Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life At The Farmhouse

Life has changed at the old farmhouse in the last few weeks.  My children started school, and for the first time in 14 years, I do not have a child home with me most of the day.  My fourth baby started 1st grade this year, and my first baby started high school.  It feels like a new stage in life for me.  It's a new era and I'm excited to explore what my life is going to be from now on.

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I've spent many days, since the start of school, pondering my next steps.  Life has changed so much, not only this milestone of all of the kids in school, but a new house, a new state, and a new career for my husband - a career which takes him on the road much of the time.  I am left with this odd sense of freedom and time and trying to figure out what exactly I should be doing with it. 

I've explored pursuing photography - going back to school, studying it, and make a career of it, but the only way to make money being a photographer is to take portraits and I don't like taking portraits.  I prefer landscapes, architecture, and taking pictures of people as life is happening in candid moments.  I don't like setting up shots and telling people how to pose.  It's just not something I enjoy.  So, photography will just remain a really fun hobby.  Besides photography, I have explored getting a degree in early American history.  I've explored pursuing many, many of my interests.  However, it came down to this, on my death bed, what would I regret not doing?  There was only one thing, and it sprang immediately to mind.  The one thing I would regret not doing is pursuing my writing.  I've said that I've wanted to be a writer since I was 5.  It is part of my soul and I must go after it.  Even if I am never published, I must try.  That's all that matters.

I've thought about writing a memoir, which is something that has been on my mind for a couple of years now.  I've always wanted to reach out and help fellow survivors of childhood abuse.  I've also thought about writing straight fiction, or a combination of both - my true story interwoven into a fictional story.  I haven't come to a conclusion quite yet, but something strange happened as I was pondering all of this last week.  I suddenly had the thought that I needed to find out the history of my house, the history of the people who lived here.  I had the sense that the answer to my writing may lie in discovering the mysteries of this house.

No one could quite tell me the history of this house or exactly when it was built.  However, the owners of this home from 1976-2009 left a big, fat folder of paperwork pertaining to this house.  To make a long story short, after contacting my town's historical society and going through paperwork and information on the web, I discovered that the man who built our house was Deacon John Craig (deacon in the presbyterian church for 30 years) who lived from 1762 to 1837.  I also discovered that our house once sat 2 miles from here in a neighboring town and was moved to its current location in 1976.  His wife was named Janet or Jenet, spelling varies from record to record.  Her maiden name was Gilmore, which means that this house originally belonged to a Gilmore girl!  He was 9 years her senior and they married in 1794, and at least 4 of their babies were born in my home.  Not only was he a deacon in the church, but he also served on the board of selectmen of his town and in records he was called a yeoman.  Doesn't that sound positively medieval?  In 18th and 19th century America, a yeoman was a small family farmer.  He was a dairy farmer and most likely farmed fruit, as well.  So, my house is an honest-to-goodness farmhouse!  Something I've always wanted.  Everyone that lived in this house was listed as a farmer at least through the early 20th century.

I still do not know the date of construction, but through a lot of research I believe it was built in the early 1790's, though I still plan on researching until I find out for sure.  The odd thing about all of this is that I discovered a plethora of information about John last Saturday, the 10th.  All of this information just came pouring out on that day.  Then, at the end of the day, I found out the date of his birth.  It was September 10th, the exact same day!  It was John's 249th birthday when I found out all about him.  Gave me the chills.  I also found out where he was buried.  So, on Sunday we visited him in a quaint old graveyard, surrounded by lush green farmland, and wished him a happy birthday.

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I am now addicted and plan to dig deeper into the history of my home and the people who spent their lives in it.  I feel that it will lead to something, and if nothing else I feel a deeper bond to those people who loved my home; who lived here, who were born here, and who died here.

25 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I wish I lived in a home with so much amazing history.

Barbaloot said...

That's pretty amazing! I love American History---I wish I could travel back in time and watch it all. Of course, my travel machine makes me invisible so I can just wander and watch. I don't have to worry about people seeing me and freaking out:)

Heather said...

Oh, you are like on my dream adventure ;) I sort of want an old house not just for the beauty of it, but for the story of it. I think its a great omen that you found all that out on his birthday! Can't be just a coincidence!

I am looking forward to you exploring your writing, you are so talented at it and you have such a gift with words that you HAVE to use it.

If you ever want a critique buddy, let me know! In another life I used to be an editor, you know ;) and maybe that would inspire to finish some writing I've sat on for years...

Have fun! I'm home alone too now and its so exciting!~

Angela said...

First of all, dying to see the house...second, let's plan lunch now that your days are free...third, photography is great!

HeatherWasHere said...

This is so exciting, every bit of it! And those pictures! Taken on your iphone? What app are you using? Or are you editing them afterward? Please continue to document your search...this is so fun for us readers with humdrum lives and houses.

Sarah Laurence said...

Wow, I can’t believe your baby is so grown up now! My daughter joined her big brother in high school this year too – it is a big transition. I do my photography as a side profession too as I prefer landscapes to studio and wedding work. How much fun to live in a historical site! Good luck with your project.

HeatherD said...

You're writing gives me chills and makes me want to own an old home with gobs of history. I'll buy any book you write. ;)

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Kristina - I used to always wish that! So happy that it happened.

Barb - Me too! And I agree about the invisible part.

Heather - Hey, thanks! I might just take you up on that. It is an adventure, and one I know you'd enjoy too. Maybe someday you'll get your own old house.

Anjeny said...

Alyson, you should definitely pursue your writing. I think what you're just now writing, about your house and the history behind would make a great book. I've always been fascinated with anything old, you know like history and I think New England is one of the most fascinating place to live rich with history. I would be the first in line to buy your book, just so you know. I enjoyed this post tremendously.

Donna said...

What a fascinatng bit of history....and to think it is right in your own yard! You'd be a great writer! The house looks like it has a lot of character...and the pic of your little guy in the puddle is adorable! Boys and their puddles!Yes, my life changed too when my children entered those phases of life. Have fun with yours!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

How awesome! That's so much fun to know the history of your home - especially with it's long list of inhabitants and stories :)

I love early American history as well. One of my degrees is in American Studies and I always wished I'd gotten my Masters in Colonial American History.

As far as your photography - it's beautiful! I say you open a etsy shop! Your prints would be gorgeous.

ed said...

I too feel that way about pursuing writing...it is a pretty strong pull!

I suggest reading The War of Art. It is a great book for aspiring writers and a quick, inspiring read.

Lastly, I would love to have you follow my family around for a day or two and take real life pictures of our daily life. Glimpses of reality. I would pay good money for it actually. And it would solve all of my issues with family pictures looking so "posey."

You are so very talented, what a fun opportunity to use those talents. And what fun learning of your homes inhabitants!

Eileen said...

That sounds like an amazing story right there---the history or your house! I think it would be fascinating!

Robin Larkspur said...

You have got to write this book. New England early history, written in this old old house...the stories are there waiting for you to scoop them up and put them on paper. The Deacon wants his story told. Or a fictionalized version thereof! Good luck!

Maggie May said...

Now pick up a pen and get some paper & make out a draft.
You have a story to be told. Definitely!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

sara said...

Wow, very interesting. In vegas all the houses are so new, I can't even imagine not knowing when my house was built. Very cool researching.

Faerie Moon Creations said...

Love your son's Nightmare Before Christmas backpack! What an adventure you are on! I am sure your beautiful home is steeped in lots of rich history. Can't wait to learn more. :) Have fun exploring!

Hansonpatch said...

Gilmore girl, Colonial farmhouse, green, rain, New England!!!!! I am so very jealous!

Lara said...

You know I love this! I'm so glad you could find so much information, and the thing about his birthday gives me the chills.

We had so much fun researching our house history this summer, and I find myself really thinking about those people as I work around the house. It's really neat to live in an old home.

Crystal Pistol said...

Beautiful pictures. You are a great photographer.

I also love learning about my kindred dead. They are so alive when I discover who they were on this earth.

Sue said...

I think you've found what it is you should be doing. WRITING
and possibly this house is a great start. You gave me chills and even creeped me out a bit...but like a scary movie, I kept watching. The history of houses can be so interesting and sometimes monumental.
I will return again, I am intriqued now. I hope you have intentions of sharing more.
see you again,
susie

Donna said...

I'm so glad you're going to get back into writing again. You're really good at it. The history of your house and John Deacon are fascinating and I can't wait to find out more as you make new discoveries. This is history at its best!

Heidi said...

It's like you're living a fairy tale!

An Historical Lady said...

I started my blog about a year and a half ago because for over 20 years I was consistently told "you are a very gifted writer". I hope to be 'discovered' and published, but even if it doesn't happen, I AM a writer, and have thousands now reading about my little New England life on a daily basis.
Published or not, I enrich my soul every day because I not only pursued a dream of moving a thousand miles alone as a widow of limited means and buying and restoring a small, ancient cape, but by writing about as well...

I met my soul mate here in New England, and in the little brown cape, we live 'an historical life'!
Mary

http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

www.thecountryladyantiques.com

Butternutsage said...

wow what a fabulous story for you to hold about your house...I do not believe in coincidenses!!! Fabulous!