Sunday, August 05, 2007

An Historic Outhouse?

Friday evening I received an interesting email from a "Community News editor" of an Ohio newspaper. He is working "on a story about Franklin Foust in connection with a local man who has had possession of the Foust double-occupancy outhouse and is donating it to the Whitley County Historical Society." He found me through my website. The person who contacted me has also been in touch with the Historical Society. Then, yesterday I received an email from a friend at the Historical Museum informing me that she was doing some research on the Foust family. She had seen from some obituaries posted on my website that Franklin's wife was related to me. If I hadn't had that info posted no one would have contacted me. Anyway, the Foust Outhouse is scheduled to be delivered to the Museum sometime tomorrow.

Oddly enough, while looking for obituaries in the microfilmed newspapers a few months ago I came across an article published in the July 12, 1971 edition of the Columbia City Post titled "An Early His-Hers of Prominent Banker Once Divided, now Stores Garden Tools" which included a picture of the outhouse as well as one of their home. In 1971, the 14-room house was a duplex. The pictures aren't really reproducible so I'm going to see if I can get a better copy somehow. Perhaps the newspaper still has the pictures on file and I can get permission to use them.

"An historic His and Hers believed to be around a hundred years old, this little 9 x 7 foot building was partitioned in the center as a privy (outdoor toilet to the younger generation) with a side for him and her. A matching door and window remains on the opposite side and end.

"Now used to store garden equipment the center partition has been removed. The building with brick exterior has lathe and plaster on the inside. It has served as a playhouse and a garden shed."


How common was a "double-occupancy" outhouse back in the day? Deluxe edition, at that, with plaster walls on the inside and brick on the outside. I wonder what Franklin and Maxie would think of all the fuss that is being made over their outhouse?

Franklin Foust was married to Maxamillia Francis Jones. She was the oldest child of my 4th Great Grandparents Elizabeth Helms and William B. Jones. Franklin was born January 10, 1825 in Delaware County, Ohio to Henry and Mary (Olds) Foust. Franklin became a prominent businessman and banker in Columbia City. His wife Maxie was well respected too so I have a lot of information about them, actually, mostly about him. In the article on their 50th wedding anniversary published in the Columbia City Post on December 19, 1900 she is mentioned briefly, but the lengthy article mainly dealt with his career.

"For half a century Franklin H. Foust and wife have journeyed through life together. On the 12th day of December, 1850, Franklin H. Foust and Miss Maxamillia Jones were united in marriage by Rev. Sewel, a Methodist minister who at that time was located at this place. There were quite a number of young people present on the happy occasion, but the only persons present who are alive today, which Mrs. Foust could call to mind, are her brother, Curtis W. Jones, and Levi Adams, of Troy township. Richard Collins was then the county clerk and to him Mr. Foust paid seventy-five cents for a marriage license. The documents have enhanced in value since that time and today they readily sell for two dollars.

"The present Mrs. Foust became a resident of this city in 1845, and for five years she was engaged in the occupation of a school teacher. Quite a number of her pupils are yet residents of this city. After her marriage she gave up the occupation of teacher and assisted her husband later on in business.

"When seen this morning and reminded that this was his fiftieth wedding anniversary, Mr. Foust jogged his memory and said: "Yes, that is a fact. I was married on the 12th day of December, 1850. I felt like a boy then and feel like a boy yet. He then talked briefly of his early life and how he started out in the world to make a living for himself."


The rest of the article was anything but brief, and I'll save it for another post perhaps. Franklin and Maxie had three children, they all died in infancy. She died on March 11, 1910 and he passed away on May 18, 1912. They are buried in a vault in the Masonic Section of Greenhill Cemetery in Columbia City. The gravesite is simply marked "Foust" with no names or dates engraved on the tombstone.

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