The Story of a House Jeddiah Brink in HOlmes County, Ohio

The house and the barn of the Jedidiah Brink House today.

When I first saw a picture of this house, identified as being the house of Jedidiah Brink, my great-great uncle, I went to a Facebook group to make inquires. I posted on the "Killbuck Gang" page and several helpful people tried to give directions to the house. One friend on that page even took the time to drive out to the property and take some more pictures. And best of all, the current owner, named Snow, chimed in to the conversation!

By that time, I had been contacted by Susan Brink, whose husband Jim is a distant cousin of mine, descended from Jeddiah Brink. I passed on the directions given to me by people who live in the area and were well aware of the house. ( Township Road 72 south of SR 62 outside of Killbuck, Ohio). Susan and Jim planned a weekend in Killbuck, stopped at the IGA store where a very helpful lady gave them more explicit directions, and off they went. They met with the present owner of the property, who gave them access to the house.

Although he never knew his great-great-grandfather Jeddiah, this trip to see the house was particularly exciting to Jim Brink, who recalls childhood visits to his relatives the Bellar sisters who were the final residents of the house. He remembered his grandfather showing him the spring and sites of other houses that belonged to Brinks, but no longer exist.

Jeddiah married his first wife, Susan, in 1866 and bought the property where this house is located in 1867. Was the house already there? Did it look like it looks today? We know that they had six children between 1867 and 1883, which would have meant that the original two story house would be bulging at the seams, so he must have had to make an addition. Thanks to the knowledge of architect Jamee Brink Parrish, we now have an estimate when the original house was built and when the addition was built.

Jedidiah Brink's home in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio as it looks today.

Jamee Parrish, the architect, could see that the porch and the one-story addition were added later. Because of the plain style of the architecture in the two-story house, she concluded it was probably built between 1850 and 1860. Since we know that Jeddiah bought the property in 1863, it is probable that the house was built by the family that previously owned the land, the McElhiney family.

This picture plus interior views gave Jamee two clues to the age of the addition to the house. First, when the original house was built, it would have been standard to have a detached "summer kitchen" for cooking--both to keep the heat out of the house in summer, and to reduce the possibility of fire. Second, do you see that small window just under the roof peak on the addition? It is Gothic style, and that style would have been used between 1860 and 1880. Because of the timing of the birth of Jeddiah's chidlren, we can assume that the addition was built in the 1870's to accommodate his 3rd, 4th, and 5th child.

The updated kitchen in the house would have been added when the last occupants, the Bellar family occupied the house during the 1940's and 1950's. The house has now been vacant for several decades.
Even after the new kitchen was used, the families living in the house no doubt continued to use this spring. Before the new kitchen and an ice box or refrigerator, it would have been used to store butter, milk, and cheese. The spring still burbles up fresh water.
It is difficult to see the floor clearly in the pictures of the interior, but Jim Brink and Susan Brink, who visited the house and took these pictures, found that some of the floors were painted. Fragments of color remain. Their daughter, the architect, says that a floor cloth is painted canvas finished with varnish, sometimes made to look like boards, but often painted in patterns. Used starting in the 1700's, by the 19th century, they were found in halls and kitchens. By the 1870's painted floors were beginning to be replaced by linoleum.
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When Jim and Susan Brink visited the old house, the present owner gave them this summary of the transfers of the land on which the house stood between 1867 when Jeddiah Brink bought the property and 1903 when he and his second wife sold it and moved away from Holmes County. The property then passed through the hands of a Middaugh relative (Jeddiah's mother's family) and then to Joseph Bellar in 1910. Joseph's will left the property to his children and the Bellar sisters were the last occupants of the house. Although I call the house the Jeddiah Brink house for the second owner, the property is still known around Killbuck, Ohio as the Bellar house. But in fact, if our deductions are correct, it was originally the McElhiney house.

Created By
Vera Marie Badertscher
Jim and Susan Brink

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