To prepare for having the exterior of the house painted, we took down the flimsy and tarnished small brass plaque that proclaimed our home to be: The Parsonage House. It always bugged me - not only the way the sign looked, but also the crazy redundancy of the name and the fact that it was the parsonage for the First Lutheran Church (across the street) for only 34 years (1934-1968).
So...last week I headed down to the Cumberland County Historical Society and, after paying my dues to become a member, started doing some research on our home. I was determined to discover who had built our home and when. All the information I had previous to this dated the house to around 1841, though I was never exactly sure how that date was arrived at. (Now I know it was because of some incorrect assumptions.) I've never been a fan of history as a subject, but I can get really excited about discovering historical details when I'm trying to solve a mystery!
After a mere 4 hours of searching deeds, tax records, maps, etc. I learned that our home was built by Peter B. Lechler (a hatter according to the tax records) sometime after 1829 and before 1832. I've decided it was most probably built in 1831. I know for certain it was just a half lot when he bought it for $425 in 1829 from William Line, and today I found an ad in the American Volunteer newspaper from 26 July 1832 that announced Willam D. Lechler, surgeon/dentist would be in Carlisle briefly and would see people at the home of Peter B. Lechler at his home on East High Street "two or three doors down from the prison" which is the accurate description of our home's location.
Tax records from 1830 and 1831 would allow me to be absolutely sure (it could have been built in 1830, after all) but those records are missing and no one knows why.
Anyway, I've ordered a new plaque for our home and it will read: Lechler House circa 1831. (I was limited to 15 spaces on each of two lines so couldn't put Peter B.) I'm excited!
The new front door we had built is leaning in the hallway as I write. It was beautifully hand crafted by a local man who also builds boxes for sale in historic a Williamsburg, and it is so gorgeous. It will be installed tomorrow, complete with the Celtic Knot doorknocker we bought on our trip to Ireland, and a new brass mail slot. And the next day it will get painted the deep aubergine I've been dreaming about.
I think Peter B. Lechler would approve. I hope so.