On March 17, 1852 the Rev. S. S. Wheeler resigned as pastor of the Rose Hill Baptist Church. The congregation was just completing its new building at the southwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 30th Streets. Rev. Wheeler lived in the brick-faced house directly behind the church, at No. 130 East 30th Street.
Three stories tall above a rusticated brownstone English basement, the Italianate style residence was faced in red brick and trimmed in brownstone. The entrance forewent the more expected ornate brackets upholding a carved pediment in favor of a more reserved entablature and cornice. A full-height rounded bay rose gave the facade dimension.
It is unclear if the church continued to use the house as its parsonage; but if so that ended in 1866 when No. 130 became home to Dr. William Thomas White.
Born on July 7, 1829 in Richmond, Maine, White graduated from the New-York Medical College in 1855. He would have an impressive career. Following graduation he became "demonstrator of anatomy" at the Bowdoin College Medical School, and was the chief surgeon of the Panama Railroad on the Isthmus of Panama for three and a half years. He returned to New York in 1865 and began his private practice.
He helped found the New York State Medical Association and was a member of several other medical associations. The year he moved into No. 130 he was made the attending physician of the Demilt Dispensary.
White had married Eveline Jane Springer on May 23, 1860. Their first daughter, Bessie May, was born in Colombia in 1862, but survived only a year. A second daughter, Eveline, was born in Panama in 1864, and the couple would have two more daughters while living in the 30th Street house, Laura and Caroline.
In 1879 White was appointed a visiting surgeon to the Charity Hospital on Blackwell's Island. Apparently indefatigable, he took on the position of attending physician at the Home for the Relief of Aged Indigent Females in 1872, was the president of the New-York College of Veterinary Surgeons (although not a veterinarian himself), and was editor of the Medical Register for New-York, New-Jersey and Connecticut.
Daughter Eveline married Dr. Charles Edward Stammler in 1885. Her mother died that same year, on October 12. William White married Mary Augusta Barston, daughter of Captain James D. Barstow of Brunswick, Maine two years later, on November 17, 1887.
The next daughter to marry was Caroline. Her wedding to married to Robert Lambert Brackett took place in the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street on June 4, 1891. The newlyweds moved to Brooklyn.
Dr. White died in the 30th Street house on September 17, 1893 from heart disease at the age of 65. His funeral was held in the house two days later.
On February 3, 1898 Eveline Stammler died. Her widowed husband did not stay single for long. On January 6, 1899 he married his former sister-in-law, Laura White.
In the meantime, Mary White had leased the 30th Street house to Dr. Thomas F. De Naouley by 1896. He had already made a name for himself within the sporting community and was one of two men in charge of the entries of the Charles J. Harvey Association Games that summer.
Dr. De Naouley's name routinely appeared in the sports pages for his involvement with athletic events. Decades later, in his 1948 Confessions of a Story Writer, author and sports journalist Paul Gallico called De Naouley "one of the greatest living experts on the physiology of athletes, my friend and for many years medical supervisor of the Golden Gloves."
Living with De Naouley and his wife, the former Mattie Hitchins, was the doctor's mother, Hannah De Naouley. She died on March 2, 1912 and her funeral was held in the house two days later.
Mary Augusta White had died in May 1903 and No. 130 was inherited jointly by Caroline and Laura. They continued to lease it to De Naouley until 1915 when he purchased it from the sisters.
|Nearly nothing has changed to the house since this photograph was taken around 1941 when the De Naouleys lived here. photo via the NYC Department of Records & Information Services|
The family's country home was in Mount Kisco, New York. It was there on May 5, 1941, that Mattie died at the age of 66. Thomas De Naouley remained in the 30th Street house and practiced medicine until his retirement in 1956. He died in the house on July 21, 1961 at the age of 86. In reporting his death The New York Times got the facts slightly wrong, saying "he was born in the East Thirtieth Street house."
Today the house is a two-family home and, while little of the historic interior detailing survive other than mantels, the exterior is nearly perfectly intact.
photographs by the author