Taken from my graduate school admission paper titled "Building Baldwin: The Works of Joseph Wiley Spurgeon..."
The Paper Trail
Jacob Hall was granted many parcels of land by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary W. O. Stoddard. Hall was a lawyer, farmer and mail contractor for the Pony Express route between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Reports from the Court of Claims Submitted to the House of Representatives , Page 20). Jacob Hall, and his wife, Mary, sold a portion of the land located in Baldwin City, Kansas to establish a college under the patronage of the Kansas and Nebraska Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. [Book A, Page 570]. This organization later came to be known as the Kansas Educational Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which William H. Schofield, received Power of Attorney to on June 16, 1863. This granted Schofield power to sell these lots of real estate in Baldwin City to raise $20,000 for the erecting of a university building. Typically, people bought entire strips of lots to use for farming.
William Pearson purchased many of these lots in entire blocks. On May 21, 1866, he purchased lots one (1) through eleven (11) on Eighth Street for $500. The deed included a note “to prohibit forever said lots or any part of them from being used as a place of making or vending Intoxicating Liquors.” Only recently did Baldwin City Council pass an ordinance to allow downtown businesses to sell alcohol.
Pearson sold these lots to William I. Graham on May 7, 1881 for $900. Graham sold the lots to Almon Hervey Humphrey and Amy (Curry) Humphrey on September 25, 1883 for $1060. Almon Humphrey was a banker in Baldwin City. After he died on April 13, 1880, his widow filed a quit claim deed to receive full ownership of these lots because his will had divided the property amongst Amy and their children. June 23, 1890, she sold lots seven (7), eight (8), nine (9), ten (10), and eleven (11) to John Chandler for $1,500.
John A. Chandler and his wife, Elizabeth C. Morris, were natives of Ohio. Chandler's ancestry can be traced back William the Conqueror. Chandler was a descendant of a well-known Chandler family of Pennsylvania and was a birth-right Quaker. He served in the Civil War as a member of the 131st Ohio infantry and serviced at Harper's Ferry and in the Virginia campaign. His brother, Thomas Chandler, was one of Lincoln's bodyguards and was later a minister in New York. After the Civil War, John Chandler began farming in New Athens, Ohio until moving in 1867 to Kansas City, Missouri. He then moved to Baldwin City to farm before retiring to Belton, Missouri. John and Elizabeth were both devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Chandler sold the lots to Julia A. Lowe on April 13, 1898. Francis Xavier Jardon purchased the land for $737.50 from Julia A. Lowe, who is noted as a widow, on the deed dated August 17, 1906. Jardon would be the first to build a home on lots 7 and 8.
While researching at the Baker University Archives, I located an old photograph of a collage titled, “Some of the Buildings in Baldwin, Kansas Built by J. W. Spurgeon Prior to 1908.” In the very bottom of the photograph was a picture of a home dramatically different from my home labeled F. X. Jardon's Residence. Although my home is a stone two-story, the home in the picture's windows laid out identical to mine. I began studying the foundation of my home and noticed that a significant change was made to the original footprint of the house. A subsequent chat with my neighbor revealed that the house was remodeled and covered with stone sometime in the 1940s. Instantly, I remembered the stamp on the back window ledge of the home that said “10-30-1947.” Perhaps this was the date of the remodel? Sure enough, was later determined to be my home. But this only created more questions for me. Why did Jardon build such a small home when he already owned a larger one, built by the same builder? Why did later owners so dramatically change the home? Some of these questions I have managed to answer, while some remain a mystery I have yet so solve. I hope you find the journey as interesting as I have. Hour upon hour has been spent flipping through microfiche, yearbooks, tax assessments, census records and the like to compile the most thorough history on my home possible. I consider this to be but one chapter in the Spurgeon book I hope to write; I plan to include chapters for each of his other beautiful homes.
The Jardon Family
Xavier Francis Jardon was born November 30, 1822 in Chalonvillars, Haute-Saone, France to Jean Baptise Jardon and Anna Marie Sophie Petey. Xavier and his wife, Mary Elese Beuchat, raised twelve (12) children, Alfred, Celina, Elissa, Judith, Augustus, Francis, Sophia, Martin, Julia, Victoria, Adolphus and Edmund. Francis “Frank” Xavier Jardon was born April 11, 1858 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At one month old, his family moved to Kansas.
“The pioneer stone home of Xavier Francis is located 2.5 miles south of Baldwin City. After Quantrall's land raid on Lawrence, August 21, 1863, the raiders stopped here to water their horses.” Kansas Historical Guide, page 238. It is thought their French accents may have saved the lives of the family from Quantraill, a French sympathizer.
Francis Jardon married December 5, 1883 to Adell Miller. Douglas County Marriages, 1892, Book 5, Page 6. Adell died before the age of 30, on April 8, 1889. (Oakwood Cemetery headstone.) Francis later married Virginia T. Elliot, the daughter of a prominent wagon and carriage manufacturer, and raised four (4) children, Francis, Irene, Richard, and Virginia.
“Few among the farmers of Douglas County have been more successful than this enterprising agriculturist of Willow Springs Township. Through his energy and industry he has acquired valuable possessions, including the ownership of one of the finest farms in eastern Kansas.” Portrait and Biographical Record, page 383. Jardon owned a total of 1040 acres in eastern Kansas. . In the fall of 1889, he started a livestock commission business called Burnside, Jardon & Company.
“Joseph Spurlock was the contractor for building the beautiful home of Francis Xavier Jardon three miles northwest of Baldwin City – he did the inside which has inlaid floors and stairway.” -- Douglas County Family Histories 1991 – 1992 Vol. 1, page 560. Although the author got the builders name wrong, this did give me the approximate location of Jardon's country home. Built in 1906, the country residence included a beautiful home and stone barn. At this time, it was a fashion for the wealthy to build a “Sunday Home.” A Sunday Home was located in town and was only used for the weekend, when families would attend church. Because Jardon had a sprawling residence outside of town, it is my assumption that Jardon had a Sunday Home, built by the same architect as his primary residence, in Baldwin City. According to the Baker University Archivist, several of these homes still remain; though many have been added on to.
After speaking to one of his distant relatives, Marvin Jardon, of the Sante Fe Historical Society, I learned Francis Jardon became ill and moved to California for medical reasons. Jardon's address is listed as Oklahoma on the warranty deed when he sold to the Harris Family in 1914. The 1920 Federal Census lists him as living in Jackson County, Missouri with his wife, Virginia. The 1930 Federal Census has the family back in Douglas County, Kansas. Marvin also provided a larger, clearer picture of my home.
The Harris Family
August 29, 1914, new deed was filed, granting the lots 7 and 8 to Thomas L. Harris for $3,500. Thomas Legrand Harris was a distinguished "Hall of Fame" professor at Baker University, as well as an author. Thomas was the son of Greene and Jane Wilson Harris, born April 8, 1863 in Hamilton County, Indiana. At the age of 15, he became a licensed teacher in Indiana. In 1892. he earned his undergraduate degree at Indiana University at Bloomington. Three years later, he completed his graduate degree, also at Indiana University. In 1895, he received a second graduate degree at Harvard University.
In 1905, Thomas Harris returned to Indiana as a history professor until he moved to Baldwin City, Kansas in 1912. He became head of the history department at Baker University. August 14, 1913, Harris married Ada Shafer. They had one daughter, Mary Katherine, who later graduated from De Pauw.
“That Dr. Harris' opinion was sought throughout the nation at critical times was evidenced in the pre-World war days when he was consulted by the Department of State on points of international law while the case of the United States Government vs. Germany was being prepared following the sinking of the Lusitania.” “Obituary)
He was a Civil War and Abraham Lincoln expert, and author of books including, "The Trent Affair and Relations with England at the Beginning of the Civil War,” “Judge Ben. B. Lindsay and His Works,” “John Brown,” and “America and England in 1861."
In 1922, Harris completed his work for a doctorate at Indiana University, although he remained at Baker until his retirement in 1932. One year later, he was awarded the L.L.D. Degree from Baker University and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. Dr. Harris died August, 1941 at his home in Greencastle, Indiana.
“Death today has stilled one of the keenest minds...” -- obituary
Using Mary Katharine Harris's obituary in the De Pauw University Alumni News, I was able to locate her husband, Martin Phelan. Martin, now retired in Florida, stated he and his wife, Mary Kay, had visited the home in the 1930s after she had graduated from De Pauw University.
The Ballard Family
Dr. Ballard purchased the home on March 21, 1940. He owned the home for only two (2) years before selling it to the pharmacist family, the Hitchcocks, but the Baldwin City Librarian remembers playing with the Ballard girls in the house. “I have a picture of me and the Ballard girls sitting on the front porch. It was a beautiful house. I thought it was the most beautiful house in the world.” Thomas Hitchcock remembers keeping Dr. Ballard in employ with a few broken bones. My husband discovered a medical journal in the basement belonging to Dr. Hashinger, husband of Daisy Hashinger. Perhaps he was a business associate of Dr. Ballard?
The Hitchcock Family
Merle L. and J. Jeanette Hitchcock purchased the home June 12, 1942. Merle Leslie “Ty” Hitchcock, born November 19, 1899, was the son of Thomas A. and Florence Hitchcock. Thomas and Florence started the Hitchcock Drug Company in 1912 when they purchased the Schnebly Rexall Drug Store. Florence Hitchcock was the first registered female pharmacist in Kansas.
Merle, a Baker University graduate, married Josephine Jeanette “Peggy” Schwartz on June 23, 1925. Their children, Thomas and Barbara, both graduated from University of Kansas with pharmacy degrees. Thomas married Marjorie Stiles and had two sons, Jon and Richard. Thomas is currently a benefactor for the pharmacy program at University of Kansas. Richard Hitchcock is a doctor, living just a few blocks away from my home. His wife, Rhonda, is one of my son's teachers at Baldwin City Elementary.
Thomas stated he was 11 when his family moved into the house in the early 1940s. He remembered the screen porch spanning the front of the house. His parents remodeled the home in the fall of 1947 for more space. He said the second level was expanded and the house was covered with stone.
Perhaps the Hitchcock's felt they needed more space, but they really lost the original beauty of the home. After the Hitchcock's, the house had a few more owners, whose carpentry and decorating tastes we have grown to question. Eventually, the house was repurchased by Baker University Trustees in 1989. Baker retained owership through 1998 until it went back to a private residence. Finally, in 2006, my husband and I discovered the home and instantly fell in love! Our love of the home has unleashed a frenzy of research and study. I found myself wanting to learn more and more about not only the home's history and its architecture, but the architecture of all Spurgeon's other buildings as well.