Friday, February 18, 2011

Farmhouse History

My dear friends, thank you so much for your condolences. 
To add insult to injury, I've been down for the count with the flu.

All week. 

I've been putting the lime in the coconut,
swallowing a spoonful of sugar,
and munching on an apple a day,
 but this nasty little bug just won't go away.

To soothe my idle mind while my body rests, rests and rests some more, 
the Artist brought home a little light reading for me from the library.
And it is light; it just happens to be in a big package.

 This is an illustrated atlas of our county, as surveyed in 1875, 
 about 10-15 years after the old farmhouse was built.

In the late 1800's, there were approximately 40 atlases published from different areas of Canada.
This borrowed copy, as were many, was reprinted in the 70's
but they are becoming as rare as the originals 
and all atlases have been reproduced digitally through McGill University.

We were quite surprised at some of the detail included in this atlas. 
We assumed, correctly, that detailed drawings such as this farm 
and portraits of prominent citizens of the county were provided at an extra cost. 
Our road, as outlined below in red, is one of only a few non-straight roads in our township.
The others are due to their proximity to winding rivers, but our road was once an Indian trail.

Neighbours have found arrowheads and evidence of longhouses on their property. 
I'm still looking.

But what inquiring minds really want to know is,
who built the old farmhouse?
 Ever since we purchased this property,
we've been curious to know who built and first lived in the old farmhouse.
Our plan was to name our humble little home after them.

It seems, we may have to figure out a plan B.
And the answer to that burning question? The original owners were a P & P Vansickle. 

There are still Vansickles living on our road
and it could cause some confusion if we named the old farmhouse 'Vansickle House'. 
Not only that but in our township alone, there must be over 100 properties owned by a Vansickle. 
One in every 10 exisiting farmhouses could likely be called 'Vansickle House', if so desired.

We've always known that the farmland and woods behind us 
and beside us were all part of the original old farmhouse homestead. 
What we didn't know however that at one time, 
the land across the road from the old farmhouse also belonged to this property. 
(The area labeled P&P Vansickle.) 
And, if you look real close, there are little circles beside the square that represents the house, 
that's an orchard. Time to replant!

It looks like we have more investigating ahead of us, 
but we've made excellent progress for our first attempt 
at retracing the life of the old farmhouse
and those who lived here.

 Now on to Plan B.
 It's that time of week again, I'm linking up with Verde Farm!

 ~Happy Friday Friends~


Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Aww Andrea I hope you're feeling better soon! If I lived closer I'd bring you over some home made chicken noodle soup. What a wonderful hubby to bring you such interesting reading! I LOVE least pertaining to things I find interesting and old homes and their past is right up my alley. The small ski town in British Columbia where I moved here from had Vansickle's also! I hope you find a little piece of history on your farm and good luck coming up with a good name for your farm. Get lots of rest!
Maura :)

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Oh, sweetie! The Flu?! yuck. Poor you....
Stress will do that to us. Please take of yourself! That is a sisterly order!

Just like Maura, home-history-fact-finding is one of my fave things to do! I love the thrill of the hunt. You really uncovered some great stuff!!! I always go to the courthouse, too. Census reports are good tools and property records often include things like horse or cattle sales. Not just land or homes. The home I lived in from my Montezuma post, I found that the acre behind the home was purchased with two mules and a buggy! You never know what you will find!
And since Vansickle is not an option, please do not call it "The PP Farm"
Just sayin....
xo, misha

MJ said...

Oh feel better Andrea! How exciting and interesting about your property, and who in the world were the Vansickle's? It sounds as if they were pretty popular folks!

RoeH said...

I just LOVE history in any form and houses fascinate me to no end. What a treasure you have!

ain't for city gals said...

Andrea, feel better soon...I learned a little history from the book The Days the Falls Stood Still...I really enjoyed it! I am ashamed to admit I knew nothing about Niagra of the many things I know nothing about! It makes me want to come to that part of the country even more...

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

Dear Andrea ~ I am so sorry to read about your loss and I'm terribly sorry that I got behind with my blogging and didn't even realise until this morning. I will send you an email later today. Please take good care of yourself ~ xox

TexWisGirl said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful bit of history with us, even though you are grieving and on top of everything, battling the flu. Hugs from Texas (where I can't catch your bug!)

Deb said...

I hope you're on the mend. I love digging into the history of our place too. Ours was a Loyalist land grant of course!

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

What a cool Atlas. We have one for our little acreagae and it's datad 1913.

They make for some fun readin!

Get better soon!

Rural Rambler said...

Hey You! Get to feeling better right now! Very interesting Farmhouse history. We been doing a little history checking on our place too. Take care Andrea! Plenty of fluids and all that jazz :) It works!

Unknown said...

The flu has been at our house too. Hope you're feeling better soon :)

Buttons Thoughts said...

I hope you feel better soon. Your post is fascinating I love Old History especially local I have the history of our farm also and I have been here for over 30 years. I live in Ontario also. Take care of yourself. B

Nancy said...

It's so fun to learn about who lived in our house before us. I traced ours back to 1908 -- three years after the house was erected.

Good luck in tracing some more history. I look forward to your findings!

Verde Farm said...

What a cool post Andrea. I love that you are researching your old farmhouse. This is a great book/atlas to start with for sure. I would just flip if there was something like that here to review. I can’t wait to hear the name you end up with. It’s not easy to figure out I know. Thank you for linking up with Farm Friend Friday :)
Hugs, Amy

Michelle said...

It is always fun to learn about an old house, especially one that you live in.

Chris at Red Gate Farm said...

Hi Andrea... I'm so sorry you've been sick this past week. The book/atlas is amazing! I love the pencil drawings and it would be so interesting to see all the old information.

Hope you are feeling better,

Kimberly said...

How neat! We've just bought our farm. Turns out to be a 90 year old Sear & Roebuck kit home. We are looking forward to learning more about its history as well.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

hi there i just found you from farm friend friday! love that old pic of the farm with the horse and buggy. so warm and inviting! those atlases sound very fun to leaf thru...hope you get over your illness.!

Anonymous said...

I hope you're feeling better soon! I had a bad case of the flu in January that turned into a sinus infection, and I'm just now feeling back to normal, so I feel your pain! Take good care of yourself.

The old atlas sounds just fascinating...I love stuff like that. How wonderful for you to be able to find your own farmhouse in there!

Elle Bee said...

Oh that is just really neat!!! I love that you're delving into the history and discovering the past of the farmhouse. Can't wait to see what else you uncover under Plan B.
Hope you are feeling better soon!

Staci@LifeAtCobbleHillFarm said...

So sorry you've been sick. Interesting idea, though, to look into who built your home. I may have to do the same. We know that our home and the 4 lost around us used to be one, then they separated the lots out by stonewalls and built additional homes. Hmm...I guess I've got another Spring project!
Take care - hope you're feeling better soon.

Dog Trot Farm said...

Dear Andrea, hope you are feeling better and on the mend. History is so interesting especially when it touches you personally. Thanks for sharing this most interesting post.

Anonymous said...

What a great gift to keep you occupied while you are not feeling your best. We are doing similar research on our place. Fortunately it has only changed hands a few times and even that just before we acquired it. The original family was here "forever" and then a few farmer wannabes for brief stays each until us. We had clues with the last name written in concrete.

Cheryl said...

Hope you are feeling better!
How fun to look back on the past of your farm house.....just imagine!!

Anonymous said...

Hope your feeling better soon!

We have the same questions about our old place which was built in 1880.....we actually did find out that the original house burnt down and the house we are living in was moved from the other side of the farm (must have been a family farm).....down in our basement you can see where the old red bricks were blacken from the fire.