Muchmore’s barn left as legacy for Madeira

By Regina Villiers. Originally published April 13, 1994 in The Suburban Life, added July 12, 2014

The south end of the Muchmore barn is shown in this picture shot October 28, 1986

The south end of the Muchmore barn is shown in this picture shot October 28, 1986


The dissension over the fate of the historic Muchmore and Hosbrook houses and the demolition of the picturesque old barn has put the Muchmore name in the news in recent years, as well as on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Muchmore has long been an important name in Madeira, for the Muchomre family reaches back to the heart of Madeira’s history.

According to Warren Joy, local historian who has researched the family, the Muchmores originally came from New Jersey, but Joseph Anderson Muchmore, who owned and lived in the houses causing the controversy, was born in 1826 in Madisonville/Indian Hill/ Plainville area.

Joseph grew up on his father’s farm and, in 1846 went to school to learn the bricklaying trade.  By 1853 he was a partner with James H. Neas in the firm of Neas and Muchmore on Eighth Street in Cincinnati.  This partnership lasted a few years.

Richard Nelson, in his book, “Suburban Homes for Business Men,” an early history of eastern Hamilton County, states that Joseph A. Muchmore also went into partnership with John Tice of Cincinnati and that the two of them built a seven-story building on the corner of Elm and Pearl streets in Cincinnati.  At the time this was the tallest building in the city of Cincinnati.

In 1853 Joseph married Eliza Jeffers.  She was the daughter of a bricklayer and it is assumed that Joseph met her through his occupation.

Sometime between 1858 and 1860, Joseph and Eliza bought a farm in Union Township and moved there.  1860 records show that they owned and lived on a farm in Port Union in Butler County.

During the Civil War, Joseph served in the Squirrel Hunters, a band of minutemen who defended Cincinnati from a threatened invasion of the Confederate Army.

The minutemen numbered in the thousands. Armed mostly with rifles, the weapons they knew best, they entrenched themselves for 10 miles along the Kentucky hills.  When the enemy saw this formidable entrenchment they withdrew and the danger passed.

Each member of the Squirrel Hunters received a certificate signed by the governor of Ohio.  A copy of Joseph Muchmore’s certificate is in the files of the Madeira Historical Society.

Joseph and Eliza moved to Madeira April 15, 1882.  Joseph’s brother, E.G. Muchmore, already lived in Madeira and operated a business there.

Joseph took over his brother’s retail store, which was in a large building, Muchmore Hall, on Miami Avenue. He operated this store until around 1915.

Joseph also served as postmaster of Madeira for 35 years, from 1882 until 1917.

Miss Cleo Hosbrook, my friend who now lived in the Madeira Nursing Home and who is the granddaughter of Joseph and Eliza, has told me stories about her grandfather and the store.  She also told me that after her grandfather got old and sick; her Aunt Nettie (Jeanette) took over the store and post office.

Doris Burton, also a friend of Miss Cleo, relates stories told to her by Cleo.

Doris says that Cleo has told her about going rabbit hunting with her grandfather, Joseph.

She also told Doris that her grandmother, Eliza, was thrown from the carriage when Lady, their horse, bolted.  Eliza was injured and could never walk again.

Miss Hosbrook, when she lived in the Miami Avenue house, used to enjoy pointing out to me many things around the houses and grounds made by her grandfather.  She was especially proud of the stepping stones that lined all the paths around the houses.  “My grandfather made these,” she would say as we walked.

Joseph and Eliza had seven children: David Ellis, Harry, Joseph Jeffers, Luella Belle, Jeanette, Thomas and Maude.

Maude the youngest, married Charles J. Hosbrook.  They built a house next door to the Muchmore house.  Cleo, their daughter, lived there until she went into the nursing home and gave the houses to the city of Madeira.

Joseph died Thanksgiving Day 1917 at the age of 91.  Eliza died in 1923. She was 87 years old.  Both are buried in Spring Grove Cemetery.

There are very few Muchmore left now.  After seeing one of my columns, Jane Muchmore Simpson, who lives in Florida and whose father was a first cousin of Cleo, wrote to me saying that she had never seen pictures of her great-grandparents, Joseph and Eliza.  I made copies of the ones in my possession, which belong to Miss Cleo, and sent them to her.

But though the Muchmores now are mostly names of the past, we who have known Miss Cleo hope the Muchmore legacy will not be forgotten by Madeira.