Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chasing Roots

It had been ten years since I had been to Virginia. Although I still have family there I know that with Pops passing I may never return. I have deep roots there and knew I needed to take some time to chase them down.

My great grandfather Donohoe grew up on a farm that was about 800 acres. He ended up married to a neighbor girl, Carrie. Carrie and her sister Cora lived with their parents on a 300 acre farm. Seeing as how Cora never married the land ended up in the hands of my great-grandfather Donohoe.

When my grandparents, Mom & Pop, married they ended up settled in a home across from the home Carrie and Cora grew up in. For years they were neighbors to Aunt Cora. They lived there from '40's until Pop's brothers forced a sell of all the land in the '70's.

The place we refer to as the old place or the farm is where I will begin. Aunt Cora lived in her childhood home all her life. When she passed away no one moved into her home. No one did anything with the place including clearing it out. My mom said she has no idea why. She said growing up there was even home canned goods still in the cellar. After the farm was sold Aunt Cora's place was bulldozed. Luckily for us it was dropped and there most of it lays.

Chuck and my mom climbed up the debris and did a little digging. There were able to pull out bits and pieces. One of the things they found were bricks from the chimney. Considering the bricks are over 100 years old they are in great condition. Full bricks that didn't even have mortar on them.

We took enough for all of us, including the grand kids to all have one.  The younger grand kids didn't quite understand why we wanted bricks.  I know that in time they will cherish the link to their past.  It was like the bricks had been waiting for us!

Not far from Aunt Cora's Pop had built a small barn for the cows. 

The barn is still standing and as we looked over my sister spotted a bucket that had been turned over the fence post!

So many questions.  Who put the bucket over the post?  How long had it been there?  I know that it had been there for a while as the bottom is no longer in tact.

There was a door leaning against the barn. 

Chuck said that it was perfect.  No rot and it looked like it could have still been used.   There was part of the door lock still on the door and Chuck took it off for me.

Our intent when we talked about going to the old place was to get boards off of the big red barn.  The barn is no longer there.  We did the next best thing and took boards off of the cow barn.

The next best thing turned out to be the best thing.  Mom remembers Pop building this barn.  Knowing that Pop physically touched the boards while building this barn... wow... what a great piece of history to have.  I have some plans for the boards.  I will share when I get it all together. 

In front of Aunt Coras were a stack of stones.  Mom said the stones were part of a fireplace.  A fireplace to slave quarters.  I debated if I should share this.  I know it brings to mind different emotions from different people.  What I will say is that although I don't think it was right to own another human times were different then.  From dates it looks like that occurred when my great-great grandparents ran the farm. 

This area must have been used for dumping or storage.  There were many treasures uncovered in this area.

This poker was a favorite find of moms.

The home where mom was raised is no longer there. When it was demolished the debris was cleared away.  Chuck did go to that area and found a couple of things. 

He found one of my favorite type of Ball jar.  I will always wonder if Mom (grandmother) used this jar. 

He also found this bucket.  The bottom is missing and I plan to use it as a planter.

Around the old barn this jug was found.  Pop use to make homemade root beer.  Could this jug have been used for that?

An old pully wheel was found.  I am not sure but I think it had a leather belt that ran around it to operate machinery. 

I imagine many would see these things as junk. I see them as a link to my families past. As sad I am that the barn and house were no longer standing I am glad that we went there. It gave me some closure and I am happy to have shared it with Chuck and Megan. If you made it to the end of this post... thank you for sharing my journey. May your day be filled with joy and contentment.


  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    I loved this post and all of your finds. I have one apron that my grandmother hand sewn. I have a really big family so many things went here and there. Although I don't wear her apron. I image quite often her making biscuits in it. I so treasure that apron. Of course it wasn't her only one, but it hers. Sorry I didn't mean to ramble, but I can so relate to this.

  2. What great finds. I wish I could go back to my grandparents farm again in Michigan.

    Have a wonderful evening with your family.


  3. What a great find and a great day for all of you. As we get older, we treasure up those memories and hold them dear. If only we did that while we were young and the people were around to ask all the questions we have now. I'm happy for you.

  4. I love your post and your pictures! I love going through old things-such treasures. And of course they are more special when they have connections to us. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. God bless.

  5. What wonderful finds Wendi, my goodness. Treasures for sure :)

    Thank you for stopping by today, I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers :)

  6. How neat! What treasures and especially since it was your heritage!

  7. We are a lot alike in that this would be a dream trip for me, to be able to search thru the remnants of my family's past. I, too, would cherish every little thing. The bricks are wonderful! i am glad you were able to make this trip with your mom, even tho the trip was due to such a sad circumstance.

  8. WOW! What treasures you uncovered. I know you will cherish your momentos. They are a wonderful link to your past.



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