MissionEveryone called our home the "Webber House." We wanted to know why, and who the Webbers were.
A.N. & D.F. Moen, Indianapolis, IN
BriefingWe started with the Deed Books, and learned that our land was sold in 1852, at a price that must have included a house. Well, that was a real puzzle. Because we already researched our home's original wallpaper, and knew for a fact it wasn't printed before 1870. So either the wallpaper was added when the house was almost 20 years old, or we were missing something in the Deed Books.
We went back to the courthouse, and this time we learned that the lot was originally much bigger, and that it was subdivided in 1867. But we still didn't know anything about when our house was built.
Fortunately, a county clerk told us to try looking in the early Town Lot Records. That's where we found a Warranty Deed, recorded in 1873, with the solid clues we needed. This deed showed that Jane M. Webber bought a piece of Lot 4 (our corner of the lot) for $2,200. The name was right, and the price meant a house had to be part of the deal.
Once we had a viable year, we started to look in the old Swartz & Tedrowe's City Directories. Our home's address wasn't listed in 1872, so we assume the house wasn't built then. But in the 1873 directory, we found George H. Webber at our address. The directory says he was a blacksmith for the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad. The next year's directory listed more Webbers at our house, including Miss Emma Webber (clerk), and Frank and Charles Webber (railroad firemen, also working for the CH&I).
After a little more digging, we learned that George sold the house in 1888. We think Jane died and left the house to him, but we haven't found her will. And we haven't learned whether the other Webbers in Swartz & Tedrowe's were George's children or his siblings.
But now that we know why it's the "Webber House," we want to learn all about the family. Our next project is to find out what everyday life was like in "our" house 130 years ago!