough, was given custody of his youngest daughter Mary, then about 10 years old. She was 16 when my father was born in 1921 to Reuben's second wife. We knew her as "Aunt Mary", although she was only his half-sister and of course much older. I'd like to know more details of that first marriage and divorce.

Meantime, of course, Stanley Resor graduated from Yale, returned to Cincinnati, and in the fullness of time became the owner and president of J. Walter Thompson, which he built into the largest advertising agency in the world. He became very wealthy. What happened to his brother Walter, I don't know.

My branch of the family has no contact with Stanley Burnet Resor's descendents. Of course his son, Stanley Rogers Resor, was also well known. A successful lawyer, he was Secretary of the Army for Lyndon Johnson and then for Richard Nixon in the late 1960s and 1970s. Stanley Rogers had seven sons, none of whom I know.

So my small mystery is this: what happened some time in the 1880s to cause my grandfather to leave home as a teenager, and to divide the brothers?

Randolph R. Resor
Merchantville, NJ

 

 
Clifton Pioneer Home-Owning Residents 1814-1838 Map / Original Subdivision of Carkson's Clifton Farm in 1842 showing adjacent land owners Map
 
Rivers, Stations, Roads and Trails 1794 Map / Ludlow Mill Tract MAp
Composite Home by Bruce Ryan

CENTENNIAL HISTORY


EVANSWOOD PLACE
CINCINNATI, OHIO
   1891-1991   
                              
by Arthur G. King


    Property on Evanswood Place in the Cincinnati community of
Clifton went for 66.5 cents an acre in 1788, when John Cleves Symmes
bought it from the United States. Its value increased when Israel Ludlow
built a grist-mill on the banks of the stream which was thereafter called
"the Mill Creek," and when the mill was sold in 1798 a neighborhood acre
brought five dollars. In 1818, Thomas Roberts bought a tract of sixty acres
which included the present northeast comer of Clifton and Ludlow
Avenues for $27 an acre.
    What is now called Clifton Avenue was known from 1815 to 1845 as "Irwin's Mill Road. " William Irwin had bought the "Mill Creek Tract" and its mills and constructed a road to them from "the Road to Ludlow Station" (now Ludlow Avenue).' His daughter, Jane, incidentally, married the son of President William Henry Harrison, and was the latter's official hostess at the White House during the one-month tenure of that presidency. Thus, it was early in its career that Clifton attained a social cachet.
    The name of the area came from Charles S. Clarkson's "Clifton Farm" of 510 acres, which he built up over a period of years. His income, as did that of many other ambitious early entrepreneurs, came from pork-packing. This he managed from his offices in a building which is still standing at the southeast comer of Court and Vine in Cincinnati. But by 1842 he was forced to liquidate all his holdings to the Lafayette National Bank, leaving as adjacent landowners west of Clifton Avenue only Samuel Thorpe, Elijah Wood, and James Bryant.
    Farming and pork-packing were not the only significant industries in Cincinnati of the time. Metal-working and iron foundries provided an important income to the community, and in the latter industry the Resor brothers were pre-eminent. William Resor married Mary Burnet, the daughter of Cincinnati's first mayor, and in 1843 moved to Clifton on property to the east of Clifton Avenue (between the present Greendale and Glenmary Avenues). Not to be outdone, brother Reuben Resor moved to the west of Clifton Avenue, purchasing 40 acres. He bought the southern half of Elijah Wood's 60 acres at $198 an acre, and another ten acres from James Bryant at $200. He then cut through what is now called Resor Avenue from Clifton Avenue. He built a three-room cabin on what is now Resor Place for his mother, and then a house for himself at 320 Resor Avenue. But in 1848 he sold the eastern part of his holdings, including the house, to Captain Hosea. The house was still standing in 1950, but it was torn down to make room for St. John's Unitarian church.

Resor Manor House

    Reuben Resor built his "manor house" (which is now designated as 3517 Cornell Place) on the high ground west of what is now Middleton Avenue and Hedgerow Lane, to which he extended what is now Resor Avenue. It was a lovely wooded hill, well watered by a brook which coursed northwestward to the valley through which the present McAlpin Avenue runs. It joined a small creek flowing down from the high ground in the old Thorpe property, as well as a similar stream from Mount Storm. These formed a marsh or a pond near where the current McAlpin Avenue meets Lafayette Avenue, and the pond was shown on some old surveys of the area until 1884, when it was adequately drained. The hillside to the south contained many springs, some of which are still functioning, and the neighborhood was called "Spring Valley." In 1869, Robert White bought property there at just about the half-section line, and built two houses which are still standing at 547 and 543 McAlpin.
    On March 23, 1850, Clifton was incorporated as a village, and the first ordinance was passed on April 11, 1850, titled "Prevention of Immoral Practices." It decreed that on Sundays there would be nothing to disturb or desecrate the Sabbath, no sporting, rioting, quarreling, hunting, fishing, shooting, trading, bartering, selling, buying, or common labor, works of necessity or charity excepted. Later ordinances forbade the establishment of any tavern within the village limits or the selling of any spirituous liquor in quantities of less than one gallon. Slaughtering was carefully controlled, as was the release of any smoke, gas, or substance prejudicial to health and comfort. Horse racing was forbidden, as was driving a carriage faster than six miles an hour. There was a $20 fine or jail for up to thirty days for cutting down or maliciously injuring trees or bushes, or defacing any church, school, dwelling house, fence, gate, or sign.
    Reuben Resor did not long enjoy his new home, he died suddenly and unexpectedly. In November, 1854, the Common Pleas Court decreed in Case # 12218 that his property was established as the Reuben P. Resor Subdivision with a survey as shown in Plat Book 1, page 237 (County Recorder's Office). Beginning at the half-section line, the estate ran eastward to Clifton Avenue and was divided. Streets were put through, and the lots just west of Clifton Avenue were quickly sold to various people. That declaration of subdivision must have been devastating to his widow and children. Her family and friends scrambled desperately to try to save some equity for them. The largest portion of the subdivision, from the half-section line eastward to a little east of what is now Cornell Place, was bought by David Gibson in 1866 for $50,000. David Gibson was a whiskey, grain, and feed merchant, who promptly moved into the Resor manor house with his wife, Sarah, and made a number of changes to it. However, in 1872, a judgment of $129,000 against him forced him to sell all his property for $67,000 to Winifred M. Evans. She was the daughter of Warren and Harriet Brown, who owned extensive property north of what is now Lafayette Circle. She had married Seth Evans, a pork-packer, who in 1874 was the president of the Second National Bank of Cincinnati.
    Winifred and Seth Evans moved into the "manor house" and for eight years gradually bought up adjacent lots to expand their holdings, including eight acres southward in order to have frontage on what is now Ludlow Avenue. This brought the Evans estate to forty connected acres, "all woodland except for the manor house" in which they lived until Seth Evans died in 1890 and his widow a year later.
    They had nine children, and when Winifred died the estate was tied up in furious litigation until 1899. Part of the difficulty was that their wills had designated gifts of 100 by 630 foot strips of the old Reuben P. Resor Subdivision lots, but measured from the "half-section line." These strips did not coincide with the original Resor lots.
    The first two strips were claimed by Olivia Procter Morrison, "a widow of Cincinnati," and it was not until 1899 that Common Pleas Court case #117849 ordered the 200 feet be sold to her for not less than $3,000. This is why Evanswood Place curves around the present Mann house to produce the "dead-end" of the street and the area on which were eventually built the houses from #575 through #622.
    Winifred Evans had deeded the third 100-foot strip to her son, George, on which he had built a house in 1890 (#568). His was a stormy connubial career, having been married and divorced twice. His business was listed as "Bicycles and Sundries" in the 1897 Directory, but he seems always to have been in financial trouble. Many mortgages on the house were recorded, and several sales and purchases of adjacent land. It was not until 1917 that the integrity of his title was established when it was bought by Mary Mulhauser and in 1925 sold to Phyllis and Walter Heuck. It passed to Wilson Brumleve in 1945 and to Joan and William Boniface in 1960.  It is now the home of Betsy and David Mann.
    The next 100-foot strip was also deeded in 1890 but to Winifred's daughter, Winifred, who also built a house on it (#564). She could not get a clear title to it until 1896, by which time she had moved to 440 Ludlow Avenue, living as a "spinster" with her brother Joseph, until she died in 1928. She was responsible for another round of litigation in 1900 which dragged on until 1932, when the remaining assets were ordered divided into 64 parts, the share of some of the claimants being as little as $59. Michael Guyer bought her house in 1903, and it was acquired in 1939 by Helen and John K. Rose, a member of City Council and head of the Cincinnati Park Board. Later owners and tenants were Gladys and William Clark, Patricia and Cedric Boulter, followed by Sally and Reid Ross, Larry and Norma Wolf, Bruce McLeod, Bernard Rubenstein, and Adelia Moore/Tom Gerety in 1986. It is now the home of Travis Marvel and Michelle Murphy.
    In 1881, there was enough agreement among the heirs to have two streets cut through to facilitate the sale of smaller lots. The approach to the manor house had already been altered to a private dirt road from Ludlow Avenue. This was naturally called "Evans Place," but when the Village of Clifton was annexed in 1896 the name was changed to Cornell Place and the manor house became #3517. The dirt road from the manor house to the homes of daughter Winifred (#564) and son George (#568) was dedicated on May 2, 1891, then straightened and paved as Evanswood Place. But it extended only to the edge of the property claimed by Olivia P. Morrison. The lots on the south side of the street had a frontage of 100 feet, but a depth of only 150 feet. At their southern edge was a 30-foot wide dirt road noted on some plats as being "for the exclusive use of the land-owners." The 100-foot lots on either side of Cornell Place were sold with no difficulty, but the rest of the property was involved in court proceedings from 1891 till the final settlement in 1899.

545 Evanswood home of the Millers

In 1985 Michael Knaul bought lot at 545 finished by January 1, 1900. It was the first, and for a long time the only house on the south side of Evanswood Place. In 1923 it was occupied by the Herschede family 3 heirs of the Michael Knaul Family - Cora, Stella& Charlie. Since 1964 owned by Carolyn and G. Franklin Miller.
    The manor house was sold in 1901 to E. Antoinette Ely, who deeded it to the Bartholomew Ely School, remembered by many people in the neighborhood for its broad sweeping steps down to what is now Hedgerow Lane. In 1903, Cornell Place was extended northward, and lots (only 50 feet wide) were sold. By 1943, the school building had been converted into apartments.
    In 1901, Olivia Morrison tried to develop the property she had acquired from the Evans Estateóthat is, the "dead-end" of Evanswood Placeóbut succeeded in selling only three lots on which houses were built:
#614, occupied from 1936 to 1970 by C. Leslie Martin and more recently by Frederick D. Ziegler; #619, which was occupied successively by Roy Hack (the organizer of the "Evanswood Place Chowder and Marching Club"), then by lola and William Hessler, followed by Wyman W. Parker, then by Edna and Harold Rosenberg and finally by Irene Moore & Tom Lohre . At the end of the dead-end was #621, occupied by, among others, Dr. Frank Dutra, Dr. Richard T. F. Schmidt, and Paul Payne. Morrison Place was not dedicated until 1925, and the late Jane Loveland remembered that as a child she had played in the heavy woods which went past the cemetery down the hill to Ludlow Avenue. Construction of houses ceased for five years, until in 1906 the large brick three-story two-family apartment house was built at 547-549 Evanswood Place on the south side. Its occupants from time to time are too numerous to mention, some being well known and a few a bit shady.
In 1905, the 100-foot strips given to Frank Evans and to Joseph Evans became available, and in 1906 two houses were constructed. One,
#554, was a modest bungalow built by Florence and H. M. Benedict. The other was the substantial brick home (#560) of Burtis Burr Breese, the professor of psychology at U.C. There were numerous transfers of small parcels "to straighten out property lines" or expand them.
From 1908 onward, more and more houses were built on both sides of the street. Among the earliest ones were #514, built by the Barker family high on the hill next to the old Resor manor house, occupied since 1959 by Helen and Robert Siegfried. Diagonally opposite, on the southwest corner with Cornell, was #511, a house occupied by (among other distinguished Cliftonians) Dean Stanley Dorst of the Medical College, Rabbi Moses Buttonweiser of Hebrew Union College, the engineer Frederick Schierloh, Dr. Benjamin Miller of the Jewish Hospital May Institute for Research, and the architect David Lee Smith.
    Between 1909 and 1914 there was a flurry of housing construction, such as #518, long the home of Albert Schwartz, the president of the Werk Soap Co., and then Dr. Edgar Lotspeich and more recently Dr. Lawrence Frohman. Directly across the street at #519 is a similar brick building which at one time housed Dr. Thomas Atkins and his pediatrician wife, Nina Anderson, followed by F. R. Cottrell, Glenn Melzer, and currently
Stephen C. Sunderland. Next door, at #523, known as the Weitkamp house, live Marianne and Bruce Ryan. Built the same year, #537 housed the Bahmans, then the Schemenauers, and more recently the Hoovers. Number 541 was for years the home of the engineers Christian W. Marx and Frederick C. Marx. On the north side of the street, occupying numbers 524 through 550, was the Mary M. Emery Bird Reserve, which was not sold until 1956.
The south side of the street continued to build up, the lots being smaller and more salable during the 1909-1914 years. Number 553 was occupied by the dentist, Dr. Allan Taylor, until 1943, when Helen Smith and Helen Coops of the U.C. Department of Physical Education lived there. They were followed by John K. Rose and Mary Lynn Rose. Next to them, #559 seems to have always had university faculty, most prominently Reid Stockdale and currently Robert and Janet South. Number 565 was for 45 years occupied by Mayble and Earl C. Case, and currently by Dr. Richard W. Youngpeters.
Number 573 is of particular interest in that for over twenty years it was owned by Edward H. Unnewehr, one of whose daughters, Marge Schott, is the principal owner, president, and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. The next occupant for 36 years was Wilfred S. Pahner, the Clifton druggist. It is now the home of his daughter, Linda, and her husband, Michael McCauley.
    At the very top of the street, actually part of the old Morrison purchase from the Evans Estate, is #579, which is across the intersection with Morrison Place. It has had a succession of owners including lawyers, doctors, artists, and historians. Even before it was built, #616 and #620 were in existence, the former occupied by Charles E. Gilbert, followed by Dr. Edward J. Bender, and finally by Ed and Mary Ainslie Morrison. The owners of the latter house were John T. Wetzel, then Iris and William A. Spoor, and then Roy A. Norwood. Its present occupant is Anne E. Martin.
The interest in building homes on Evanswood Place was revived during the First World War. Number 575 was built in 1919 and has been known as the "Hunnicutt House" for its longest owners. It is now occupied by the Paul Meyer family. Two houses were built in 1922. One was #622, which was occupied by a succession of either tenants or owners, such as William T. Foley, George Engberg, John Caskey, and currently, Shawn T. Riley. The other was #554, which had been vacant except for the foundations of the Benedict bungalow which had burnt down in 1917. Clarence T. Bookman, the founder of the Community Chest movement, built an imposing home on the site, to which in 1928 he added a sunken living room which provided a vista of the stream which had attracted Reuben Resor to build his manor house. It has been home to Martha and Arthur King since July of 1948.
The next to the last house on the street, built in 1938, was #569, occupied by Mary Alice (Mrs. Dare A.) Wells almost ever since, with more recently her daughter Ann and son-in-law, Michael Bowers. The newest house is #536. When the Mary M. Emery Bird Reserve was sold in 1956 to Emily and Gaylord M. Merriman (professor of mathematics at U.C.), their modern bungalow was planned to be the first of at least four houses to be built on the property. But it was impossible to obtain an easement for a sewage connection down to McAlpin Avenue, and the plan was abandoned. When the Merrimans moved to Pennsylvania in 1972, they sold the property to Kathleen and Norman T. Bruvold, the current occupants.
    This brief history of a single street, dedicated just one hundred years ago, typifies a close-knit and congenial segment of a Clifton neighborhood. It should properly close with mention of a fifteen-year old tradition: celebrating Independence Day by a cooperative picnic held on the level high ground just west of the original Reuben Resor manor house, a fitting place and a fitting occasion, particularly in 1991.

Evanswood House Numbers

with First Recorded Assessment Hamilton County Recorder's Office

428
432
511    1919
514    1908
518    1905
519    1912
523    1912
536    1960
537    1912
541    1908
545    1900
547    1906
549    1906
553    1914
554    1922
559    1909
560    1905
563    1910
564    1890
565    1912
568    1890
569    1938
573    1911
575    1919
577    1919
579    1910
614    1901
616    1909
619    1901
620    1909
621    1901
622    1923

Cornel Place
3472
3475 1919
3484 1905
3501
3502 1924
3511
3512
3515
3516 1919
3517 1850
3518
3521
 

 

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