JHS House-Museum

The Robert and Electa

Waddell House

Commonly called “the Eldridge house” by historians, this house was built about 1870 by lumber baron Robert Waddell whose wife was Electa Roblee daughter of lumber baron William Roblee.

Robert Waddell died in 1878.  Daughter of Robert and Electa, Susan, inherited the house.  She married Lemon T. Eldridge and they lived there for many years.  Their daughter, Elinor, married C. Ernest Noxon and their daughter, Norma, married Carroll Rawson.  Throughout the years the house was owned by the women. 

The history of the Waddell-Eldridge-Noxon-Rawson house will appear in our summer newsletter which is published in June.

The source for this very brief history is Glenn Pearsall’s, Echoes In These Mountains.

A message from
Sterling Goodspeed, President

On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, the Johnsburg Historical Society purchased the historic Robert     and Electa Waddell property in Wevertown. As always happens, papers were signed, a deed drafted in recordable form, and funds delivered.

       An hour or so later fellow JHS Board Member Jim Masten and I stood outside what will one day be a dynamic museum chronicling in multi-dimensional fashion the rich history of our region. Charlie Rawson stepped out of his family’s house and several of us made small talk on the lawn.

      A few minutes later my wife Sue produced a phone for a photo, and Charlie ceremoniously and with some emotion handed Jim and I the key to the house.

      It is the heaviest key I have ever held.

      The key’s weight reminds us of the generous donation from Glenn Pearsall that made this possible.  So too it reminds us of the founders of our organization, the many faithful past board members, and the community that we serve.

      As we stepped inside, we could not help but again be moved by the stunning beauty of the building and its incredible condition.

      In that moment I also felt the weight our board must carry in doing this right for the sake of our shared history.

      We take our responsibility with seriousness of purpose, humble as to who we are and hopeful as to what we strive to become.

      The house is a gift to our community and our board, the temporary custodian of this gift.  Join us as we grow. Watch our progress and help us.

      It is your key as well.

The Robert and Electa
House History

 Robert and Electa (Roblee) Waddell were married in 1863. Robert’s first wife, Mary Bradshaw, had died in 1862, and they had one son, Robert Burke.

Robert was a lumber baron and co-owner of a mercantile store with his brother, William. Robert was a Town of Johnsburg Clerk, Supervisor and was a NY State Assemblyman for three terms.

Electa purchased 112 acres from her mother in 1866 and the house was built on the property.

The first occupants of the house now owned by the Johnsburg Historical Society were Robert and Electa Waddell, along with their children Burke, William, and Leland, her mother Susan Roblee, her brother Harrison Roblee, and two borders. The Waddells had two more children after they moved into the house: Rose (who died at age 20) and Susan.

In 1878 Robert Waddell died at the age of 45 of typhoid fever.

Electa remarried to Gilbert Sheffield in 1889, but he died 5 years later. She continued to live in the house.

On August 10, 1898, Susan Waddell married Lemon T. Eldridge; they lived in the house. They had a daughter Ruth Elinor in 1899, and Susan Roblee died that same year. Lemon purchased the building next door and opened the business that was known as “Eldredge’s” for the next 70 years. The Eldridges had another daughter named Esther in 1904.

Electa Waddell Sheffield died in 1908, leaving the house to William, Lee, Robert Burke, and Susan.   The brothers eventually all transferred the house to their sister Susan.

 In 1922, Ruth Elinor Eldridge married C. Ernest Noxon of North Creek, and took up residence at the house. They had a baby boy who died at birth. In 1928, Esther married Cassius McCloskey, and they lived in the house also.

Norma Mary Noxon was born to Ernest and Elinor in 1933. Sue Ann McCloskey was born to Cassius and Esther in 1937.

Lemon Eldridge died in 1938, so the 1940 census shows the family members in the household as            Susan Eldridge, Elinor Noxon, Ernest Noxon, Esther McCloskey, Cassius McCloskey, Norma Noxon,   and Sue Ann McCloskey. The McCloskeys moved to Warrensburg in 1944.

In 1955, Norma Noxon married Carroll Rawson at the house. They then moved to Vermont to help on the Rawson family farm. In 1959, the Rawsons gave up farming after a disastrous fire, and Norma and Carroll and their two sons, Bill, and Charles, moved into the house for about two years before moving into North Creek. They also had a daughter, Mary.

Susan Waddell Eldridge died in 1962, leaving the house to her daughters Elinor and Esther. Esther deeded her portion to Elinor. Elinor deeded a piece of land to Norma and Carroll, who had a new house built, and lived there until Norma’s father, Ernest, needed care. They then moved back into the house. Ernest died in 1986, and Norma and Carroll remained in the house. Carroll died in 2010, and Norma lived in the “big house” alone until 2015. The house remained empty after that. Norma died in 2019.

Charlie Rawson sold the house to the Johnsburg Historical Society on June 30, 2021. The board of JHS is proud to be able to share this legacy with you.

 Written by Kathy Allen from research by Susan Rawson.

Warren County Clerk

Libre 13, pages 455-457:

This Indenture made this sixteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight-hundred and sixty-six Between Susan A Roblee of the town of Johnsburgh County of Warren and State of New York of the first part and Electa June Waddle of the same place of the second part Witnesseth that the said party of the first part in consideration of the sum of Twelve Hundred Dollars to her duly paid have sold and by these presents does grant and convey to the said party of the second part her heirs and assigns All that certain piece or parcel of land situate in the town of Johnsburgh County of Warren and State of New York and known as being in and a part of lot number eighty two in the twelfth township of Totten and Crossfields Purchase and described as follows…One hundred and twelve acres of land more or less…

Transcribed from the Warren County website by Deana Wood, as closely as possible to how it was written.

Glenn Pearsall Donation Funds
Historic House Purchase

Local author and historian Glenn Pearsall has made a gift for the ages. 

Pearsall has donated stocks that valued $132,256.64 to enable the Johnsburg Historical Society (JHS) to purchase the Eldridge/Rawson House.  

Pearsall, a long-time supporter of JHS, has published numerous books focusing on local history, including Echoes in These Mountains and When Men and Mountains Meet. He has also authored an Adirondack novel entitled Leaves Torn Asunder

Pearsall has called the building one of the most significant architectural structures in the Town of Johnsburg. Pearsall and his family have been long time residents of the Adirondacks. He and his wife Carol are founding members of the Pearsall Foundation, which has provided funding for countless organizations over many years. 

“Glenn’s generosity marks the most important turning point in the history of the Johnsburg Historical Society”, said JHS President Sterling Goodspeed.

The Johnsburg Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the history of the Town of Johnsburg. Donations are tax exempt to the extent allowed by law. The Johnsburg Historical Society is also a non-political, non-partisan organization.

P.O. Box 144, Wevertown, NY 12886
Office Hours: By Appointment Only.
Monthly Board of Trustee meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month at 4pm both in person upstairs at the Wevertown Community Center and via Zoom
Email: johnsburghistory@gmail.com
Phone: 518.251.5788

Website Designed by: Wells Beach Communications

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