Their roots are strong in Carthage – as strong as the foundation of the family's 90-year-old home.
Bill and Cindy Putnam moved into the house at 717 E. Highland Ave., with their four children in 1995. The house sits on what was originally 12 acres that was purchased by Bill's grandfather, H.W. Putnam, in 1918. The Putnam heritage in Carthage dates back even further than that, but to the family, putting the home on the market has been an emotional time.
“My whole life has revolved around that home,” Bill Putnam said. “This was inevitable that this would happen though. We have no children in Carthage, and no one else in the family is in position to take it over. While we still have our health, we would rather it be this way. Everyone's sad but realizes this is a transition that needs to happen, rather than passing down the chore of going through 90 years of memories on the spot after we're gone.”
To start at the beginning, Walter Putnam came to Carthage at the young age of 20 around 1868. He was an Illinois native who left home to join the calvary in the Civil War at the age of 16. In Carthage, he married Sarah Harrison in 1875, the daughter of Dixon Harrison, who was the founder of Jasper, Mo., and later became Carthage's first city attorney.
Walter and Sarah became parents in 1878 when H.W. Putnam was born.
H.W. Putnam married Anna (Andrews) and they lived on south Garrison Avenue. They had three sons, the youngest was William C. Putnam, Bill Putnam's father. They moved to the home on Highland when William C. Putnam was four years old. William C. Putnam married Joan, and she passed way in 1977. In 1991, William C. Putnam remarried to Barbara.
All the while over the course of 90 years, the house remained with the family. To Bill, the cherished home was the gracious host of countless family get-togethers and numerous, happy childhood memories with his grandmother, Anna.
“My grandmother lived there for years alone but we spent many evenings with her,” Bill Putnam said. “My brothers and I were her only grandchildren in Carthage, so she had fun with us. She was a great card player … The house and memories of her are good for us to focus on.”
In 1974, Bill and Cindy built a home across the street, and in 1995 they traded with Bill's step-mother, Barbara who wished for a smaller home. Now, even though the home on Highland is being passed on from the family, Bill Putnam said remaining close with the home while living on Belle Air will hopefully mean a new, close relationship with the new owners.
“We're not planning on leaving Carthage,” Bill Putnam said. “We have very deep roots in Carthage and we could never leave. My grandfather used to say 'the best part of a trip is coming home.' We love our friends here and we want to maintain our business here.”
Page 2 of 2 - Bill and Cindy Putnam are planning on spending some months of the year in Colorado, but home is where the heart is.
“Our hope is that someday someone will love (the home) and care for it and let it become a treasured part of their family's lives as it has with ours,” Bill Putnam said. “We hope to develop a relationship with that family, and share stories and help with any questions they have about the house … We'll enjoy the memories of that home.”
About the Home
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom house sits on a little more than two acres on the east side of Carthage. The house is a Colonial style two-story with a three-car garage and the second oldest swimming pool in Carthage, which was renovated in 2010.
Over the years, the family has renovated the home three times; first in 1967, again in 1996 and again in 2006. The original white oak floors were refinished in 1995; a new roof (including a subdeck) was finished in 1999, exterior siding and new garage doors were installed in 2006; a new shake roof on the gazebo and pool shed was completed in 2008; and the basement was painted this year.
The family has employed the same professional landscapers for 10 years, and hopes the future owners of the home will honor their service.
Those interested in inquiring about the house may contact Teresa Bradley with Smith Midwest Real Estate at 358-9696.