Thursday, May 24, 2012

280 Parkwood Avenue

280 Parkwood Avenue
Woodland Park, Columbus, Ohio
Lot 1 of Watson and Ryan's Subdivision and parts of lots 16 and 17 of Nelson Heir's Subdivision, etc. The legal description of the property is 1615 Granville Street, though it is known as 280 Parkwood Avenue.

John Henry purchased the property in 1897 from what looks to be a man named Lafe Young.

John Kennedy Henry was born March 3, 1859, son of Thomas and Margaret S. Brown Henry. He married Ella Hannum in 1891. Ella was born March 2, 1862 in Lancaster, Ohio, daughter of Ezra Smith and Jane Hamilton Hannum. They had one son, Herbert N. born in November 1896.

John was a lawyer. Originally from Fairfield County, John and Ella were listed in the 1900 Census for Columbus, residing at 1347 Forsythe. They must not have stayed in Columbus long, as they spent the majority of their days in Lancaster and John is listed as an attorney in the 1904 Lancaster City Directory.

John and Ella both died in Lancaster. John on April 4, 1922 and Ella on November 5, 1933.

Ida M. Irvine purchased the property August 2, 1901 from Ella Henry though the deed was not transferred until December 1902.

Ellsworth C. Irvine was born in Fredericktown, Ohio on December 18, 1861, son of William and Emeline Braddock Irvine. He married Ida Rowland about 1887. Ida was born in Columbus on June 19, 1865, daughter of Richard and Mary Rowland. They had two children, Dorothy (May 1889) and William R. (August 1893).

Ellsworth was an attorney (Arnold, Morton & Irvine) and the family lived at 869 Franklin Avenue.

Ellsworth died in Columbus on November 23, 1924. Ida died on December 13, 1941. They are buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Elizabeth S. Howell purchased the property from the Irvines on February 5, 1910.

Elizabeth S. Watson was born in Ohio in January 1846 in Coshocton, Ohio. She married Robert Howell who was born in Columbus about 1831. Elizabeth and Robert had eight children, six of whom were alive in 1900. Nellie was born about 1869 and Gracie about 1870.

Robert Howell was a baker. In 1860 Robert worked and resided at the Deaf and Dumb Asylum working as a baker. In 1875 the family lived at 111 East Rich Street. Robert died December 22, 1879 in Columbus.

In 1900 the widow Howell lived at 556 Franklin Avenue with her daughter, Millie C. (November 1864) an embroiderer, son Jesse J. (August 1871) a carriage painter, Henrietta (June 1874) a stenographer, Walter J. (December 12, 1876) a salesman and Carl E. (April 1879) a draftsman.

In 1910, Elizabeth lived at 77 Taylor Avenue with her son, Carl, now an architect.

Walter died December 17, 1914 at age 38 in the State Hospital of "dementia paralytica". The information on his death certificate came from his commitment papers. He is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

The widow Howell, sold the house to Mary K. Altmaier on February 16, 1916.

Oscar Charles "Dutch" Altmaier was born October 27, 1887 in Columbus, son of Martin (Sr.) and Sophia Caroline Stark Altmaier. He married Mary Elizabeth Kaufman in Columbus on January 13, 1915 at her parents' home, 1151 Bryden Road. Mary was born about 1892 in Ohio, daughter of John H. and Elizabeth Dagner Kaufman. They had two sons, John M. (1917) and Robert David (October 23, 1919 - October 7, 2005) and a daughter Mary (Dunn).

The Sigma Chi, Alpha Gamma Alpha House
82 West Tenth Avenue, circa 1911
Oscar Altmaier and his brother Stark were both members
After they married the Altmaiers first lived at 54 North 20th Street. Oscar was a 1909 graduate of Ohio State and a member of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In the 1920 Census, Oscar is an officer (Secretary) of the Columbus Oil Cloth Company (Columbus Union Oil Cloth Company) which in 1930 became Columbus Coated Fabrics. (The former plant site is located in Weinland Park and is currently being redeveloped.) The family had two African American servants, Lula Brown, a widow, born about 1870 in Tennessee and Lucile I. Wilson, born about 1899 in Tennessee.

Oscar later became President of Columbus Coated Fabric Corporation. Oscar's son's obituary says that Robert was "an executive in the family oil cloth business, Columbus Coated Fabrics, for 25 years."

Stark Julius Altmaier was Oscar's younger brother. He continued in his father's footsteps in the shoe business. Martin Altmaier, Sr. was a shoe merchant. The Stark Altmaier Shoe Store, "Established 1927, Junior Footwear Exclusively", was located at 19 South 4th Street, and in the 50s had locations in Bexley and Upper Arlington. The South 4th Street store was demolished May 16, 1973.

Oscar died on December 21, 1947 and Mary died July 12, 1974.  They are buried at Greenlawn Cemetery.

On September 16, 1922, Oscar and Mary sold the property to Charity Brandt. One of the encumbrances noted on the deed were the assessments for street cleaning for 1921 "amounting to $8.75 and $1.94".

Frank D. Brandt was born in Ashland County, Ohio about January 9, 1875, son of David and Catharine Swartz Brandt. He married Charity Hess on December 20, 1899 in Ashland County, Ohio. Charity was born December 2, 1878 in Ashland County, Ohio, daughter of Christian J. (Jr.) and Elizabeth Lawrence Hess. They had two sons, Harold G. (1902) and David C. (May 20, 1924) and a daughter, Mildred Madaline (May 19, 1903).

In 1920 the Brandts lived in Van Wert, Ohio. Frank was a grain dealer. The 1920 City Directory lists Frank as President of The Krystal Rok Stucco Company (in 1927 he is the Treasurer). An item in the May 23, 1922 Building Supply News announces that "Brand (sic) & Hollenbaugh have opened offices in 310 Commerce Building, Columbus, Ohio, to represent a newly-patented composition styled the Krystal-Rok Magnesite Stucco which is used for building purposes. The offices were formerly located at Van Wert, Ohio, where the factory is located." In 1930 the family was living at 280 Parkwood. The house was valued at $15,000 at that time. Frank was a highway contractor. Harold was living with them and he was a crypt salesman. About 1924, Mildred married Charles Stephen Huddleson. The Huddlesons had two children, a son and a daughter. In 1973, Mildred Madeline Huddleson was living in Venice, Florida.

Frank died November 29, 1931. He is buried at Otterbein Cemetery in Westerville, Ohio. Charity died in Gahanna on June 3, 1973 and is entombed at the Westerville Mausoleum. Harold Brandt died in Grand Rapids Michigan July 15, 1981. David Brandt died in Columbus on November 26, 1986. Mildred died in Columbus on July 25, 1987.

On February 10, 1951 William E. and Esther E. Toler purchased the house. They were the first African American owners. On July 19, 1951 the deed was transferred to only Esther.

William A. "Bill" Toler was born September 10, 1919 in Columbus, his mother's maiden name was Ferral. He married Esther Earley before 1949. Esther was born about 1914.

The 1951 City Directory lists Toler & Toler, (William A. Toler, Esther E. Toler) Attorneys-at-Law with offices at 867 Mt. Vernon Avenue #3 (The York Masons Building, now the King Arts Complex). I'm guessing that the Tolers divorced in 1951, just after buying the house. Mrs. Esther Toler is listed in the 1953 City Directory as a finisher at R.L. Tolliver Furs and living at 17 E. California Avenue. In 1957, William is listed as a lawyer with an office at the same Mt. Vernon address. He is living at 1187 S. Weyant Avenue.

Lynn Toler
An article by Janice Arenofsky on, a bipolar support website, talks about Lynn Toler, a judge on TV's Divorce Court and her father's background. "Judge Lynn Toler, star of Fox Television’s Divorce Court, remembers how the headlights would flash off the walls of her bedroom and alert the 10-year-old to dad’s arrival. She and her older sister, Kathy, could anticipate another evening of fighting and drinking. “You didn’t mess with him,” Toler says of her attorney father. “He’d say these ugly, terrible things to mom, accuse her of infidelity, and call me a moron.”

Not until she became a municipal judge did Lynn understand that her father’s uncontrollable bouts of anger resulted from bipolar disorder, and that underneath the manic exterior resided a funny, industrious man who loved his wife and two daughters.

Born in 1919 to a poor family in West Virginia, Bill Toler spent his teen years at hard labor in the coal mines. When World War II beckoned, Toler enlisted. But the Army soon discovered that Toler’s aggressive tendencies went beyond fighting the Nazis to violent confrontations with his fellow soldiers. Toler was diagnosed with manic depression with psychotic episodes and discharged in 1947; law school on the GI Bill and a first marriage followed in short order. By the time Toler married Toni—his second wife and Lynn’s mother—he had a successful law practice in Columbus, Ohio, despite his manic depression. 

At home, however, Toler’s symptoms clashed with the minutiae of daily life. He would rage over mispronounced words, misplaced eyeglasses, carpet dust, or imperfectly aligned window shades. In general, his tendency to exaggerate everyday happenings into calamities triggered ugly outbursts. As Toni Toler put it, her husband had a penchant for “running amok.”

When Toler’s agitation peaked, his wife would commit him to the local psychiatric hospital. There he received electro-convulsive therapy or medications, but he stopped all pharmaceutical treatments after being discharged. The reason, according to Lynn, was that her father, who rarely experienced depression, was too fond of his manic imbalance.

Toler also rationalized that his high-octane energy bursts heightened his career accomplishments.

“He felt creative, that he could conquer the world,” Lynn recalls. “He’d yell ‘Wow! Pow!’ over and over, but then he’d get charged up about something as simple as burned toast.” 

Toler’s unpredictable explosions continued until his death in 1994.

As Lynn approached junior high school age, she recognized that her father’s acting out exacerbated her own moods. She became angry and began acting out, breaking light bulbs, wetting herself in public, and reacting hysterically to minor frustrations. Anxiety and depression dominated her days. When Lynn was about 10 years old, a pediatrician and close family friend attributed her mood disorder to her father’s erratic, combative behavior. (Conversely, her sister remained unaffected by Toler’s tirades, and to this day retains an optimistic outlook.) By age 12, (as Lynn noted on a 2007 National Public Radio program), she had suffered two nervous breakdowns. 

As an adolescent, “my emotions changed and defined my life,” Lynn says. “It was so overwhelming that I began catastrophizing.” In her book, My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius (Agate Bolden, 2007), Lynn says, “ … my fears would cascade on me. Daddy would break out a window and I’d wake up convinced that I was going to die in an automobile accident that day.” By the time Lynn reached high school age, her depression had morphed into anger and headaches, and she withdrew from clubs and sports activities. 

At this point, she referred to the self-denigrating voice reverberating in her head as “The Beast.” This voice preyed on Lynn, accompanying her to Harvard and then to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where her moods often interfered with her scholastic commitments. It wasn’t until 1996 that she agreed to seek psychiatric treatment. She was diagnosed with severe depression and treated with an SSRI for a year. 

During the most raucous periods of her youth, Lynn recalls that her mother would apply practical strategies to contain some of the chaos. For example, she never left Lynn or Kathy alone with their father in case an argument erupted. To minimize her husband’s rampages, Toni mastered emotional management tools that structured and controlled her husband’s life—she lessened the amount of stimuli and information reaching him by screening phone calls and encouraging stability. Moreover, she established safe boundaries and never gave her husband bad news that he could not remedy. 

Toni also never said anything insulting about her husband in front of the girls. She simply accepted the fact that despite Toler’s high regard for traditional values such as father, husband, and breadwinner (Lynn points out that he worked seven days a week, took one two-week vacation in 36 years, and paid for four college degrees, three that came with Ivy League price tags), at any point he might careen into a manic state that even Toni could not control. By the time Toni confided in her daughters about their father’s manic depression, Lynn, as a young adult, could understand that her father’s negative impact on the family was never intentional.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Lynn remembers receiving a good dose of her mother’s expertise in emotional management. Her mother told her she had to stop catastrophizing and cease trying to control others. All she could control was herself. She helped Lynn to leave her dorm room and get into the classroom by coaching her on how to store her fears away in a metaphorical box and accomplish small tasks one at a time. Lynn soon realized she was learning to apply the same rules and techniques that her mother used to manage her father’s bipolar. 

Today Lynn has not conquered all her fears, but she excels at certain behavioral tools, including “reading” other people’s feelings, assessing her faults, and reframing situations to see the humor in them. 

After law school, Lynn joined a high-powered, 200-lawyer firm in Cleveland, where she achieved the status of the only black female corporate litigator. Several years later, she ran for and was elected Administrative Judge of the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court. Her innovative rulings and commonsense sentences landed her on the pages of Cleveland’s Plain Dealer. A Hollywood production company spotted her there, and she agreed to appear in a TV reality show, Power of Attorney, co-starring former O. J. Simpson prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. Three years ago, she moved over to Divorce Court.

Married with two teenage sons, Lynn has fought her way from a troubled childhood to a successful adulthood, following her mother’s counsel, and getting professional help when needed. Her experiences have also assisted others with mental illness. As a municipal judge, she became the “first line of defense” for many defendants who needed psychiatric care, but did not recognize it or could not afford the medications. 

“Most people misunderstand mental illness,” Lynn says. She points out that for most of her childhood she believed it was alcoholism that was fueling her father’s behavior. “I would have liked to know that my father’s behavior was not his fault.”  

Esther Toler died in Columbus on April 27, 1969. William died July 10, 1994.

On April 21, 1952, Matthew G. and Frances H. Carter purchased the house, with an unspecified balance due on an original mortgage of $9,500.

Matthew G. Carter
Rev. Matthew Gamaliel Carter was born October 16, 1913. He married Frances Augusta Hill in Washington, DC on December 10, 1944. Frances was born about 1920 in Washington, DC. They had a two daughters, Bettye Frances born in Dallas, Texas on March 27, 1950 and Nanette. Bettye Carter Freeman was a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and is a Dean at Northeastern University School of Law.

Frances is listed as a lodger with Cora E. Murphy at 124 W Street NW in the 1940 Census in Washington, DC.

While in Columbus in the early 1950s, Carter was a YMCA executive.

Matthew G. Carter was Montclair, New Jersey's first African American mayor serving from 1968-1972. His obituary states, "Matthew Gamaliel Carter, the first African-American Mayor and Commissioner of Public Works of a predominantly white New Jersey town, Montclair, died from complications of Alzheimer's disease on March 14 (2012), at the age of 98 years old. His was a true American story of struggle and accomplishment becoming a prominent religious, civil rights and political leader.

Matthew Carter's success as a public official stemmed from his strong faith in humanity and in Christianity. He met with dignitaries and important people from all over the world, but he most enjoyed being with and assisting regular citizens by advocating and working hard for the development of opportunities for all people. He was a tireless advocate for the common man. He engaged everyone he met with respect and good humor, and many of those he worked closely with became dear loyal friends. He had the reputation for integrity and working tirelessly and selflessly for others. Matt Carter believed overall in man's connection to his fellow man and that these bonds would ultimately bring meaning to our lives.

One of three children born October 16, 1913, in Danville, Virginia, he lost both parents, Clarence and Henrietta Carter, at a relatively young age. He worked menial jobs to put himself through school and college graduating from Virginia Union University in 1939. From 1941 to 1942 he served as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia, and during this period, he continued his graduate studies and received his Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University in 1942. He went on to complete additional graduate studies at Columbia University and Union Seminary in New York City.

The Afro American
February 16, 1952
In his professional career for the next 27 years, he served in executive capacities with the YMCA in Richmond, Virginia and Columbus, Ohio, and with the Southwest Area Council of the National Council of the YMCAs in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. His climb up the executive ladder brought him to New York City in 1958 as Associate Director of the "Association Press," the official publishing house of the National Council of YMCAs. He held this position for eleven years while living in Montclair, New Jersey.

Matthew Carter served from 1964 to 1968 as Commissioner of Public Works and Vice Mayor of Montclair. He immediately faced a water shortage due to a drought throughout northern New Jersey. To deal with the shortage, he appointed a blue ribbon committee to assist him and the other commissioners. As a result of their efforts, two highly productive wells were established and the town overcame the drought. Also during this first term in office as Commissioner of Public Works, he instituted an extensive housing rehabilitation program. Thirteen neighborhood locations that showed signs of deterioration were upgraded under this plan. When he ran for his second term, he again led the ticket by receiving the largest majority vote and became Mayor. During his mayoralty, a local Fair Housing ordinance was adopted. It was designed to guarantee equal access to all available housing for all people regardless of race, religion and national origin. At the end of his mayoralty, he was appointed to support the construction of Montclair's first two low-to-moderate income housing complexes consisting of 213 housing units. In October 1997, in honor of his service as Commissioner of Public Works and Mayor of Montclair, the housing complexes are now known as the "Matthew G. Carter Apartments." It was a tumultuous time when he was in office with the Civil Rights and Vietnam War protests in high gear. He was instrumental in preventing riots in neighboring cities and towns from spilling over into Montclair. With a coalition of ministers and town police peace reigned. It was his strong leadership and problem solving abilities that contributed to the progressive and diverse community that Montclair is today. 

In 1969, Mr. Carter was invited by the president of then Hoffman La Roche, the Swiss based Pharmaceutical Company, to join his staff. His first task was to organize a Department of Community Affairs and to become its founding Director. During his tenure, the Department grew in size and services, and notably, a corporate Day Care Center was established for the children of La Roche employees, one of the first of its kind in the country.

He received several Honorary Doctorate Degrees and served on many Boards and committees, including as member and chairman of the New Jersey State Commission on Civil Rights. He enjoyed summers in Sag Harbor, Long Island and led the Sag Harbor Hills Association for several years. He also spent winters in Sarasota, Florida after retiring. As a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, he served a record breaking twenty-eight years as editor of The Boule Journal, its official publication. He was a brilliant writer and speaker. He loved to read, reading several newspapers a days, and he enjoyed discussing and writing about the current issues.

Matthew Carter married the former Frances Hill of Washington, DC in 1944. They have two daughters Bettye Carter Freeman of Boston, Massachusetts and Nanette Carter of New York City. There are three granddaughters and their husbands, Eva Freeman and Efrem Fisher, Nina and Ronald Hanlon, and Leah and Harold Haskin, and one great grandson, Jonah Freeman Fisher."

Matthew Carter died March 14, 2012.

On July 2, 1964 Esther L. Maus bought the house from the Carters who were then living in Montclair, New Jersey.

Esther Louise Maus was born September 8, 1905 in Wisconsin, daughter of Charles W. and Minnie L. Maus.

In 1930 the Maus family was living in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Esther was living with her parents (her father was a Presbyterian clergyman), and younger brothers Carl Philip, Charles W., Arthur E., and a sister, Mary E. Esther and Carl were both lifelong public school teachers.

809 East Long Street
The 1939 City Directory lists Esther as a teacher, living at 1507 Hunter Avenue in Columbus. In 1941 she is a teacher at Fornof School and living at 61 Chittenden Avenue. In 1949 she is at the same address. In 1954 she is living at 1023 Miller Avenue, listed as a public school teacher. In 1957 she is at the same address, listed as a teacher at Douglas School.

November 13, 1968 Esther transferred the house and another property she owned at 809 East Long Street to a trust administered by Huntington National Bank.

Esther Maus died in Columbus on January 2, 2000.

1951 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing 280 Parkwood Avenue at the upper left.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this info - I'm the great-granddaughter of Frank and Charity Brandt, and this cleared up some gaps of information for me.

    Tracy Huddleson
    Northern California