From the time that it was built, the Goffinet house at 721 West 15th St. has changed hands several times and held some very interesting history. The plat was first laid out on May 8, 1888 by D.R. McKinney, Jr. on lot numbers twenty-three and twenty-four. The next person to own the property was Franklin Crampton and his wife Ella, who obtained it in 1897. They quit claim in 1901 and the property went to James L. Barley and Robert J. Spencer. It then went from them to Thomas Hamilton and Luella Hamilton in 1907 and then from them to Lewis Left later than year. Then in 1908 it went to David Connell who had the warranty deed transferred to his wife, Ada L. Connell in 1911. It is unknown how many times the property changed hands, these being just a few, or exactly when the house was built, but it eventually went to Joseph Wills Stephenson, Alexander Craig, Larry Wooten, and lastly to Larry Goffinet, the current owner (Abstract).
David and Ada Connell owned the house in 1930. They had one son named Edwin who was adopted. The worth of their property at that time was $5,000. David and both of his parents were born in Indiana. All of the Connell family was literate and Ada was the proprietor of a restaurant in Kokomo (Census, Directory).
James Lafayette Barley was born in Lugar Creek, on a farm where he grew up, in Center Township of Grant County on April 5, 1851 (Leader Tribune). He was one of eleven children and was in the third generation of his family born in America and second in Grant County (Other). He attended public schools until he was eighteen years of age when he entered his assistant. He worked there until 1872 when he married Miss Louisa J. Gordan and moved to Jalapa where he operated a saw mill and conducted a threshing machine until 1886. In that year, he sold out his property and came to Marion where he formed a partnership with Robert J. Spencer and conducted the Barley and Spencer Lumber Company. Barley had four children: Charles G., Albert C., Edith, and Fred L. (Leader Tribune).
James Barley was a very popular businessman in Marion. He was a Methodist in religion and a stalwart democrat but never accepted office. No one was more highly respected in Marion, and he left an impression on the business world that has never been forgotten. Barley had gone to Colorado for two months with his wife to try to improve his health. He died on October 21, 1913 (Leader Tribune). When he died he left a last will and testament leaving everything he owned to his wife, four children, and other family members. It stated that his wife would be paid her statutory allowance of five hundred dollars as his widow. He also left to her several shares in the Marion Insulated Tire and Rubber Company and the Boston & Big Story Company, all of his household goods, and his property. To his children he left equal shares to all his companies and several other things to his brothers and sisters. His wife received properties totaling a value of $247,566.00. Barley Real Estate Company quit claim on the property, and it eventually went to his daughter and her husband J. Wills Stephenson (Abstract).
Joseph Wills Stephenson
Joseph Wills Stephenson was born on April 27, 1879 in Jasper, Ohio. He only received a common school education and at the age of seventeen went to work in the tin plate factory of the Morewood Company at Gas City. Though he was new to the city of Marion, Indiana, he was a prominent and leading citizen of the city. It was said that he was a man of force of character, strength of mind, and a many of many interests. His acts in civil service were well known in the business world, and he was treasurer and general manager of the Rutenber Motor Company (Grant). He was also a member of the Country Club of Marion and belonged to the Civic Assembly, Young Men’s Christian Association, the Elks, and the Knights of Pythias (Grant).
Stephenson married Miss Edith M. Barley, the daughter of James Barley, in 1903. They had four children of their own: Helen, Dorothy, Mary, and Mildred (grant). He was, on top of everything else, the President and Chairman of the Board at the First National Bank (Directory). He also owned Stephenson Investment Company. He died May 8, 1931, left all his properties to his family, and is buried at the IOOF cemetery in the Barley Mausoleum. To his wife Edith he left his personal effects such as jewelry, automobiles, etc. He left several large sums of money to his brothers and their wives. He also left large donations to the Methodist Episcopal Church in Jasper, Ohio and in Marion. He left a sum of $500 to the employees of the Indiana Truck Corporation. He made several Large donations to other companies and hospitals. Everything not divided amongst companies and his family was left to his wife (Abstract).
The property left the hands of the Stephenson family and moved to Alexander Craig, a torgman, and his wife Maude in 1927. When he died it moved on to his daughter, Mary Ross, and her husband Roy. They had the house until 1965 when they moved into the small house across the street (Abstract). Jerry Allen Ross obtained the property in 1965 it then went to Richard E. Nall and his wife Susan. Joseph W. Blackburn then bought the house in 1976. It finally moved to Larry Wooten, who the Goffinets, the current owners, bought it from (Abstract).
Larry D. Goffinet was born on July 30, 1956. He bought the house with his wife Sue in 1979. The house was bought with no heat except space heaters. The kitchen was closed off because of a leaking ceiling and rotten floor. The bedroom was unheated, had a linoleum floor and squirrels in the walls. When the Goffinets moved in, they immediately remodeled the bedroom. Most of the floors in the house were rotten so they were the next things replaced (Interview). The bathroom was the next room done, replacing the floor, toilet, bathtub with a shower and tub, and removing the washer and dryer from it. Each room in the house, throughout the next fifteen years, was completely torn apart down to the studs and completely remodeled (Interview).
While working on the house, the Goffinets discovered several old newspapers and receipts inside the walls dated in the early 1990’s. The chimney was removed and in 1981 a gas furnace was installed. Up until that point the only heat to the second floor was holes through the floors allowing heat to flow upward. On July 3, 1986 the Goffinets had Fifteenth Street vacated and made part of their property, now their driveway. The Goffinets own the house today, Larry now forty-eight years of age and Sue forty-four years of age. They have two children of their own and Larry has two grandchildren from his first marriage (Interview).
- An Abstract of Title. Compiled by Grant County Abstract Co., Inc. Lots 23 & 24, D.R. McKinney, Jr. SID.
- Census 1930.
- Ooffmet, Sue A. Personal interview. May 25, 2005.
- Giant County Indiana 1812-1912. Volume 2. Part 2. Rolland Lewis Whitson.
- “Joseph Wills Stephenson.” Marion Indiana and Grant Co. Directory. Vol. 11931.
- “James L. Barley Dies in Denver.” Weekly Leader Tribune (1N~ 24 Oct. 1913: 2. Microfilm.
- Other Barley Stuff. Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt. 25 May 2005 <http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/spinnaker/797/id31.htm>.