HISTORY MYSTERY: VerPlank Home
The builder of the VerPlank home has a connection back to John J. Young, one of the first three Young brothers who came to Clay. His son, Joseph was born in Dutch Settlement on June I, 1811. He married Eliza E. and they lived in a log cabin on the Pine Plan Cemetery location. Their son, Alonzo, follows the line. Born in 1843, he married Harriet (Hattie) VerPlank in 1869, the daughter of William VerPlank. They had seven children.
Among them were William Young (father of Cecil Young Perry); Inez who married John G. Sillenbeck, a descendant of the Sillenbeck who fought at the battle of Oriskany; Rena who married Victor Loomis; and Lena (Rena’s twin) who married Leon D. Strobeck She is the mother of Harriet Rose, who contributed the information for this story. A news item dated Euclid. November 10, 1879 notes that DeForest VerPlank has moved into his new home (The VerPlank home built by William in the 1860’s!)
Harriet remembers staying at her Uncle Willy’s house on VerPlank, near the gravel pit for the summer. Her grandmother, Hattie Young, was keeping house for Uncle Willy after his wife died in 1918. They lived in the house William VerPlank had built.
This farm originally raised tobacco and hops. In the 1920’s, it was a large dairy farm, growing grains, fruit and all types of produce, which they took to the State Fair allowing Harriet to go along. She climbed the apple trees and picked berries in the woods. One day Uncle Willy’s bull got loose and chased her and her cousin, Cecil, all the way back to the house.
She recalls the aroma of her grandmother’s making of homemade bread and watching her do laundry with a tub and scrub board. On Sunday mornings, Uncle Willy would hitch up the horse and buggy and they would attend Immanuel Church before it moved to Route 31, its current location. Although at that time, he had an old Dodge sitting in his barn
Descendants of the family, Mr. and Mrs. Don Perry lived there until 1969. The house still stands
and the gravel pit is closed leaving a large crater, but there are still signs of the large farm which once was so well-known to all of Clay.
Dorothy Heller, Historian