The Longneckers

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In July of 1898, Jennie V. Longenecker purchased the eastern 5 rods of the George Vermilya property, creating the lot on which this house was built later that year. This was the third house Jennie and her husband built on this block on the north side of East State Street after 1885. During the years they resided in Mason City, Wesley Longnecker held various jobs - carriage maker (1883), mattress company manager (1898), harness maker (1900) and, in 1903, "real estate". With Jennie's father dying in 1883 and her mother dying in 1893, one wonders if she was using her inheritance for these real estate transactions, given her husband's irregular employment history. In 1900, they sold this property also and by 1903 they had disappeared from Mason City. Jennie V. Longnecker shows up in 1911 in Detroit, Michigan as the "widow of Wesley", and is eventually buried there with him, and their daughter and son-in-law.

Illinois Origin

Jennie Viola Countryman was born in Illinois c. 1862 to Daniel and Sally Phillips Countryman.

The 1880s

The 1880s were a busy decade for Jennie Countryman Longnecker.

Her father died in March 1883 and she married Wesley M Longnecker in May of that year. They moved here in time for Wesley to be listed as a carriage maker in the 1883 City Directory.

They had a daughter, Grace, in 1885 and that same year, Jennie purchased a double lot to the west of the Longnecker House from Judge George Vermilya per Walking Tour Guide.

(Other info per and the below sources)

1880 Census

Lynnville, Ogle, Illinois, United States

Daniel Countryman Self M 65 New York
Sally Countryman Wife F 62 New York
Jennie Countryman Daughter F 19 Illinois
Herman Wolgmuth Other M 29 New York
Name W Longenecker
Event Place Rochelle, Ogle, Illinois, United States
Age 25 (c. 1855 vs 1852?)
Marital Status Single
Race White
Occupation Dry Goods Clerk


March 1883 - Jennie’s father died (married Wesley in May)

1883 City Directory Wesley Longnecker as carriage maker living at...


1885 - “double” lot to the west of the Longnecker House purchased by Jennie from Judge Vermilya per Walking Tour Guide

1885 State Census - living at Washing & 10th, daughter Grace not born yet, Sally Countryman, widow, is with them (her mother)

The 1890s

The 1890s was another busy decade for Jennie Longnecker.

In 1890, the Longneckers moved into first house built on the double lot she purchased in 1885 (sold in 1895).

In August 1893, Jennie's mother, Sally, died.

In 1894, the Longnecker family moved into the 2nd house on the 1885 double lot.

In the 1895 Iowa Atlas - George Vermilya still owns a large lot encompassing the “big house” and the future site of the Longnecker house.  Jennie V. Longnecker is still shown as owner of the double parcel to the west with two houses on it.

June 27 1898 abstract - George and Helen Vermilya sell the east 5 rods of their lot to Jennie V. Longenecker with stipulation to not cut any living trees.

1898 City Directory has Wesley Longnecker as a mattress company manager, living closer to "town" (not the 2nd house up the street or in the "Longnecker House").

December 1898 newspaper - W Longnecker listed with delinquent taxes.

1890 Federal Census partially destroyed in a fire, so reason why not finding people there.

1890 - Longneckers move into first house built on State Street, #42 in Walking Tour Guide, sold in 1895

August 1893 - Jennie’s mother died

1894 - Longneckers move into second house on State Street, #41 in the Walking Tour Guide.

1895 Atlas

  • Shows George Vermilya owning a big parcel including the “big house” and the future site of 718.  Jennie V. Longnecker is shown as owner of a double parcel to the west with a couple houses on it.

Cub Scout History Walk

  • At 718 E. State St., 10-year-old Adam Dettmer, wearing a black apron and a straw hat, portrayed early Mason City property owner Wesley E. Longnecker.  “I build carriages and I sell property,” he said. “Does anyone need a property around here?” [Interesting that they talk about Wesley, when Jennie was the primary owner in the abstract.]

1898 City Directory has Wesley Longnecker as mattress company manager, living at 329 E State

December 1898 newspaper microfiche, W Longnecker listed with delinquent taxes.

The 1900s

In the 1900 Census, the Longneckers are shown living at the Longnecker House. Jennie is listed as 38 years old and Wesley is 48. Grace is not with them (she would have been 15 yo!). Wesley's occupation is "real estate dealer".

1900 Abstract - Jennie V. Longenecker & husb to May E. Kennedy, convey

1900 City Directory - Wesley Longnecker as harness maker, living downtown, not at the "Longnecker House".

1901 City Directory - Wesley Longnecker in real estate, living on Madison Avenue.

It isn't clear what happened to the Longneckers after 1901. The Longneckers are absent from 1910 Census, here.

There are indications of some connection with South Dakota around 1903, possibly where daughter, Grace, was teaching. Wesley died in 1903. With his irregular employment history, one wonders if he had chronic health problems.   In any case, Jennie is listed in the 1911 Detroit Directory as the widow of Wesley. She died in 1929 and was buried in Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan with Wesley and her daughter, Grace Edna Longnecker Welch d. 1953, and her husband.


Census Record

  • Wesley N. Longnecker - the head of the household, 48 years old, and identified as white. Wesley was born in Pennsylvania around 1852, and both of his parents were born in Pennsylvania as well. In 1900, Wesley was listed as married to Jennie V. Longnecker.  Occupation: real estate dealer
Wesley N Longnecker Head M 48 Pennsylvania
Jennie V Longnecker Wife F 38 Illinois

listed at 860 (!) East State Street, with neighbors at 804 (!) East State Street: Daughter Grace (not in 1900 census)

1900 City Directory - Wesley Longnecker as harness maker, living at 130 East State St.

1900 Abstract - Jennie V. Longenecker & husb to May E. Kennedy, convey


Mason City Directory - Wesley Longnecker in real estate, living on Madison.


Cook County Illinois Marriages - Grace E. Longnecker married Frederick Random Whipple on 19 March 1907 -



  • Frederick R Whipple as a "widower" living with his mother Julia H. Whipple in West Virginia.



  • Arther Edw. Wielsch is married to Grace E. age 34 (born Iowa, parents Penn and Ill) in Detroit, Ward 14.

No Longnecker in 1923 Mason City Directory, can’t find in 1910 Census either.  Ended up buried in Detroit, Michigan.