|She is a charming, grand lady resting
on the North Shore of Oneida Lake in the tiny village of Bernhards Bay,
New York. She was once, in her heyday, elegant, dressed all in white, her
supported by heavy carved corbels.
The deep curved front porch that
swept to one side grounded
her and lent an air of welcome to everyone that graced her steps.
She was built circa 1890 by Linus
Parker Marsden, son of Richard Lee
Marsden and his wife Marcia Miranda
Matthews, daughter of Levi Matthews and Polly Blodgett. Richard and Marcia
married in New Hampshire and soon moved to the vast western New York wilderness
and were among the first settlers of what is Camden, New York. With the
arrival of their first chld, they began a family that saw six children
borne to them.
Linus Parker Marsden, their second
child and second son, was born on
the fifteenth day of September 1826
in West Vienna, New York. He
married Hepsey Dawley with no family
increase, and after Hepsey's
death, Linus married her sister,
Mary Dawley. Mary brought two sons and a daughter to the Marsden line:
Frank Lee, Edward Everett and Jane May.
After his second wife Mary died on
January 28, 1874, Linus choose Jane Lydiatt to be his third bride on March
4, 1875. Two more sons, Lloyd Elbridge and Howard Ernest, and four
more daughters, Eva Belle, Mary Edith, Bessie Anna and Mildred Emma were
added to the family with this marriage, bringing Linus a total of nine
children to add to the Marsden family.
Linus was active in local activities
serving as the town Supervisor for
the Town of Constantia in 1877.
Around 1890, Linus built the house in
Bernhards Bay, on the North Shore
of Oneida Lake, giving the town a
gift of a lovely home as well as
a place to mourn their deceased
friends and families.
It is unclear when the house became
a funeral home; quite possibly it
was intended from the beginning
and not used for many years. Future
owners would discover archecturial
elements in the house that were
clearly designed and built into
the house for the use of morticians.
This home has had only five owners
over the course of its 112
years-----1890 to the present. Linus
Marsden being the original
builder, died in 1914 and the house
passed into the hands of the Winn
family. The Winn family owned the
house until 1955 when Rees White
bought it to shelter his growing
family of four children.....soon to be
five. Four sons and a daughter lived
in the house from 1955 to 1962,
made friends, attended schools and
otherwise endured the usual and not so usual trials of growing up in the
Fifties in middle class America.
The Ken Powell family lived in the
house after the Whites moved to
Chicago, and the Powell's were very
similar to the Whites in some ways: they, too, had four sons and a daughter;
maintained the same family atmosphere and homey conditions of living that
the Whites had. While the Powells enjoyed the house, they had other plans
for retirement and more private living than residing in town could offer,
so once again this grand lady found a "for sale" sign on her front lawn.
The fifth owners of the house were a family by the surname of Ayers, and
not a lot is known about them. They had the house a short time, and
for reasons unknown to this author and former resident of the house, lost
ownership. As of this writing, the house once again finds a "for sale"
sign on her lawn, but this time she stands empty and dark.....waiting for
another family to fill her with the noisy sounds that family life brings
to a grand old gal.