House History

The abstract for our house dates back to July 15, 1856, when the land was originally granted from the United States government to John Courier. Between the years of 1856 & 1888, the land changed hands several times. On December 28, 1888, the land was purchased by John Schwartz for $1500.00.

We think the actual house was built in 1889 because we located a note in Sioux City Journal dating April 14, 1889. It states that “John Schwartz is preparing to build a $3000 residence at Morning Side.” The area of town that we live in is known as Morningside and the big housing boom began in the early 1890s.

Through some genealogy research, we believe that John Schwartz was born in 1831 in Pennsylvania. His wife, Charlotte P., was born in 1833 in Ohio. We think they had 4 children; C.G. (son), born in 1852, Emma A. (daughter), born in 1859, Ella M. (daughter), born in 1866, and Ivie W. (son), born in 1872.

An interesting side note, right after we moved into the house, we discovered some initials painted on some of the rafters in the attic. They are “IWS.” We figured that John Schwartz had built the house, but at that time, we didn’t know that they had had any children. So, the initials were a mystery. Upon discovering the family listing in the 1880 census, we found that they had a son, Ivie W. Schwartz! Even more interesting is while removing paint on the exterior, I was able to see the very first colors that the house was painted. The painted initials in the attic are in these very same colors! Since Ivie would have been 18 or 19 when the house was built, we figure he was probably the one given the task to paint it and he decided to “leave his mark” in the attic rafters. Since then, I have discovered a few other places where Ivie carved his initials into the wood in the attic.

John Schwartz died January 25, 1908. His wife, Charlotte, died shortly thereafter on February 26, 1908. The house was left to their daughter, Emma, who was then married to Geo Cork.

Emma owned the house until October 14, 1911 when she sold it to Samuel and Mary Gibson.

Above is a photo of Samuel & Mary Gibson.  This detail was taken out of a photograph that our next door neighbor, Marie Rembe, gave to us.

This is a scan of the full photograph (to view an extra large version, click here).  This photo was taken sometime between 1911 and 1920, because Samuel died in 1920.

After Samuel died, Mary married Charles Wilson. She was then known as Mary Gibson Wilson. We’re not exactly sure when Charles died, but we know Mary died in 1963. The house was left to Inga Hernepont.

Inga’s story is an interesting one. From what we have heard from neighbors who knew Mrs. Wilson and Inga as well as some genealogy research, Inga was born October 8, 1898 in Denmark.  She was brought to America in 1907 by her mom and left here so she could have a better life. She originally was Mrs. Wilson’s servant girl. Mrs. Wilson never had children, but treated Inga like a daughter. When Mrs. Wilson died, she left her entire estate to Inga.

Inga was married to Delbert Hernepont at the time that the house became hers. In 1967, Delbert died. Inga owned the house until she died on January 19, 1995. Inga was conned into leaving the house to her “caretaker” Mary Ann Copenhaver. This was a sad day for the house. Inga had inherited all of Mrs. Wilson’s antiques along with the house. Shortly after Inga’s death, Mary Ann Copenhaver had an estate sale, sold everything, packed up and disappeared.

More to come…

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