There are few women listed as owners in Nelson’s early deeds. Many of them are widows and a very few are single women. Chole White was a sixty-four-year-old single woman when she purchased a small piece of land from Charles C.P. Harris in 1844. She quickly built a two-story frame house on the property just north of the new Harrisville Church and bordering the Island Cemetery. Chloe was the daughter of Samuel and Mary White (E-3-4) being born there in 1780. She moved to Harrisville from the old Jonas Davis place (D-4-4) where she had lived since 1829.
Charles C.P. Harris (E-1-5) sold Chloe White three eighths on an acre for $100. She built a substantial two- story frame house which she shared with another single woman: her niece, thirty-year-old, Mary Jane White. Mary Jane purchased the second floor and half of the attic for $300. The women agreed to share the cost of maintaining the exterior of the home. Deed language below:
Grantor: Chloe White of Nelson single woman to Grantee: Mary Jane White of Nelson $300
A certain portion of part of my dwelling house situated a few rods north of the meetinghouse in Harrisville on the Island, so called, : all the second story of the house, ½ of the garret or attic, it being the west end, and equal privilege in he well, well room and cellar. And further I agree to pay one half of the necessary expenses for keeping the outside of the house in repair and the said Mary Jane White is to pay the other half. Cheshire County Registry of Deeds Book 154 p. 398 10/29/1845
We know almost nothing about Chloe White except that, as a single woman buying property and building a substantial house in the newly developed village of Harrisville, she is very unusual. What did she add to the Harrisville village that would cause one of the Harrises to sell her a house lot? What was the role of her niece, another woman thirty years old and also unmarried? What can we infer from Chloe’s occupying the first floor and her niece the second? Had they been partners in their enterprise at Chloe’s old home as well. The only personal detail we have of Chloe is that she left a larger legacy for the new church in Harrisville at her death than did Bethuel Harris on his.
Chloe White sold her new house to George Stone in 1847. The fact of Mary Jane’s half ownership was made clear in the deed. More interesting is the fact that George Stone and Mary Jane White were married a year after the sale. It seems likely that Chloe lived there until she died in 1850 and was buried in the Island Cemetery.
George and Mary Jane lived here until 1854. The next occupants were Joseph and Lucretia (Harris) Russell. In 1846 Joseph entered into a three-year agreement with Milan Harris to learn manufacturing. He performed various jobs in the mills. In 1849, he married the bosses’ daughter, Lucretia Jane Harris. He worked as Milan Harris’ overseer until he left for Ohio in 1864. With his departure, the property, originally purchased from Charles C.P. Harris, returned to the Harris family. Milan Harris’ wife, Harriet purchased it from the Russells.
Historic Harrisville link: https://www.historicharrisville.org/joseph-k-russell-house