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Battelle Home


Battelle Home 2.jpg

Considered Palatial Residence in 1807

Dwelling is Newport’s Oldest

Undated and unnamed newspaper article

By Helen M. White Of The News Staff

            A few scattered squatters’ cabins were located in the area of Newport, Washington County, O., when the first settlers established permanent homes here in 1798.

            Col. Ebenezer Battelle and his son, Capt. Ebenezer Battelle, came to the settlement in 1802 and located on the land which Capt. Battelle later platted for the village of Newport. 

            After their arrival the Battelle men soon had ground cleared of its dense growth of virgin timber and a large home erected.

            This dwelling, said to be the first substantial house built in Newport, was a sturdy, two-story building constructed of hewed logs and was considered to be quite a palatial residence in its day. 

            When in 1807 Capt. Battelle married Mary, the daughter of John Greene, another early pioneer to the area, it was to this fine show-place of a home that he took his bride.

Time has proved with what care and skill this house was built over a century and a half ago as it is still standing today, one of the oldest buildings in Washington County.

Battelles Sold Property

            According to Dr. George Gale of Newport, the house remained in the Battelle family until the 1870s.  About this time the family fell into financial difficulties and sold the property consisting of about 1,000 acres and the dwelling, to Capt. Jack Harrison.

            The next owner, Dye Arkey Dye, made extensive additions and changes to the old house. 

            He built a frame addition onto the left end of the original log dwelling and a stone addition in the rear.

            Over the years the structure has been improved and modernized, the logs have been covered with weather boarding and the interior sealed.

            The frame addition built by Dye was first used for additional living space, but when the old property was purchased in 1908 by the Gale sisters, Alcinda, Raebael, and Ellen, they converted this wing into a private chapel

Fine Furnishings For Chapel

            An altar was specially built for the chapel which was adorned with candlesticks and a crucifix.

            Two handsome, large statues, one of Christ and one of the Virgin, were sent the maiden ladies, for their chapel by a nephew then living in Cincinnati.

            The small chapel would seat about 15 to 20 worshipers, Dr. Gale said.  Since there is no Catholic Church in Newport, Mass was recited from time to time in the chapel by priests from nearby parishes. 

Archbishop Swint Held Mass

            Dr. Gale recalled that Archbishop Swint celebrated the Mass in the chapel on at least one occasion when he was conducting a week’s mission in Newport.

            The historic old house is now the property of Dr. Gale’s son, Dr. Larry Gale, who is in practice with his father in Newport.

            At present the old dwelling is empty and the tiny chapel dismantled except for the benches and the bare altars.

            Young Dr. Gale has not decided just what he will do with the property, according to his father, but he did not want the old home with its historic background and family associations to fall into the hands of strangers, his father added. 

 


Battelle Home site.jpg

Site of the Battelle Home