–by Gayleen Gindy
PUBLICATION DATE: May 05, 2020
Up to this point I have shared the history of all homes that are 100 years or older on Erie Street from Summit Street, west to Centennial Road. Now let’s head even further west on Erie Street, starting at Centennial Road (once you hit the township line Erie Street become Sylvania-Metamora Road).
Focusing on the north side of the road, the first house you come to that is 100 years or older is the Smith farm house at 8652 Sylvania-Metamora Rd. County records show that this house was constructed in 1877, and therefore is 143 years old.
John W. Jerome owned this property when the house was constructed, and the 1880 census shows his family living here. He was listed by his middle name, Wesley, 48 years old and listed as a farmer. Also there were his wife Lovina Jerome, 40 years old; his son Mark Jerome, 23 years old; son Charles Jerome, 21 years old; and daughter Bertha Jerome, 9 years old.
Mr. Jerome died in 1890 and the property did not sell out of the Jerome family name until 1906. His heirs, the Deweys and Wyants, then owned the farm house for about four years each.
William N. Smith was the first “Smith” to purchase the home in 1915, and a descendant of this same Smith family still owns it today. The current owner, Robert A. Smith, is very proud of his historical home and farm buildings, as well as the history of Sylvania in general. He and his father, mother, brother, and especially his two aunts, Hazel and Ara Smith, were the driving force in starting the first historical society in Sylvania. Bob is still involved today and has served as the president of the historical society for numerous years since it was re-established in 1991. Currently he serves on the board of the newly established “Heritage Sylvania,” which combined all historical organizations into one.
The land transferred into William’s name in 1915, but it was his son Floyd, his wife Amelia and their children that lived in the house and farmed the land. Floyd and Amelia Kopp were married in 1898, and their children were: Harold, Hazel, Ara, Alice, William and Robert C. They moved to the farm in 1915, and were living here as of the 1920 census. William Smith died in 1924 and in 1925, the 100 acres was transferred into Floyd C. Smith’s name.
Family records say that from 1926 until 1933 Floyd Smith rented the home and farm out to the Deppmans and then the VanBrandt family. During this time the Smith’s lived in a house that Floyd built on Portsmouth Avenue in Toledo. They moved to this location because their daughter Hazel contracted TB while working as a nurse at the county hospital. This house had a sun porch that allowed Hazel to sit in the sun, which helped in her recovery.
By 1933 Floyd, Amelia and family returned to live on the Smith farm. They lived here until 1951 when Floyd and his son Robert finished construction on a ranch home, still on the Smith property, just to the west of the farm house. At that time Floyd and Amelia moved into the ranch home with their two unmarried adult daughters, and the four of them lived out their lives in that ranch home. Amelia passed away in 1960, Floyd in 1975, Ara in 1990, and Hazel in 1993. Floyd’s obituary notice said that the Smith family had farmed the land until 1960.
By 1951 Floyd’s son Robert Cass Smith, and his new wife Else Andersen Smith, had moved into this farm house and went on to raise their three sons: Erik, Robert A., and Matthew here. In 1960, after the family stopped farming the land, they rented the fields to Marvin Brodbeck, who farmed the land for the next 30 years.
In 1978 Robert and Else Smith sectioned off two parcels. One was a .94 acre parcel where the farm house and farm buildings sit, and the other a parcel to the west where his sisters Hazel and Ara were living. Starting in 1993, the third generation of Smiths sold off the surrounding farm land to the Sylvania Cobblestones Developers. The Cobblestones subdivisions – Plats One through Six, were developed on what was left of the Smith farm land. One of the entrances into the Cobblestones subdivision was appropriately named “Smith Farm Road.”
Robert Cass Smith died in 2003 at the age of 84 years. He was born in this home and lived here most of his life. His obituary notice said that he had worked the family farm until 1959. In 1955 he started working at the Sylvania post office when it was on Main Street, and worked there until 1983. At the same time he and his family operated Mohawk Specialties Printing Co. from 1960 to 1986. His wife Else died in 2005 and the home transferred to their son Robert A. Smith that same year. As of 2020 this home has been in the Smith family for 105 years.
Focusing on just the property where the farm house and farm buildings are the following are the recorded owners:
Sept 2, 1835 – John S. Leonardson and wife – Federal land grant
April 19, 1865 – Francis Little – E ¼ of SW ¼ and W ¼ of SE ¼ = 80 acres
Feb. 20, 1866 – Thomas and Mary Garry 80 acres
May 21, 1869- John W. Jerome – 80 acres
May 18, 1906 – Heirs of J.W. Jerome – 80 acres
May 18, 1906 – Lovina Jerome – 80 acres
May 28, 1906 – Charles F. & Helen M. Dewey – 80 acres
March 4, 1910 – Samuel I. & Margaret Wyant – 80 acres
Oct. 15, 1915 – William N. Smith – purchased the 80 acres, plus another 20 acres
June 8, 1925 – Floyd C. Smith (son of William) – 100 acres
Aug. 4 1978 – Robert C. Smith (son of Floyd) .94 aces split off for farm house
Oct. 2, 1985 – Robert C. & Else M. Smith
May 12, 2003 – Else M. Smith
Dec, 9, 2003 – Else M. Smith and Robert A. Smith (son of Robert C. & Else Andersen Smith)
March 30, 2005 – Robert A. Smith
The Smith family has documented every building that was on the property over the years (past and present), and all of the additions and architectural design information on this home. I would love to share all that info with you, but there just isn’t enough space here.