Moving west for better opportunities, more land, and adventure is one of the stories of America. The Betts House in Cincinnati exemplifies that. This particular story is about a loan, a large family, bricks, and land.
William Betts was a family man in New Jersey, but wanted to see what fortunes could be made in the west. He and his wife, Phebe, their seven children, and William’s parents traveled by flatboat to Cincinnati in 1799. They liked the area and decided to stay.
Enter a local tavern keeper who had borrowed money from William. Instead of paying back in cash, William took 111 acres as his payment. The Betts’s property stretched to Mill Creek, where there were plenty of clay deposits to make bricks.
At first the 1804 brick house was simple, with two stories and one room on each floor. As the family expanded to have a total of 12 children, the house grew too. The largest change was a two-room two-story addition in 1810.
William died not long after, in 1815, but had his beloved home and property taken care of in his will. The 111 acres were divided up when the youngest child turned 21 in 1833 and only 11 acres were kept surrounding the brick farmhouse.