Ceph’s House

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St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where Cephas was a member. Emmett certainly attended services here. The actual church they attended burned down in the 1940s, but was rebuilt.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where Cephas was a member. Emmett certainly attended services here. The actual church they attended burned down in the 1940s, but was rebuilt.

During the last research visit to Florida, I spent the day in Marianna, visiting Emmett’s old haunts; including: The Jackson County Courthouse, Cephas’ law office (now the law office of Elizabeth M. Simpson), St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Cemetery.

One place I’d hoped to see was Cephas Love Wilson’s home, which was located on the corner of Jefferson and Clinton Streets. Emmett lived with Cephas and his family from 1900 to 1905, as did their sisters Dora and Katie.

Unfortunately, the house is long gone, and today, there’s a bank on the property. However, there’s a majestic oak tree still there, which is at least 125 years old. If only the oak could talk!

The bank now on the site of what was Cephas Love Wilson's home. Note the huge oak tree in front, which is at least 125 years old.

The bank now on the site of what was Cephas Love Wilson’s home. Note the huge oak tree in front, to the right, which is at least 125 years old.

I spent that day with the excellent Sue Tindel of the Jackson County Circuit Clerk’s office. She knows the history of this town and was a wonderful source of information. I asked about photos of the old Wilson house. She didn’t know if any of the photos still exist anywhere. It’s possible, but I haven’t found them yet.

My approach to this project has been that when you encounter a dead end, look for a workaround. So, while I may not have an actual photograph of the Cephas Love Wilson home just yet, I did find a general diagram of the house and property! Check it out:

Cephas' house, which was located at the corner of Jefferson and Clinton, in Marianna, Florida. Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1913, from the University of Florida archives.

Cephas’ house, which was located at the corner of Jefferson and Clinton, in Marianna, Florida. Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1913, from the University of Florida archives.

If you haven’t studied the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, you should. These are GREAT information sources. You can find most of these online, free of charge, at different libraries and the Library of Congress. Mine were found online courtesy of the University of Florida.

Anyway, so, in 1913, we see that Ceph’s house was fairly large. There was an interesting porch on the front, and, two outbuildings, one of which was probably a carriage house. I don’t know that they had indoor plumbing in 1913 at the house. Cephas was wealthy, though, and enjoyed his creature comforts. This may still have been an outhouse, although he would have installed plumbing when it became available.

Here’s the property in 1922:

A different orientation of the house, still facing the high school, in 1922. Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, from the University of Florida archive

A different orientation of the house, still facing the high school, in 1922. Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, from the University of Florida archive.

As you can see, there is now one outbuilding, in the uppermost right hand corner of the property.

Key to the Sanborn maps.

Key to the Sanborn maps.

The key to the maps indicate that the yellow structures are frame. Where you have a “1” indicates the number of stories, the “x” indicates a shingle roof. So, in the 1922 map, the building in the upper right corner is a single-story, shingle roof structure — probably a garage. Cephas had automobiles as early as 1907.

In the 1913 map, the two structures in the back of the main house, according to the key, were one-story buildings with shingle roofs. The main house was also one-story, with a shingle roof. What’s interesting is that in the very back of the main house, there’s a slate or tin roof, indicated by the ‘o’ in the image.

See the 'o' at the top of the yellow image?

See the ‘o’ at the top of the yellow image?

That was probably where the kitchen was located in the house.

The dashed lines indicate a frame partition. Also, according to the 1913 map, there was a four-foot water pipe in the center of Clinton street; in the 1922 map, the pipe running down the center of Clinton (the dashed line in the image up above) was now six-feet in diameter. So, it is possible that Ceph’s house had indoor plumbing all along.

There’s a lot of useful information to glean from the Sanborn maps about Ceph’s house, but I wish I could find an actual photograph of his home. Perhaps one will turn up as the digging continues (hint hint).

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