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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Roots are running deep on one Scott County homestead

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Lois Spalding holds the original deed to the 80 acres of land she owns, signed in 1820 by President Andrew Jackson.
BENTON - It's not too often that someone is able to trace the entire history of a piece of land they own. But Lois Spalding can.

Spalding, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said "it has been interesting" tracing her roots, especially the history of her property.

"When we bought it in 1966, I was busy raising the kids and didn't pay attention," she said.

Once Spalding started getting into the history, she found that it was "quite a lengthy thing."

She was surprised to discover her connections. "I am tied in to almost every previous owner," Spalding said.

This is quite unique, since the land has not been passed down by families. The property has been purchased by people outside of the family several times.

Spalding has the original deed to the 80 acres of land she owns. The deed is from the State of Missouri, signed in 1820 by President Andrew Jackson.

Spalding has been able to establish that her great-great-aunts were previous owners of the property.

Somewhere between 1856 and 1876, Benjamin Allen and his wife, Harriet Rebecca Brock (Spalding's great-great-aunt) came into ownership of the 80 acres.

In 1876, the land was deeded to Nicholas Essner.

Around 1882, Adam and Elizabeth Dirnberger Essner built a log-cabin style house. Elizabeth is a distant cousin of Spalding's, whose maiden name was Dirnberger. According to the abstract, they owned the property as of 1922 and later deeded it to Leon and Eva K. Essner.

The land was deeded to the Joseph and Rosa Buhs in 1926. "One of their daughters married my dad's first cousin," Spalding said. This established her connection to these owners.

In 1944, the land came under the ownership of Wade and Vera Miller. Vera was an aunt of Spaldings, as well as the great-niece of Harriet Rebecca Brock Allen, one of the first property owners.

One year later, in 1945, the property was sold to Charlie and Eunice Green. The Green's daughter, Vernell, was a close friend and classmate of Spalding.

Joe and Mary Kirn bought the land in 1948, and in 1966, Spalding and her husband, Amos, purchased the land.

"Amos thought it was a good investment, so we bought it," Spalding said.

Spalding is proud to own such a piece of history. "After I discovered this and went looking at all the abstracts, I thought how odd this is that I own this land and I'm the only person in the family who owns it," she said,

The land has never been Spalding's home. "I have owned it for 38 years and never lived there," she said.

However, family is living on the property. Relatives of Spalding's lived in the old house, that was built by Adam and Elizabeth Essner.

Spalding's son and daughter-in-law and their children lived there for almost two years while building their own home. Spalding deeded a tract of land to them, but still owns the surrounding property.

What was once a log cabin with cypress shingles transformed nto a house with modern shingles and siding. When indoor plumbing became popular, the house was added on, too. This expansion included an indoor bathroom.

The house is scheduled to be torn down within the next week.

"We really didn't realize how bad it was until two years ago," she said.

"We were going to keep it and turn it into a tea house and antique shop," Spalding said. After her son lived there for close to two years, he said there was "no way."

The house is starting to be destroyed by termites. Spalding also noted that structures have been built "over and over and over. There's no telling what's under there - you wonder," she said.

Everyone wants to see the house one last time before it is torn down, Spalding said. "Since we started tearing it down, it's like everyone's been coming out of the grave. All kinds of people are coming out saying 'I want to see it.'"

These people include former residents and their families.

"They're all coming back and looking at it," Spalding said.