Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fred and Pearl

I haven't had the easiest time in my quest to find out more about the people that lived in this home before me.

There's been little bits and pieces found here and there, but nothing concrete.

And in fact, my previously found information might not even be true, due to a mix up of the area.

Of course, I'd done a lot of research and I knew a few names, but there was a change of address when they put more houses on my street and the historical society here only keeps records past the 1970s, unless you live in the historical district.

Of which I only live one street over.

Funny, my house is older than some of the ones they keep records on.

But because of location... ugh.

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

So frustrating!

I worked backwards from the people I bought the house from and this is what I came up with...

The Morses'

The McShanes'

Faye Gibbs Bagby

Fred Gibbs.

Some of the information on that piece of paper came later.

Let me explain.

It all started one day when John was out in the backyard with the dogs and came across a little brown bottle.

That lead to a little digging expedition, which uprooted a lot of broken glass and a few more bottles.

Turns out that he had found an old burn pile.

Of course then we were intrigued and went to town for hours pulling up bottle after bottle... 

All from between the 1940s to the 1950s.

Including odds and ends like Christmas bulbs, a regular lightbulb from the 1940s, a pull from a filing cabinet, an old oil can and lots of toothpaste tubes.

From all that digging, we found out that Fred drank whiskey and beer on occasion, that Pearl knew how to sew, that they celebrated Christmas, that someone like to draw with ink, that they used a lot of bleach and brushed their teeth a lot, that Fred could work on cars, that children lived here and so much more.

Then, the information I'd been looking for popped up out of the dirt.


A gas card with Fred's name from the 1950s.

Proof for a better idea on the time frame that they lived here.

Sunnyslope is the name of the development on which I live and the name matched the information I found with John at the recorders office.

I didn't notice the information below in the green square that says 'est of Pearl Gibbs to Faye Bagby' until I uploaded this picture.

I found Pearl's name via a search on the internet for her husband and happened upon this...

Pearl Gibbs 1894-1970

She's buried with her son John and her daughter Faye, the one she left this house to.

I also found all sorts of information on her husband Fred Gibbs, b. 1892 d.1987, including a picture of him on a passport from 1920.

He was well traveled being in the military during and after WWI.

We found the picture below in the root cellar about a year ago and now I'm wondering if the man in it could also be Fred.

Later, he was an important miner in this area and there's all sorts of articles and documents about his pursuits, including one with the old address for this house.

Via the 1940 census and these papers, I figured out that he lived at a previous address a few months prior, that happens to be across town. So, I've surmised that he and Pearl bought this house in 1942 and lived here until 1970 when Pearl left the house to her daughter or the 1980s when Fred died.

After that Faye Gibbs Bagby owned the house and she or her family sold it to the Marshals' in 2001 or they listed it and sold it to the Morses' then. I can't be sure at this point.

She died in 2005.

By some miracle and using the old address, I found a picture of the house when it was for sale at that time.

It looks a lot different, doesn't it?

For one thing, I noticed that it had more bushes in front.

A LOT more.

For another, I noticed the windows had already been replaced back then, so I can no longer blame the previous owner that I bought it from for that travesty.

Also, the listing says there's a 3 car garage on the property, which I can't find evidence of, so it must have been on the land that was sold off before I bought it. Not to mention that it lists a dark room somewhere in this house, which I also can't find evidence of.

The most fascinating thing, to me at least, is that I know who put that wallpaper in the bathroom and I hope that Pearl is happy that I found it underneath all that drywall.

More about that project soon ;)

Fred and Pearl.

I think they loved this house as much as I do and I'm so happy that I get to be the one to care for it now, as they did back then.



  1. Wow, what history your adorable house has! If the walls could talk!

  2. I love that you have done this research! I owned a 100-year-old home 30 years ago and didn't give much thought to its history. Now I would be all over it like you are. When we sold my childhood home after my parents had passed, the last thing I did at the home was write our family's name and the years we occupied the home in black sharpie on the underside of the basement stairs.

    1. That's a great idea! I might do that :)


  3. How cool to have found out so much about Fred & Pearl and your little home.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  4. What fun! So interesting to find out about the house's caretakers before you. How lucky to discover your burn pile full of treasures.

  5. We have the old abstract on our house and the property before the house was built. It's so much fun to go through and read it. We also received an old black and white photo of the house that was passed down to each family that has lived here. Your home is so lovely!

  6. You are a very thorough detective. I give you a lot of credit for taking the time to investigate. We are the third owners of our home. We know who built it, what they did, when they added things, etc. The house was built in the 1920's and they lived here until the early 80's. People in the neighborhood still remember them...kinda cool.

  7. How cool is that! Great detective work...I’m sure Fred and Pearl would be pleased with your care taking abilities! ;)

  8. WOW!!! Cool!!!!
    One question....did you find those headstones while digging in the backyard OR at a local cemetery?
    I lived many years in a 1905 bungalow in San Mateo, CA. We found bottles, LOTS of marbles, coins (few), and an old baby buggie wheel!!! It was fun. I am surprised you haven't found some marbles. Keep digging!!!

    1. No, I found them online at, but they're here locally. I just haven't been to visit them yet.

      Actually, we did find a few marbles, but I forgot to share them... darn-it! :)


  9. How wonderful that you’ve done this research ..Isn’t it exciting find and realize the history of your home... and you have found so many artifacts too...We’re renovating an old place too and it’s amazing what is uncovered when you remove wallpaper( ha Ha) ..We had five layers right down to old victorian Oil cloth ...I can really appreciate that you are enjoying the happy benefit of living in an older home... It take patience and is definitely a ‘ labour of love” .... Have a fabulous week ..hugs

  10. Rue you are quite the detective. How exciting to find out about the previous peeps that lived in your wonderful home.
    How amazing to find pieces and little treasures that tell a story too. This was so cool how you figured out all of this.
    Have a great evening.

  11. Your's is one of the most interesting and unusual posts I've ever read. What fun for you,
    to find so many old unique items, and even better,to call this home your own. Congratulations on your new ownership...

  12. It is only fitting that your wonderful home would come with fascinating history. It must be great fun finding all about it.

  13. So interesting to take a peek into the past and learn about those who were living in homes before us.

  14. I absolute adore your posts but this one is the best of the best! Gosh, so interesting and intriguing. You need to turn this into a book once you are done investigating. Thank you so much for the time, effort, talent, and care you put into your writing. It adds much to life.

    1. Thank you so very much, Mary! A book is a lovely idea and I'll definitely think on it :)


  15. That's such a sweet provenance - a house full of family and love. If only the walls could talk, right? Come to think of it, youv'e kind of given them that voice! My mother has unearthed lots of those little bottles and such at her property, too. Right where she was planning her garden. Must have been a mini dump on the land - owned by a pharmacist so you can imagine the treasure!

  16. This is so interesting, Rue! I give you so much credit for literally and figuratively digging around to see what you could come up with. The history of your house and previous owners is so fascinating. The collection of old bottles you have are beautiful, as well. I can't wait to see what you're doing with the bathroom. :-)

  17. I love the thoughts of past families living in and loving your home. You have been such a good caretaker and I can tell you love this sweet home too. Hope we hear further updates on its history.

  18. Very interesting --- I commend you for all the work you did to discover the history of your house. Hope Spring finds you well! Sally

  19. I love that you found all this history on your beautiful house and the people who loved it before you!!! What luck to find that burn pile, that really led you on quite the treasure hunt, my friend!!

  20. You did find a lot of information about the history of your house and yes, I would think the house would be Historical too. Keeping the treasures you found and revealing the wallpaper, you're a good steward:).
    Dang, John reminds me of my late sisters husband, he loved to dig and explore. Enjoy your home up north, down here, 90s already:(. Kathleen in Az

  21. Wow! How fascinating. But it leaves me with so many questions: Why were all the bottles buried? Is that what people used to do with their trash?? And how did the photo of Fred (assuming it is Fred) and the girl at the piano end up in the root cellar? And who is the girl? I'd bet it's his granddaughter. I wonder if she still lives in the area? I so hope she stumbles upon this post and reaches out to you...

  22. You are awesome in digging up all of that information. I think it's so neat how you went about finding this out and pictures are even better. What a nice name - Sunny Slope, love that. I like all of those old bottles. My daughter has been doing like you and that's digging up the old burn pile in the lower part of her property. Found some neat stuff there too. I think it's great to be able to unearth information such as you have. I love that wallpaper in the bathroom. Happy weekend, Betsy

  23. Satisfying to know more about the history of a home you love. I hope you find out more as you go along.
    Wondering about the girl in the photo. I bet a grandchild who is still around somewhere.

  24. That is fascinating! We lived in a house in St. Louis that was built in in 1856. We found information in the attic and did some exploring. It first belonged to German immigrants who worked at Budweiser Brewery!

  25. I love the story about Pearl and Fred and their sweet home that you live in now . I always thought it was so interesting to find bits and pieces of history about our homes and the jars you found are wonderful bits and pieces for sure

  26. Love this post! So interesting!--you know how I am about research and I sure loved this. Y'all have found so many neat old bottles, aren't those fun? I guess they used to be medicine bottles? I have a small collection of the brown ones, but we didn't find them, I got them at antique shops and thrift stores etc. Very neat to be able to say you found yours! I've read that where people in the old days had their outhouses that the areas where they used to be are FILLED with treasures like this...they just tossed them in! LOl---Jars, bottles of many sizes and colors, broken plates and cups, china, pottery, etc.

  27. Oh Rue, what an interesting post.
    You did so well with your research, I loved it ... fascinating.

    All the best Jan

  28. Yes, fascinating! How interesting to read.

  29. Sounds like a fun and interesting research project that must make your bathroom project very rewarding. Looking forward to seeing the final reveal!

  30. Super interesting post Rue. I think you've missed your calling. You should have worked in investigating type work!
    Take care

  31. Rue, this is fascinating! As an amateur genealogist and someone who likes to know the history of things, this post made me so happy for you!

  32. I think the area around the sink may have been a door. We rented a home that had a similar feature and the neighbors confirmed it had been a door.

  33. This was just fascinating and fun! :) Reminded me about my own house research, ancestry research etc.

  34. Oh Rue, that is the most interesting info on your home. I love that you have been able to track that much down on it. Amazing the foot prints that have been left even before the digital world came around. Nice investigation! Thank you also for sharing it was very interesting. Not sure what you plan to do about the wallpaper but I have seen shows where they frame a small piece from the room and hang it in that room.

  35. A house with history... and so very lovely!


  36. This is most fascinating! You are really quite the sleuth. So many neat items unearthed in your yard! Fred and Pearl would be very pleased with what you've done with their cherished home, for sure! xx

  37. What a treasure trove of information that you've been able to find, and you my friend are a first rate detective! We'll just call you Sherlock ..*grin**.
    I'm sure that the previous home owners would be pleased with the way you are taking care of that cute cottage, and pleased that you love that place too.
    Many years ago, before we started renovating old houses, someone commented to me that we were 'caretakers'. Not until we had lived in an old house for a while did I really figure out what they meant. That as old house people, we would take care of the old house until the next folks came along to be caretakers.
    It's absolutely true. Old houses have such rich history, stories and personalities. We found it an honor to be caretakers and pass our old houses onto folks that would love our old houses as much as we had loved them :)

    Have a happy day.


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