Discovering History Part 2: Our Journey to Homestead Living

by Merissa on April 3, 2014

in Farmhouse Renovation

Discovering Our Homestead's History

Farmhouse Renovation Part 1: Moving On
Farmhouse Renovation Part 2: Getting Started
Discovering History Part 1

Earlier this week I shared the first part of the history of our farmhouse, make sure you check it out first before reading today's post!

Farmhouse Renovation

In 1893 a small family of 3 moved into the farmhouse. Soon thereafter they became a family of 4, then a family of 5, then a family of 7 (twins), then a family of 9 (twins again!), then a family of 11 (twins yet AGAIN!), and finally adding one more to become a family of 12.

Now I feel like the farmhouse is pretty large, at least for us since moving out of the rv, but I can hardly imagine a family of 12 (!!!) living in here!

After we discovered this information I had to walk through the house many times over to try and figure out how they all fit in here. Since I'm sure the home's interior has been changed since they moved here in 1893, it's hard to tell for sure but here is my guess...something to think about as you look at the rest of the renovation pictures I will share over the next few weeks.

I would guess that the second story (a half story) was originally the bedroom for the children. The master bedroom is a fairly large room so it could have been divided (boys and girls) fairly easily. I believe the parents slept downstairs next to the kitchen in what is now the bathroom. The current kitchen was not added until the 30's so what is now the dining room was once the kitchen. We know this for sure because when we redid the floor we can see a part of the floor with some water staining and oil stains and right below this area in the basement is the old well so the owners were able to pump water directly into the kitchen sink. A pretty nice feature for back in the day!

Homestead History

Pieces of clothing we found in the house.

From the census we discovered that this family also had a young man and a girl living with them. I would guess the girl was a helper for the mother and the young man would have been a hired hand for the farm that the family owned. We might be able to confirm this when we have more time to explore the outbuildings but I would guess that they hired help lived in one of those. I'm not sure where they would have stayed in the house!

In the info I have found about the family we've discovered that they were well respected in their community and church. They loved singing and making music together in the home. In the obituary for the father it says that in the house the family endured sickness, grasshoppers, droughts, and were still able to succeed through it all.

Sometimes when I'm sitting in the living room I think about this not-so-little family that once called this house their home. I think about them playing music and singing together.

Then my mind wanders to the neighbor's homes....all 3 homes within a mile of ours are abandoned, 2 of them long ago, the other I haven't explored much yet so I'm not sure how long ago it was abandoned. I think about the families that once gathered in those homes. They would have most likely been friends with the family that lived in our home and watched after each other, as was more of a custom back in the day. There was a little school not even a mile from our home once so all the children would have gathered there for class each day in the winter. When I walk down the road I can picture a time when it was just a 2 track with a small bridge over what was once a creek between the houses and I think about the children doing this to visit each other.

Homestead History

Pictures we found in the walls for a Vistascope, they had fun too!

It all brings you back to a simpler time doesn't it? A time when the families had little more than each other and didn't put much stock in material items. They worked hard to survive and provide what they could to help their families grow strong.

I'm glad to have discovered this in this history of our home and I hope we are able to continue that legacy as we live and grow here.

(There was around 30 years in between this family living in the farmhouse and the next owner that stayed a decent amount of time. Unfortunately during that time it looks like the house may have been abandoned for a while and most likely fallen into disrepair. The exact timeline during those years has been hard to discover so far but I'm working on it!)

Check back on Tuesday for the next part of the series and make sure you areย signed up for my weekly newsletterย so you don't miss any farmhouse renovation posts!

merissabio

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6:00 am

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Debbie Bernard April 3, 2014 at 7:21 am

Hi! I’m from south Louisiana. LOVE the stories! Very interesting.

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2 Kara April 3, 2014 at 7:41 am

I have loved reading about your new homestead, and especially the history of the place. I am fascinated with that time period…when life was so much simpler. It was a time when people knew what was really important in this life. I love that you and your family are trying to capture that.

When I was just out of High School, we, too, lived in an R.V. It was hard at the time, but looking back on it, I have many fond memories of it. We were definitely closer as a family, being forced to be in such close proximity. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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3 Jenny April 3, 2014 at 7:43 am

And to think these days, doctors would label that mother with a medical condition for having all those twins!

Your mentioning of abandoned houses made me think of one of my favorite YouTube channels -DakotaLapse. He does incredible time lapse videos mostly of the night sky and loves to juxtapose the vastness of the night sky with old, decrepid objects (i.e. houses) in the foreground. This is the link to his Orion video, but be sure to check out Temporal Disortion too -that is my favorite! http://youtu.be/GkhlTdu5L74 Thanks-I’m loving these posts about your home!

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4 Kathleen Anderson April 3, 2014 at 8:18 am

Thank you so much for taking the time in your busy life to share your story! I look forward to each blog!!

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5 Vanessa April 3, 2014 at 9:26 am

Loved reading this!! So amazing that you were able to find so much information and that it was all so pleasant and heartwarming:) But oh my goodness…twins 3 times in a row!!! I cannot imagine what that was like for that woman!

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6 Sally April 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

This is amazing. I’ve always wanted to live some a place rich with history,and while I’m sure the work at times is daunting it must be fascinating all the same. Best of luck!

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7 Paulina April 3, 2014 at 10:19 am

Love, Love, all the stories. Keep them coming please. I love that era so much.
Blessings

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8 marci357 April 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

House history is so fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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9 Steph April 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Love that you took the time to learn about your home. We were able to find out a lot about our home because our neighbor has lived on this street her entire life. She was here when the house was first built in 1948. She k new the original owners well. We bought the house from the daughter of the original owners. We are the third family own the house. We love history too. I went to school for archaeology so it’s fun finding things when digging in the garden or planting out front. Love your blog!!!

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10 aing April 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

You are right that those times were simpler, at least in the country, but certainly not easier! No tractors, no electricity, no wood for the stove but for the wood you chopped yourself without a chainsaw and wood splitter… Yes, simpler but much more difficult. I would not trade those times for these. My husband is a DIY guy, but to think he would have had to remodel our house with hand saws, hand-crank drills, kerosene lamps at night, no heat in winter… Oh well. Your updates on the history of your house are very interesting. Thanks.

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11 Hipockets April 5, 2014 at 3:10 am

How lucky are you to discoever “Goodies” in the house’ Makes it more of a living thing’ Bet it excited you every time you found something’ Everyone should put a little of their history in their walls if they are building their house’ Doubt they would think of it nowdays,people don’t care anymore about that kind of stuff’Keep up your postings’ Enjoy them’

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12 Hipockets April 5, 2014 at 3:13 am

Merrissa’ You should dig around the old houses near by ‘ You may find some neat old stuff to decorate your house with’

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13 Eliza April 5, 2014 at 5:16 am

Are you going to name your property? Have you found anything in your research that you might use? I have loved reading about your research.

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14 Merissa April 5, 2014 at 7:26 am

Nothing from our research we are going to use, but yes we are going to name our property ๐Ÿ™‚

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15 Bonnie Bourdage April 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

Just love your blogs. I too love history, especially of homes.
Thanks, in part to your journey, I too am full time RV living while I build on and save. My goal is to retire early when finished. I now make my own soaps, breads and meals from scratch. Thank you for blogging.

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16 Sherry April 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

Hi Merissa, I’ve been visiting your site for awhile now. I love it. I want to thank you for providing such good information and the time you take to provide us with it. I love hearing your stories about your homestead. You have a definite talent for writing. I find myself coming back to your site time and time again either to get a new craft idea or recipe or gardening tips. Always with easy to understand instructions or your wonderful stories. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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17 elaine abernathy April 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

This is so fascinating! We live on land that has been in my mother-in-law’s family since the 1760’s, so I really appreciate the history of a homeplace. I’m also amazed at the she survived so many births of twins. I have twin daughters and remember how hard that pregnancy was. You are truly blessed to have a home with so much love and respect.

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18 Heidi April 9, 2014 at 6:34 am

How exciting! I would just love to live in a house with that much history. I would think about that mother ALL THE TIME, as I was preparing dinner and tucking littles into bed. How she must never got much sleep, can’t imagine 3 sets of twins! All the laundry and sewing she would have had to do. Think the grasshoppers were the same that ran the Ingalls out of Plum Creek?

What a lovely history to discover. Can’t wait to read the rest. Blessings.

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19 Deirdre Cunningham April 27, 2014 at 2:50 am

Hi Merissa, Im really enjoying reading about your ‘adventure’!! Please keep it up! x

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20 Brittney October 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this. To have so much history in one house is amazing. It is always a wonderful thing to know where you came from and find different artifacts.

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21 June April 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Did you put things in the walls when you were renovating for 100 years down the road when the next people renovate? ๐Ÿ™‚
I heard of a family that renovated and found a newspaper from President Lincoln’s time in the wall, so they carefully put it and a current newspaper back in the wall for the next people!
Your “Discovering history” posts are really neat! Do you have more history to discover?

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22 Merissa April 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm

There is always more history to discover! I will have to post more pics sometime of the things we’ve found.

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