This website will shut down in Mar. 2013.
In Aug. 2006, Helen Aldridge (dustbuster777(at)hotmail(dot)com) contributed the
following concerning James Wrathall (1828 - 1896) and his home in Grantsville.
278 West Clark
written by Helen Aldrige
While the Wrathall name is no longer found among the Grantsville listings in the telephone book, James Wrathall left numerous descendants and a significant legacy. James was born in England in 1828 and arrived in Grantsville in the 1850s, nearly penniless and with only one steer. Through strict economy, wise business practices, and continued industry he became one of the wealthiest men in the county. Shortly before his death in 1896, James called members of his large family to his deathbed, as was the custom in those days. Years later, Claude Sutton Sr. recounted to his children the two words of counsel from his grandfather to him: "Be honest". James Wrathall's home, now the residence of James and Sadie Matthews, is located at 278 West Clark Street.
Family history records indicate that James Wrathall began laying the foundation for his home in 1856, after returning from a church mission to Nevada. The outside walls were of adobe, 18-20 inches thick. A person can easily stand between the inner and outer doors. There were six rooms downstairs and four bedrooms on the second floor. A white-washed cellar with an outside entrance ran underneath the building. A large addition on the back of the house was probably built in the 1880s. Old photographs show a very different exterior from what exists today. Covered porches for both floors once extended across the front and east side. They were trimmed with gingerbread and surrounded by decorative railings. Decades ago, after the rotting wooden porches were removed, a red siding was put up, concealing the second floor doorways. Today, light colored stucco scored to look like brick gives a very different look to the home. Sadie Matthews has said that building porches on the lower level, especially on the east side where they spend much time, is on her wish list of things to do.
Dwarfed by additions and disguised by modern exterior coverings, older homes may exist throughout the community, but the Matthews residence certainly merits distinction as one of the oldest. (The Donner-Reed Museum, formerly "The Adobe School" was constructed in 1861 and the First Ward Chapel was finished five years after that.) Still, the house remains in excellent condition. James "Nabber" Matthews has said that his home probably has fewer cracks in it than many built only a few years ago. Remarkably, the house has also remained in the same family for nearly a century and a half. Occupants have included James Wrathall's son, Clyde, and his family; a widowed daughter, Genevieve Orr, and her children; grandson, Sterling Anderson; another grandson, Hunter Matthews; and now Hunter's son, James. Elsie Roberts, who graduated from high school in 1929, remembers still the parties hosted by Genny Orr's son, Ron. The front porch was yet in place at that time.
James Matthews, who has lived in the old home "practically forever", has said that it's just a house, the same as any. Sadie noted, however, that Nabber won't leave it until it falls down. She said it has been a neat old home. "This house has a lot of good feeling. I love living in this house."
[Helen has also written accounts of 84 West Main (Paul E. Wrathall's house)
and 5 South Center (James L. Wrathall's house)].