Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
With the cooperation of the Southeast Iowa Union/Mt. Pleasant News, The Mt. Pleasant Historic Preservation Commission will be publishing weekly peeks at some of the featured homes in the 1909 book, Mt. Pleasant Beautiful.
In the series, the 1909 picture will be contrasted with one of recent vintage.
The commission has been collecting information for the eventual issuance of a new book updating the information on the still standing homes from the 1909 publication.
You can test your knowledge of historic Mount Pleasant with this column. The identity of the featured home will be published the week following the initial publication.
Last week’s featured home: Melcher House, 201 North Jackson St.
This week, we feature an 1894 frame home, which at the time of the Mount Pleasant Beautiful publication in 1909, was owned by John and Mary Winters.
The home was built, however, by Elisha and Sophia Payne. Payne was a young (17) enlistee in the Union Army in 1863 and served honorably in Company K, Fourth Iowa Cavalry until wounded two years later and returned to civilian life.
His early life was spent on his parents’ farm west of Mt. Pleasant at a time when “Indian wigwams were seen in the forest” and “wolves howled during the night”.
The Payne family included nine children from two wives (the first one died in 1881), both of whom were a bit younger than the Civil War vet.
After the war, he had taken up farming, which he thrived at until 1894, when he and his wife sold the farm and built this week’s home.
Just five years later the countryside called again, and he bought the farm of John and Mary Winters, and they purchased his home in town.
Winters did not immediately occupy the house but rented it to an Iowa Wesleyan professor and wife, Alba and Blanche Piersel.
The Winters moved into the house in 1906 and lived out their years there, dying in the mid-1920s.
He was a businessman and operated the family stone quarry and stone contracting business.
He served on the school board, the Henry County Fair Association and was an active Democrat.