John Damp, proprietor of the Ashland City Mills from 1865
to 1892, purchased this home on the corner of Center Street and East
Liberty Street (then called Pine Street) in 1872 at a cost of $2,300. It
had probably been built a few years earlier by James and Sarah
Mason, the previous owners of the property. Damp’s wife was the
former Fanny Palmer of Cuyahoga Falls. There were two children
Annabel and Albert.
The Damp home, like the others on the street, was fenced in
and the gates kept shut to keep the cattle from coming in when they
were being driven along the street to pasture. The iron fences also
offered a form of amusement for the children who walked on the brick or board sidewalks and ran sticks along the pickets.
An Ashland Press social note of June 10, 1880 stated “The annual social of the Presbyterian church will be give at the Center Street residence of John Damp Thursday evening. The ladies will meet at four o’clock in the afternoon to transact the business of the society, which will include the election of officers. Supper will be served and the social of the evening made pleasant in women’s ways. All are cordially invited.”
Mary Brinton Tubbs, who lived across East Liberty Street (then called Pine Street) said in her memoirs, “He had the flour mill down by the creek. Mrs. Damp had an immense nose with a wart on the side. She made such terrible mistakes in talking. She pronounced exaggerated with a hard g, sounding like “guh”. She said she “had Bertie’s entrails engraved on his cane”. Annabel was the daughter, a little younger than I. She was used to invite me to dinner often, and there were always several covered tureens on the table. There wasn’t anything in them, but it looked like a big meal. They had a large hall with a straight stairs going up. Annabel and I used to go down the stairs head first, walking on our hands and dragging our feet behind. We also used to slide down the banister.”
Annabel was a close friend to Mary Brinton Tubbs as Mary adds, “Annabel Damp, Carrie Frazee and I used to play together. Annabel lived across Pine Street and Carrie lived across Center Street. We used to play hide-go-seek, and jacks. We had regular jacks, but no ball, so we had to throw one of the gacks up and catch it. We also used to jump rope, and roll hoops. We would make kites out of newspaper, and fly them in the fields. And of course, we used to play with dolls and make dresses for them. Our dolls were 5 cent ones, about four or five inches high, with stiff arms and legs.”
Following the sale of the mill, the Damp family moved to Elizabeth, Tennessee, where he ran a mill for five years. In 1913 Damp died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Annabel Damp Young, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His son was living in Tiffin at the time.
Judge Frank Nunda Patterson and his wife Mary Magdalena Schauweker Patterson purchased the property in 1896 for $2,600. According the the 1900 Census, the Patterson Family had one servant living in the home by the name of Jennie Harmon. Following his death in 1926, his widow and daughter, Ada Frances Patterson remained in the home for several years. Ada lived in Ashland until her death in 1971.
During the 1950s, when Dr. C.B. Meuser was county health commissioner for the Ashland City/County Health Department, the home at 531 Center Street was the headquarters. Since that time, it has been converted into apartments and back into a single family dwelling.