Thanks to H.S Knapp’s “History of the Pioneer and Modern
Times of Ashland County” published in 1863, we learn what the area
was like during the Civil War Era. According to the 1860 Census,
Ashland County had 22,058.
Knapp lists the names of more than 1,700 men who
volunteered for the Civil War for a period of three years and tree
Among the professions and businesses in Ashland were seven
dry goods stores, two weekly newspapers, seven physicians, four
hotels, four boot and shoe makers, seven attorneys, three harness
makers, two livery stables, one bank, a hack operator, and seven
hardware stores, most of which also sold groceries.
An 1861 large wall map at the Ashland County Historical
Society gives the names of landowners and indicates houses on lots in
Ashland. Many of these homes are still being used as family
dwellings, including the one at the corner of Center and East Walnut
According to court records, Randolph Freer purchased the lot for $300 in 1854 from Martin S. Johnson. He then built this Victorian home with a central turret and a second story veranda on one if the recessed wings. The imbricated or wavy siding on the upper portion of the house shows ah ornate detail of exterior construction of the period.
Randolph and his brother Jonas were in the hardware, cutlery, groceries, produce, will and grain business at the time, and about 1874 founded the Farmers Bank.
About this time, Randolph had another house constructed, the large brick home that is now Denbow Primm Funeral Home. He still, however, retained ownership of the original Homestead.
After his death, Charles, one of the sons, acquired the original property and lived there with his wife Alice and children until 1900 when ownership changed. J.G. Fluke was the new owner, and in 1938, his heirs sold to Margaret Boyer and C.F. and Ethel V. Kopp.
A property split also occurred at this time and the brick home at 16 E. Walnut Street was constructed on the rear of the lot. Kopp was a builder and he converted the original home into a two-family dwelling. His son Robert and wife Beryl lived in one of the apartments.
In 1954, Aura L. Smith became the new owner, and seven years ago, the house was sold to Virgil and Frances Crunkilton, Russell Brown lives in the upstairs apartment.
For more than 130 years, through six owners, this home has stood on the corner. It is one of the older homes in the Center Street Historic District.
It was converted back into a single family by Severn and Anne Green. The home is currently owned by Melanie Monagon.