Happy Birthday, Dear House

326 So Main Date Unknown

Undated real photo postcard (addressed but apparently never mailed) showing 326 South Main Street shortly after its completion. Author’s collection.

This month marks the one-hundredth anniversary of my house being occupied. The little brick bungalow was constructed by Fergus and Julia Camp, originally of Homer, Ohio. I detailed the story of their move to Wellington, and the building of their “modern home,” in a post back in 2014. The couple first relocated to the village in 1906, and purchased the adjacent Victorian still standing at 318 South Main Street. After nine years, they sold that house and temporarily rented a property across the road, while planning and erecting their final home. The overall process took nearly two years, with the Camps only able to move into the bungalow in February 1917. Finish work on the interior and exterior continued on through the summer of that year.

Fergus & Julia Camp in front of porch 1923

Four generations of the Camp family in June 1923. Fergus and Julia Camp are in the center. Their daughter, Ruth Camp King, stands to their left. Their granddaughter, Mary King Robinson, stands to their right. Great-grandson David W. Robinson is the child in arms. Author’s collection.

My family has now lived in the house for five years. Remarkably, we are only the fourth owners of the property in a century. The Camps, Schwellers, and Ashbaughs preceded us, and I still hear the house regularly referred to by the two most recent of those names.

Wellington is rich in history, and in addition to our small and personal centennial, a host of significant anniversaries are on the horizon. This year (2017) marks the 150th anniversaries–or sesquicentennials–of The Wellington Enterprise, and the construction of both the First United Methodist Church and the Union School, sadly demolished nearly one year ago. Next year (2018) is the one-hundredth anniversary of the death of painter Archibald Willard (just before the end of World War I), the 150th anniversary of author and activist Frederick Douglass speaking in Wellington, and of course, the bicentennial of the settling of the village by those of European descent. It promises to be an exciting year filled with celebrations.


“Grandma” Julia Camp (visible through the window) photographer with her great-grandchildren, Thanksgiving 1926. Julia Camp would die a decade later in the house, aged 90; her husband of sixty-eight years died just twelve weeks after. Author’s collection.

My blogging time has been limited of late, but that should be changing fairly soon. In addition, I have been asked to contribute an article to Ohio Genealogy News; to offer a public talk this spring about the three Masonic tracing boards painted by Archibald Willard; to give some remarks on Wellington women of the 19th century at an upcoming “Coffee with the Mayor”; and to participate in the bicentennial commemorations. In the meantime, if you have not seen the new feature I added to the blog on the photography of William Sawtell, please check it out. I will post dates and locations for the aforementioned talks as they become available.



5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dear House

  1. James Rallis

    I’d be interested in knowing if you had any information on a George McClellan who possibly lived on Taylor Street in 1861 or 1867. Have some letters addressed to him there. Clearly not “The George McClellan”; Still. Thanks for another great article…

    1. Armchair Historian Post author

      I do not appear to have any references to a George McClellan in my master research guide where I log all my findings. Have you tried the Wellington census? It goes back to 1820. Another place to search is the “Lorain County News,” available online via Oberlin College. It was co-published in Wellington and goes back to 1860, I believe. “The Wellington Enterprise” was published starting in 1867, but we have very few extant issues until you get to around 1876, if memory serves. (The issues digitized via “Chronicling America” run from I think 1879 to 1899.)

      There are a number of McClellans buried in Greenwood Cemetery, including a George and a Georgie McClellan. Baby Georgie has no dates associated with his burial records. George McClellan, aged 88, died October 22, 1928, meaning he was born 1840. If this is the same man, he would have been around 21/27 at the time of your correspondence. I checked Herrick Library’s birth/marriage/death index for “The Wellington Enterprise” to see if there was an obituary listed. I did not see one, but there is a marriage announcement for a “Geo. McClellan” on 4/23/1890, pg. 8. This might be a son or grandson of your George, or it might be a secondary marriage. If you are interested in pursuing this farther, I would suggest you investigate that 1890 notice to see if you can determine whether it is the same man, and also look at the issues immediately after October 22, 1928, to see if you can locate an obituary for the elderly George McClellan. (These issues are all available on microfilm at the library.) He may be your guy. Good luck!

  2. Armchair Historian Post author

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the 4/23/1890 “Wellington Enterprise” notice in “Chronicling America.” It doesn’t reveal a great deal: “McCLELLAN-LOCKE. At the residence of the bride’s parents, Sharon, Pa., April 16, by Rev. F.C. DeForest, Geo. McClellan, of Wellington, and Miss Ella Locke, of Sharon, Pa.” Your best bet may be hunting down the 1928 obituary for further clues. His headstone in Greenwood may also have further information; let me know if you would like location information for his stone.


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