Stratton House Inn :: Little Home Histories, Part 65 -- Home of Benjamin and Esther Sears.
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by Sears, William H.

See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 64 -- Anecdotes of Anna Doudna Sears and Henry Doudna.

Benjamin and Esther Sears bought their home, and moved to it on the Sandy Ridge road, two and three quarter miles southeast of Barnesville, Ohio, about the year 1854. In this house they spent the remainder of their lives. Benjamin (my father) contacted consumption in the fall of 1856 and died in the Eighth month of 1857. Esther, my mother, lived until Second month 1905.

It is not known just what year their house was built but it is one of the early houses in Warren Township.

Henry Doudna, brother of Hosea Doudna -- my grandmother, and son of the kidnapped John Doudna -- built the original part twenty by twenty feet, one-half stories high. The house was built from large poplar logs hewed on two sides so they were seven inches thick. When the logs were set on edge, they matched together at the corners so perfectly that the joints would almost hold water when torn down in 1903.

The plates were doubled mortised to receive the rafters, which were halved at the comb and fastened together with wooden pins. Later a board kitchen -- twelve by twelve feet square -- was built on the east side and a double bedroom -- twelve by twenty feet in size -- was built on the south side.

Henry Doudna built the house for his son Joseph, who lived in it several years. Joseph Bailey then occupied it a number of years; Benjamin bought it from him. The original farm contained 160 acres. The tax on the 160 acres and Henry Doudna's personal tax for the year 1828 was $3.28 and six mills.

Since then it has been cut up in small tracts, but this part has remained in our family since 1854 and is still my home, where I was born.

Henry Doudna built two wonderful buildings before he built this one. They were a house and a barn. The house was a frame structure veneered with brick fit in between the studding. A part of it was two stories high and one part was one story high. The barn was a large frame building made entirely by hand. He had gone into the woods for the timber and made the lumber from trees he cut down. The frame was all hewed, rafters split or hewed and fastened with wooden pins. The floor was made of split logs and they were pinned down. The weatherboarding was split and nailed on with nails that he made. That is all the nails that there are in this building.

The lath for the roof was split and the roof was made of chestnut shingles fastened on with wooden pins. These did not go through the lath but hooked over in such a way as to hold them firmly in their place. I well remember seeing a section of the original roof in place. These buildings were on a part of the original 160 acres that he kept for a home and was located about forty rods north of our house.

A well had been dug at our house before father bought it. They had started to dig at the side of the porch, but after going down until it took forty loads of stone to fill up the dry hole, the diggers were discouraged and stopped work there. A "water smeller" with his forked stick found water ninety feet from the kitchen door, after going down forty-three feet.

The cost of this well, by careful estimates, was equal to the costs then of walking almost to California and back. But the well produced very good soft water and never goes dry. For a long time water was drawn by a windlass and rope. Later a pump took its place. In the "Horse and Buggy" days, travellers made the old well a stopping place to get a good drink, as it was so close to the road.

When the old house was torn down in 1903, we erected a new one over the same cellar. It was two stories with eight rooms, pantry and a bath room. This was equipped with all modern conveniences, except gas.

A very peculiar accident took place on the farm, in the seventh month 1927. I was quietly mowing, when suddenly I felt a sharp sting on my head. I stopped the team and looked all around but could see nothing that could have caused it. I then took off my straw hat and putting my hand to my head felt the blood. I examined my hat and found two bullet holes -- one where the bullet had entered and the other where it had come out. Evidently, it had been shot high in the air from the other side of the hill from where I was, and as it came down, it struck me, cutting a small furrow in my scalp.

I went to the doctor. He put a bandage on it, and gave me a "shot" to prevent lock-jaw. In a short time it was well again and gave me no more trouble.

Source: Written by: William H. Sears, Barnesville, Ohio.

See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 66 -- Home of Peter Sears, 1807-.

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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