137 S. Third Street – Jeremiah Folsom
Jeremiah Folsom was born in Tamworth, New Hampshire, into a family whose ancestry traces back, in this country, to the landing of the pilgrims. According to a family history posted on ancestry.com, he was twelve years old when his father died. The following year, he went to work at a store in Portland, Maine and remained there for six years. At age nineteen, he took a stock of goods to Michigan where he opened a merchandise store which he operated for the next thirty years.
His obituary (1884) states that “In 1854 he removed to Council Bluffs in company with the late W.W. Maynard, the founder of The Nonpareil. On their coming to this city they drove in from Michigan here a large flock of sheep and they were driven into a sheep fold, which stood on the present site of the Nonpareil building. Shortly after their coming they established and edited for a number of years the Chronotype, which was afterwards followed by the publication of The Nonpareil……he was one of the largest owners of real estate in the city…”
Folsom was married three times, the first time in Michigan in 1840, to Marcia Hopkins. They had three children. A year after her death in 1868, he married Sarah Blake who died four years later, in 1873. In 1876, he married Agnes Peterson and they had one son, Ward.
Jeremiah Folsom died in 1884 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery.
The Folsom House stands as a sentinel, looking majestically down Willow Avenue. It originally sat farther back on the lot, below the old Council Bluffs High School at the top of the high bluff. According to the nomination of the district to the National Register of Historic Places, the house was moved forward by Ward Folsom, son of Jeremiah, who, upon his marriage in 1906, moved and remodeled the house. The 1906 remodeling changed the house from its original Greek Revival appearance to a Colonial Revival foursquare. The two-story brick house has a hipped roof and dormers. The wrap-around porch has tripled and paired round posts which were added in 1906.
Ward Folsom lived in the house until his death in 1967. By that time, he was a retired contractor and was survived by his widow Marion and three nephews: District Court Judge Folsom Everest, Charles Everest, and General Frank Everest.
Ward Folsom had the house next door (#135) built for his family to live in while his house was being moved and remodeled. His mother, Agnes, continued to make it her home.
Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information for this series: National Register of Historic Places nominations, the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library, the auditor’s office of the Pottawattamie County courthouse, Council Bluffs Community Development Department, homeowners, family members and individual research.
Preserve Council Bluffs is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve the heritage of Council Bluffs through its architecture, sites, and people.
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