Friday, January 1, 2021

Sears No 163 In Newton, New Jersey

Sears No 163 3 Elm St Newton NJ
Authenticated 1911 Sears No. 163 • 3 Elm Street, Newton, New Jersey

catalog image drawing of model 163 from Sears
Sears No. 163  
1914 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
If you look at the 1914 catalog image to the right, here, you may think that I've got this one wrong... Where's the front sleeping porch? What is that pointed dormer up front? Why is there a bay window in the front? Where are the double windows on this side? And why are the porch columns this rounded style? This can't be a Sears No. 163.

But, it is.

And, we know this, because we have been given access to the original purchase paperwork, when Reuben N. Talmage, in 1911, ordered this customized version of the Sears No. 163, for his lot at #3 Elm Street, in Newton, New Jersey. This has all been graciously shared with us by Meg and Thom Penny, who own this home and live here with their children. And, they cherish it, and the history that goes along with it.

Let's look more closely at the 1914 catalog image:
catalog image of modern home no 163 from Sears


catalog image of Sears model No. 163 in the 1914 Sears Modern Homes catalog
Sears model No. 163 in the 1914 Sears Modern Homes catalog

floorplan Sears No 163 1914 catalog

When Meg and Thom bought this house in 2012, they learned a bit about its history, from the home's second owners, Dewey (Dewitt) and Dot (Dorothy) Budd. Dewey's mother was Elizabeth Talmage Budd, and she inherited this house from her mother, Emily Talmage. Emily and Reuben were Elizabeth's parents, so she had grown up in this house. In 1956, her brothers, Thomas and Arthur, deeded the property to her, as they settled the will of their late mother.
deed snippet for 1956 transfer of Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

A search in the land records of Sussex County, netted me a copy of the September 1956 deed, when Elizabeth transferred the home to her son, Dewitt, the grandson, then, of the original owners, Reuben and Emily Talmage.
deed for 1956 transfer of Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

We see Reuben and Emily listed at this address, in the 1933 city directory:
snippet of 1933 city directory newton nj Reuben Talmage Emily Talmage
1933 City Directory for Newton, New Jersey

Reuben Talmage in 1905 New Jersey state census
Here's how I was able to connect Elizabeth to Reuben and Emily: the 1905 New Jersey U.S. State Census

Reuben Talmage Emily Talmage May Talmage Elizabeth Talmage T. Dewitt Talmage 1905 NJ census
1905 New Jersey state census... I cut off Arthur, because he was listed as "guest", but now I realize that he was their son, too... just must have not been living there full time anymore

1930 US census Talmage family Ruben Talmage Emily Talmage DeWitt T Talmage
By the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, all of the children had moved out, except for DeWitt T. Talmadge (notice the added d in the last name, now).  Elizabeth's son, Dewey "DeWitt" must have been named after him, but there were other famous DeWitt Talmage family members discussed in the genealogy. You see that Reuben is listed as a mail carrier... Meg said that they understand him to have been the postmaster in town, as they found some old magazines addressed to him that way.

As it turns out, Reuben Talmage is descended from a long line of Talmages in America, beginning with Thomas Talmage, who sailed to the American Colonies, from England, in 1631, on a ship named Plough
grave stone of Elizabeth H Talmage wife of Louis H Budd
Here is the grave marker of Reuben's daughter, Elizabeth H. Talmage Budd (source)

I thought I'd try a Google search for Thomas Talmage, 1631, and came up with established genealogy work about the family:
Thomas Talmage 1631
We see different spellings of the last name, sometimes including the d, sometimes not.
This resource is from a book, uploaded onto Archive.org, here

More information about Thomas Talmadge and his descendants, is available here, and here.

Reuben Talmage married Emily Wilcox, in Port Oram, New Jersey (Morris County), on January 13, 1883, when they were both 20 years old. Reuben is listed as Reuben A. Talmage, though we know him as Reuben N. Talmage, but that is the correct name of his wife, so we can assume that this marriage listing is correct.
marriage of Reuben Talmage and Emily Wilcox

But, let's get back to the house!

This is a scan of what looks to be the permit application, submitted by the contractor.

permit snippet for Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

And, here are specific papers with Sears, about changes and details in the design of the house:
specs for purchase of Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

specs for Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

specs for customizedSears No 163 of Reuben Talmage


We have nine examples of the No. 163 on our national database of Sears Houses in the U.S., and none of them have a bay window in front, like Reuben Talmage's house has (though I don't see it mentioned in this paperwork), and I don't think we usually have seen the bay window in the dining room, that's mentioned here. You can't see that side very well from Google Streetview, or the real estate photos, but there is one in the dining room. Here's the front bay, I believe (sorry for the grainy quality):
added bay window in dining room of Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

Meg sent me some other very nice interior views, highlighting the staircase, entry foyer, and beautiful stained-glass windows running up the staircase wall:

staircase with stained-glass windows Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

staircase w windows 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

millwork 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

collonades and staircase 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage


These leaded-glass panels are still in the house, re-purposed and added for a decorative touch around the house:

leaded glass from 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage


There is a Sears front door:
Sears front door Circe 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage
I don't know what wood species this is, but Sears offered it in Birch veneer and Oak veneer.

Sears Circe front door 1912 catalog
1912 Sears Building Supplies catalog, here

Sears mantel design No 263 and summer cover 128 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage
The fireplace has Sears No. 263 fireplace mantel surround, and Sears Summer Cover No. 128:
3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage fireplace

3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage fireplace summer cover 128

Here's a closeup of the summer cover, and of the scroll work on the mantel:
closeup of Sears summer cover 128 for fireplace 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage


closeup of scroll work on fireplace mantel 263 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

The original boxed-in beams in the ceiling, and pocket doors, remain:
beams ceiling of dining room 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage ceiling beams living room

pocket doors 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

Christmas tree 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

Also, take a look at this! A vintage postcard of Elm street, and in the background, is Reuben Talmage's No. 163! I believe that this is from 1919.
1919 postcard showing 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage


1919 postcard showing 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

I'm so pleased to have had the chance to showcase this great old model, especially with it being authenticated with all of this great paperwork. What a story! I'll leave you with a nice back view, and a Christmas lighting treat :) Happy New Year!
rear view of 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

front door 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

Christmas lights on front of 3 Elm St Newton NJ Authenticated Sears No 163 of Reuben Talmage

Other Examples Of The Sears No. 163 Around The Country
Apparently, someone put the word out that this model must be painted in beige ;). Fortunately we have a couple of examples with a little of their own personality.

In West Springfield, Massachusetts, we have one at 82 Boulevard Place:
vintage photo black and white of Sears No 163 West Springfield MA Boulevard Place
(source)

82 Boulevard Place Springfield MA Sears No 163
This one originally had the round columns that the Talmage house has.


color photo from Google maps streetview of Sears No 163 at 15 Innis Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York
This one on Innis Avenue, in Poughkeepsie, New York, has the original shape porch columns (though these look to now be covered in vinyl or aluminum siding).

Here's what they looked like before being covered over:
color photo from Google street view of Sears No 163 at 15 Innis Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York
15 Innis Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York


124 W Thames Street, Norwich, Connecticut Sears No 163
124 W Thames Street, Norwich, Connecticut


Here's another with the round porch columns, as the Talmage house in Newton has:
418 Cutler Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Sears No 163
I believe that Rosemary Thornton introduced this house, in this blog post
418 Cutler Street, Raleigh, North Carolina

This one in Queens is another with a historic photo from the 1940s, which is good, because it's almost impossible to see this one from the street, today. Researcher Andrew Mutch found this one while digging through the historic tax photos database for the borough of Queens:

black and white 1940s tax photo Sears No 163 4721 157th Street, Queens, New York
4721 157th Street, Queens, New York

Here's one of my favorites, because I love the original, weathered cedar shingles, which are so common in beach towns. This one was found by researcher Marie Vore, in Beach Haven, New Jersey:
color photo from Google maps streetview of 119 Belvoir Avenue, Beach Haven, New Jersey Sears No 163

color photo from Google maps streetview of 119 Belvoir Avenue, Beach Haven, New Jersey Sears No 163
119 Belvoir Avenue, Beach Haven, New Jersey

Finally, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, we have another example spotted by Marie. This one is very pretty, but it's very pastel, compared to the original look of the Talmage house. We love that it has Sears Stratford door hardware and hinges, though!:
color photo of front of Sears No 163 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts
265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts (Real estate listing)

color photo showing side elevation 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts Sears No 163

color photo showing side elevation Sears No 163 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts

color photo showing living room 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts Sears No 163

color photo showing dining room 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts Sears No 163

color photo showing entry vestibule and staircase 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts Sears No 163

color photo bedroom showing door with Sears hinge and Sears Stratford door handle hardware 265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts Sears No 163
Sears Stratford door hardware and hinges


Thanks again to Meg and Thom Penny, for sharing the photos and history of their Sears No 163 in Newton, New Jersey!





3 comments:

  1. I love those stairway windows! So unique in that pattern, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Gorgeous interiors in that house. What a treat to see!

      Delete
  2. I’m still trying to figure out which home ours is. It looks very similar to this but not exact.

    ReplyDelete

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