The Cross House

A Yard Sale At The Cross House!

I am breathless to announce a yard sale at the Cross House! INCREDIBLE things are going to be for sale!

Like a Studebaker Colonial phaeton!

A Van range!

Five pairs of damask portieres!

And so on!

Oh…wait…oops…I made a…mistake.

There IS a sale…yes…but it was…113-years ago.


…in 1904. Sorry!


This amazing discovery was forwarded to me by John and Becky Doan, who own Paper Moon Antiques in Emporia.

I was gobsmacked! The sale item are quite likely ORIGINAL furnishings of the 1894 Cross House! Oh, how I would kill to time travel to the sale and BUY EVERYTHING!

Five pairs of damask portieres! Three pairs chenille portieres!

I desperately want the solid cherry library table! And I do not even know what it looks like!


Are the three porch chairs for sale the ones seen in the 1895 image?


WHAT though is a VAN range? I assume this was a coal/wood range made by Van but a quick Google search turned up nothing.

WHAT is a Studebaker Colonial phaeton?


This is an 1890s Studebaker carriage, but it is not a phaeton. The latter was “sporty” model with one seat and pulled by two horses. Like…


…this, from an 1896 Studebaker catalog. This though is not their Colonial model. But…


...this is ALSO a
…this is ALSO a Studebaker phaeton! The 1902 model! Battery-operated! Cool! Is THIS what was being sold?


I had better luck with the Waverly bicycle! An 1894 ad! So, this could be the very bike for sale!


Harrison Cross died shortly after the Cross House was built. Susan Cross died in 1902. The house was sold in 1907. As such, this 1904 sale is interesting, time-wise.

The sale could not be all the furnishings in the house. So, why a partial sale? The Cross’ heir was their granddaughter, Mary Cross. Was Mary selling just items she did not need? Or, did the estate need some cash? I do not know.

THE intriguing question: are any of these furnishing extant in Emporia????????




John found an image of a VAN range! This is a cook stove for a caboose! If this IS what the sale listing mentions I doubt this was in the kitchen of the Cross House, but perhaps the carriage house? Thanks, John!


27 Responses to A Yard Sale At The Cross House!

  1. Wow, that is an incredible find!

    I have been able to roughly date the construction of our garage (which was built later than the house) by a classified advertisement for a single garage space for rent (when first built, it comfortably fit two cars: today, not sure much!).

  2. Wow, that is an incredible treasure and would keep me awake nights for weeks wondering where all that stuff got to and lusting after its return!

      • Hi Ross. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and think you’re doing an amazing job on the house. I just never leave comments on blogs! However, after trying to see if I could do a little researching on what was going on with Mary Cross in 1904, I did find some information for you…

        On July 2, 1904, a Mary Katherine Cross married Arthur Clyde Gourlay. Also that year, a court case involving the estate finally wrapped up and was decided in her favor.

        I don’t know how much time you have spent researching the lives of the Cross’s, but I did find out more information. For example, did you know that Harrison died of a heart attack while traveling in Michigan and that Charles committed suicide? [From Ross: Yes, I have this information.]

        If you want, I can summarize what I know in another reply with more detail and other info.

      • I’m a law student at the University of Chicago and a new fan of your blog – I just read Cross v. Benson and the judgment was in favor of the Cross family! The Kansas Supreme Court protected the homestead rights of Sue and Mary Cross after the death of H.C. Cross (apparently HC Cross’s creditors were trying to seize the house after his death in order to pay off his debts). The KS Supreme Court ruled that HC Cross’s homestead rights did not terminate upon his death, but rather extended to his widow and their grandchild, even though Mary was not formally adopted by them until after HC’s death. As a result, the Cross house was safe from creditors. This case was cited extensively in a later KS Supreme Court case, Towle v. Towle, and to my knowledge continues to be a foundational case establishing the law regarding homestead exemptions and how to define a “family” under that rule.

        It is quite exciting that a case involving the Cross house would make it to the state Supreme Court! But even though the case eventually came out in the Cross’s favor, it was likely *very* expensive to litigate something this far, even if they turned out to be right. Thus the yard sale. 🙂

  3. All roads lead to Rome, all items Cross-House-related make their ways to Ross. McClary’s Stove Company of London , Ontario made at least one stove called a “Van”…2449.6285.0.10274.….0…1ac.1.64.img..0.9.798…0j0i30k1j0i5i30k1j0i8i30k1.clzMC1phQy0#imgrc=wV6-kmXSdhxtAM%3A

    That one was made for a caboose–company had other models like “Renown”, “Triumph”, even early electric stoves:

    Do you think, with the Cross’ penchant for state-of-the-art tech, the range might have been electric?

      • Two more clicks on that Mystifying Oracle, the Internet, would have furnished the information that the first ever electric range was patented in 1896. Never come unarmed to a battle of wits with Ross.

  4. I live just a few miles away from the Studebaker museum…which is in the historic Capsaholm in South Bend, IN. This is located a block away from the Studebaker mansion which is now a very good restaurant, Tippecanoe Place. This area would make you do a full swoon Ross!

  5. I swear my heart skipped a beat when I read “five pairs of damask portieres”. I was wondering what color they were and if I could somehow buy these long distance and get them shipped to me. Oh well, you got me. Great post, by the way, and I hold no grudges.

  6. Walnut, oak, cherry, iron… tables, chairs, wardrobes… clues as to what kind of furniture was found in the house. Folding beds, where and how do you suppose they were used? Such great clues let the imagination run WILD!

  7. Great post! You had me believing YOU were really having a yard sale. The idea there was ever a yard sale at the Cross House is very curious. Let me know when you get your time machine, I would love to come along for the adventure!

  8. I found reference to the Van Wie Gas Stove Company, originally located in Cleveland, OH, but relocated to Rockford, IL in 1889 upon the acquisition of 50% of the company by a George Roper, who eventually assumed complete ownership of the company in 1894. Seems unlikely they wouldn’t have referred to it as a Van Wie in the advert, but I wanted to share it in case it was useful. I greatly enjoy reading your blog!

    1891 Rockford Morning Star article here.

    History of the transition from Van Wie to Eclipse to Roper here.

    • I also found this FREE ebook from 1895 that you may find interesting. As soon as they started showing diagrams for steam heat, I dozed off…zzzzz But there is a notation regarding the John Van Range Company, it seems to me, they had top-of-the-line equipment. I suspect the stove was sold in 1904 because they had upgraded to gas and The House was possibly empty by then because of Mrs. Cross’s death in 1902 and Mary was most likely not living in the house. I cannot find her marriage license, but I DO know she married a fellah in the early 1900’s from Lincoln, Nebraska -Arthur Clyde Gourlay. They eventually moved to West Seattle, WA and had 4 children
      *it’s cold out and I have been cocooning with my laptop. I know, I’m a freak, but I wanted to know the rest of the Cross’s story.

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