The Stoutners’ brick house at 4 Wells Street, Gloversville, NY

Sepia Saturday 508. Second in a new series my maternal German ancestors the Stoutners of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

In August 1992, I went with my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau on a genealogy road trip to Gloversville, N.Y., so she could show me around her childhood home town. In particular I wanted to see the many ancestral homes that appeared in census and other records.

One of the houses we visited and photographed was the home of her German immigrant great-grandparents Andrew and Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner at 4 Wells St. near East Fulton — a house my mom knew well.

The Stoutner home in 1992. My great, great grandfather Andrew Stoutner, Sr. built this house circa 1882 with bricks from his brick works. Home to three generations of Stoutners, the house was 110 years old when I snapped this photo during a  genealogy road trip with my mom. Photo by Molly Charboneau

The Stoutner home is one of my favorites because it was built with brick from Andrew Stoutner’s brick works in Berkshire, on the outskirts of Gloversville. On the summer day when Mom and I visited, the house looked lovely — dappled with sun and surrounded by mature trees.

Pride of place

My Stoutner immigrant ancestors were clearly proud of this house. They even had photo cards made of their 4 Wells St. home — perhaps to send to family back in Prussia as a symbol of their successful new life.

Photo card of Stoutner home at 4 Wells. St. (circa 1908). The woman at the left is my German immigrant great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner. One of the men may be my German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr. but the men’s faces are unclear. I don’t recognize the younger man. Scan by Molly Charboneau

In his will, Andrew Stoutner Sr. left the house to his wife Christina and — after she no longer had use of it — to their son Andrew J. “Pete” Stoutner, Jr.

That’s how my  maternal grandmother Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence — Pete’s oldest child — came to grow up in the house at 4 Wells St., and why my mom was so familiar with this ancestral home.

My grandmother’s details

My grandmother Liz was a meticulous record keeper. She ran an antique shop when I was growing up — and I remember seeing record books in which she carefully logged purchase price, sale price and other details about her vintage business.

Fortunately, she was also meticulous about labeling her family photos. So she wrote details on the back of the Stoutner house photo about their home at 4 Wells St. — including that it was constructed with Stoutner bricks.

In my maternal grandmother’s words. My maternal grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence grew up at 4 Wells St. Shown are the details she wrote on the back of the house photo about the Stoutner home — including its construction with Stoutner bricks. Scan by Molly Charboneau

In her description, Andrew Sr. is our German immigrant ancestor, and Andrew Jr. is his son (her father Pete). Of special note is her closing sentence, “Birthplace of Andrew Jr. and his family.”

In the days before hospital delivery, women gave birth at home. So my great-grandfather Pete Stoutner and his siblings John and Gertrude were born at 4 Wells Street, as were my grandmother Liz and her younger siblings Andy and Margaret. Making this house special indeed!

Still standing strong

Naturally, I wanted to see if the 4 Wells St. home is still standing, so I did an Internet search of the address.

Happily, the house is still there — although it has undergone some aesthetic and structural changes since the Stoutners’ time. I was also pleased to discover that a real estate site included interior views of this ancestral home, which I have never been inside of.

Contemporary photo of 4 Wells St. The bricks have been painted green, the original front porch has been removed, and a second story was added to the side room. But the basic brick structure erected by my German great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner circa 1882 has stood the test of time. Photo: Zillow.com

Best of all, the brick house was obviously well-constructed circa 1882 by my German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner — because it is still standing strong more than 130 years later!

Up next: Andrew Stoutner Sr. poses for a photoPlease stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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17 thoughts on “The Stoutners’ brick house at 4 Wells Street, Gloversville, NY”

    1. I know. I was expecting the usual Google maps photo when I searched and was surprised that Zillow had more and better photos. Hoping this works out for future house history posts!

    1. Yes, visiting ancestral homes is a unique experience. I am grateful to my maternal grandmother that she so carefully stored and labeled earlier photos of the Stoutner home.

  1. Your photo of your greatx2 grandparent’s house is a wonderful treasure. I live in an antique house (c1915) in a historic neighborhood where conversation on renovation and preservation are common. I’m also a carpenter\furniture maker so I love to see how houses evolve. Andrew’s original house likely used a mix of old and new world design. The filigree on the porch mimic German taste, while the change to classic columns came later when they were manufactured and a cheap way to “improve” the home. But without maintenance the wooden porch, shuters, and windows decayed so they needed replacement but lost the historic charm. It’s what makes houses so organic. At least the brick should last another century of more.

    1. Interesting observations on the house changes. Of note is that filagree was added to the classic columns in the first photo, a more modern take on the original German look. And reviewing the interior views of the house, I discovered that more recent owners kept the original front door, adding mirrors and hooks to make it a feature in their entryway!

  2. You are lucky to have well labeled photographs. We took some genealogical journeys in the 1990s in company with various relatives who have now died – I have very fond memories of those excursions and wish I had taken better notes

    1. Totally! I’m so grateful to my grandmother for annotating her photos. I also wish I had taken better notes — and more photos of my mother — on our genealogy road trip. But I did take a few, which will show up in future posts.

  3. I’m happy, like you, the house was built so well it’s still standing & inhabited 130 years later. But I flinched at the modern change. I would have kept the brick red with white trim AND the porch, regardless that the front entry now seems to be through the side addition. Then again, green isn’t my favorite color. 🙂

    1. I also love that the house has survived, since many of my ancestors’ homes were torn down for highways or other development. That said, I prefer classic brick even though it requires regular maintenance.

  4. What a great history of a beautiful building! I love how it’s changed, but especially that you know so much about your family who lived there. Thanks! PS. these days people don’t seem to enjoy sitting outside on porches, but it was sure an important part of life for many years!

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