submitted by LHB
Thursday June 7, 1979
Potluck - by Paul Krupp (from fostoria.org)
Like other Fostorians, I have
travelled past the Robert Halsey home at 1004 N. Union
St. many times and admired the outward appearance...
often wondering what it looked like inside.
Then some weeks ago, planning to do another story about
one of the Heritage Homes in Fostoria, as selected and
named by the Antique Study Club, I telephoned Mrs. Halsey
to arrange an interview.
Stepping into the home I was immediately impressed with
the spaciousness and charm of this well maintained old
house, at least 100 years old, which qualifies it for
Like most old deeds for properties in Fostoria, the
initial entry indicates first ownership of the land by
John Gorsuch, having been sold to him by the U.S.
Government in 1832; the official papers carrying the name
of President Andrew Jackson and Elijah Haywood,
Commissioner of the General Land Office.
Originally, the land which Gorsuch purchased from the
government consisted of 88 acres. Later, Gorsuch bought
additional land adjacent to the original purchase, making
a toal of 177 acres, which he and his wofe sold to R.F.
The Caples came from New Philadelphia, to Seneca County
in 1815. However, I have not been able to determine
definitely if Robert F. Caples was the head of the Caples
family who came here at that time. Early records refer to
Robert C. Caples, who became a doctor in Risdon, but I
found no reference to Robert F. There are many other
Caples in the Seneca County history. And, the land
according to the original deed, was sold and resold many
times within the Caples family.
Then, in 1864, Philip and Sarah Caples sold the property
to Benjamin Leonard for a consideration of $11,000, the
first sizeable dollar figure to be entered in any of the
deed transactions. It was then part of the Leonard
addition, and the house at 1004 N. Union St. was built on
inlot 650 and part of inlot 659.
The lot upon which the Halsey house sets is 100 by 200
feet, which well suits this large 2-story brick house,
with Italian type architecture of the Victorian era, with
ornate roof brackets and trim.
The foundation is made of round, smooth field stone, of
which there was plentiful quantities then, as now. Like
most old houses built 100 years ago or more, the house is
supported on large square, hand-hewn native timbers from
the forests in this area.
||Stepping into the front entrance of
the house I stood and gazed...fascinated with the
circular stairway that leads to the second floor.
The staircase is made of ash and oak...quite
ornate and finished naturally. The walls in the
entry hall and up the stairway are papered with
an appropriate medallion pattern.
picture of entry hall and front stairs for a
antique kerosine chandelier at the foot of the stairs
once lighted that area, but in more recent years, the
fixture has been electrified.
The living room is approximately 26 by 32 feet, with 10
1/2 foot ceiling, as are all the downstairs rooms.
Originally, the present living room was two room... the
one end being a small room for study or bedroom.
The present mantel, which replaced the original
fireplace, was installed in more recent years when the
Richard Collins family occupied the house. The original
chimney is still utilized for the mantel.
The many pieces of antique furniture which the Halseys
have inherited or collected find a natural setting in
this old house, and reminded me of colonial and southern
homes which have become showplaces in this country.
One such piece is
the slant-front secretary, made of black-walnut,
which is in the Halsey living room. Another item
is the three-corner oak cupboard, a family
heirloon which may have been made by a member of
Mrs. Halsey's family.
(Click picture of the
slant front secretary for a larger view.)
A corner of the
living room contains an antique round oak dining table,
over which is suspended an antique light fixture which
was originally for kerosene but now has been electrified.
It too is a family heirloom which may be close to 100
A prize piece of furniture in the Halsey dining room is a
walnut cabinet which the Collins left in the basement
because no one wanted it...probably because it was
covered with green paint. Now. completely refinished as
natural wood it has regained its original charm and
status for the old house.
There are many other antique pieces of furniture, too
numerous to describe, such as the pie cupboard and
another round oak dining table in the kitchen area,
bedroom furniture, small cabinets, antique wall-mounted
When the Collins lived in the house they modernized the
kitchen area, putting in all new cabinets and converting
the old pantry to a downstairs bath. The Halseys have
since brought the cabinet fronts up-to-date with new
A back stairway leads to the second floor and provides a
quick way up or down...especially for the Halsey
The upstairs consist of three bedrooms and bath.
The front and back porches are typical of those that were
usually built on houses of that era. The back porch which
was rebuilt by the Halseys, is a treasured spot for
outdoor gatherings, since it is partially secluded and
looks out on the well-kept lawn, flower garden and play
The Halseys came in to possession of the house four years
Many other names are entered in the original abstract for
the land and house, some of which may be remembered by
heirs of those who are still living. The following are
those who figured in transactions after the times of the
Caples and Leonard family, mentioned earlier: Amelia D.
Miller, Samuel Steward and many other members of his
family and descendents.
In 1901, the property became the possession of Melina G.
Guernsey. At the time of her death in 1926, her husband,
Charles L. Guernsey, became the owner.
Melina G. and Charles L. Guernsey were the parents of
Charles A. and R.D., Ethel G., and Bereniece, Charles A.
and R.C., were both practicing attorneys in Fostoria many
years ago, as was their father Charles L.
Descendents of this family living today are Mames D., of
Fostoria, and Tom Guernsey, Lima, both of whom have
followed in the footsteps of their ancestors in the
practice of law, also Kathleen (Guernsey) Bender, now
living in Florida with husband John, who also was a
Just when the house was built is not known, since the
abstract in possession of the Halseys does not tell.
Charles L. Guernsey, husband of Melina, died in 1929. His
children inherited the property. In due time it was sold
to Richard L. Collins who lived in the property until
1974, when the Halseys purchased it.
The Guernsey descendents have no written records
concerning the date when the house was built, or when
their ancestors took up residence there. Kathleen Bender
rembers that as a small girl, with her brother Tom and
her parents Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Guernsey, they lived in the
house where Dr. Markey now lives at 1001 N. Union St.,
and her grandparents lived across the street in the
house. She recalls that the T.F. and F. streetcar line
always stopped in front of the house, thus providing
transportation "uptown." Kathleen says her
grand-parents were married in 1880 and probably moved
into the house after that.
James D. Guernsey recalls his father R.C.
"Curt" saying that his bedroom in the house was
above the kitchen, also that at that time the house was
not wired for electricity and there was no inside
plumbing...just the old "outhouse". The house
then was heated by gas heaters...gas being plentiful and
cheap, probably supplemented by the woodburing fireplace
in the living room.
L.O. Kisabeth lived across the street at 1001 for many
years. He recalls that at one time during that period the
house stood vacant and was derelict, with windows broken
out and the roof in bad condition. That was probably
prioer to the time when R.L. Collins purchased it.
If the old house could talk it would probably have many
things to tell...its age...the good times and bad it
experienced...about the people who lived there. But most
of all it would express, joyfully, the restoration if has
undergone under the ownership of the Halseys... the love
and appreciation of adults and children who will remember
its spaciousness, beauty, hominess and comfort for years
This page was last updated January 14, 2004.