My grandfather was a teacher at the Central Luzon Agricultural School in the Philippine Islands in the early 1900s. After he married my grandmother in 1916, both would return to the Philippine Islands, where their first two children were born. The stories of their times in the Philippines are interesting and worth a later more in-depth post.
We are not sure of the original purchase of the farm, but we know their next four children were born there, one every two years from 1922 until my mother was born in November of 1927. From oral history, we think the original farm was approximately 60 acres, but my grandfather sold about half of it (a point of contention with my grandmother) around 1932 when a new deed was issued for 33 acres. I would imagine raising a family of 8 must have been expensive.
In addition to the house, there were many buildings on the farm. I understand from older relatives the barn was moved from its initial location to the one ‘in the holler’ which is the barn I remember. It was well equipped with stalls for milking cows. Granny had a short three-legged stool that she used to milk the cows by hand. Her hands were large and strong. Milking cows is hard work. Later on they would get a milking machine which sped things up dramatically.
In addition to the barn, there was a granary, a corn crib, a chicken house, a tobacco barn, a workshop, a smokehouse, and sheds for the tractors. The fields in summer were full of field corn to feed the cows, and tobacco which would be harvested in late fall and taken to auction. I have written about the tobacco culture before. Most farmers in Virginia raised tobacco as a money crop.
There was a small natural spring at the base of the hill below the house. Sadly, is the only recognizable feature of the farm that remains. What was once a working farm where cows roamed free to graze is now packed with about 40 brick homes with ample yards and nice cars parked in the driveway. While it is sad to see how the purpose of the land changed, the hills are still there as is the spring both heralding back to distant voices and other lives.
There’s more to tell about life on the farm so stay tuned.