Thirteen years ago this past February, my wife, toddler daughter, and newborn son moved from Bridgewater to our new home along Beaver Street. It was a difficult move, to say the least. Just days before the town had been blanketed in more than three feet of snow. So, after shoveling my car free, I had to shovel our lengthy driveway and make a pathway to the front door. But before long we were all moved in and ready to begin this new phase of our lives.

The former owners of the home were kind enough to leave me the original deed as well as a complete list of all the previous owners. So of course, being a history nerd, I couldn’t help but dig into our home’s long history.

Built in 1889 (the same year that Rudyard Kipling visited Beaver), the property on which the house sits originally belonged to a Sarah Jane Sutherland, who lived in the house at 434 Fourth Street, which still stands today and is one of the oldest houses in town. Ms. Sutherland then sold the property to a Richard W. Stiffy. (Although all other mentions of him I found are spelled “Stiffey.”) 

However you spell it, Stiffey was a newspaperman. He and William H. Porter, who would later purchase the house from Stiffey, purchased the Globe Star in 1891 and changed the name to the Daily Star, which operated in Beaver. As the paper’s editor, Stiffey, according to the History of the Newspapers of Beaver County (1905), by Francis S. Reader, was said to have had “a lively and caustic style, that was apt to stir up the opposition and create interest.” Dr. Porter served as the advertising manager and was “a gentleman of excellent qualities and well-liked by the people.” Later, in 1897, Stiffey became the editor of the Commoner of the Rochester Publishing Company. 

As a writer, I take great pride in knowing the original owner of my home was a fellow wordsmith. 

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