1316 Francis St., St. Joseph, MO. $56,900c.
1880 Gothic Revival Home For Sale with a History in Saint Joe Under $57K
The Rev. Cornelius I. Van Deventer built the charming gothic revival frame house in 1880 in close proximity to the Francis St. Methodist Church he founded and pastured. The Rev. Van Deventer was the first Methodist Episcopal Minister in St. Joseph, having come to the city in 1852. The Rev. was born in Loudoun County Virginia in 1825. He married Elizabeth Grimes of Paynesville, Pike county, MO in 1846 and the couple had three children: two sons and a daughter. They were prosperous enough to have a live-in servant; in 1900 22-year-old Bertha A. Kuntz worked for them. Their son Olin Edward and his wife Carrie Truesdell remained in the house following the death of his parents (Elizabeth in 1905, Cornelius in 1908). Olin E. was a salesman for the Art Metal Construction Company who was married to Carrie Truesdell. For a time her parents W.H. and Emmaline Truesdell shared the house. W.H. was a retired hotelkeeper from Waterville, KS, moving to St. Joseph to live with his daughter when his health began to fail. Unfortunately, Olin E. and Carrie did not live long to enjoy their charming home. Carried died on Jan. 8, 1916 (age 57) of pneumonia and Olin followed her in October of the same year, dying of paralysis agitans (Parkinson’s Disease).
Following the death of Olin E. and Carrie, their son Olin H. and his wife Josephine continued to live in the house until 1916.
Though the house is currently a single-family home, it was built by the Van Deventers as a duplex and they rented out one side of it over the years. They advertised “furnished or unfurnished rooms, with or without board, in private family.” Among the tenants was Mr. and Mrs. J.B. McDaniel – he was a printer who had been the telegraph editor of the Gazette. Another tenant was Dr. H.C. Allen, “physician and surgeon.”
In 1917 J. Howard Sheridan, the Secretary and Treasurer of Sheridan-Logan Investment Company lived here. As with many businessmen in the city at the time, Sheridan had his fingers in many pies – he was also the Secretary and Sales Manager of the Fox Biscuit Company at 709 N. 3rd St. Soon, however, the sunshine of California beckoned and Sheridan moved to Laguna Beach. He did make the papers here in 1926 when he published a song “Lil’ Speck O’ Sunshine”
Mrs. Vena Purtell and her children Nellie, James, and John moved in to the house on Francis in 1924. Vena had had a tough life and the little house must have been a welcome respite. She had been married to John Purtell, a railroad worker in the Southside. In 1908 their 3-year-old son Raymond died of a cerebral hemorrhage. As reported in the News Press, “The death of the child was a peculiar one. Tuesday afternoon the mother went in to the yard and found him lying on the ground unconscious, in which condition he remained almost constantly until his death. ‘There were no marks on the child,’ said Dr. J.I. Byrne, ‘but it is supposed that the trouble was produced by a fall, as that is about the only thing that could produce cerebral hemorrhage in a child.’” In September, 1910, Vena filed for divorce, initially alleging habitual drunkenness and non-support, but when the case was heard in March of the next year the divorce was granted on the grounds of cruelty and abuse. By 1924, that unhappiness was behind her and her children: Nellie, who worked as a stenographer for the Western Tablet and Stationary Co.; James who was a clerk; and John R. who was a salesman for Western Dairy and Ice Cream Company.
From 1928-1932 Peter and Iva Skorthas lived at 1316 Francis. Peter worked as a cook in a restaurant and was a naturalized citizen having emigrated from Greece. His birth name was Panagiotis Anagnastopoloulos, but seems to have believed that was too much for folks in St. Joe to pronounce, so went by Peter Skorthas when he was naturalized in 1930.
The last half of the 20th century was a rough time for the little house, falling into increasing disrepair. Luckily in 2002 it was purchased by local historic preservationist David Denman and wonderfully restored, a condition it still retains.
1880 Gothic Revival Home For Sale with a History in Saint Joe Under $57K. Lots of living space — both inside and out! — in this charming frame gothic revival cottage. Built in 1880 and sympathetically renovated in 2002, this lovely two bedroom home is within walking distance of historic downtown. Featuring many lovely period details, this house also offers a private, shaded patio for entertaining or just relaxing.