Farmhouse retains Victorian architectural details
I have driven past this house many times on County Highway O, north of Heart Prairie. Each time, I enjoy all of the detail on this building and wonder about its history. The other day I decided to stop, take some pictures and then do some digging. Here's what I've found so far:
The 1857 plat map shows that a New Yorker named William Gibbs owned 100 acres in the southeast corner of section 30 in the town of La Grange. By 1873, the plat book indicates that Gibbs owned 160 acres. That continued in the 1891 book.
Gibbs was born in New York and came to Wisconsin in 1843, where he spent about a year in Racine.
In the fall of 1844, he and his wife moved to Whitewater and spent about two years on a farm in that township before moving to LaGrange in 1854. Gibbs and his wife, Lucinda, had three children — Cyrus C., Rebecca and Bethana. Gibbs served on the town board for four years.
Cyrus Gibbs was born when the family lived in Racine County. He was a member of the Wisconsin volunteer infantry during the last 100 days of the Civil War. He served as justice of the peace for the town of La Grange.
Sometime after 1891, G.H. Bromley purchased 160 acres of the farm, according to the 1907 and 1921 plat books. In 1930 the 160 acres were owned by Frank Bromley.
G.H. Bromley came to Walworth County with his parents, William and Martha Bromley, in 1844. G.H. married Maryette Houghton. He was the town treasurer in 1869. He served as an associate supervisor for the township in 1875 through 1877, 1893 and 1896 and again from 1901 to 1905. The only thing I could find about Frank was that in 1919 he owned an Oldsmobile. This I found in the Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders of Walworth County, Wisconsin.
The 1948 plat book shows the owner as H. & G. Framburg. In 1961 the owners are shown as Ray, Grace, Stanley and R. Framburg.
In 1970 the acreage in the southeast corner farm extended to 312 acres with the owners as C. Donald and Mary Ellen Pope.
In 1972 only Mary Ellen is listed as the owner of 311.6 acres.
The 2012 plat map shows the farm ownership as Mary Ellen Pope Trust with the acreage of 385.
I would guess that the house that I have been enjoying was built in the early 1900s. The Victorian architecture is retained by lots of detail. I wonder if it was built for G.H. Bromley? If anyone knows the story, I would love to hear it.
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.