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 Little Home Histories, Part 29 - The Home of Sara Doudna.

by Galloway, Ella L.

See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 28 -- Josehp W. Doudna.

These recollections relate to one of the homes of the original Doudna farm, which was two miles south of Barnesville, Ohio -- the home of Sara, the younger daughter and youngest child of John and Asenath Garretson Doudna, and granddaughter of the first owners and first settlers on the farm, and Miriam Hall Doudna. The writer is one of the third generation reared on the land of these ancestors and pioneers.

My mother, the above named granddaughter, lived the sixty-six years and five months of her life on this farm -- about twenty-six and a half years at the home of her parents (her mother left a widow before her second birthday); about twenty-nine and a half years where John A. Doudna now lives; and ten years on that part of the farm where three daughters of her brother Joseph W. Doudna now live -- formerly the Edgerton, then the Thomasson farm. My parents were married 12th month 10th 1872, but began housekeeping in the spring of 1873 in the house on the Boston road. This was my birthplace (4-9-1874) and my home until nearly twenty-one years old.

As to the work that was going on around me, I remember very little, but I believe that mother and grandmother together, continued weaving carpets at various times. They wove in a building partially dedicated to that purpose, at the home place. When this building was moved down to the ridge field to Uncle Jesse I. Doudna's land -- to be partitioned, plastered and finished for his dwelling house -- I think the weaving loom was not used for some time. However, Uncle Jesse soon moved to Morgan County, Ohio, and the loom was set up again, on the upper floor of his home, and mother wove carpets there for a few seasons. Later the loom was moved to our own general purpose work shop. This was built for, and first used, for home evaporating of fruits and sweet corn, but soon was used for many other purposes.

I do not remember how many seasons our evaporator was used, but more or less, I think nearly every season for at least fifteen years. That always made plenty of work for all of us, but most for mother, because the work was somewhat on the order of kitchen work -- at least an extension of kitchen work. Mother's good management was necessary in order to get it done successfully.

When we were drying sweet corn, she did most of the cutting of the corn. This was done on a slaw cutter, which was attached to a heavy board on curved metal legs, bent cabriole fashion, and elevated so that a large pan could be placed under the cutter. The corn was then spread on the cloth-covered woodframed wire trays, and the trays were rotated in the three-track drying box. Each fresh tray was placed on the lower track nearest the small furnace.

About half way in this course the corn on each tray was scraped from cloth, from the corners to the center, until all was loosened and then it was spread again to finish drying evenly. Close watching and regulating of the heat was necessary in order that no corn was scorched or the least bit overheated or discolored. Mother looked after all of this or else directed.

The other part of the work was keeping fires, husking corn, and removing silk (all of it), after which the ears were placed in a large basket (round heavy splint bushel basket) and suspended in a kettle of nearly simmering hot water, where it remained about fifteen minutes. From there it was carried to the drying house for cutting.

In the first few years, we also dried a good bit of fruit -- apples, peaches, cherries and raspberries. Apples turned out best, and indeed were very nice. That way was a great improvement over sun drying or oven drying.

A greet deal of wood chopping was required for these fires and for the wood burning cook stove, which we used until after the house was remodeled. I can remember no time when we did not have an ample supply in the wood boxes, ready for use. Most of the time there were large piles all around the wood-yard.

We usually made as much maple syrup as we could each year. This required labor quite out of proportion to profit.

There was no cellar under our house but there was a good springhouse nearly half way between the old home and ours, which we used for a number of years for keeping milk, cream, butter, cottage cheese, and so forth in the summer months. It stood north of the farm road some distance above the filled in bridge, in a cool sheltered place, where there was a strong flowing spring, and there were a number of trees all around the banks on either side at that time. A real "Shady Dell" location.

When I was quite young, my parents built a good-sized cave, or cave cellar. The greater part of the field stone used for the walls were hauled from Uncle Jesse's part of the farm, a good deal of which was very stony and also steep or hilly. I believe there was one high point which the family called Mt. Pisgah.

Several years later this cave was enlarged and much improved. The sod and top covering was removed, the center pole and side poles, plank, and other timbers were replaced with new lumber. The walls were built higher and a cement floor laid. We then had a good roomy cave. It was well ventilated and was kept whitewashed inside and likely was a more sanitary place for keeping milk, milk products and various other foods than many a cellar under a dwelling.

At this home, we had a dug well. It was not more them twenty eight feet deep, but the water was very clear and cold and nearly free of lime deposit. It was considered the best drinking water anywhere along the Boston Road, and many people came to our well. It had a good-sized well house over it and the water was drawn with "oaken bucket" and windlass.

In the 1880s there were a great many people who passed by on foot and many who rode horseback, including a good many women. They rode on side saddle and wore the long full gathered black cambric and other material riding skirts.

An amusing incident that I recall occurred about the mid-1880s, when an intoxicated horseback rider returning home from town (Barnesville) long after dark, fell off his horse when he attempted to ride in at the front yard gate at John G. Halls. Hearing some disturbance outside, our neighbors went outside with some caution until they learned what had happened. The man was helped upon his horse and started on his way again in the right direction.

When he gave his name, he was asked if he didn't live at Boston. He indignantly replied, "No, he wouldn't be caught dead in Boston; he lived in Temperanceville." (These are two small towns, not far apart, some ten miles south of Barnesville.)

These are a few recollections relating mainly to the eighties and here I will mention briefly the dreadful winter we passed through in 1880 and 1881. There was an epidemic of diphtheria that fall and when I had gone to school just five weeks, my first term, I was taken ill with the disease. In about three weeks I was recovering when my younger sister was more severely stricken. She too appeared to be nearly out of danger, we thought, in about three weeks. But suffered a relapse and in another week passed away at the age of four years and four months. Not long after that mother took the disease and was very ill. In the early spring the baby sister died, at the age of eleven months. We had sickness all through that winter which was, as I remember, a very cold winter with deep snows.

Mother liked the outdoor work better than work indoors and she was especially interested in having trees planted wherever space could be spared. There must have been, in the early seventies, few fruit trees of any kind around our home; but a young orchard soon was planted above the highway nearly opposite the house, and came into bearing long before I was grown up. The good varieties of apples and many peach trees and other kinds of fruit were re-planted from time to time -- a few of some varieties were planted nearly every year.

We also raised small fruits for market -- first strawberries and later blackberries and red raspberries. Our farm was a small one and it was necessary to try to make the most of the land we had. I believe it was fully demonstrated here that all hands can keep just as busy on a small farm as on a large one.

The nineties are often referred to as the "Gay Nineties" and the forties as the "Fabulous" but the terms for either period were not equally applicable to all parts of the country, and of course did not originate in that broad meaning, For ourselves and most of our neighbors there was only normal change in the nineties, I think, with respect to our work and other activities. We were still living in the "Horse and Buggy days" and even in the next decade there seemed to be hardly more then the shadow of coming events and great change, then near at hand.

No doubt several of the cousins who have remained on the land, first belonging to our great grandparents, have written about the later times around the old environs from their personal experience and knowledge. They also have written about many other circumstances and events of earlier times, which, naturally, were more often mentioned at the old home -- which was also the lifelong home of uncle Joseph W. Doudna, where books and papers, early writing and records, deeds and such were kept and were available for reference.

I will add that mother lived the same active life to the last at her late home. We noticed little difference in her good health and remarkable energy, her ambition, initiative and determined effort, at all times, under any circumstances -- characteristics which she possessed in marked degrees.

Only three years before her death, her home burned down, destroying much its contents. This happened the day before Christmas in 1909. Mother then confronted great inconvenience for several months in temporary living quarters, and also much extra work during the time that preparation was made for building a new house. But these were the only arrangements she was willing to consider.

Timber for building was cut and sawed on the farm and prior to building the dwelling house, a good sized building was put up for a temporary home on site of the house that burned, where the oldest part of that house had stood eighty-eight years, with additions built in 1833 and 1858. Carpenters were working at this house at the time of the great meteoric display in 1833.

The new house was built on higher ground above the lane or farm road, to the west and north of the other location, and in sight of the Boston road and where mother's two former homes were in plain view.

Once more the work was done as it had been undertaken and mother lived in the new home, but hardly more than a year and a half. Her death came unexpectedly, December 3, 1912, after a short illness with pneumonia. It was near dawn of that day that she passed away into the "Silent Land," "where toil shall cease and rest begin."

Source: Written by: Ella L. Galloway, Barnesville, Ohio.

See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 30 -- My Pioneer Grandmother: Anna Hall Edgerton.

For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.

This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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