Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Parsch Family of Ohio and Their Gordon-Van Tine (look) Homes

gordon van tine testimonial Glencoe model e c parsch cleveland heights oh
This "testimonial" was published in the 1929 Gordon-Van Tine catalog of Plan-Cut Homes, on page 26.
Who do you think that E. C. Parsch is?

Well, I'll give you a hint. It's not Eleanore C. Parsch of Elyria, Ohio (insert chuckle).  But, I did think that for a day or so. Let me tell you the story that I have come to know, of the Parsch family of Elyria and Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

gordon van tine cleveland heights ohio 2548 kingston rd cleveland Heights OH
Here is the E. C. Parsch home today, at 2548 Kingston Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH.
This was the home, beginning in 1925 (according to tax records) of Edward Christian Parsch, his wife, Frances, and their four children.
UPDATE September 2018: Scroll to the end of the blog post to see current interior and exterior photos
When I first set out to find the address of whoever E. C. Parsch of Cleveland Heights, Ohio was, I turned to  Using Ancestry, you can plug in various bits of information you know about a person, and come up with a list of names taken from census lists, and other sources, like city directories -- but, census lists are the most common source of information. From a census list, you can find (sometimes) an address, and (sometimes) an employment description, and (sometimes) family members (and servants!) in the same household.

But, those census lists from 1940 and back, were hand written, and not always legibly.  So, sometimes, it's harder than you'd think to find people. Parsch, for example, was transcribed as Parseh, as Persch, as Parish, and as Porsch.  Luckily, Ancestry will usually include those variations of spellings, so that you can look at the original document yourself, and see if the person they've given you, with the crazy spelling, is actually the one you're looking for. Other times, the person you're looking for just might be in those records somewhere, but you just can't find him, because the names you're inputting are just not connecting with the mis-spelled entries Ancestry has logged for that person. Additionally, sometimes, you get a list of names, you start trying to look into them, and then you lose the original link to the original set of names... and, for some inexplicable reason, no matter how well you try to repeat the exact same set of research criteria, you just don't get the same set of names the next time... and you lose the person you thought might be a lead.

Suffice it to say, then, that researching on Ancestry can be a lengthy, puzzle-like search sometimes. And that's what this research was for me.  It didn't really have to be, but I discovered something that made me ├╝ber-curious to find out more than just where E. C. Parsch lived.  I wanted to find out how E. C. Parsch was connected to THIS house:

gordon van tine 535 560 clone
409 East Avenue, Elyria, Ohio
This house is not our testimonial house. But... take a look.  If someone told you that this was a (porchless) Gordon-Van Tine No. 535 from at least 90 years ago, wouldn't you see the connections? The upstairs window sizes and layout are right, the first-floor windows are right, the porch over the front door (with its little supporting brackets that you can just see a peek of) is right. The overall size is right, as is the roof style, the depth of the eaves, and probably the side windows. Now... obviously, you can see that work has been done to modify this building. The windows are new. The dormer is unexpected. The upstairs center window has been changed from the expected bay window (but, you can see that those two box shapes on the wall, where chains are attached to anchor the little porch roof, are right at the spots where probably the edges of the bay window would have hit, so there probably was a bay window there earlier).

Holy cow. Lots has been added on to our original structure! The full building is now used as attorney's offices.
Then, you see that all of this is now built on to what you feel must be the original building. And you think, "What on earth is this building used for now? Clearly, it's not a private home anymore."

But, that original building, the (porchless) GVT No. 535, was actually the home of E. C. Parsch! That is, Eleanore C. Parsch-- not Edward Christian Parsch, who is actually the writer of the testimonial, and owner of the blue GVT home in Cleveland Heights.  In 1930, Eleanore C. Parsch was 22, and an art teacher at a Catholic school.  And she was the daughter of the head of the house, Alexander P. Parsch.  She was the only E. C. Parsch living in Ohio, that came up in my list the first time I put in my search criteria.  I clicked on her, and saw that she was the daughter of the head of the house, and figured, "Ah... she's a teacher... she must have been the one in the family who felt the most comfortable writing the letter to the Gordon-Van Tine Company, about how happy the family was with their kit-home purchase." It made sense. After all, the last testimonial letter I followed, for this same model house (the full-size No. 535, in Pittsfield, MA), was written by the "Mrs." of the family (Mrs. Helen Hall-Mayberry).

eleanor c parsch census
Summary of Eleanore C. Parsch from the 1930 census information.
So, I opened up Google Maps, and plugged in 409 East Avenue, Elyria, Ohio, to see what kind of house might be at that address... and, if it might, indeed, be a porchless GVT No. 535.  Holy cow! It was! Amazing! Up popped that stucco house with the unexpected dormer and the men working all over it, and I came to the conclusion that it certainly had to be our testimonial house.

Did it give me pause that the address was in Elyria, Ohio, and not Cleveland Heights, Ohio? Welllll.... just a touch. But... I don't know where anything is in Ohio.  I assumed that Elyria must just be a part of the Cleveland area, just like how houses are sometimes listed as being in Cincinnati, but are actually in Cheviot, or Wyoming, or Mt. Healthy, or Westwood.
elyria ohio parsch family
Here's a sample of a pretty legible handwritten entry in the census books (the 1930 Alex Parsch family at 409 East Avenue, Elyria, Ohio). But, they're definitely not always this legible.
I needed look no further! I had found E. C. Parsch, in Ohio, living, in the right year, at what sure looked like a porchless GVT No. 535.

So, I excitedly posted the photo of this house, with its additions, and address, in our FaceBook group, for my fellow researchers to see.

Here's what I posted... complete with a copy of the original testimonial photo.
Several folks (not from Ohio) made some nice comments, showing interest and approval... despite noting the changes to the building, and the dormer.

And so it went for a day or two. But, then, Springfield, Ohio researcher, Cindy (of the new blog, Sears Houses In Ohio), freed up some time to join us in the group one evening, saw my post, and said (gently, of course, because that is her gracious nature), "Uhh, Judy... how did you come to connect this house with that testimonial? Elyria isn't anywhere near Cleveland Heights."

Ummm... it isn't?

So.... I paused.  And, I explained that I was just completely ignorant about where places were in Ohio, and told her how my thought process had gone... but, I realized that something was amiss.

Still, it sure was an amazing coincidence that the WRONG person, in the WRONG town, but with the SAME initials and last name, had the SAME model Gordon-Van Tine house. Don't you think that's odd?
edward parsch ohio
Bingo! Here's the correct E. Parsch.

But, I went back to the drawing board at Ancestry. This time, among the many Parsch (or close to it) family name folks listed, was included "Edward Parsch", of... Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Ah ha! He wasn't there the first time. And, bingo! I popped his address into Google Maps, and there came before me the lovely, blue, porchless GVT No. 535.  Duuh. Obviously, this was the correct house to match the testimonial to.  So, I thought I'd start digging a little deeper to find out who Edward C. Parsch was, so that I could write a bit about his history, when I blogged about the house.

Still... I had the nagging question of why on earth, just by coincidence, these two households in two different towns, had the same model house, and people with the same first two initials and last name. So, I decided to dig a bit further back, to look at earlier census years, and into other family members, to see what connection might be there.  I started with Eleanore's father, Alexander P. Parsch.

parsch family ohio
Here's an example of some of the names -- with their odd spellings-- that came up in my next searches, as I began to dig into the rest of the family of Eleanore, and of Edward. 
Of course, the idea came to me that these two families must be related.  So, I clicked on Eleanore's father, Alex, in the listing for her, and got this:

elyria ohio parsch family
Father's Birthplace: Germany
Mother's Birthplace: Ireland
Industry: Lumber Mill!??
Interesting info.  The kit home companies were kind of in competition with the lumber mills.  The local lumber mills didn't want folks to send away for kits of lumber from some far-away lumber mill, they wanted you to come to them, look at their plan books, pick a design, and let them sell you their local lumber to build your house. And, this lumber mill in Elyria, Ohio was not one that was contracted with GVT to provide lumber for them. So... what was a superintendent at an independent lumber mill doing with a Gordon-Van Tine design home? Which he clearly had, there in the stucco wonder that sits at 409 East Avenue in Elyria, Ohio.

Oh, and his father's birthplace was Germany, and his mother's birthplace was Ireland, okay, okay.

But... where else had I seen that?

parsch family ohio e c parsch
EDWARD Parsch: Father's Birthplace: Germany //  Mother's Birthplace: Ireland
Why... in Edward (C.) Parsch's census information! He, like Eleanore's father, Alex, had a father born in Germany, and a mother born in Ireland! Duuh! Of course! Edward and Alex must be brothers! They must have shared the house plans.

Not so fast.

Because, as I dug back in waaaay earlier census years, I found that Alexander W. Parsch's German-born father, was named Christ (short for Christian). And his Irish-born mother was named Catherine... but, Edward C. Parsch's German-born father was named Peter, and his Irish-born mother was named Anna. So, they're not brothers??
parsch lumber company ohio
Alex P. Parsch's parents: Christ(ian) Parsch and Catharine Hubert were married on April 5th, 1859
I had to double check this. Because... what did that "C." in Edward C. Parsch stand for? Why... Christian, of course! What?? Why did Edward Parsch have the same middle name as Alex Parsch's father? And then, I noticed that... Edward Parsch named one of his daughters... Catharine! Same name as Alex Parsch's mother. So, here was Edward, whose parents were Peter and Anna, having Alex Parsch's father's name as his middle name, and Alex Parsch's mother's name as the name of one of his children.   But... they didn't even live in the same town... at least, not in 1930. Or 1920. Or 1910. But.... back in 1900, they did! Edward C. Parsch with his blue porchless GVT No. 535, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was originally from Elyria, where Alex Parsch had a porchless GVT No. 535.

So, I had to double and triple check that these two guys were not brothers.

That set me to going back further in the census books, to try to find the household of Christian and Catharine Parsch, and then to find the household of Peter and Anna Parsch... to look at the children's names in each of these households.

You'd think that would settle things. But, it didn't. Because there was an Aleck among Peter and Anna's children... a brother to Edward. WAIT! Is this Alex P. Parsch? But, I thought his parents were Christ and Catherine, not Peter and Anna?? So, I had to start researching Aleck Parsch... and, he had similarities in his life, to Alex P. Parsch... but, he was clearly about 10 years younger, so he couldn't be Alex P.

christian parsch peter parsch catherine parsch ann parsch ohio
These are the households of the two Parsch families in 1880.
Look at how many children they had with the same names!
Now, you might think that it would be relatively easy to sort through figuring out who everyone's brother and sister and wife and parent was.  But, it's not. Because, for each person, you often have to start a whole new search, and go back in the census data for all of them to various years ... you can see here... everyone in this crazy Parsch family named their kids half the same names.  And, in later generations, one even married a woman with the same name as his aunt, and then named his son the masculine version of the name of his other aunt.... two Lotties, and two folks named Frances/Francis, and he, Alex W., had the same name as his uncle Aleck (Peter's son), and his uncle Alex P. (Christ's son).  And, to top it off, his Uncle who was married to a (different) Lottie, showed up 10 years later married to Bertha! So, I thought for a minute there that whoever Alex W. was, he had absconded with Lottie, the wife of John Parsch. But, no.... Lottie M., John's wife, died, and he re-married... to Bertha. The Lottie that Alex W. married was Lottie E. But, I digress. (See how crazily you can get pulled off track with all of these people with the same name?!? And, you have to dig and double-check to see what generation you're in every time you're looking at a set of people. It's really nuts with this family.)

So... it certainly was beginning to look like Alex P. and Edward C. were cousins.  And both had a porchless GVT No. 535. In different towns in Ohio.  It wasn't important... but, I absolutely had to find proof for myself that they were cousins.  Everything pointed to their fathers being brothers... the German fathers, the Irish mothers, the shared names of half of their children.  But... that meant that I was going to have to go back even farther, to try to find the parents of Peter Parsch and Christ Parsch, to see if they were brothers. I had already gone back to 1880 to find their households.

So... I dug to find Peter and Christ's birth years, and try to find if they were listed together as brothers somewhere, making their sons, Edward C. and Alex P., cousins.

This was difficult. First, I was thrown off by a listing in 1870 that looked like their family, in St. Louis, Missouri. But, that didn't pan out, because I then found listings in 1870 of Peter and his wife and children, in Ohio, and Christ and his wife and children, in Ohio.

The best that I could do -- and it's pretty good-- is the 1850 census in Cleveland, Ohio, showing a family listed as Perse, instead of Parsch. And, in this family, we have both a Christopher/Christian, and a Peter, as brothers, born in Germany in the correct years. It looks like their father's name was Peter, too (so, he was two generations before the owners of the two houses).  I think this is pretty good proof that the fathers of Edward C. and Alex P. (Peter and Christian), were brothers, making our GVT-535-looking house-owners, cousins.  Whew.
christ parsch parsch lumber company ohio
Possibly, the Parsch family (the household that Christian and Peter grew up in as children).
Okay... let me start to cut to the chase.

Two German Brothers married Two Irish Sisters
It looks like the two German brothers, Peter and Christ(ian) Parsch, married two Irish sisters, Anna and Catherine Herbert (a generation before our two houses were built).  Anna and Catherine arrived in the United States in about 1855 or 56, with their father, Mason Herbert. Their mother, Catherine Murray, had died in Ireland in 1841(sources:, various family trees). And, down the line, two sons from these two households -- cousins Alex P. Parsch and Edward C. Parsch -- somehow ended up with a house looking like the same model Gordon-Van Tine house, in two different towns in Ohio.

catherine herbert parsch wife of christian parsch mother of alex p parsch ohio
Catherine Herbert Parsch, wife of Christian Parsch, mother of Alex P. Parsch
(Alex P. lived in the stucco house at 409 East Avenue, Elyria, Ohio)
(source: photo uploaded by Bette Eakin on
parsch lumber company elyria ohio family photo
Denise Wells' caption for the Christian Parsch family photo, below.
parsch lumber company elyria ohio family photo
Early 1890s: The family of Catherine Herbert Parsch and her husband, Christian Parsch.
The "Alex" in the back row, is the owner of the stucco GVT-looking house in Elyria.
Source: Denise Higgins' entry on Roots Web, HERE.
(Click to enlarge)

But.... what about the Lumber Mill in all of this?
Part of what got me to finding out who was whose sibling and who was whose parent, was the further digging into Alex P.'s siblings... into the life of his brothers William, and John (John is the one who was first married to Lottie M., and then to a woman named Bertha). Because... I stumbled upon the fact that, in 1930, John Parsch owned... a LUMBER MILL! The same lumber mill that Alex P. was Superintendent in.

parsch lumber company john parsch cayahoga county ohio
John C. (yup, stands for Christian!) Parsch married Lotta (Lottie) Greeshamer in Ohio, in 1898. Same year, by the way, that Edward Christian Parsch married Frances (remember, they're the ones who wrote the testimonial).
However, in 1923, it wasn't John who was in control of the Parsch Lumber Mill-- it was his older brother, William.  But, all three brothers had a role in the leading of the lumber mill, as you can see from the city directory for Elyria, Ohio, in 1923:

parsch lumber company 1923 elyria ohio
1923 Elyria City Directory: William is President, Alex P. is Vice-President, and John C. is Secretary-Treasurer... and also Vice-President of the the Lorain County Mortgage & Title Company (a fact which is important later on).
This snippet from the city directory shows the 1923 roles of the older generation of the Parsch sons, in the running of the Parsch Lumber Mill.  And, you see the address of the stucco porchless GVT No. 535 all over the place (409 East Avenue). And, the names of kids from the next generation (there's Alex W., married to Lottie E.!, and there's the original E. C. Parsch -- Eleanor C. Parsch-- who started off my whole quest.)

Somewhere along the way, however, by 1931, it was John Christian Parsch who ended up owning the Parsch Lumber and Coal Company. William, who had been president of the family business, had died, and had only daughters. So, when it was time for the business to move down to the next family member, it was John who became president, and Alex P. remained VP.
parsch lumber company elyria ohio city directory 1931
This is the 1931 City Directory for Elyria, Ohio, showing William's wife Mary, as a widow; John C. as president of Parsch Lumber and Coal Company, and Alex P. as VP.

parsch lumber mill elyria milling company elyria ohio
Old postcard showing the Parsch Lumber Mill and Coal Company and the Elyria Milling Company.
As it turns out, it was  the father of John, Alex P., and William,  a man named Christian Parsch (the "Christian" whose name appears as everyone's middle name), who began the Lumber Mill and Coal Company in Elyria, according to this RootsWeb source (which, itself, was from a book on Elyria's town history, I believe.)
christian parsch parsch lumber elyria ohio

In December, 1945, the company was celebrating its 75th anniversary, and a full-page ad was taken out in the local newspaper, the Elyria Chronicle Telegram. It appeared on page 3 of the December 1st issue.
parsch lumber mill elyria ohio
Here are the sons of Christian Parsch, all gone by 1945.
Alex, on the right, was the owner of the stucco porchless GVT 535-look house.
parsch lumber mill elyria ohio parsch family
From a family tree on

What I find exciting, is that, in 1945, finally the women in the family were included in the business, in high places:
parsch lumber elyria ohio
Mrs. Helen Parsch Cronin is Alex P. Parsch's daughter (a former teacher, and Eleanore C. Parsch's sister). She would have grown up in the stucco porchless GVT 535 at 409 East Avenue.  Mrs. Gertrude Parsch Mathews is the daughter of William Parsch, who had been the president of the company in 1923.
So, what about the two GVT Houses and the connection to the Lumber Mill?
Well, here is my supposition.  There was an article in The American Lumberman publication, April 9, 1922, in which The Parsch Lumber Company is mentioned. The 3-paragraph article mentions that the company has been active in showing that folks can build a home more cheaply using local lumber, than through buying a mail order kit . The article mentions that the company has built a 2-story, 6-room, 1-bath home, all for just $4,000.
Headline of the page of the publication that talks about the role the Parsch Lumber Company is playing in competing with mail-order home companies.
american lumberman parsch lumber
1st paragraph 
american lumberman parsch lumber mill
2nd paragraph

american lumberman parsch lumber
3rd paragraph. Source-click here
Well, try as I might, I never could find the specific ad for the 2-story. 6-room, 1-bath house (same size as a porchless GVT 535), built for $4,000. However, I did find an advertisement by the Parsch Lumber Company, similarly advertising a plan-book house they call The Fernwood, and detailing how it was built for $1,740, when a similar ready-cut for that same design, would be $2,000.
parsch lumber elyria chronicle telegram
May 11, 1921, Parsch Lumber Co. advertisement in the Elyria Chronicle Telegram.
parsch lumber company fernwood c l bowes standard
closeup of the same ad
gvt 578 fernwood clone lookalike
Here's the ready-cut Gordon-Van Tine model that the Fernwood was probably being compared to.

And, I found another Parsch Lumber Company ad that appeared numerous times throughout 1921, not specifically mentioning a particular house model, but encouraging folks to buy through them, rather than using a mail-order company... and... look at the house they show in the corner... it looks surely like the shape of a porchless GVT 535.
parsch lumber elyria chronicle telegram may 2 1921
This ad appeared in the Elyria Chronicle Telegram on May 2, 1921, and on several other dates.

elyria chronicle telegram parsch lumber
Parsch Lumber, advertising their Plan Books, and encouraging you to buy your lumber "of" them.

elyria chronicle telegram parsch lumber 1921 ad
There it is, surely: the NON GVT, plan-book lookalike to the porchless GVT 535. Don't you think?
Final Conclusion About our Two Houses
Yes! I've reached a final conclusion.

Of these two houses, the blue testimonial home at 2548 Kingston, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, built by Edward Christian Parsch, in/around 1925 (the build date supplied by the tax records), is, of course, a GVT kit home.
gordon van tine testimonial house of e c parsch Glencoe model 2548 kingston rd cleveland Heights OH
Conclusion: YES, of course, since this is a testimonial house, this is an authentic GVT, porchless No. 535 (or whatever number it would have gone by, without a porch... in 1929, this porchless model was marketed as The Glencoe).
No, the stucco house at 409 East Avenue, Elyria, Ohio, where the Alex P. Parsch family lived (including Eleanore! Our first "E. C. Parsch"!), is not a Gordon-Van Tine kit home.  It was most probably built from a lookalike plan, by the Parsch Lumber Company, specifically to serve as an advertisement for how much they could build a GVT-similar house for, under the cost of a mail-order home.  Build date? Not sure. Tax records do not list the build date for this property, but I can say that this is the address listed in the 1920 census, for Alex P. Parsch and family. Either the house was built by then, or a different property was there, in which the Alex P. Parsch family lived, and it was demolished in order to build this advertisement home. But, if the house shown under construction in the newspaper ads is this house, it was built by 1921, because that was the year those ads appeared several times in the Elyria Chronicle Telegram.
plan book gvt 535
Conclusion: NO, this is a plan-book lookalike to the porchless GVT No. 535, built as part of an advertisement campaign by the Parsch Lumber Company, of Elyria, Ohio, encouraging folks to save money by building through them, rather than through a mail-order house company.
And... The Coincidence?
I can't come to a definitive conclusion about the relationship between Edward C. Parsch having the GVT house, and Alex P. Parsch having the lookalike. I do believe the men were related -- definitely not brothers, but probably cousins.  But, why the houses?

I wonder if there wasn't bad blood between them.

After all, Christian Parsch's sons -- Alex P., John C., and William -- all grew up to be wealthy, respected leaders in Elyria, with their big lumber company.  Whereas Edward C., who apparently started off wealthy in Elyria (see article below),  moved away from Elyria and worked in more blue-collar positions: Trucker, and, finally, Custodian in a school.

e c parsch testimonial gordon van tine
e c parsch news story ohio gordon van tine
Edward C. Parsch in his wealthy days: While still living in Elyria, in 1910, he was managing an auto garage.
This little newspaper article mentions his "chauffeur".  By 1930, however, he was a custodian in a school.
(Source: • Elyria Chronicle Telegram, Oct. 12, 1910)
Because of all of the interest by the Parsch Lumber Company, in showing that it was beneficial for folks NOT to buy mail order homes, but to, instead, buy plans and lumber through them, I wondered if maybe they had worked out a deal with cousin Edward... say... we'll help you buy your kit, so that we can then have the plans, and construct the same house, using our lumber, for our advertising purposes.

e c parsch testimonial ohio gordon van tine
Edward C. Parsch, owner of the GVT home in Cleveland Heights,
lived there until his death, in October of 1936.
(Source: • Elyria Chronicle Telegram, Oct. 12, 1936)
But... that doesn't make sense. Because the Parsch Lumber Company built their lookalike house by 1921, and Edward C. didn't build his GVT kit until 1925.  And, even if the build date was way off on the GVT kit house, Edward clearly was not in kahoots with his cousins, to help them get more business for their plan-book houses and lumber sales, because... he wrote a glowing testimonial letter to Gordon-Van Tine, about how much he loved his kit house!  In fact, he made a point of saying that he had "spent much time getting local prices" and, in comparison, he knew that he had saved several hundred dollars by buying a kit from Gordon-Van Tine, instead of going with a local lumber company.  It sounds almost like he had an axe to grind, a resentment built up, and wanted to get back at his cousins.

What do you think?

Update • September 2018
The Edward C. Parsch house is currently up for sale, having been beautifully restored and updated. These photos are some of those shown in the current listing, available here. Click on any, to see a larger image:

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch

Updated Gordon Van Tine Glencoe model at 2548 Kingston Rd Cleveland Heights Ohio , testimonial home of Edward C. Parsch


  1. Wow, it's enough to make your head spin! But you've done a fantastic job of researching this from every possible angle. As to why the two houses, so similar but of entirely different origin, I'm stumped as well. Maybe cousin Edward did have a bit of resentment against his prosperous cousins and their lumber mill, and bought -- and so publicly praised! -- his kit house just to spite them. And deflate their claims a bit. Maybe he even approached them for a 'deal' on lumber for a house -- all in the family, you know -- and was rebuffed. We'll most likely never know. But thanks for the great story, and I'm glad the women in the family finally got some hand in the business by the twentieth century!

    1. Thanks! Yes, you know, sometimes I guess I think that somehow, we will know the absolute answer, and it's a bit of a frustration to realize that, no, you'll probably never know the answer for certain :) But, it does seem like a logical conclusion. And, given Edward C.'s job, he may have even built the "spite" house with inheritance from his uncle Christian Parsch, because Christian died in 1919. Who knows, eh? I wonder if there are any Parsch family members out there, still, who could tell us? :)

    2. Hello, I am Denise Higgins Wells who, I believe, you got most of your information from, pictures, articles etc... Thank you for recognizing me in your blog. I am a direct descendant of Christion Parsch and Catherine Herbert Parsch, they are my great great grandparents. I spent many years and even hired a genealogist in Germany to do research on the Parsch/Besch family. As far as the house on East Avenue, I know it had a few secret areas built into the walls where Alex hid his "Bottles". Christian Parsch's brother Peter was removed from the family for unknown reasons. 2 brothers married 2 sisters, I know Peter served in the Civil War and so did Christian's other brother Antone aka Anthony (in a newspaper article referring to Antone's accidental death while cutting down a tree for firewood, it states he was a pauper). Why in the world would your brother die a pauper when you were one of the wealthiest people in the area?. Perhaps Peter was upset that Christian didn't do his part by serving in the War. Or perhaps Christian was not interested in staying close to his brothers and sisters. I suppose we will never know, as all of the old timers are gone, and it is up to us to try and fill in the blanks. Your blog is interesting and I have enjoyed reading it.

  2. Thank you so much amazing information. Thanks also to Denise Higgins Wells for sharing all of her amazing research. Gertrude Parsch Mathews is my Grandmother. Her oldest son, Silas William Mathews, is my Father. There is so much about my own family I never knew.

    1. Wonderful! I'm glad you found my blog post, and it helped connect with your family history. I find it all so fascinating.

    2. Hi Bob, I am hoping you have seen my Parsch people in my Ancestry tree. I have many documents you may want to copy. It was wonderful when I finally found a researcher in Germany who helped tie up loose ends. As far as the house on 4th and East Ave in Elyria, it was right on the corner down the street from St Mary's Catholic Church where the Parsch's attended services and were members of the choir.

  3. Hello! Christian Parsch and Catherine Herbert Parsch are my 3rd great-grandparents. Their daughter Mary Jane Parsch married Cornelius Esker (2nd great-grandparents) and became the parents of Maud Clara Esker Chamberlin who is my father's grandmother. I am on my journey learning about these people and their stories and lives. I am from Virginia and have made a pilgrimage up to OH to visit Elyria and visit their graves in St. Mary's Cemetery in Elyria. I happened upon your post which I really appreciate! It is nice to know that there are family members out there!

    1. Ah, that's great, Jennifer Gray! I'm always really pleased when folks find their family in my blog posts :)
      Judith Chabot


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