Saturday, June 30, 2012

~ Gettysburg Farmhouse Yields Relics ~

Letters and a photograph from the 1800s were beneath the attic floorboards.

(Interesting article of history & artifacts ... for all you intrigued with history.)  

Tanza ~ we drove right by this farm when in Gettysburg.

An 1888 letter was discovered during renovations to the attic of a historic house on what is locally known as the Yingling Farm. Workers discovered more than a dozen artifacts while renovating the farmhouse.   

This historic farmhouse provided much over the years.

Its well cooled Union soldiers marching to Gettysburg. Its kitchen was raided by Confederates, the tables and chairs burned as firewood.
Decades later, the lawn was used by crews filming the movie "Gettysburg." Thousands have tramped the grounds for battle re-enactments.
But the famous farmhouse kept secrets, too.
A collection of historic artifacts remained hidden beneath the attic floorboards for decades.
Only recently did construction workers discover letters from the 1880s. In one letter, the writer complains in elegant script of a $3 bill for a doctor's visit and the $1 expense for medicine.
A rusty straight-razor was pulled from beneath the floorboards. A tin of witch hazel, used to treat sores and blisters during the Civil War, also was found during the remodeling work.
Construction workers discovered more - a red canister of "mild mustard plasters," which promised to cure everything from earaches to asthma. They found half-a-dozen glass bottles, once containing salves and ointments, and with the tell-tale brown glass and wide opening of 19th Century medicines.
The most curious find, perhaps, was the negative of a glass-plate photograph.
It shows a fat pig, clearly the prize of the farm. A lab analysis dated the image to the 1880s.
"I think it's amazing that there are still secrets this house is giving up," Laurey Schroeder said.
Schroeder and her husband, Gary, purchased the farmhouse about four years ago with plans to retire there. The house sits on what is locally known as the Yingling Farm, the past site of the Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment.
But the house itself sat vacant for several years on Pumping Station Road, four miles southwest of Gettysburg. Water leaked beneath the 1860s foundation. The floorboards rotted. Roof beams sagged in the attic. The front bay window with its Victorian detailing nearly collapsed. Wallpaper covered the ceilings and walls, every inch, Laurey said.

This tobacco pouch, believed to be at least 123-years old, was discovered during the renovation of a historic farmhouse outside Gettysburg. (THE EVENING SUN - SHANE DUNLAP)

Workers spent three weeks removing wallpaper.
Now, they're adding new plumbing and electrical wiring. They're replacing missing floorboards, shoring up the attic beams and readying everything for the Schroeders.
"You always kind of hope that maybe you'll find something behind the walls," Gary said. "But we did not expect to find anything like this."
Newspapers printed in the early 1900s were pulled from between wall joists. Yellowed but readable, one comments on the coming prohibition of alcohol, it promises states will be "bone dry" by 1926.
There was found an early mousetrap, the springs rusty but still working, and a cloth pouch of tobacco with lettering that reads "The Seal of North

Historians believe some of these bottles were produced in the 19th Century. They were discovered during renovations to a historic house on what is locally known as the Yingling Farm. (THE EVENING SUN - SHANE DUNLAP)
Carolina." It promises the contents to be "only the purest and the best." Historians estimate the tobacco pouch dates to the 1890s.
Magazines from the early 1900s were pulled from the floorboards. One advertises a six-day cruise to Bermuda for $75. Another appeals for readers to buy a 1-cent stamp and, when finished, mail the magazine to soldiers fighting in World War I.
A 1917 issue of Philadelphia's Public Ledger announces, "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his colleagues believe it soon will be proven that plants have souls."
Another Public Ledger story curiously reads, "Science assures us there are fairies."
Laurey laughs when mentioning the original insulation pulled from the attic. It looked strange at first and they feared asbestos. A lab analysis, though, identified it as aged sheep's wool.
Crews left it intact alongside the horsehair plaster that has secured the farmhouse since it was built by the Bigham family, believed to be in the 1860s.
The farm remained in the Bigham family through the 1900s, while two brothers raised dairy cows on the property, according to a history called "Jimmy at Gettysburg," written by Margaret Bigham Beitler.
In 1951, it was sold, and the property has since been divided, with the farmhouse bought by the Schroeders.
The couple lives in Chester County, though Laurey said she always dreamed of retiring to Gettysburg, ever since her childhood romps through the battlefield.
In fact, they considered several historic farmhouses, she said. That is, until she recognized the view from her new bedroom window.
In the distance, rising up against the horizon, is Big Round Top.
post signature "Oh my gosh," Laurey said, "my husband knew he was sunk when I saw that."

The historic farmhouse  


  1. Good morning sweet friend
    What a neat interesting post! You know how I love history and this post is truly full of it.
    Isn't amazing what you might find in these old homes.
    My brother Gary has the old Sam Houston home and they have found so many things like this from his family.
    Hope you and Harold are well. Sending you wishes for a great weekend
    Love ya

  2. That is an amazing collection of artifacts. Hey, I'll take the $75 cruise to you think the price still holds? LOL, Linda

  3. marydon, Isn't that amasing? I would love to find some treasures like that. Enjoy your weekend. Smiles, xo, Susie

  4. Wow!!! What amazing history was found there!!

  5. What a great story! I am fascinated by old houses and the tales they tell.

  6. Good morning Sweets !!
    WoW !!! This was an amazing article !! How Exciting to find and hold ALL these treasures !! You KNOW how intrigued I am by the history of all those beautiful places !! Baaahaaa ... makes me want to go for a drive along an old country road !! Are you up for it !? LET'S goooo .... breakfast first, and than hop in for a long pretty drive, America in all it's glory !!

    Missing you sweet friend, and wishing you a beautiful, happy day

    Huggers ~TeA~ xo

  7. Very interesting info.

    Hey--Just a reminder--I still need your home address so I can send you your goodies.



  8. Those are so beautiful. Wouldn't it be so awesome to sift through all those old homes???

  9. Those are amazing finds! Antiques are such fun. I hope they can all be preserved for future generations.
    Y'all have a great weekend,
    Pamela :)

  10. Hi Marydon, It is fun to see what can be discovered in old houses. I can remember moving into houses when I was growing up that you never knew what the people before you would leave behind. It was always fun to explore, but we had our lectures of where and what we were to do. We enjoy history and remembering, I love the trips that you all take. They make me feel as though I am right with you. Have a great weekend and try to stay cool. Hugs from Your Missouri Friend.

  11. What a cool story! Great finds.

    Your package is in the mail!


  12. Rose, I have tagged you for the Liebster Award. You can check it out on my blog.


  13. WOW, you always take me back in time! I love reading about such articles and history! I would have LOVED to find that under the boards of the floor! Thanks for sharing! BIG HUGS!