|Rear of St. Rose Church facing the Ohio River. The Water Pumping Station is to the right.|
A few years back I went to the Hamilton Co. Recorder's Office and did a property search. I discovered that the property occupied by St. Rose Church was originally part of the George Torrence Estates. He divided his property among his children, and his daughter Nancy inherited Lots 10 and 11. The Church is on Lot 11.
The deed states that Nancy Torrence sold Lot 11 for $10,000 to Bishop John Purcell. She then donated $1000 back to help fund the construction of the Church. This was in 1867. No mention was made of any part of the property being used for a home.
This frustrated me for years because Elizabeth Jones, widow of Alexander, is listed in the 1868 City Directory as living in a house, east of Lumber St. The 1880 Census lists Elizabeth and her children as the only residents on Lumber St. besides the three priests serving St. Rose and their housekeeper.
At a meeting of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, Bill Graver, a volunteer for the Cincinnati Historical Society introduced himself and told me he thought he could help solve the mystery. The following week my husband Bill and I met with Mr. Graver at the Historical Society Library. He had located a historical map showing the house in question 250' from the southeast corner of the church on the river bank. The house was a two-story frame house with an iron chimney. It was located on Lot 10 of the Torrence Estate on property that is currently occupied by the Cincinnati Water Works Pumping Station (not the Gas Works) owned by the City of Cincinnati.
Based on this information, my brother Tim, sister-in-law Dusty and I went with tape measure in hand to find the exact location of the "Jones Homestead." The river level in 2009 is much higher than the level in 1880 but you can get a distinct feel for their closeness and love for the Ohio. Note: I mislabeled the map as the "Cincinnati Gas Works." It should have read "Cincinnati Water Works Pumping Station."
|Tim marking the approximate spot of the Jones Homestead.|
|Current look of the river bank. The walls at the top of the bank surround the Water Works Pumping Plant. See below.|
|View of the river bank from the St. Rose Church parking lot.|
Photo Credit: http://www.cincinnativiews.net/ohio_river_2.htm
This is how the Pumping Station looked on Eastern Ave. (now Riverside Dr.) before the 1937 flood. Because the plant was not originally protected by tall walls, the pumps failed and the city was without clean water for a week. The picture of the bank as it appears now shows the walls that now surround the plant. Notice St. Rose Church located to the right of the plant.
Since the Church was built in 1867 and the Cincinnati City Directory lists the family as living in the house on the river bank in 1868, the Joneses and St. Rose saw the beginning of a relationship that would last for 100 years. So how did the family pay the rent? I'll tell you about that in the next post.