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G E O R G E   H.  G R A N D F I E L D  House
46 W. Cohawkin Road, Clarksboro, NJ
A private residence

Front Viiew of the George H. Grandfield House in Clarksboro NJ - 2004
George H. Grandfield house in Clarksboro NJ
Photograph by Janice Brown, June 2004

The George H. Grandfield house, a truly unique building, is located in Clarksboro, NJ.

Family History
George H. Grandfield was born about 1848 in England, the son of George & Ann (Frost) Grandfield. He emigrated to the United States prior to 1870, as he married Eliza Jane Williams of Newport, South Wales on October 16, 1870 in Manhattan, New York, New York. She was the daughter of John & Lydia (Jones) Williams. On October 24, 1872 he became a naturalized citizen, with his papers filed at the Kings County New York Court house. His sponsor was John Frost.

In 1880 a 32-year old George Grandfield, his wife Eliza Jane (age 32), and daughter Lydia Eliza (age 2, born 17 September 1877) were living in Wayne Township, Wayne Co. Indiana. George Grandfield's occupation in this census shows that he was a brick mason.

This photograph taken before 1936 shows a stairway that may pre-date the building
Photograph taken pre-1936 that shows the main stairway of the house and the wall behind it, that predate the rest of the building.

George and Eliza Grandfield went on to have more children: In 1881 a son, named George Grandfield Jr. was born, but only lived to the age of 6 years [see later]. Elizabeth Margaret was, born about 1882, and John William born about 1884, both in Indiana. All three of the surviving children became teachers, and the daughters later moved to Atlantic City to teach school. John W. Grandfield, who according to his obituary, was a teacher of Latin and French in the Newark NJ school system, died October 8, 1918 at the age of 32 years. The East Greenwich 1981 Centennial booklet states that he may have died during the Spanish Influenza epidemic.

The Grandfield family were probably already living in Clarksboro by 1888. From 1900-1930 the U.S. Census shows George H. Grandfield living in East Greenwich, New Jersey. In 1900 and 1910 he is living in the Cohawkin home with his wife and 3 children, now in their teens and early 20's. In 1920 George and his wife are living there alone (their son now deceased, and their two daughters living in Atlantic City, NJ). Eliza J. Grandfield died October 15, 1924 at the age of 76 years. All of the Grandfield family mentioned here are buried in Eglington Cemetery in Clarksboro NJ, in Lot 1090. George Grandfield is shown in the 1930 U.S. Census as living alone in East Greenwich. He died May 23, 1931, and after his death his daughters moved into the home. Elizabeth Grandfield died 22 June 1957 at the age of 74, and Lydia C. Grandfield died 14 June 1967 at the old age of 90 years. Another individual named Ann Cox who died 23 October 1901, possibly a relative, is also buried in the family plot.

Grandfield House circa 1938
Side view of the George H. Grandfield House, taken circa June 1938

House History
A deed in the possession of the current house owners show that the land on which this building stands was owned by the Widow Mary Jessup of West Deptford, New Jersey. On Jan 5th 1874 she sold the land to Joseph Reeves, Esquire (although the the deed itself seems to be dated as received and recorded on April 13, 1883). Joseph Reeves Esq. sold the property to George and Eliza Grandfield 17 September 1887, recorded on the same date. It is believed that George Grandfield built a house there shortly afterwards. [See the original Jessup/Reeves and Reeves/Grandfield deeds in PDF format, courtesy of the present owners]. Indeed this family probably resided here when the remains of deceased son, George Jr. was moved here to be reburied at Eglington Cemetery on March 31, 1888.

Oral tradition states that an older house located in East Greenwich Township, just down the road from the current one, was transported to this spot, and that the newer brick one was built around it. (Portions of the entry hall and stair rail in the house dates back to the older house).

The Grandfield daughters

Ora Jackson sitting on the steps of the house. Photograph graciously provided by her son, Bob Jackson, presently of Coloma, Michigan.

Unusual rounded (half bullnose) brick was used to create the pillars (glazed brick) in the front of the house, and several fireplaces (unglazed brick) can be found inside the home. There are two different stories as to the origin of this unusual building material. The current house owner believes that the bricks may have been used as ballast on ships arriving from England at the port of Philadelphia, and that George Grandfield obtained them from these ships. Another story told by my neighbor, Ray Canady, who went to school with the Jackson sons, is that Mr. Grandfield brought the bricks home, one by one, in his lunch pail, from his masonery job. Bob Jackson (one of the former occupants of the house) confirmed this story, and was told that Mr. Grandfield brought the bricks home from work (even though it may not have been in such small numbers per day).

Also, according to Bob Hanner, previous owners state that the large flagstone steps that lead to the back door were originally the steps of a Philadelphia masonic lodge on Walnut Street (or Lane), that Mr. Granfield obtained when that building was being renovated (and the steps replaced). It is also said that Mr. Granfield was a member of that same masonic lodge (although the Philadelphia masonic group can find no record of that). The tombstone of the Grandfield family in Englington Cemetery shows the masonic symbol next to George Grandfield's name, his membership in a local masonic lodge is probably true.

Glazed  rounded brick pillars on the front porch
Some of the unusual and unique features of this home include rounded bricks found in
the pillars on the front porch [see above]
and in fireplaces in several rooms
inside the home [see below]
Photographs by Janice Brown, June 2004
Grandfield House showing cast iron railings
The cast iron railings on the porch are original to the house, except for the short piece across the very front center portion. That area formerly was open, probably to allow visitors using carriages to gain easy entry. Wooden steps original were found here. but were removed by the Jackson family.
Several unglazed rounded brick fireplaces can be found in this home
This fireplace was built to be used with coal.

The decorative brick wall in front of the
George H. Grandfield house, June 2004. This used to extend further inside the property, and had gates.
Brickwork at the Grandfield house

At some point in the house's history, possibly around 1910, a two story addition was added to the back of the house, along with a brick garage/outbuilding; and even later the internal structure of the house was changed when it was divided into two separate apartments. The Clarksboro Depot, taken down between 1946-1950 was situated near their property.

The basement contains a capped spring well, which was used for drawing water up to the mid 1960's. There are two additional springs on the property, and also a "sunken garden."

Following George Grandfield's death, it is known that his daughters resided in the home. The home was sold to to James L. & Ora (Matthews) Jackson who lived here from 1936 to 2000. James Jackson originally came from North Carolina and moved to Philadelphia about 1929 to work in the naval shipyard there (which he did for 30 years). Ora, his wife, ran Ora's Sweet Shop, a candy store in Philadelphia.

After purchasing the house, the Jackson family then moved to Clarksboro, with Mr. Jackson continuing to take a "special ferry" from at National Park, which transported him directly to work at the shipyard in Philadelphia. Mr. Jackson was active in the community, and school board president during the 1940's (in the old Mount Royal school his name was included on a plaque). He was also one of the original group who initiated our local boy scout chapter. He was also a mason, and member of the local Paulsboro Lodge.

Ora Jackson is still alive (in May 2005, at Pitman Manor, but frail), as are her two sons (James & Ora Jackson raised two sons here) --
Bob Jackson (currently of Coloma, Michigan) and James L. Jackson Jr. (currently of Salisbury, MD) who grew up in East Greenwich in this house. Their ancestry hails from Oakracoke Island in South Carolina (haunt of Blackbeard the pirate) and rich in history.

View of the Grandfield property from the air - 1968

There have been three owners since the Jackson's, one being Bob and Eva Hanner who began restoring the home to its original layout and splendor. As of May 2005, the Hanner's have sold their property, and will be removing to the Toronto, Canada area.

The main work they've done is to have the home rewired and brought up to code, re-roofed (also to code) and restored the floor plan of the living room/parlor/study to its original layout.

My deepest thanks to Bob and Eva Hanner for their gracious hospitality in allowing me to tour their home, to take photographs, and to add their home to this web site. Since that visit the house has been resold, and is still a private residence.


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