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139 N. Center Street
Plainfield, Indiana

In June 1877, Hamlet sold this property to John Snipes and his wife Mattie who took possession in February 1878. The tax records show a jump of $2000 in assessed improvements, indicating that the two story Italianate frame house was built at this time.

John and William Snipes were brothers and worked together in the grocery business, although John was fourteen years younger than William. When he erected the house at 139 North Center, John was only 24 years old. The Snipes grocery at 116 West Main Street was in business from around 1880 to the early part of the twentieth century, when it was sold to W.R. Elliott, who was stayed in business there himself for over 40 years before selling to another grocer.

Oddly enough, John sold the house after only three years to a Levi Lane, who turned around and sold it to John’s brother after another three years. William and Elizabeth snipes moved into the house in March 1884 with their young daughter Mayme.

Mayme graduated from Central Academy, attended Earlham College, and went on to be the librarian at Plainfield’s public library from 1909-1919. In June 1919 she left the library to work for the Indiana Library Commission in Indianapolis. That same year Elizabeth died in August and William deeded the house to Mayme in September, although he continued to live there with her. In August 1921 William died and on the same page of the paper listing his obituary Mayme advertised the “modern eight room residence for sale.” The next year she would resign from the Indiana Library Commission and move to southern Indiana to take up library work there.

Instead of selling the house immediately, Mayme began renting it to Thomas O. James and his family. T.O. was the agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Plainfield from 1917 to 1929. He and his wife Bertha had eleven children, of which ten were girls. The lone boy, Richard, was fifth in age after sisters Irene, Doris, Mildred, and Lucile, and before Margery, Georgianna, Martha Jean, Lois, Mary A. (Annalee?), and Virginia. The James were transferred to Altamont, Illinois, in 1929, but not before winning first prize in the 1926 yard beautification contest and leaving behind the three oldest girls who chose to stay in Plainfield. It is through them, presumably, that the fine collection of James family photos made their way to the library archives.

In 1936 Mayme sold the house to Edward Edgerton, a Quaker farmer and minister. Apparently Edgerton continued to rent out the house, as he died in November of that year at his home on South Center Street. The property remained in the name of Edgerton and his wife Flora for several years, probably still used as a rental. In 1940 Harry O. Spear lived there with his wife Beva and daughters Suzanne and Shirley. By March 1946 it was Arthur Tipps family, who remained until 1953. From 1954 to 1960 several tenants came and went. By 1963 it had two tenants at a time, lending weight to the claim by the Plainfield Woman’s Club’s Facts on Aging Structures that the upstairs was made into apartments. Flora Edgerton died in 1968 and by 1974 the home apparently returned to a single family residence lived in by Donald L. Morton. In the early 1990s Charles and Becky Hodson were the owners; it has passed through several hands in the years since.

Mayme Snipes 1911
Bertha James ca 1927
Annalee and Virginia James at 139 N Center 1928
Pictures of the property
139 N. Center Street, no date
Newspaper articles and ads
Plainfield Messenger Sept 9 1926
Plainfield Messenger Aug 25 1921
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