Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Little Bit More on the Wemple Road Greek Revival

I wrote yesterday about the Greek Revival style of architecture.  Today, I thought I would dig up a little bit of info about the family that lived in that abandoned farmhouse on Wemple Road.

This picture of the house is from Bethlehem Revisited, published in 1993.

I started with the 1866 Beers map of Bethlehem.  It labels this site as “W.J. Wemple.”  Just down the road, east of the railroad tracks, today site of the Laborer’s Training Center,  is the label “J. Wemple.”  It appears that these are brothers William James Wemple (1835-1899*) and John Gilbert Wemple (1832-1911). They are the sons of Gilbert Wemple (1801-1871) and Henrietta Winne (1800-1855) who married in 1819 at the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem.  This makes sense because the hamlet here was known as Wemple.  The post office was located in John’s farmstead and there was a station on the nearby West Shore Railroad.  The Wemples were a prominent family in Bethlehem with John being elected supervisor in 1875 and 1876.

The 1860 U.S. census is revealing.  It indicates that Gilbert (farmer, age 58), daughter Maria (age 38) and son William (farmer, age 25) lived in the farmhouse at the top of the hill along with three young men listed as farm laborers (Peter VanZandt, Phillip Smith and John Brown.) They are listed right next door to John (farmer, age 28) his wife Elsie (dress maker, age 27) and their son Gilbert age 2.  Also living with them is Susan McEwen, age 65, who appears to be Elsie’s mother.

Time marches on and the 1870 census shows some important changes.

The property at the top of the hill is now in the hands of the Lamoraux family. Husband and wife William and Elizabeth are living there with their four children, (Maus, Phebe, Agnes and Susan).  Three domestic servants are also listed (Mary Frazier, R. McDonald and Thom Rowland).

At the bottom of the hill, it appears that father and daughter Gilbert and Maria have moved in with John.  John’s wife Elsie (or Eliza in some records) died in 1867 at age 33.  Her mother, Susan McEwen, is still living in the household along with John and Elsie’s children Gilbert and Elizabeth.

The 1891 Beers map shows Lamoreaux and Wemple. (Courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection.)

So, that is just a little about the Wemple family.  The Lamoraux family appears to be French Huguenots.   One, and I am not sure if they are related, named Vilitta Lamareaux (1790-1876) married Alexander Borthwick.  You might be familiar with Borthwick Avenue in Delmar.

*While most records (census, baptismal) indicate William was born in 1835, Findagrave.com has a photo of his cemetery marker with a birth year of 1837.  Other dates are roughly calculated and meant to give a general idea birth and death.

1 comment:

  1. I've often wondered why that house was abandoned. It looks to have been a nice one and it must have had a nice view as well.