CHP is excited about its newest project! The Sweet House is believed to be the oldest house still standing in Carthage. The house was built by Benjamin G. Sweet (1838-1909), a Civil War veteran, carpenter, store owner, and entrepreneur.
The land on which the house sits was part of an 1854 United States land grant to William Chenault. In December 1867, William Phelps purchased from Nancy Chenault all of the property from 13th Street south to the north side of the Phelps House property. The property abstract shows that in 1868 Phelps sold a parcel of land on East 13th Street to Sweet, who then built a house. Sweet sold the property to Edmund Webb in 1870 for $1200, a sizeable profit above the $375 in loans obtained by Sweet.
Over the years, Sweet worked in construction, as a grocer, owned a newsstand, and even tried his hand at owning a restaurant on the west side of the Square. According to family, he owned general stores in Kansas and Arkansas and had a mining interest in Oklahoma.
Look for more information on the Sweet House in the coming months.
A few facts about Benjamin G. Sweet:
He married Inez Hall Sweet in 1866. He moved to Carthage with Inez and daughter, Minnie Elzora, in 1867. A son, Clayton Clark, was born the following March.
He was a Civil War Veteran, a Union Soldier who served with the 74th Volunteer Illinois Infantry throughout the war despite suffering from chronic rheumatism.
He worked with in-laws E.B. and E.H. Hall, who were carpenters and builders in Carthage. According to a Carthage Press interview with Sweet’s son, Clayton, “his father erected many of the early day residences in Carthage.“
He kept journals, four of which were preserved and gifted to the State Historical Society of Missouri by Sweet’s granddaughter, Marcella E. Sweet Roper. These journals describe his wartime experiences, travel to Carthage, and business challenges in 1872.
Benjamin G. Sweet circa 1863
Photo courtesy of the Sweet Family
An excerpt from Benjamin Sweet’s journal, Tuesday, September 10, 1867:
"Pleasant. Started quite early in the morning. After we had got about ten miles, we met a woman – who had been to call her mother who was a hundred years old and had started to walk to her son’s at a distance of 15 miles – who asked us to let an old woman that was ahead of us ride a little way. When we got in sight of the old lady, she was so tired that she could scercly (sic) move. I lifted her into the wagon and carried her to her granddaughters, about 14 or 15 miles from where we found her. We took dinner there–Coon Creek–and arrived in Carthage at four o-clock P.M.”