Lincoln on the eve of 61

a Journalist Story by

Henry Villard

Edited by

Harold G. and &Oswald Garrison Villard



Troy—— The first residence built in Troy is located across the street north of the court house and is owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Baker.  It is Mrs. Baker’s childhood home.

In trying to establish the date it was built, Mrs. Baker feels the original papers were destroyed by fire when the court house burned in 1868, but the patent is dated 1860.  The first name to appear on the abstract is of a Mr. Head, However he lost the house through mortgage and the house was sold at a sheriff’s sale to Joel Blair an early figure in the founding of Troy.

History has it that the house was built for Nelson Rodgers, one of the first commissioners named at the territorial legislature to locate the town site, which was in 1855, as that was the year the site of Troy was decided on.  Rodgers owned a blacksmith shop and post office north of Troy and when the town site was determined he built his home.

The house has six rooms, four downstairs and two upstairs.  The walnut, cottonwood and oak used in the building of the house was brought by ox cart from near the Missouri river bluff north of Troy to Geary City, 18 miles south of Troy where they were cut into lumber at one of the two saw mills located there.  The boards are not planed, the marks of the circular saw can be seen.  The boards are 5 to 7-1/2 inches wide and about an inch thick.  Lower floors are of oak.  The house is set on huge walnut beams and walnut beams also support the roof.  In fact, any place in the house that would require extra support walnut has been used.  Door are of oak, cedar and pine.  The windows are of blown glass; the glass in the front door is a pane of old ruby glass.

The lathe are of 1-1/2 inch oak and quite thick.  The plaster was made of sand, lime and cow hair and is difficult to cover as it powders easily.  The nails used in the house are old handmade square heads.

The house has no basement but under the dining room is a pit, not high enough for a man to stand in and only about 4-1/2 feet wide.  This is covered with a heavy trap door and the steps leading to the pit are of stone.  It is not known what this was used for as there is a large cave just outside the kitchen door.

About three years ago when some new electric wiring was installed in the kitchen a whisky flask was found.  This flask is a collector’s item as it would date prior to 1861.  A pair of spurs, a St. Louis Democrat newspaper dated Dec. 18, 1863, and an early map of Troy have been found at various times.

(Atchison Daily Globe ~ October 3, 1955)

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