John S. Swain House



The John S. Swain House at 318 East 7th Street is listed as a contributing resource in the National Register Nomination for the Tyler Hill Historic District. The nomination refers to the house as the Ledbetter House, a common name reflecting its ownership in recent years by the Ledbetter family. The house is an excellent example of the Queen Anne Style with Eastlake details.

John S. Swain acquired lot three in block eight of the Tyler Hill subdivision from the Tyler Hill Company on December 10, 1888 in exchange for capital stock in the company valued at nine hundred dollars. No house is shown at this location on the map of the city of Anniston published by the Anniston City Land Company in January 1890. In July of that year, the Swains recorded a deed correction their earlier deed by indicating that the Tyler Hill Company stock was actually owned by Mrs. Swain. In November 1891, the Swains purchased the eastern thirty feet of the adjacent lot four from Mrs. S. Gleaves for four hundred dollars. The Timing of these latter two transactions suggest that the present house was constructed around this time with completion circa 1891.
The Swains are listed as residing at 318 E. 7th Street in the 1896 city directory, the first edition available after 1890. Swain was at the time associated with the firm of C.J. Houser and Swain, “Lumber, sahs, door, blinds, etc. , contractors,” Located on 16th Street between Pine Street and the railroad.
On July 8, 1899, the Swains sold the property to Olin M. Alexander and his wife Lula for 3,000 Alexander, then associated with Dixie hardware Co., is listed in the 1900-1901 city directory residing in the house with his wife. The 1905 directory lists Alexander’s occupation as “real estate and loans” with an office over the Evening Star office and his residence as 7th Street near Leighton. By the time the 1908-1909 directory was compiled, Alexander had relocated to 103 East 22nd Street where he is listed as an attorney. The 1910 census records Chivers N. Woodruff renting 318 Street with his wife Sarah. Woodruff was the manager of Miller Grain and Feed Company. At about this time the property transferred to Fannie M. Steele and her husband A. Newton Steele, a local physician. The Steeles are listed in the 1909 city directory living at 1124 Wilmer. The Steeels in turn sold the property to Jessie Vaughn Winn on November 26, 1910 for 4,000. No reference was found to the occupants of the house between 1910 and its sale by Jsessie Vaughn Smith (Formerly Winn) of Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas” to Emma hudson Mable on March 11, 1918.
The Mables are listed in the June 1918 telephone directory as residing at this address. J.P. Mable’s occupation is recorded alternately as a contractor or scrap dealer in successive city directories. By 1929, Martin M. Kennedy is also listed at this address and directories from 1931 on list Mrs. Mable and Kennedy.

Emma Hudson Mable, a widow, sold the property to Fred Williams on November 17, 1938 for 2,000 and the assumption of a mortgage to the Home Owners’ Loan Corp. The next available city directory published in 1940 lists Williams residing at this address with his wife Ruby. His occupation is listed as owner of Fred Williams Il co., dealer in “Koolmotor Gasoline, Washing, Lubricating and Simonizing, Open All Night” 830 Noble Street.
The Williams sold the property to Bennie and Rosa Ledbetter on September 30, 1961/ Bennie was an education specialist at Fort McClellan prior to his death circa 1977. The property subsequently passed into his wife’s ownership in 1986 and then to their daughter Carol Ledbetter Allen in 1999. By the time attorney Donald Stewart and his wife Lulu purchased the property in September 2004 the physical condition of the house had suffered from years of deferred maintenance and many in the community feared that it would be demolished. Instead, the Stewarts extensively rehabilitated the house, restoring it to much of its original late-nineteenth century appearance. 

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