Washington Painter Home

The Washington Painter Home, located at 223 South Fifth Street in Albion, was built in 1871 by
Washington and Margaret (Wilson) Painter. The property on which the house is located was
previously owned by Margaret’s parents, William and Jane (DeNoon) Wilson.

The house originally had six rooms. The front portion of the house was a typical two‐over‐two
style of construction, with a central hall and staircase. On the first floor, the parlor was on the
left as you enter the home and the dining room was on the right. On the second floor were two
bedrooms.

Centered behind this portion of the house were an additional two rooms, one up and one
down. The room on the first floor was the kitchen, which was flanked on both the north and
south sides by porches. In the northeast corner of the kitchen was a stairway up to the
servant’s quarters and another stairway led to the cellar and was situated beneath the stairway
to the second story. On the west wall of this original kitchen are two doors which open into the
pantry cabinets. On the second story, above the original kitchen, is the servant’s quarters.
There was originally a door in the south wall of this room which accessed the upper porch. It
was sealed up when most of the upper porch was converted to a bathroom.

Later, as the family grew, two more rooms were added to the house, northwest of the original
kitchen. The first room was used first as a kitchen and later became the dining room and the
room north of that became the new kitchen in the present location. A porch was added to the
east of the new dining room. The original kitchen became somewhat of an informal parlor. The
original dining room became the living room, and the original parlor became a bedroom.
Some time later, when the radiator heating system was installed, another cellar was dug and
another room added to the house above the cellar, accessed through a doorway made from the
south half of the pantry of the original kitchen. The cellar houses the boiler for the heating
system. A bathroom was installed on the first floor above the cellar.

Washington Painter forged the wrought iron fence and gates along the front of the property.
Also located on the property are a wash house and a garage. At one time, a greenhouse was
situated south of the wash house.

After the death of Washington Painter in 1916, his two unmarried daughters, Jane and Mary,
continued to live in the family home. Jane died in 1933 and Miss Mary Painter continued to live
in the home. Sometime after the death of Mary’s sister Alice (Painter) Macaulay in 1951,
Alice’s son, Hubert Macaulay, moved into the Painter home to help care for his aging aunt.

Upon the death of Miss Mary Painter in 1968, at the age of 99, the home passed to her nephew
Hubert Macaulay. Hubert continued to live in the home until his death in 1986. An estate
auction was held on July 22, 1987 at which time one of Hubert’s first cousins, Alice (Garretson)
Bolles, of Atlanta, Georgia purchased the Painter family home. Alice and her family continued
to maintain and enjoy the family home which had belonged to her grandparents. Alice Bolles
died December 17, 2005. After her death, her daughter, Alice (Bolles) Economy, continued to
maintain the home while settling her mother’s estate. In honoring her mother’s wishes, Alice
Economy, on July 30, 2009, entered into a contract for deed to transfer the property to the
Edwards County Historical Society. The historical society plans to continue preserving this
historic Victorian home for the benefit and enjoyment of the community by having it open for
tours from time to time, including Heritage Day, which is held annually on the first Saturday in
October.

George Washington Painter was born July 27, 1838 in Wabash County, Illinois. His mother,
Nancy Painter, was the widow of Joseph Painter. He was reportedly orphaned at an early age.
When but a boy, he came to Albion to serve an apprenticeship until the age of 21 under Elisha
Chism in order to learn the blacksmith trade. When he was not allowed to attend school, he
ran away to Carlyle, Illinois. A reward of 25 cents was posted for his return.
In 1860, at the age of 22, Washington returned to Albion and set up his own blacksmith shop.
On August 14, 1860, he was married to Margaret Wilson. She was born March 21, 1840 in
Albion, a daughter of William and Jane (DeNoon) Wilson.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Washington Painter enlisted in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry,
which later became known as the famous 3rd Kansas Battery. He served three years and four
months in the war, from October 1, 1861 to January 19, 1865. His skill as a blacksmith was no
doubt extremely valuable during the war.

Washington and Margaret (Wilson) Painter were the parents of seven children, two boys and
five girls. The two boys died in infancy.

Washington Painter and his brother‐in‐law, George Frankland, were partners in the firm of
Painter & Frankland. Painter & Frankland manufactured the Eureka stump plow, invented and
patented by Washington Painter. A salesman’s sample of this plow is on display in the Painter
House. This plow was in extensive use as far away as the Gulf and Pacific states. The yearly
output reached six or eight hundred.

The firm also manufactured the “Albion Wagon” in volume for the then‐flourishing wagon
market. They made about 50 to 60 wagons a year which were sold for $55 each. One of their
wagons is on display at the Washington Painter House. The firm made anything which required
a blacksmith, a tinsmith, or a woodworker. They were dealers in all kinds of farm machinery
and agricultural implements of standard makes; as well as hardware, stoves and tinware.