Maplewood History: Two Sarah Harrisons, Three Charles Humphreys and Two William Holmes


Now this is confusing so you’ll have to pay attention.  I’m going to repeat some of the material that I published not too long ago to refresh your memory.

One of the daughters of James Compton and Ann Wells Sutton, Miss Sarah Wilgus married Charles S. Humphreys on March 30, 1864.  They lived in a small house at 7478 Manchester which was right across the road from the Sutton mansion at 7453.  They had two children, Mary Isabel (married Samuel Silence) and Charles F. (married Lucretia Hazard of Clayton). Charles, the father, died in 1869.

Sarah married again.  Her second husband was Johnson Harrison.  They had four children.  Sarah (who married William Ryder Holmes), Joseph (who married Miss Ollien), James (unmarried) and Edna (Schaffer).

Sarah Harrison the younger and William Ryder Holmes had two children, Russell William and Mary E.

Laura Varilek wrote that Russell was her grandfather and her mother was Julie Ann Holmes.  Laura’s uncle is also named William Holmes.  I reported on their visit here in a recent blog post.  To my knowledge, they are the first instance of out-of-state tourists to Maplewood attracted by the information in my blog.  I greatly enjoyed their visit.

Often I try to post the images and info chronologically but I think I’ll have to jump around this time.

This is the small house at 7478 Manchester where Sarah Wilgus Sutton and her first husband, Charles S. Humphreys lived sometime after their marriage in 1864.

From the collection of Chrissie Hayes McConnell.

Charles Samuel Humphreys.  I don’t have a photograph of Sarah from this time.  Charles died in 1869.  Later, Sarah married Johnson Harrison.

I don’t know what offense for which Harrison had been imprisoned but we have other evidence of his having been a southern sympathizer.  This I covered in an earlier post.  I’ll link to it here.

This is the home at 7456 Manchester  that Johnson Harrison and Sarah built just east of Sarah’s earlier home.  The second floor survives today as part of the J.B. Smith Funeral home.  This is Sarah Wilgus Sutton Humphreys Harrison standing in the front yard.

This seems to be the front yard.  Remember the Sutton mansion was directly across the road.

Another view of this beautiful home.  The construction date is unknown but it is indicated on a survey dated 1881.

Here we have Sarah Harrison the younger and Sarah Harrison the elder somewhere in their yard.  The date is June 16, 1895.

Historians love these images where everyone is identified.  Here we get a look at Sarah the younger’s husband, William Ryder Holmes.  He’s number 1.  She’s number 7.

Number 2 is one of Sarah’s brothers.  He is either James or Joseph.  From the abbreviation I’m not sure which.  Number 5 is her sister Edna who married someone named Shaffer.

Sarah the younger’s half brother, Charles F. Humphreys, married Lucretia Hazard of Clayton.  We have this picture of her.

The obits often have useful information.

Sarah and William had two children.  Mary E. and Russell William.  I am intrigued by the buildings in the backgound.  They must be some of the commercial buildings on Manchester and Sutton.  The tower might have been the hose drying tower for our fire department or possibly a church steeple.  This image is undated but I think it may be too early for that to be the tower for the fire department.

Another image of the Holmes children, Mary and Will.

That’s easier than typing all of that info.

Another image of William Ryder Holmes.

I’m not sure whose baby this one is.

Edna Earl Holmes at 7 months.

And at 20 months.

Now back to the Charles Humphreys.  We accounted for two.  A father and son.  Another one shows up later…

As a Mayor of Maplewood!  This particular incarnation of Charles S. Humphreys served as our mayor from 1927 to 1933.

The End.

Much thanks to Laura Varilek for much of this material.

Doug Houser           March 30, 2023







  1. That was incredibly interesting. And what a beautiful home. So unfortunate that so many of these historic homes are gone. Thank you for sharing all this!!

    • We’ve lost some good ones for certain. Curious thing about this one is that part of it remains. The intact second floor of the J.B. Smith Funeral Home. Take a look at it sometime if you get a chance. They’re friendly. And you are welcome, Margaret. Thank you for weighing in.

  2. What a great post putting all the information together. I have found another treasure regarding this house. I found a tiny notebook in perfect condition written by Sarah Wilgus Sutton Harrison describing dates and when they made the foundation for the home and other details. I also have receipts that were in her name for purchases made in constructing this beautiful home. Maybe that was when Harrison was in jail and she had to do all the project management for building this beautiful home. I will send pictures.

  3. By email from Gary Tash: Nifty to see those photos showing the beautiful architectural details of the house and the design elements in the wicker furniture. So much in architecture, furniture, art and other embellishments today have been stripped and gleaned of the fine detailing and extra elements that would make them much more pleasing to have and experience. I hold a firm belief in having what surrounds us in life being “places and things of the soul”, that suggest solidarity and are extended beyond pure utilitarian purposes only. When I was a kid growing up in my grandma’s boarding house, which was built in the late 1800’s by the first urologist in St. Louis on Clemens Ave., just east of the old Wabash station, everything from the woolen overcoats worn to the story high stain glass window over the massive staircase exuded solidarity and beauty, excellent design and statements of the extra touches that moved them beyond utilitarian function. Even tools displayed such elements.
    Today color has been excluded, with white, black and grey being the only acceptable tones. In music lyrics have been frequently set aside, replaced by the “ooh, ooh, ooh, oh ah hah” isms and heavy rhythms. Hopefully the pendulum will reverse direction so that at least some exceptionalism in design returns to us.

  4. Didn’t know any of these folks, but the story was so interesting. And I love the pictures!! Thank you so much, Doug, for all to do to remember Maplewood.

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