Stratton House Inn :: Little Home Histories, Part 68 -- The Smith Homestead, 1813-.
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by Smith, Robert H.

See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 67 -- 'A House Built About 1810'.

Thomas and Phebe Smith (Phebe Sinclair) came from Frederick County, Virginia, and entered a tract of land one mile east of Barnesville, Ohio, in 1813.

They first lived in a cabin while preparations were being made for the brick house, now owned by James Walton. This was not finished until 1817. It is two stories with eight rooms and a large one-story kitchen attached. Each room was provided with a fireplace for coal fire.

Coal was found on the lower land on the place, and by removing five feet of dirt, the coal vein yielded about fifty bushels to each square yard of surface. A stone foundation inclosed a cellar under the whole house.

At Thomas Smith's death, the "Plantation" was bequeathed to his wife, and at her death it was inherited by the youngest son, Robert. The three older sons, Sinclair, Jonah, and William, received tracts of land in Guernsey County.

Perhaps the following from the will of Thomas Smith might prove interesting: "Being desirous to settle my worldly affairs, and thereby be better prepared to leave this world, when it shall please God to call me hence, do make this my last will and testament."

"First and principally, I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, and my body to the earth, to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor," the document then goes on with distribution of effects.

The brick house, with 240 acres of land, became the home of Robert H. Smith -- who married Elizabeth Williams 12th month 4th 1822. Two of their children died in infancy. The following all lived past 60 years of age, except one.

Jonah 1-1-1825
Rebecca 12-16-1826
Barclay 1-25-1829
Sinclair 5-19-1831
Ephraim 9-28-1833
Joel 4-11-1836
Robert 3-11-1838
William 4-5-1842

This was a self supporting home. Flax and wool were grown and prepared and woven into linen and cloth. An apple orchard was planted early and great copper kettles of apple butter were made. Also great quantities of peach butter was made. An abundance of wheat was grown, and bread baked in large out-door ovens. Pork and beef were put away and some of the surplus pork was sold in Wheeling, W. Va. Some went over the mountains to Baltimore.

Soft soap was made from surplus fat and wood ashes. Maple sugar was made from the sugar camp. Rag carpets were the rule in those days.

The farm was largely a grain farm. One of the first mower and reaper outfits was a "Kirby" reaper -- with one large wheel, which was pulled by four horses. One man drove and another sat on a stool with rake in head to push off the grain, which was bound in bundles.

A large barn was built sometime in the 1840s. The top-most floor was made of pieces of oak, 2 x 3, spaced one inch apart. The grain fell through to the next floor where it was gathered and put through a fanning mill.

Later came the tread power grubber. Then came the horse power thresher, made by the Hoyle Company of Martins Ferry, Ohio. Steel plows were hailed as a great invention, so the wooden mold boards and paddle were laid aside.

Source: Written by: Robert H. Smith, Barnesville, Ohio, Grandson of Robert H. and Elizabeth (Williams) Smith.

See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 69 -- Smith Stories.

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
ENTRY NUMBER: EBK30013768

 

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