Terrace Park, Ohio Building Survey

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No: Street: Kris Circle (listed as 843 Wooster until 1992-3) Name: Highlands House
Family: Wilson/Werdman Plaque: 2008 Owner Info: Y
Built: circa 1830 (or 1840s?) Sec: 29 Sub: Columbia  Lot: R2-T5-S29 SE
Architect:  Cont/Build: Joseph Highlands
#Owners:  Original Use: Residential Current Use: Residential
CHANGES As Built: N Add To: Y Sub From: N Replace: N
Original house probably had 2 rooms downstairs, 2 upstairs and a cellar (trap door from outdoors down).  1870s - addition behind original house. (There are 2 fireplaces up stairs and 3 downstairs in the old part of the house.)  1985 addition to south of original house and 2 car garage behind 1870s addition (Williams).   2002 - permit for Laura Wilson to build a storage shed.  2004 permit for Tim & Laura Werdman to add & remodel - finish basement, 1st floor family room, 2nd floor bedroom & bath (David Finger Co, contractor.  Mike Mauch, RWA Architects Inc.).  
Current OwnerLaura Welles Wilson (& Timothy Werdman) Date Fr:1997 Date To: 
Original Owner: Joseph Highlands (b 1800 PA - d 1876 TP) Date Fr:  Date To: 
Owner 1: Josephus Highlands (b 1837 TP - d 1919 TP) Date Fr 1:  Date To 1: 
Owner 2: Albert Wilmer Highlands Sr. (b 1863 - d 1947 Cin.)  Date Fr 2:  Date To 2: 
Owner 3: Albert Wilmer Highlands Jr. (b 1906 -d 1987 Cin.) Date Fr 3:  Date To 3: 
Owner 4:  Date Fr 4:  Date To 4: 
Owner 5: Merrill A. Taylor Date Fr 5:  Date To 5: 1948

Owner 6: Iva F. Matthews

Date Fr 6: 1948 Date To 6: 1975
Owner 7: Alison Fern (Matthews' daughter) Date Fr 7: 1975 Date To 7: 1979
Owner 8: Roger L. & Virginia R. Williams Date Fr 8: 1979 Date To 8: 1991
Owner 9: Judith F. Spear Date Fr 9: 1991 Date To 9: 1991
Owner 10: Andrew M. & Victoria S. Millitzer Date Fr 10: 1991 Date To 10: 1997
Owner 11:  Date Fr 11:  Date To 11: 
Owner 12: Date Fr 12: Date To 12:
1975 Owner:  Iva F. Matthews % Fern, Allison (also 1950) Also lists 903 Wooster Pike
Description: 2 story brick "American Farmhouse", 1985 addition siding, gable roof. 
Story 1: Kris Circle is named after Maerki daughter Christina.  Proposal to Terrace Park Council December 1969 for sub division of 6 lots just east of Wrenwood with exit to Wooster owned by Walter Maerki   (4 houses on street, 2 on Kent Circle).  Kent is Maerki son.  
Story 2: According to Marcia Highlands Oetting, William Highlands was born 26 June 1765,  He married Elizabeth Childers 17 September 1789 at Centre Presbyterian  Church in Shermans Valley, PA, which was in Cumberland County, now Perry County.  He and Elizabeth came to this area from Pennsylvania in 1802 or 3.  He bought farm land in what is now Terrace Park in 1805 and built a log house which stood near the intersection of Wooster Pike and Indian Hill Road until about 1917.  There was an addition on the back for animals to protect them from Indian attack or theft.   Their second home is said to have been a brick house on the side of the hill across from the present "Highlands House".  It is unclear but "it had apparently been rented to someone who destroyed it by arson to collect on household insurance fraudulently." 
  Joseph Highlands was born in 1800 to William and Elizabeth Highlands in Pennsylvania.  He married Electa Turner, whose parents were Sarah & Isaac Turner.  Joseph & Electra built "Highlands House", originally with a Wooster Pike address (now at the corner of Wooster and Kris Circle).  Charles Meurer's painting of the house in 1904 is one of the few he did of Terrace Park landmarks.  Joseph Highlands was a director of School District #9 Columbia Township.  Their daughter,  Mary, was the first person to graduate in a class of one from the Terrace Park School.  The Turner family lived in what later was known as the Golden Pheasant on Round Bottom Road.  Joseph Highlands died in 1876 in Terrace Park.
  William Highlands was a brother of Joseph.  His "property adjoined Joseph's section of land (640 acres), where he farmed potatoes and corn.  The field was behind the "76" (later Hinner's) Gasoline Station in Terrace Park, near Old Indian Hill Road. "
  Joseph's son Josephus Highlands was born in Terrace Park in 1837 and died in Hyde Park 4 December 1919, buried in section 2 of Greenlawn Cemetery, Milford OH.  He married Harriet Ellen Martin.  Their son, Joseph C. Highlands, was born in Terrace Park 12 March 1869 and died 6 November 1894, aged 25 years, buried in section 10 of Greenlawn Cemetery, Milford OH. 
  Next to live in "Highlands House" was Josephus' son Albert Wilmer Highlands Sr., born in 1863 in Terrace Park, married in 1904, and died while living in Hyde Park in 1947.
  The next generation was Albert Wilmer Highlands Jr.  He was born in 1906 and died in 1987.  "The  Highlands family vacated the white farmhouse on Wooster Pike in 1918 to move to Hyde Park."  However, his daughter was never aware her father owned Highland House.  This needs to be checked further with the deeds (see above).
Story 3: "During Prohibition, the house was rented to a man who paid $50 rent in advance, but no one was ever there.  Suspicious, "revenuers" from Milford staked out the place, watching through peep holes in a barn standing on the opposite hillside.  Confirming their suspicions, they raided the house and found a still on the first floor in a lean-to, and 35 barrels of bootleg whiskey.  Still and mash were soaked in kerosene and burned.  The mess was cleaned up in a week."
Story 4: Some of the information on the Highlands family comes from a conversation Donald B. Highlands had with his father A. Wilmer Highlands on December 13, 1980 as reported by Donald's sister Marcia Highlands Oetting.  Other information was found in the Terrace Park Archives.  In the book "A Place Called Terrace Park" there is a picture of William Highlands' tombstone on page 18 and of his log cabin on page 22.  Page 22 also shows a painting done in 1904 by Terrace Park painter Charles Meuer (see 731 Miami) of "Highlands House". "Highlands descendants cannot confirm that the house once was a station on the underground railroad."
Story 5: "Don (Highlands) remembers that Dad also stated the Highlands house was part of the underground railroad.  Apparently, there was a tunnel from the house underground to a shrub (or shrubs) next to the barn.  I have no verification of this and will be interested to know if any is found."  From a letter from Marcia Highlands Oetting in 1992.
Marcia says her father told her the house was a station on the underground railroad but later (2012) she asks if there are any other papers or hearsay suggesting this. 

"From a ledger at Don's - March 16, 1821 - Zachaeus Biggs - 2 days thrashing $1.25 and 3 days chopping, fixing fence $1.87." From same letter.                                                 

Story 6:  Dr. W. W. Highlands was postmaster in Newtown 4-22-186, 2-7-1868, 5-2-1877, 12-28-1881.  
Story 7:  Helen Terwillegar rented the upstairs for a couple of years after she came back from California.  She is Bob Terwillegar's mother (see 733 Elm).
Story 8:  Edna Stites and Peg Maupin both remember a 2nd floor renter who had twin babies, 1 normal & 1 retarded.  The mother worked at St. Thomas Church.  
Story 9:  This home was on the September 21, 2008 Terrace Park Historical Society House Tour.   
Story 10:

Highlands Family  (information from 2008 House Tour)
Information from Marcia H. Oetting and her father, Albert Wilmer Highlands Jr.

1)  1802 - William HIGHLANDS (c1765-c1841), wife Elizabeth, two sons, William & Joseph, left Brownsville PA to settle in OH.  First settled near the Turpin homestead, then moved near Covalt’s Station.
     First lived in log cabin at the bottom of Indian Hill Road near the creek.  Cabin had dirt floor, no windows, large stone fireplace made with stones from the creek.  Ladder made from branches was used for the five children to go to the loft.  Barn/stable was at rear of cabin.  Animals were led through the family’s living area to the back of the cabin each evening to prevent Indians from stealing them. 
     Next lived in brick house across Wooster Pike from the existing Highlands house (6 Kris Circle).  This house later was rented and burned down.

2)   Joseph HIGHLANDS (b 1800, Brownsvile PA & d 1876), 2nd son of William and Elizabeth, built the present Highlands House (6 Kris Circle) on Wooster Pike.  He married Electa TURNER (b near Sparta PA 1802 & d 1891).  She came with her family by boat down the Ohio River in 1803.  Her family home was on Round Bottom Road & later became known as the Golden Pheasant.  Both Joseph & Electa are buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Milford.  (Electa Hylands was born in Sparta PA [correction]. 24 April 1803 and died 1 February 1891, buried 3 February 1891 in Greenlawn Cemetery Milford Ohio, Section 10, Lot 342.  Cause of death was paralysis of heart.  Kindred: Isaac Turner.) [note - Sparta is in Washington County, SW area of PA]
     Highlands House built c 1830 (some say 1840s-50s) of bricks made on the site.  All walls, interior & exterior are 2 ft. thick [this is a guess - walls were very thick]  Joseph and Electa had 640 acres & 9 children:  Elizabeth 1821-1900, Sarah 1822-1901, Maryann 1824-1903, George Washington 1827-1924, Rachel Day Minton 1828-1899, William Williams 1830-1832, Isaac Turner 1832-1864, Michael Turner 1834-1867 & Josephus C. 1837-1919. 

3)   Their youngest child, Josephus C. HIGHLANDS lived in the house with his wife Harriett Ellen MARTIN (died Dec. 22, 1919 in TP) (both buried Greenlawn Cemetery, Milford).  They had 5 children: Albert Wilmer Sr. 1863-1947, George Washington 1867-1868, Joseph Clifford 1869/70-1894, Mary Ellen Priscilla 1872-1969 & Charles Randolph 1875-1951.  After deaths of the parents in 1919, the two living unmarried adult children (Mary & Charles) stayed for a while, but later sold the house during the 1930s.  They actually moved to Hyde Park in 1918. 
     Josephus HIGHLANDS studied to be a Baptist minister, but the night before he was to be ordained at Newtown Baptist Church, there were storms with heavy rain, causing the Little Miami River to rise.  The ford at the present location of the Newtown Bridge was impossible to cross the next day, because of high water, and Josephus took this as God’s sign that he was not intended to be a minister.  He was never ordained. 
     Mary Ellen Priscilla Highlands was the 1st graduate of the Terrace Park High School in 1890.  She continued her education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of music and received her teacher’s certificate in pianoforte and theory in 1897.  She taught piano in Hyde Park. 

Story 11: Information from St. Thomas Church Columbarium tombstone now there: William Highlands Sr. died 10 June 1841, aged 76 years old.  (His calculated birth date is 1765.)  This stone was originally in the Indian Hill Old Baptist Churchyard AKA Little Miami Baptist Churchyard (was located near 758 Old Indian Hill Road).  Elizabeth Highlands, wife of Abram, was also buried there.  She died 3 Feb 1834, aged 67 years.  (Her calculated birth date is 1767.) 

Turners in same cemetery related to Electa Turner, wife of Joseph Highlands (see story 10,  2)
     Isaac Turner: born 1 Jan 1779,  died 19 Jul 1833
     Sarah Turner (wife of Isaac): born 9 Oct 1779, died 30 May 1849
     William Turner: died 13 Jul 1841 aged 1 y 11 m 10 d, son of M&N
It is thought that the burials from this cemetery were all moved to Greenlawn Cemetery in Milford. 

Story 12: 

Points of Interest (information from 2008 House Tour)
Trap door on front porch leading to original stone cellar
10-12 inch thick walls – notice thickness of doorways
4 construction phases:
      Original house (1830s) – 4 rooms, 2 up, 2 down with 3 fireplaces.
     1870s addition – added dining room and master bedroom with 2nd floor porch and added
2 more fireplaces for a total of 5 in the “old house”.
     1985 addition by the Williams family added central air and heat, upgraded to modern wiring, and added existing kitchen and half bath.  Note Shaker style cabinets used to hide
appliances like microwave and ‘fridge’. 
      2005 addition by Werdmanns added 2nd basement/playroom and 1st and 2nd floor spaces, including 18x20 living room with fireplace, bedroom and bath. 4 bedrooms; 3½ baths; 6 fireplaces.
      Notice height of doorway in original staircase – curving 12 inch risers and low door height.  Original wide-plank pine flooring in dining room, sitting room and study.
Holes in floorboards on first floor in dining room, library, and sitting room presumed to be from radiator heat system.  Doorway under stairs in original sitting room, which was inside entrance to cellar.  High ceilings in 1830s rooms (8 ft. downstairs and 10 ft. upstairs) vs. significantly lower ceilings in 1870s addition (master bedroom has 7’4” ceiling)
Small rooms with doors helped to keep the heat in a house heated by fireplaces. 

Story 13: Gallie V. Matthews died 11 November 1968, Copher Funeral Home.  Iva F. Matthews died 11 May 1975, Noakes Funeral Home.  W. V. Matthews was born 11 August 1855 and died 30 December 1950, aged 95 years, Monroe Funeral Home.  They are all buried in Section 19 of Greenlawn Cemetery, Milford OH.  Iva F. Matthews sold land to George Wunker to build on Wrenwood. 
Story 14: Frank L. Tingley died 13 November 1962.  Helen Terwillegar died 10 June 1971 in California)
1939 Map: Map does not cover area
1942 Map: Howell (was listed as 843 Wooster Pike)
1951/3 Map: G.  V. & Iva Matthews (843 Wooster Pike)
1959-64 Directories: G. V. & Iva Matthews
1965-66 Direct:  "    & Charles & Janet Jackson (renters?)
1967-70 Directories:  "    & Helen Terwillegar (rented the upstairs)
1971-72 Direct:  "    & Mrs. Frank (Imogene) Tingley (1945 at 429 Elm)(renters?)
1973-76 Directories:  "    Mrs. G. V. Matthews & Mrs. Frank (Imogene) Tingley
1978 Directory: Jim & Iris Kellerman
1980-88 Directories: Roger L. & Virginia Williams  (He was Director of the Cincinnati Art Academy)
1990-91 Direct: ''     (Sold 1991) 
1992-95 Directories: Andy & Vicky Militzer  (1st time listed as 6 Kris Circle - earlier 843 Wooster Pike)
1996-97 Direct: ''     (Sold 1997)
1998-99 Direct: Laura Wilson
2000-01 Direct: Timothy Werdmann
2002-03 Direct: Tim Werdman
2004-12 Directories: Tim Werdman & Laura Wilson