Two historic Truby homesteads were on the market in 2019, a once-in-a-century coincidence
Long-time readers of this blog may recall that the activities of Apollo’s farmer Simon Truby (1806-1886) seemed surprisingly in sync with his older brother, Captain Henry Truby (1800-1882) of Gilpin Township. The two married a pair of sisters within a few years of each other, and each purchased more than 100 acres of farmland in the same year, on which they built similar four-over-four brick farmhouses. Both homes were built before the Civil War, and they have near-identical layouts and features. (See photos of both houses at Copycat Brothers)
And in another striking coincidence, both the Simon and Henry Truby farmhouses were recently on the market at the same time—beginning in the latter half of 2019. In fact, the historic Capt. Henry Truby home is still available for purchase, if you’d like to snap up a stately old home that stands on a large swath of its original farmland.
When you consider that the Henry Truby house has been owned for more than 110 years by three generations of the same family (Clark/Bevans), and the Simon Truby house in Apollo has had a single owner (my mom) for 44 years, doesn’t it seem somewhat remarkable both houses happened to be for sale at the same time?
It’s almost as though the urge for sibling rivalry can persist even beyond the grave. An unsettling thought!
The Capt. Henry Truby farmhouse, at 858 Lovers Leap Road in Gilpin Twp, sits on 3 beautiful acres of land, part of 102 acres purchased by James D. Clark in 1907. The future owner will have free natural gas to heat the home, plus all the gas rights of Clark’s original 102 acres. Like the Simon Truby house in Apollo, the Capt. Henry Truby farmhouse has high ceilings and a grand staircase, plus 4 bedrooms and a central hallway upstairs, and four rooms downstairs (kitchen, dining, living, and parlor). The Captain named this home and its surrounding farm Mount Joy, a name that can be found on old maps and in history books.
Be sure to check out the real estate listing, with current photos and other details at https://www.howardhanna.com/Property/Detail/858-Lovers-Leap-Gilpin-Township-PA-15656/Westpenn/1387875.
Click here to download a 2006 article about the Henry Truby farmhouse from the Valley News Dispatch.
I truly hope this beautiful home finds new owners who will give it the love and attention it deserves. This property and its previous owners–including Truby, Clark, and Bevans–have played important roles in our local history and economy.
Captain Henry Truby was a remarkable man who served as a packet boat captain, plying the Pennsylvania canal waters between Leechburg and Pittsburgh. During his lifetime, the captain’s land holdings peaked at 500 acres, mostly in Gilpin Twp., with some of his property extending all the way to the Kiskiminitas river.
Capt Truby also partnered with Leechburg founder David Leech in some real estate deals, as the two co-owned some land in the 1850s & 60s.
Records show that Capt Truby also seemed to be a benevolent caretaker or father figure, not only within his immediate family but also for others in need, such as an orphan boy he took in and mentored for several years (more about this in a future blog post). In his will, Captain Truby also made provisions for his younger brother John Thompson Truby, so John and wife could continue to live on a portion of the Captain’s Gilpin Twp. farm for the rest of their lives, paying only a small rent and annual property taxes.
When he died in 1882, Captain Truby left the majority of his estate, including his extensive library and cabinet organ, to his wife Alvina (Hill) Truby (1829-1914) and four surviving daughters: Mary Ada Truby (1859-1926), who married Newton E. Townsend; Kate Ulam Truby (1864-1929), who served as her dad’s executrix and who married Edward W. Shoop; Ida L. Truby (1870-1900), who married Harry Parks (1970-1939); and Mirtle O. Truby (1873-1931). Of these daughters, the only one who may yet have living descendants is Ida Truby Parks, whose children included Harry Parks (1870-1939) and Earl Truby Parks (1899-1958).
As might be expected, Captain Henry Truby and his family endured their share of hardships and heartbreak. Fortunately for us, the Captain left behind a diary that details some of his daily activities, including a hint of romance in the days leading to Valentine’s day.
Coming up: Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of Capt Truby’s diary entries and additional tales of his travails, including his interactions with brothers and a time when a journalist visited the Captain and waxed poetic about the beauties of his farm and Gilpin Twp. For instance, check out these articles:
Follow this blog to get email updates when new stories are posted. And remember to support our local historical societies, including the phemonenal Leechburg Area Museum & Historical Society and the spectacular Apollo Area Historical Society. I’m a lifetime member of both. Show these wonderful historical societies some love this Valentine’s day!