|Authenticated 1911 Sears No. 163 • 3 Elm Street, Newton, New Jersey
|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:
|Sears model No. 163 in the 1914 Sears Modern Homes 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.
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.
We see Reuben and Emily listed at this address, in the 1933 city directory:
|1933 City Directory for Newton, New Jersey
|Here's how I was able to connect Elizabeth to Reuben and Emily: the 1905 New Jersey U.S. State 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
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.
|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:
|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.
But, let's get back to the house!
This is a scan of what looks to be the permit application, submitted by the contractor.
And, here are specific papers with Sears, about changes and details in the design of the house:
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):
Meg sent me some other very nice interior views, highlighting the staircase, entry foyer, and beautiful stained-glass windows running up the staircase wall:
These leaded-glass panels are still in the house, re-purposed and added for a decorative touch around the house:
There is a Sears front door:
|I don't know what wood species this is, but Sears offered it in Birch veneer and Oak veneer.
|1912 Sears Building Supplies catalog, here
Here's a closeup of the summer cover, and of the scroll work on the mantel:
The original boxed-in beams in the ceiling, and pocket doors, remain:
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.
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!
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:
|This one originally had the round columns that the Talmage house has.
|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:
|15 Innis Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York
|124 W Thames Street, Norwich, Connecticut
Here's another with the round porch columns, as the Talmage house in Newton has:
|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:
|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:
|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!:
|265 Maple Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts (Real estate listing)
|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!