By Elaine and Carl Seliskar
Henry Stanton, the first of the family to settle in Huntsburg was born in1798 in Preston, Conn. In 1825, he married Minerva Smith (b. 1803) of Winsted, Conn. Together they had five children the youngest of whom was Luman Henry who was the only child to have lived in Huntsburg.
Soon after their marriage Henry and Minerva moved to Pennsylvania where all of their children except Luman were born. They then moved to Marathon, New York where Luman Henry Stanton was born on July 27, 1838. Sometime later the family moved to Mentor, where they lived until about 1847 when they purchased a farm in Claridon. Minerva died there in 1851. In 1853, Henry Stanton married Mrs. Persis Leland, widow of Lewis Leland, and came to live in Huntsburg with her on Chardon Windsor Road about a one and a quarter miles east of Kile Road. Henry Stanton also brought with him his son Luman, then a boy of 15 years.
Luman Henry Stanton spent most of the rest of his life in Huntsburg. He was well schooled and later taught school in Geauga County “district schools” finally becoming a farmer and house painter specializing in “graining”. He was an expert workman and his services as a “grainer” were much sought after. On Nov. 16, 1863, Luman married Maretta Delisha Quiggle of Hambden, daughter of John Quiggle, Jr. and Abigail Young Quiggle. Maretta Stanton’s mother was the daughter of John Young of Middlefield, descendant of Quaker Young who settled on Swine Creek.
Luman and Maretta had schooled together and as well Maretta also taught in district schools for a time. Luman and Maretta made their home here in Huntsburg until after their Golden Wedding, finally becoming unable to care for themselves at home. They then went to Chardon to be with their daughter Pearl (Mrs. Richard Denton), and husband. Maretta died on July 18, 1918, at the age of nearly 74, and Luman died Jan. 9, 1926, at the age of 87. Both are buried in the family plot in Huntsburg cemetery at the Center.
Immediately after their marriage, Luman and Maretta lived for short times in New Lyme and Claridon before ending up in Huntsburg living on the farm purchased by his father on Chardon-Windsor Road. Maretta was a skilled homemaker. Her latchstring was always out for the other children of the neighborhood, who spent many days and nights with the Stanton children.
As the times demanded, Luman and Maretta were an industrious couple. While Luman farmed and painted Maretta attended to making and selling butter and, of course, tending to children and household duties. An example of her industry is nicely shown in Luman’s account book entry for 1866.
The reader should note that Mrs. R. D. Stanton is Mrs. Maretta D. Stanton; Luman is using her nickname Retty which is denoted by the R. What is also interesting to note is that Luman’s day long wage as a painter in 1866 was $1.85 and that butter was going for about thirty cents a pound.
Luman became well known county-wide for his art of “graining” having learned it from his father Henry. The art of painting faux bois (fake wood grain) or as it was called locally “graining” is ages old and became popular in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Imitating wood grain is an art that a painter has to master to do a credible job of dressing up a base material such as tulip poplar, also known as whitewood. In the late 1800s, the art came to Huntsburg thanks to Henry Stanton and his son Luman Henry. Luman then tutored his oldest son in that art. In fact, when the current town hall was built in 1908 for the centennial, it was Luman and his oldest son Harry Jay Stanton who grained the tulip poplar woodwork that graced the 1908 town hall until it was discarded during a remodeling of the Opera House portion of the hall in later years. The great grandson of Luman, the recently deceased Cal (Calvin) Stanton, left an oral history of the Stanton family that resides in the Huntsburg Historical Society’s archives. In it he notes that
“My great-grandfather Lumen didn’t have a title, but when anybody was sick he would go and stay with them if they needed someone. In those days people mingled more. He knew everybody and they knew him. Sometimes he would stay with them until they passed away. He would feed them. In those days they didn’t hardly have undertakers, so he would act as undertaker. He would get them prepared. He would pull their eyelids down and put a quarter or pebble to hold them down, otherwise they would open up again. Later on they would stay down, but if you didn’t do that, they would open up and it would be a little scary. He would wrap them up and get them ready for burial. He liked to help people and he helped wherever he could.”
In the late 1800s the cash on hand for a typical Huntsburg family was quite limited. So when Luman worked as a painter and grainer he often took goods or services in payment. This is nicely indicated by an entry in his account book for work done for Isreal Hues (aka Israel F. Hughes, son of Ira Hughes) in 1871. Here Lumen notes that for painting and graining woodwork in the Hues home he took for payment 10 bushels of corn, one bushel of sweet apples, payment of Luman’s debt to a Mr. Lukens for $1.69, and a cash payment of $6.69. So it was in those times that bartering was routine. The reader might also remember that it wasn’t until 1792 that United States coinage was standardized and that during
the Civil War (1861- 1865) there existed two currency systems that were not sorted out until after that war.
As an elderly gentleman, Luman was still a robust man. One of the last photos of him that we have is shown below where he is holding a large crosscut saw looking as if to boldly say “I can still use this thing!”.