A little over a month before the death of Mager Steele Jr. the stone side of the property was purchased on 9 July 1900 for $410 by Katie Mae Lemley Parker. This price was $185 more than Steele & Bro. had paid when they purchased it from Jacob and Mary Shryock in January of 1872. It is difficult to assess with certainty the reason for this increase in the value of the property, but 1900 was the year the M. J. Grove Lime Plant was established, and with it came jobs for the local populace. Writing in 1905 for her book Early Days and Methodism in Stephens City, Virginia, Inez Virginia Steele stated the following about the “condition” of the town at that time in the opening years of the 20th century: “The town has improved in the last twenty years. Many new houses have been built and old ones renovated till they appear new. Real estate has improved in value. There are no unoccupied houses; before a house is vacated there are several applications for it.” It is likely that this increase in price was more a reflection of the town’s booming real-estate market at that time rather than an indication of any significant improvements to the property itself.
Katie Mae Lemley had married William D. Parker in April of 1900, just three months before she purchased the Stone House property. Census records for that year indicate that Katie was born in May of 1872, the youngest daughter of Jacob Lemley, Jr. and his wife Catharine. Katie’s father, who was a tailor, was the oldest son of Jacob Lemley, Sr., one of Newtown’s famed wagon makers who moved west to Missouri just before the Civil War. Katie’s grandfather, a blacksmith named George Lemley (German: Laemmie), was born in Wuerttemberg, South Germany. In 1773 George and his wife came to America where they settled at Germantown, Pennsylvania. George Lemley later moved his family to Stephensburg in 1793, when he purchased two half-acre lots on the northwest corner of Locust and Germain Streets. That house that Katie’s great-grandfather had built at that corner still stands today. Census records for the year 1900 list Katie’s husband William D. Parker as a blacksmith. William was born in April 1876 to a blacksmith from Middletown, Virginia named Charles Parker and his wife Carrie. It is interesting to note that not only was the then twenty-eight-year-old Katie Mae four years older than her husband, she also purchased the Stone House property in her own name, and apparently independently of her husband.
We do not know if Katie and her husband William ever lived in the stone side of the Stone House. Unless they were already renting the property before Katie purchased it in July of 1900, it seems unlikely. This is because Katie only owned it for three short months before selling it to her older sister Evelyn Virginia (“Ginny”) Lemley Campbell. On 5 October 1900 Katie and her husband had received a house across the street as a bequest from an unmarried elderly woman named Ann M. Grove, who later passed away in 1904 at age 85. Katie had been caring for Ann M. Grove before she died. This house at 5415 Main Street, also known as the old Andrew Pitman House, had been Ann M. Grove’s home since the early 1880s. After receiving the Ann M. Grove’s house, Katie sold the Stone House property to her older sister Ginny on 17 October 1900 for $350. As this is $60 less than what Katie had paid just a few months before it would seem that this drop in price could indicate the transaction was a financial intervention on Katie’s behalf by her older sister. After that Katie and William lived in the Pitman house, where William eventually opened his businesses in the building next door. That business eventually became Parker’s Grocery by the 1950s.
There is little evidence that Ginny Lemley Campbell needed the Stone House as a residence for her and her husband. Ginny was born in 1851 to Jacob, Jr. and Catherine Lemley and was married to her husband James S. Campbell in 1892. By the time of the 1900 Census, Ginny was 48 and her husband Jim Campbell was 37. Jim Campbell was the son of John S. Campbell, a house carpenter, and his mother was Ellenor J. Affleck Campbell. Jim Campbell had been trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a house carpenter, but by 1900 he is listed as a farmer in the census. This census record also indicates that Ginny and Jim were renting a farm near Stephens City at that time. Ginny and Jim never had any children of their own, but in 1900 they had a fourteen-year-old African American housekeeper named Bessie Jackson living with them. Ginny had some experience with purchasing properties. In April 1893, a year after her marriage, Ginny had purchased the property across Main Street from the Methodist Church, on the northeast corner of Main and Locust Streets. She owned this property until June of 1902, when she sold it to a man named Charles A. Shannon. It is likely that she lived at that property for at least part of the time she owned it. In July of 1902 Ginny also purchased an acre of land located out near the railroad depot that had formerly belonged to Steele & Bro. Basically, the evidence indicates that Ginny was using the Stone House property as an investment, leasing it to tenants while she lived elsewhere. On 1 October 1904 Ginny and Jim sold the stone side of the Stone House to Fannie and William H. Adams for $500. We will address the Adams’ tenancy separately. As for Ginny and her husband Jim, on 31 August 1905 they purchased the brick house at 5342 Main, which is located on the northeast corner of Main and Martin Streets. They lived there at that house for the remainder of their lives together.