Friday, June 29, 2012

Hale Farm Outing

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hale Farm Outing

I would like to share with you a Saturday outing with my older daughter-in-law Janet and youngest grandchild Kylee.  A couple of Saturdays ago, we spent the morning exploring Hale Farm Village in Bath, Ohio.
Having been to Hale Farm several times in the past 20 years, it was fun to once again explore the farmstead.
A little history about Hale Farm:

Hale Farm & Village, located in the Cuyahoga Valley near Bath, Ohio, is an outdoor living history museum and a premier collection and property of Western Reserve Historical Society.  Daily mid-19th century life is depicted through dozens of historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, cooking demonstrations, and demonstrations of Early American craft and trades. 

Jonathan Hale - The Settler

In 1810 Jonathan Hale, a farmer from Glastonbury, Connecticut, arrived in the Western Reserve.  As a gesture of good faith, Hale guaranteed the debts of a friend in Connecticut.  Unfortunately for Hale, the man was not able to settle these debts, thus forcing Hale to pay them.  Hale was forced to sell his house and farm in Connecticut, and with $1,250.00 left from his shrunken assets, he purchased 500 acres of land and ventured to the Western Reserve.

Upon arrival Hale found a squatter settled on his property.  Respecting the work the man had done, such as clearing the fields and building a cabin, Hale gave him his horse and wagon in exchange for his efforts and hence began the Hale Homestead.

In 1825 Hale began construction a sparkling three-story red brick house using materials from his property.  At the time of completion, this was one of only two brick homes in the Cuyahoga Valley. Three generations of the family lived in this house and farmed the property.

Today the entire Hale Farmstead is a Living History.

We began out tour with the cabin that was built on the property by the squatter.  Jonathan Hale lived in this house, sending for his wife and several children, while building the large brick home that they would all live in eventually.   The bricks which numbered in the thousands were poured and fired right on the property.  The walls were double bricked for insulation from the hot summers and very cold winters.  This is the original cabin.  There was a ladder going up to the attic in which the children in the family would have slept.  Very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.  Harsh conditions they all lived through!

Janet and Kylee are pictured in front of the log cabin. 

There was only one bed downstairs, a rope bed.  Mr. and Mrs. Hale would have slept in a similar bed. The mattess would have been filled with corn husks.  A rope bed has wooden rope tightners (such as the one on the left bottom of the bed).  As the mattress sagged, the ropes would have to be tightened.  The quilt itself was very buggy, hense the saying "sleep tight and don't let the bugs bite".  Bedbugs were a big problem back then!

There is a chamber pot under the bed, which was the only form of bathroom facility in those days before the outhouse was invented.  A younger child in the family would have been responsible for emptying it and placing it back under the bed.

The volunteers at Hale Farm and Village are all dressed in period clothing and tend to talk the way they did back then.  Here, the volunteer explains how all the cooking utensils and gadgets would have been used to cook every meal for the family.  There was a long swing arm inside the fireplace that help pots for cooking, etc.  The older daughters in the family would have been responsible for sweeping out the ashes as they formed.  This was very dangerous as women and girls wore long sweeping skirts daily and sometimes the ashes would catch them on fire.  Many casualties came about because of this chore.
This is the sawmill which was not working that day.  I have seen the process at other times and it is quite fascinating.

This gentleman volunteer is ready to give us a firing demonstration with a real Flintlock Rifle.  These are the rifles that were used in the War of 1812.  They used blackpowder and mini balls.  A bayonette attachment was demonstrated, also.  The Flintlock Rifle was very inaccurate.  The buckshop went everywhere and you never knew what you were going to hit.  That is when soldiers marched into battle in long lines towards  the enemy lines firing their Flintlock Rifles and finishing the enemy off with the bayonetts attached to their rifles.

Next, we went over to the spinning and weaving cabin.  Outside two volunteers were carding and spinning wool to be used for weaving.  We all got the chance to card the wool.  The tool looked like two large curry combs that would be used to groom a horse.  Another woman was dying yarn in a large pot of boiling water over an open fire.  Nuts, berries, onion skins, insects, etc. would have been used to produce the dyes.  On the cloths line were examples of dyed wool that the volunteers had produced.  The colors were very beautiful and natural looking.

Inside the weaver's log cabin were a selection of large looms used to weave all the cloth that would have been used to make clothing, curtains, etc. for the household.  The girls in the family would have spent part of their day weaving.  The younger ones, including boys as young as three years old were taught how to make the shuttle cock run back and forth between the threads.  A shuttle cock is a small wooden implement used in weaving.

On the other side of the cabin was the candlemaker.  He was in the process of hand dipping candles.  An average family would use over 200 candles yearly for lighting.  These were all made by hand on the farm.
Our last stop for the day was the School House Cabin.  The School "Marm" Teacher was there and told us all about his teaching techniques.  He looked the part and was very curious as to how our modern day schools are now.

Lots of area schools bring their elementary aged school children to visit Hale Farm and the schoolhouse is certainly an entertaining and informative stop along the way.  Our teacher gave Kylee a paper and feather quill and ink jar to try and write her name.  It was fun!

As we had been at Hale Farm for over three hours by then and the temperature was hovering around 90 degrees with hot sun, we decided to call it a day and stopped back at their visitor's center for lunch.  We had a pulled pork sandwich and chicken fruit salad sandwiches on a croisant.  Very good and reasonable. 

We will certainly come back to Hale Farm, maybe in September for their Fall Festival, or one of their reinactments. 

If you are planning a trip to Northern Ohio, you might want to consider stopping at Hale Farm for a Day.  There is so much more to see than we got to explore in our short time there.  This past winter we all participated as an extended family in one of their Lantour Tours at night.  They give you a real lighted candle lantern to explore the village and at evrey stop a new scenario unfolds with volunteer actors  in costumes speaking as they were really living in those times.  It was a Christmas Eve program.  Lots of fun and with 20 relatives in our group, lots of stores to tell afterwards.

Until next time,

Rosemary, Garden Gate Designs

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