930 Holyoake Road
The beautiful American four-square home on the corner of Troy and Holyoake Roads was built for the George Lyman family in 1910. George, the son of Corydon and Frances Lyman, was born in 1880 in southeastern Missouri. His father was a journalist who eventually took the job as editor of a newspaper in Springfield, Missouri. His mother often worked with her husband at the newspaper office.
George attended the School of Mining in Rolla, Missouri, graduating in 1902. Shortly after graduation he was hired by the Madison Coal Corporation in Madison County. In 1906 he married Harriet Woolverton, also a Springfield, Missouri, native.
Harriet was born in 1879 to Charles and Mary Woolverton. Her father sold buggies and wagons all over southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. In Edwardsville she was a member of the Monday Club, a women’s study club founded in 1910 that dissolved in 1995. She was vice-president of the club and chairman of the organization’s literary committee. George and Harriet’s first home together was at 805 Troy Road, just two blocks from where they would build their new house at 930 Holyoake Road.
When George first came to Edwardsville he was an engineer with Madison Coal, but eventually became the supervisor of the mine at Glen Carbon with an income that could support a comfortable lifestyle.
Although George and Harriet had only one child, Frances Josephine born in 1908, the household often included George’s mother, Harriet’s father and sometimes both. Until her death in 1928, George’s mother typically spent summers in Leclaire and winters in Vandalia, Missouri, with George’s sister. Charles Woolverton, Harriet’s father, spent the last ten years of his life with his daughter’s family in Leclaire. He died in 1924.
In 1926 the dynamics of the household changed again. Daughter Frances graduated from Edwardsville High School and that autumn left Edwardsville to attend the Illinois Women’s College (now MacMurray College) in Jacksonville, Illinois. The newspaper contains numerous reports of visits home with other young Edwardsville women who attended at the same time. Frances had many friends and a considerable talent for music so she was asked to perform at many local events.
After graduating from college, Florence attended one year of graduate classes at the American Conservatory in Chicago. She did not return to the school in 1932, perhaps because she didn’t feel the need, or it could be finances weren’t what they once were. In the fall of 1933 she advertised for violin, piano and harmony students at 930 Holyoake Road.
All through the early 1930s George had the unenviable task of gradually closing the Madison Coal Corp mines. One of the last to close was at Glen Carbon. Hundreds of men were put out of work during the heart of the Great Depression. In 1934 the family moved to Chicago where George obtained an administrative job with a railroad company.
The house in Edwardsville was not sold immediately. Perhaps they hoped to return one day. It was rented to a couple of families in the 1930s, but in 1941 the Lymans sold the house to a neighbor, George Moorman, Sr. The Moorman and Lyman families were well acquainted since their daughters grew up as friends and even attended the same college.
George Moorman was a native of Michigan who moved to Leclaire with his mother and siblings in the late 1890s. He soon found a job with the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company where he started as a machinist. Over the years he would rise through the ranks to manager of the brass division.
He married May McCune in 1908 and the same year they moved into their new home at 929 Holyoake Road, right across the street from the house he would purchase more than thirty years later.
But although he purchased the house, he didn’t move into it himself. He remained in his home and in 1941 rented the house at 930 Holyoake Road to his son, George, Jr. and his family. Three years later, George, Jr and his wife Dorothy purchased the house.
By 1941 George, Jr. was married to the former Dorothy Hoover and they had two small children. Shortly before he moved into the Lyman house, George’s mother passed away. Four years later his father married a neighbor, Mable Allen, and moved into her house which was right next door at 926 Holyoake.
George and Dorothy sold the Lyman house back to his father in 1950 and built a new, modern home at 1017 Troy Road, less than a block away. George Moorman Jr. later served a term as mayor of Edwardsville.
The Moormans retained ownership of the house at 930 Holyoake Road until 1977. There were a series of renters, some who stayed in the grand old house for ten years or more. As the Moormans aged, care of the house wasn’t what it once was. George died in 1973 and Mabel in 1978.
The family that purchased the Lyman House in 1977 had a love for history and set about bringing the house back to what it was like when the Lyman family first moved into the home in 1910. Since then the house has had good caretakers, including the current owners who are only the fifth to own the home in its 106 year history.
Information for this article was obtained from resources at the Madison County Archival Library, the Madison County Recorder and Probate Offices, Edwardsville Public Library and from current and previous owners. -Cindy Reinhardt