The M. M. McNair Farmhouse

M. M. McNair Farmhouse |

 The M. M. McNair Farmhouse

When Miles M. McNair moved to Wisconsin with first wife Elizabeth Lozer, they built their home in the country, away from what would one day be Brodhead's bustling Exchange Square.

Miles built this house in the earliest days of Brodhead's settlement, when his brother and business partner, John L was working with E. D. Clinton, I. F. Mack, Brodhead himself, and a few other founding pioneers to secure the railroad deal in Brodhead, which would ultimately define its future. 

Miles and Elizabeth Lozer had three children: Mary Helen. Theodore Thomas, and Laura Allen. Sadly, Mary H. died as a young child in 1854, and is the first interment in the cemetery which Miles founded here in Brodhead ...  Greenwood Cemetery. Elizabeth Lozer passed in 1858, and too is buried in the original plot alongside her mother (Pheobe Cull), Laura Allen (passed away at age 24), and their son Theodore (lost at sea in 1863).

Miles went on to remarry in 1860, wedding Elizabeth R. Melendy (granddaughter of John Melendy II. Miles & Elizabeth R. had three children together: Frances de Lancy, William Grant, and Grace Elizabeth.

Miles,Elizabeth R., and their family, moved into the Italianate he built on Centre in downtown Brodhead in 1865.

In viewing Miles' 1870 census data, it is stated that Miles' Real Estate and Personal Estate combined were valued at $53,000. Keep in mind, this is only the value of property he owned, and does not account for his income from his businesses nor savings. Converting that sum through the filter of inflation into today's dollar, this means that Miles McNair owned well over $1,000,000 worth of Green County real estate in 1870. 

Based on the following article, Miles had not officially sold the property to E. D. McNair until the 1870's.

In viewing the article's photo of the original house (and its size), there is one thing we can surmise about Miles ... despite chatter that he was a frugal man, he built his homes to be only one way ... grand.

The Original McNair House

A Harrowing Memory of the House

Today I came across this clipping at the Historical Society, that shares that the original home sadly burnt to the ground. As a reader, you have a bit more insight into the article's author with getting to know M. M. McNair:

"On Wednesday night of last week, the farm home of Mr. E. D. McNair and his mother, located on the Clarence road, at the turn to the Clarence bridge road, was totally destroyed by fire. Mrs. McNair and her invalid sister, Miss Celia Ten Eyck, were alone in the house, Mr. Bert McNair having gone to Chicago with brand a shipment of live stock. The furnace had been fixed for the night the ladies had retired. Soon afterward Mrs. McNair heard a crashing sound as if something had fallen in the cellar. She also detected the oder of smoke, and on opening the cellar doorway a mass of flames was disclosed to view. She immediately thought of the safety of her sister and succeeded in getting her out of the house, both not having time even to dress. Just as they had gotten out of the house, the first floor crashed into the cellar. It was indeed a marvelously narrow escape from the flames. Mrs. McNair took her sister to the barn while she went in her bare feet to the home of W. L. Gehr some distance up the road. Neighbors gathered readily, but the fire had gained too great headway to permit the saving of any of the contents. The house was rebuilt shown in our illustration, a few years ago, and was modern in every respect. The value of the house and its contents is estimated at about $6,000, with insurance a little more than a third of that amount, carried in the Mutual Insurance Company.

Mr. McNair has begun the erection of a small frame house which will answer temporarily until spring when he expects to erect another home, using the temporary house as a part of it.

Early settlers tell us that the original house on this location, which was used in the remodelling of the house that burned, was one of the first in the original village of Clarence. It has been stated that it was the old village hotel, but this statement is not substantiated. It is likely that in the latter fifties, however, that this as well as other houses in the village were used for rooming houses, for the teaming in those days often brought a goodly number of persons together in one place for a night. The village store and hotel both stood to the east of the McNair house. The property passed into the possession of the McNair family in the seventies, and has since been occupied by them. It is surrounded by good farm lands, and stands but a few rods east of the picturesque Pine Bluff. "