Posts tagged ‘victorian’


Finally, Some Color

Example of a colorful Victorian facade, from Historic Color Consulting

If you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve been making some aesthetic decisions about the house recently. Trim size, what to do with the bay, etc. One of these tasks was finally deciding on a color scheme for the house. Truthfully, I enjoy these aesthetic things more. Buying a bunch or raw wood is boring to me; getting the house sprayed for termites is not so glamorous. Picking out siding? At least colorwise, is kind of fun.

We ended up going with vinyl. I would still not rule out fiber cement in the future, but this is a pretty extensive renovation, and let’s face it, I need things like heat and plumbing, too. Lady Gaga may be able to live half in reality and fantasy, but that is just not practical for me.  I need to stay firmly planted in reality in order to stay on budget. There is still a long way to go.

Back to color. I would pick out something bright and colorful…but my sister vetoed that. And rightfully so, as much as I love bright colors, something neutral would sell better (if we did ever plan on selling the house), and it would be easier to change-up if we got sick of the color combination that we are currently planning. The house has two different types of shingles, horizontal wood planks, and fish scale shingles. To fit in with the Victorian styling, I think each of these types of shingles needs to be a different, but coordinating color. Victorian houses traditionally had about 5 different colors on them, so it would make sense for these to be painted in different colors. Of course, then you have the trim, which I’m going to have done in classic white, and the front door. The front door has to be welcoming, stand out, and coordinate with the main body of the house. Then you have the porch ceiling, the porch floor, and accessories.

The first color is the main color of the house; the color of all the horizontal lap siding. The second will be the color of the fish scale shingles. The third is the color of the front door, and some of the accessories. The 4th will be the color of the foundation. the 5th & 6th will be some of the accessories around the porch. The seventh is meant to mimic a haint blue, or the traditional blue porch ceilings in the South. The final color is a mix of the first and second colors, and the porch floor will probably end up being something like this. White will also be used, of course, but you get a good idea of what that will look like with the white background.  I’m excited about the palette. I think it will be both traditional, and bright enough to keep me interested in the outside of the home. The inside color palette will probably be very similar. When I like something, I tend to stick with it!


The Trimble Family History, Part II

A history recap: The previous post ended with the death of James Trimble’s wife, Bettie Luella Huddleston. They had four children, Etta, Betty, Samuel, and Mayme. Betty died in infancy, and James was working as a mason and contractor.

Nannie's Death Certificate

James Trimble married for a second time around 1893, about 12 years after the death of his first wife. He married Nannie Belle Miller. Nannie was born on September 23, 1866 in Kanawha County, WV. In some of the census records, Nannie’s maiden name is Morris, but  her birth and death records list it as Miller, so I believe it was just recorded incorrectly in the old census records.  Her parents were Archibald Miller and Margaret Ann Wiseman.  James was about 42, and she was 27 years old when they married. They had six children:  Arch (May 7, 1894 – 1981 ), Mary (June 13, 1896 – 1974), Corrine (Cora) (Abt 1899 -?), Osman (January 30, 1901 – 1988), Margaret (May 22, 1903 – 1987), and Jeanetta (March 27, 1909 – 1987). According to the census records, they had another child that did not survive. I don’t have any more information than that they had 7 children, 6 living.

James Trimble died on August 22, 1918, at the age of 67. He died of some sort of hemmorage. The death certificate is illegiable beyond that. Nannie died on August 16, 1947 from congestive heart failure. Both are buried in the Pratt Cemetery.

Not as much is known about Nannie and James. It seems like census data was even more difficult to find on than James and his first wife. Many of the names of Nannie and the children were recorded incorrectly, so I’m not positive about the names and dates here. I do have an interesting story, though.

Another historical home in the town is connected to my house. This house, known as the Shields’ Cottage, was built in 1880 and originally owned by Mrs. Morris. It was originally located across the street from the Trimble farmlands. Well, my house is pretty small, so when James married Nannie, he decided to buy this home for his children with Luella, and move Nannie in my house. His children were not that young at the time. Henrietta was his oldest child and I do not have a birthdate for her, though it had to be prior to 1875, so she was over 18. Anyway, James purchased the house and had it moved diagonally, across the road, and onto his property for his children. The cottage is still in the town, with the original front door.


Stories from Clifton

Before Pratt was named after a prominent coal company, It was a settlement named Clifton from 1851-1873. Clifton was not a well populated or large settlement, but was considered to be a beautiful place.


 At this point the river makes a short bend, very much in the shape of a horse-shoe, and a more beautiful site for a town cannot be found anywhere in West Virginia. It is a natural location for a city, for in addition to the hundred or more acres of rolling land in this smooth bend of a picturesque river, there is a large coal field all around it, embracing perhaps nearly every class of coal that is found in West Virginia, which is a great source of wealth, and will someday, during its development, afford employment to hundreds of laborers  ( Atkinson, 1876).

These are some of the stories from the town, uncovered in the book History of Kanawha by Geo W. Atkinson (1876):

  •  Clifton was one the home of a Native American community, or a large group of settlers. Out of the 3 settlers that dug cellars for their homes, all 3 found human skeletons. It appears from the quantity of remains found that a square of ground about 10 acres of the town facing the river was a cemetary for the community. Remains were found when digging every cellar, well, and posthole. Also uncovered were earthenware pottery, bone necklaces, carved shells, bone fishhooks, and an image carved into stone.
  •  One of the more prominent settlers, Mr. Marshall Hansford, found in a posthole sheets of rolled copper, and while digging his cellar, found the skeleton of a large-sized man, and a great variety of bones of birds, bears, and other wild animals. To determine the age of the remains, Mr. Hanford offered that just before the remains were discovered, they were covered with sycamores that were fully five hundred years old.
  • Paint Creek, near Clifton was the site of a stone with a carved fish. Someone tried to carry off the stone to use in the construction of a hearth, and broke it, though part of the fish was still visible in 1876.
  • In 1776 or 1777, a man named Robert Hughes was captured by Native Americans, presumably the Shawnee,  in the Clifton area. At the time, only two families were settled in Clifton, and it was considered unsafe to venture too far from the town, as Native American were often seen in the surrounding areas. Apparently, Hughes did not heed these warnings, as he maintained a fish trap at the mouth of Paint Creek, near Clifton, that he checked every morning. He was captured by 5 Native Americans one morning as he went to check the trap. The Native Americans took him about 30 miles up the creek, to their settlement. They stayed within the creek bed, as to avoid leaving any signs or clues for others to follow. Villagers looked for Hughes, but had to abandon the search because of the lack of a trail. Interestingly enough, Hughes returned about two years later. He reported that he had went to the head of Paint Creek, and eventually ended up on the Little Miami river. During his time with the Native Americans, he had learned to speak Shawnee fluently and became familiar with most of their customs. He enjoyed telling the story of his capture to anyone that would listen, and was said to be quite entertaining. He claimed that he was forced to run the gauntlet on two occasions, and that her was saved from being burnt at the stake by the daughter of a chief. He was reportedly a good hunter, and after living with the Native Americans for a year,  was frequently sent off alone to hunt. It was on one of these trips that he escaped to Point Pleasant, and eventually back to his home. Another man was taken along with Hughes, but there is no record of what happened to him.

    Examples of Native American Pottery found in the area



House Photo Update, April 2011

As I said a few weeks ago, the changes this month have been small. The lath is gone, and we’ve taken some molding down and pulled out nails, but I’m not sure the changes are that obvious.  Also, credit for most of these changes goes to my marvelous sister. She took every piece of lath out while I was writing a paper for grad school. She is officially awesome.


Lost Batteries and Window Choices

Grille Pattern Choices

 The last few posts have been about the history, design inspiration, etc. What about the house, right? The truth is I lost my camera battery charger last week. After scouring and searching through the house I finally found it…in the camera bag. Yes, when things like this happen, I underestimate my own abilities to make sense. Not a lot has gone on with the last few weeks, anyway. We are still working on the small tasks that I mentioned before, puling nails, getting rid of the lathe, and cleaning.

As part of the almost completed addition, I had to pick out new windows. I was pretty stressed about this for awhile. Not so much on the brand or features, but on the detailing! I am a pretty detail-oriented person, so trying to pick out custom window grilles was exasperating. I knew I didn’t want to go with the traditional, 6-divided grilles. It would break up the view in my huge windows too much. Also, none of the other Victorian style houses that still have original windows had ones like this. Most have been replaced with these because they are pretty standard, but I’m certain it was not what was there. I thought about doing a more decorative upper sash, with a distinctive grille pattern. I considered the prairie lights and the top row of divided glass. Then I thought about designing something for them myself.

Window in the addition. This one looks a bit squatty, cause it is a 3x3, but the rectangle ones will look better. It is only a square because the tub is going under it.

Ultimately I think I did the best thing possible when confronted with so many options. I went back to the originals. I didn’t really examine the wooden windows that were there from the inside. I had assessed the condition of the windows, as in, “this wood is completely rotten”, and “look how this glass has fallen down from the wood holding it because the grilles are so rotten”. I hadn’t really looked at the design. Then I noticed the wavy glass and how they were made. I believe they are the original windows. As I have said before, keeping these windows would require far too much work. Almost the entire frame is gone, I would have to completely rebuild the entire wood frame; Epoxy is not even an option for these windows. Anyway, The original windows are standard for their time, with a wood grille line running down the center of each sash. That is what I ended up going with for the grilles. I figured I couldn’t beat what was in the house originally, and I think I will be pretty happy with the outcome.


Eleanor is Unstable, and Kind of Cheap: A Book Post

Book Coverf          Image from the book    


Property of the Library

Eleanor was so unstable, that the cover completely disintegrated after scanning. Half of this book was missing, and the whole thing was very poor condition. It also looks like rats may have chewed the edges of the pages. What can I say? She had a hard life. She was also very cheap, considering she was stolen from the Pratt Library! Maybe I should try to return it? Now, I do not know where or when the Pratt Library was there. The local elementary school has a Library, but I’m not sure these two libraries are one in the same. As you can see, the library was established by the “T.G. Society.” I don’t know who or what this society was, either! The book was donated to the library by Martin Hansford. I will have to find more information about him. Felix and Marshall Hansford were very prominent brothers in the area, so it is safe to say that Martin was probably related to them, but how he is related to them, I am not sure. Was he in the “T.G. Society”? Who knows, and Eleanor is not telling.


Jeanetta Was Not Blinded by Science: a Book Post

A new type of post! When we purchased the house it had maybe 100 old books and magazines in it, many nearly 100 years old.  Unfortunately, they were all stored in the basement for at least 20 years or more. This resulted in all of them being covered in disgusting amounts of mold and filth. I tried cleaning some of them up, but it was impossible. They just fell apart, and crumbled. I went through them all and kept the ones with interesting inscriptions, or pictures and plan to scan them in. That way I at least have a digital record of this part of the house.

Cartoons from the back cover, including a dutch "girl" and a "toothless flapper".

This is A Year in Science, published in 1916. It appears to be a school book of Jeanetta Trimble, one of James’ daughters with his second wife. From the amount of doodling and drawing in the book, it seems that science was not her favorite subject in school. She used the book in 1925, as per the inscriptions and dated absence forms that I found inside. She called herself “Sheba”, and had little conversations and cartoons with a friend or classmate that she called “Sheik”.

"Sheik" and "Sheba" Cartoons

Other Doodles:



Spontaneous Discoveries, and Old Photos

A few days ago,  I was reminded that best adventures are unplanned. I fully intended to walk around Pratt, and take pictures of some of the remaining historical details for the blog. I started as planned, but was quickly sidetracked by a moving sale. While there, I met one of the town historians and keeper of the keys to the town archive. I had gone to the Old Town Hall and asked before, but it was during a sale, and I’m not sure the women working at the time knew what I was asking about. This lovely lady from the yard sale, showed me the archives, which were awesome, and let me photograph many of the old pictures, articles, and paperwork. I came away with a wealth of knowledge, and I’m sure there will be many blog posts stemming from this encounter in the future. I definitely appreciate her help and storytelling abilities.

It is because of this that I ended up with old-home-owner gold. A very old picture of the house, lots of information about the family that built it and lived there, and an interesting,  albeit grainy,  picture of the original builder!

The Trimble House - Home of one of the earlier families that settled the town.

Look how small the maples are! To me, it looks like there have not been  many changes to the house over the years.  The bay is original, although the angle of the photograph makes the roofline look smaller. The bay window  does not have the original windows, unlike the rest of the house. these are more decorative, and may be stained glass, I can’t tell. Unfortunately, now they are old aluminum windows. Though with the current road configurations, the bay window is towards the side of the house, but the Old County Road use to connect with Trimble Lane, making this the original front of the house. However, this picture is useful in that it tells me that their used to be gingerbread on the columns, which still remain on the house, and that their were no railings. It also shows some of the elaborate woodwork that used to be on the house. Look at the moldings under the bay window!

From Left: Ott Garnette, Ed Johnson, Dillard Jarrett, Joe Bott, James Trimble, and Tom Burke. This old photograph was taken in front of Holt's Store in 1910.


Captions and photographs can be found in Pratt’s Bicentennial Book, published in 1976. More information on the Trimble family can be found in this post.


The Floor Plan

I know it is hard to piece the floor plan together just from the pictures. Here is a rough copy of the current floor plan. Some things will change with the renovations. We will solve the problem of walking through a bedroom to get to the dining room and kitchen, also the back porch and the two  side porches will be closed in and a new deck put in its place. I hope this helps you all get a better idea of the house!

Rough floor plan of the House


The Story of a Mason

After finding out the house was  “the James Trimble House” in the Historic District of Pratt, the first thing I did was to search for more information on about James Trimble. Okay, that’s a lie. The first thing I did was exclaim “Wait! There’s a historic district in Pratt !?!” Then, after I drove by slowly and gawked at all my neighbors’ houses that also live in the historic district, googling could commence. This is what I discovered:

James W. Trimble (1851 - 1918) Death Certificate

James W. Trimble was born in January 1851 in Fayette County, Virginia. He died at the age of 67 on August 22, 1918 in Pratt, WV. His parents were Osman Trimble (1812 – 1893) and Jeanetta White (1829-1893). He married his first wife, Bettie Luella Huddleston, on July 2, 1873.  Now Bettie Lou’s parents were Job Huddleston (1814-1893) and Elizabeth McCoy (1826-after 1911). She was born on July 1, 1856 in Kanawha County, Virginia.  Don’t let the Virginia part throw you, as we were still a part of Virginia in 1851, WV became a state in 1863  (and no, I never won the Golden Horseshoe).

Birth Record for Mary "Mayme" Trimble (1879-?)

James and Bettie had 4 children, Henrietta (?-?), Betty (about 1875 ), Samuel (about 1877), and Mary (about 1879 – ?). Here is where it gets a little murky. Betty, born in 1875, died in infancy. Henrietta, is sometimes referred to as “Etta”. Eventually, Mary is referred to as “Mayme” in the census and marriage records and there is another, younger Mary Trimble. So, I’ll probably refer to her as Mayme from here.  Bettie never lived in my house, as she died on April 18, 1881. James remarried, and had more children, but I’ll save that for another day.

James W. Trimble  was listed as a mason, and a contractor on his death certificate, as well as on both the 1870 and 1880 census records. So what does all this mean? I’m not really sure. Is it a way to connect? Feel closer to the house and the people who created it…probably. I think it adds more to the mystery, and to the story. The house has a brick foundation and brick fireplace. Did James lay the brick for house? Build the mantle and foundation with his own hands? Did Bettie design the house before passing away? Or was it James, or his second wife that decided where the rooms should be? These things will probably never be known. Yet, it is fun to try. I can imagine James picking out the spot for the house, laying out each brick, to provide a home for his family. Now, it will be my home. Thanks, James.

*Post edited 3/28/2011 to incorporate new information obtained from the town archives