April 2021 by Tyla Reardon.jpg

CHP completed its latest project, the Sweet House, in Spring 2021.  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. 

CHP is thrilled to announce that our Sweet House project has been awarded a McReynolds Award from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation). 

The McReynolds Award is named for Elizabeth McReynolds who grew up in Carthage.  She was one of the founding members of Missouri Preservation and a noted Jefferson City Preservationist.  Her brother Allen McReynolds was one of the founding members of Carthage Historic Preservation.

From the Missouri Preservation website:

“The McReynolds Awards, named in honor of Elizabeth McReynolds Rozier, are given annually to individuals or groups who have made significant achievements in the field or are in the midst of a long-term preservation project, creating synergy in the field of historic preservation. The McReynolds awards are among the most important awards given out each year by the organization.”

 

The award reads in part:

“Board member, Judy Goff, led the charge in turning the Sweet House into a “preservation laboratory.” Two hands-on training workshops were hosted by CHP to restore the historic windows of the Sweet House while also educating preservationists on the proper practices of historic window restoration... Local high school tech center students were also invited to install the house’s drywall, teaching valuable vocational skills and encouraging future restoration of other properties in the community...Missouri Preservation applauds Carthage Historic Preservation not only for saving and restoring this historic resource, but for educating the community and passing on an appreciation of historic preservation to the next generation.”

 

 

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING SUPPORTERS OF THE SWEET HOUSE:

 

Donors to purchase the house:

Mary Jean and Stephen Beimdiek

Sally and Dan Armstrong

Karen and Don Herzog

 Carolyn and Pat Phelps

Judy and Pat Goff

Judy and Leroy Hill

 

Grants:

Helen S. Boylan Foundation

Carthage Community Foundation

Ruth I. Kolpin Charitable Foundation

Kent D. & Mary L. Steadley Memorial Trust

 

Other donors:

Carthage High School Tech Center/Teacher Nathan Olinger

Carpentry Students Classes 2019/20

Give Carthage Day Donors

CHP Volunteers

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Judy and Pat Goff

Sally and Dan Armstrong

Chanti and Brady Beckham

Blake Meyer

Ed Hardesty

Trisha and Gary Coates

 

The land on which the Sweet 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.

 

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

McReynolds Award Presentation May 14, 2021 (4).jpg

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.”