New owners keeping memories alive
MIFFLINTOWN — More than 100 years of history and memories adorn the walls of the Annsfield mansion in Mifflintown.
The new owners have chosen to keep the memories alive with black and white photos in plain view in the mansion now operating as a wedding/event venue.
Brent Bobb and brothers, Andy and Mark, were left with boxes full of newspaper clippings and old photos and 50 to 80 negatives. Brent’s daughter, Rachel Glendye, a photographer, has been happy to sift through the memories.
By browsing through the materials and talking with previous owners, the Bobbs and Glendye gained an appreciation for the early days of Annsfield.
The property dates back to the 1700s and was owned by a James Banks. Banks is believed to have moved to the area (which was then Mifflin County) from York County. He purchased 172 acres for $700 along Lost Creek. It is believed that Banks gave the property to his son, James Banks Jr., and brother, Andrew.
A handwritten note discovered on the premises states the property was sold to a Joseph Bogle in the 1880s.
“This property was part of a farm across the road,” Brent said. That farm still exists. John Oliphant owned the farm; his descendants still own the property, but reside in Washington D.C.
Brent admitted he is not clear on every specific detail of the family history, but noted the Oliphants had seven daughters, the youngest being named Ann.
“Ann married a wealthy banker from Washington D.C. Her parents didn’t want her moving all the way to D.C., so they built her a home.”
The original portion of the house, built in 1896, was significantly smaller than what is on the property today. Additions were constructed over the years. Ann Larner and her husband also had several daughters. One of them, Lucy, lived at the residence most of her life, passing away in the 1980s.
Lucy was not married at the time of her death, Bobb said, but she had a male companion. His nephew was granted access to the property after her passing and sold much of the old furniture and other antique belongings. A married couple bought the property from the nephew in 2002 and built one of the additions.
Lucy was interviewed by local newspapers in her later years and shared stories about the mansion’s many formal affairs. Ann’s husband (Lucy’s father) had invited many wealthy businessmen to the home for parties in the early 1900s.
A fire nearly destroyed the third floor of the mansion in 1964.
The Bobbs are hoping to learn more about the history of the residence as they continue to grow their wedding/event venue business.