Friday, December 9, 2011

256 Parkwood Avenue - McCoy House

Robert W. McCoy
Robert McCoy first purchased the land for his prairie style, center hall home with large open porch in 1913 from the Richmond Realty Company and the house was built soon after. McCoy was later an officer of the Richmond Realty Company, and his neighbor, William Harvey Jones (1646 Richmond Avenue) was president, though at the time of McCoy's purchase in 1913, J.W. Thomas was President of the company and Carl E. Howell was Secretary.

Robert Watts McCoy was born in August 1872 in Chillicothe, son of Samuel Finley and Jane Oliver (Carson) McCoy. He married Christine L. Chapman in Maine on August 9, 1911. Christine was born March 20, 1884 in Gilead, Maine, daughter of William Chalmers and Martha B. Chapman. They had one son, Samuel Finley McCoy, II (July 13, 1913).

1919 Columbus City Directory
Robert was a lawyer, as was his father. Robert came to Columbus in 1894 where he completed his law studies in the office of Arnold & Martin. In 1900 McCoy was living with his cousin Curtis Claypoole and his clan at 1080 North High Street. McCoy was first assistant county prosecutor from 1907 to 1911. After that he joined the law firm of Webber, McCoy, Jones & Schoedinger.

McCoy is listed in the 1914 City Directory at 256 Parkwood. In the 1920 Census the family has a servant, Nellie Baker, a divorced woman, born in 1891. On August 24, 1920, McCoy purchased some adjoining property, part of Lot 2 of A.R. Creamer's Subdivision.

On September 1, 1920 the McCoys left for a month long vacation in Christine's native Maine. Robert would never return to Columbus from this vacation. Robert came down with tonsillitis. There was an operation to remove his tonsils and he soon died of pneumonia on September 24, following the operation. He is buried in Bethel, Maine.

Christine sold the Parkwood house just about four months later in March 1921. In 1930, Christine and son, Samuel are living at 464 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, with Christine's mother, Martha, and her sister, Cecile. Christine and Samuel eventually returned to Maine. On his 1942 WWII Draft Registration it states that Samuel completed four years of college and was a lumberman. He married Geneva E. Johnston on December 1, 1964. Samuel died in West Paris, Maine on December 3, 1992.

On March 9, 1921, Lena Moerlein Born took deed to 256.

Magdalena "Lena" Moerlein Born was born April 28, 1850 in Cincinnati, daughter of Christian and Barbara (Och) Moerlein. She married Conrad Born, Jr. in 1869.


Yes, *that* Christian Moerlein.


Conrad Born, Jr.
Conrad Born, Jr. was born in Columbus on September 21, 1844. He started to work in brewing in 1860 in Cincinnati and became a partner in the firm of Born & Co., brewers, in Columbus in 1864. He was president of the Capital City Brewing Company. Conrad died November 6, 1915.

From 100 Years of Brewing (1903) "Born & Company - The plant at Columbus, Ohio, now owned and operated by Born & Company, had its origin in the small brewery founded by Conrad Born, Sr., in 1859. From six thousand to eight thousand barrels of lager beer were then manufactured annually. Mr. Born was a butcher by trade, and soon after establishing the brewery, formed a partnership with one Silbernagel. The firm was known as Born & Silbernagel up to October, 1864, when the former purchased his partner's interest and received his son, Conrad Born, into the business. The founder of the plant, now known as the Capital Brewery, died in June, 1890, and Conrad Born, the son above mentioned, is the senior member of the firm of Born & Company, the other members being C. Christian Born and C. Edward Born.


The Born Brewery
565-579 South Front Street
Kramer & Hart, Architects

"In 1889 the management installed refrigerating machinery as a substitute for natural ice, its bottling department having been established for about twenty years. Malt has been made in the plant since the founding of the brewery; present annual capacity of the malt-house is about sixty thousand bushels of malt. The annual output of lager beer is now sixty-five thousand barrels. The firm makes quite a feature of its bottling business, bottling annually about twenty-five thousand barrels of beer. Annual capacity of the brewery is one hundred thousand barrels."

The webmaster of ohiobreweriana.com follows up, "In 1904, Born & Company became part of the Hoster-Columbus Associated Breweries Co., a consolidation of Columbus breweries. The Hoster-Columbus Associated Breweries Co. continued to operate the Born & Company brewery until 1919, when statewide Prohibition went into effect in Ohio."

In 1920, Lena lived at 671 South High Street with a housekeeper, Susanna Farr (divorced, age 39) and a lodger, Susanna Freme, a stenographer. 671 South High Street is now, sadly, the address of the Grange Insurance building.

Elizabeth Born Baron
circa 1925
While the house was in Lena's name, it was occupied by Lena's granddaughter and her husband, Gerald S. and Elizabeth (Born) Baron.

Gerald Swan Baron was born about November 1, 1896 in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Charles C. and Mary L. (Swan) Baron. Gerald and Elizabeth married October 25, 1919 in Franklin County. Elizabeth was born about July 31, 1898 in Columbus, daughter of Conrad Christian and Mary (Eckhardt) Born. Gerald and Elizabeth had two children, Charles C. (1923) and Mary E. (1928).

In 1920 the Barons lived at 77 Taylor Avenue. Gerald was a clerk at the Born Company.

In the 1930 Census the house was valued at $40,000. The Barons had two African American live-in servants. Theodore Richardson was their chauffeur and his wife Daris was the family nurse.

Theodore was born in Virginia about 1901. He married Daris about 1928. Daris was born in Maryland about 1906.

Lena died August 2, 1930 at 671 South High Street after an accidental fall in which she fractured her right hip. She is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Sometime about 1929, Elizabeth and Gerald divorced. Elizabeth married Melville Irwin in Cleveland on October 14, 1932.

Elizabeth died in Newcastle, New Hampshire in 1977. Gerald Baron also remarried and continued to live in Columbus. He died in September 1975.

Elizabeth was Lena's heir. She sold the property to John G. Jennings of Cleveland on December 10, 1931 and he assumed an $8,000 mortgage.

Hugh Runkle
circa 1920
Hugh L. Runkle purchased the property on October 25, 1932, the mortgage still outstanding.

Hugh Letson Runkle was born October 23, 1868 in Urbana, Ohio, son of John "Oak" Oakland Alva and Anna (Letson) Runkle. He married Norine C. Craney in St,. Louis, Missouri on April 20, 1891. Norine was born about September 1870 in Illinois. She died before 1930. They had at least three children, Helen Louise (April 13, 1893), Lillie (1895) and an unnamed stillborn son born March 30, 1911.

Hugh attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Harvard University (Class of 1890). He was a Lt. Col. in the Ohio National Guard and also treasurer of the Scioto Furniture Company.

In 1900 the Runkles lived in Kenton, Hardin County, where Hugh was a bank cashier (Kenton National Bank).

Hugh appears twice in the 1920 Census. In one entry, Hugh is living in St. Petersburg, Florida, with his daughter, Lillie B. Dana (1895), his grandson, Edward Runkle Dana (born in Ohio May 20, 1919) and a 60-year-old nurse, and a housekeeper. Hugh's occupation is listed as bank president. He is also listed in Columbus at 1581 Hawthorne Place, living with his daughter Helen, his son-in-law, Lowell Dana (born in Michigan about 1898, paint company salesman), grandson Edward and a servant, Ella Van Atta.

Edward Runkle Dana
circa 1936
Lowell, Helen and Edward are also duplicated in the 1920 Census, living with Lowell's father Edward B. Dana in Muskegon, Michigan. Little Edward was counted three times in 1920 in three states! Lowell's father was the owner of a printing company and Lowell worked at the firm.

In the 1930 Census, Hugh is living at the Garden Apartments on East Broad Street. He has a black servant, Franie Harden, born in Florida about 1901.

Hugh died in Columbus on August 21, 1959.

Hugh transferred the house to his grandson, Edward R. Dana on December 2, 1940. Edward attended Columbus Academy. He died in Laguna Beach, California on October 25, 2005.

The house was sold to Mary Dittoe Cott on September 15, 1942.

Walter G. Cott, Jr.
circa 1928
Mary Cecilia (Dittoe) Cott was born December 9, 1883 in Somerset, Perry County, daughter of Frank A. and Mary (Finck) Dittoe. She married Walter Guerin Cott, Sr. in Columbus on June 20, 1906. Walter was born about November 1881, son of William H. Cott (his mother's maiden name was Sanders). They had two sons, Walter G., Jr. (November 1, 1907) and William H. (1916). Walter, Sr. was manager of a cereal company in 1920 and the family lived at 66 Cleveland Avenue.

In 1930 they were living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Walter was sales manager for General Foods Corporation.

Walter, Sr. and Mary both died in Upper Arlington, he on October 24, 1958 and she on April 22, 1965.

Dr. Arthur O. Diggs
circa 1931
The first African-American owners of the house were Dr. Arthur O. and Marguerite C. Diggs who purchased it on May 31, 1949. It was transferred to Marguerite alone on June 14, 1955.

Dr. Arthur O'Dell Diggs was born September 9, 1911 in West Virginia, son of Lewis Irvin and Martha Gee (Coles) Diggs. He married twice, having two children with each of his wives. Marguerite C. P. Diggs was born September 16, 1916.

Arthur served in the Army from 1942 to 1946. In the 1946 City Directory he is listed as living at 669 East 4th Avenue, with an office at 681 East Long Street, #200.

Arthur died January 10, 1963 in Columbus.

Marguerite sold the house on September 13, 2004.


1922-51 Sanborn Fire Insurance map
The garage is on this map, but not on the 1921 map, so it was added by the Barons in late 1921/early 1922.

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