December 02, 2011

"Another Life"

Harrisons Primitive Historic Old Farmhouse-Texas

A random search on the internet turned up these notes from another time, another life that seems eons ago   - (1985-2006 ]



We are thrilled to share this beautiful place with all of you. The Harrison House is different. It's an original dogtrot design farmhouse built in 1906. This farm came into the Raffe Simmons family in 1878 by way of a government Land grant and the present farmhouse replaced a log structure built prior to 1906. This style house was a common sight across the southern United States 100 years ago, and was a practical design to meet basic needs of families at the time.

In July 1994 we began to carefully refurbish, furnish and decorate the old farmhouse, using linens, pottery, kitchen collectibles & early 1900’s furniture such as chifferobes, iron beds, & floor model radios, primitive tables & chairs & wash stands. We finally had a home for the black pot bellied stove we have been hauling around for came from Ted's parents home in Jackson, Alabama.

The Farmhouse dogtrot design is still intact and the only remodeling necessary has been to extend the kitchen & add a porch to the northeast side of the house. On the original side porch the shelf with holes for wash pans is still there and used. A towel hangs from a nearby post. The original bath room has been improved & made more attractive with cypress walls , flooring & camp style shower stall. This now functions as a washroom and shower with the original wood shingle ceiling so thoughtfully preserved by my husband.
Thanks Sweetheart!

We call the additional bathroom our “new old fashioned” bathroom fitted with claw foot bathtub and floor model lavatory. Instead of the usual bathroom cabinets an old Jenny Lynd vanity serves as dressing table and storage. The bath room walls, once covered with multiple layers of newsprint & wall paper are now the 12” wide cypress boards we uncovered in the beginning of this project. Did I mention Overnight guests find they have to run across the dogtrot to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

Yes, we consciously chose not to add closets in each of the four bedrooms and found free standing chifferobes for hanging clothes . Whenever possible we have tried to make use of materials left over from the early changes such as windows that once were the doors on corner cabinets we could not use. Some of these are now mirrors permanently attached. Discarded lightwood fence posts now form the hand railings and posts along the front steps. A section of an original picket fence (which was once around this house) now has a place of honor in our front yard and I’m sure I can even find a place for a lightwood log discovered under a storage building. Long ago discarded parts to a once beautiful iron heater have a special place that reminds us and visitors of another time. (a 'graveyard' of sorts)

We made the deliberate choice not to add air conditioning units to this house, hung ceiling fans and decided to wait for a/c until we could install separate units hidden from view in the attic.

It is our sincere desire to be able to share this wonderful piece of history with the public.
For that reason we do offer farmhouse tours to those who express an interest. We ask that you make a specific appointment and that you bring a group with a minimum of 4 people. We can make this a simple guided tour or we can plan for refreshments or a light lunch that would be a unique experience.

Ted and I do not have a history here, did not grow up in this area, have no family ties with the farm. Ted's family roots are in South Alabama and the Mississippi Delta region. His Mother Daisy Harrison was a Bagley whose Mother was a Harper from Mississippi and his Harrison Grandmother was a Pope. I am from South Georgia. My Williams family is from the same general area of Southeast Georgia and My Mother was a Mobley . Her parents were Marion Albert & Rachel Lee Mobley; Grandpa Mobley's parents James Eli Mobley & Elizabeth Swindle Mobley can be traced to Liberty county Georgia in the OKEEFENOKEE SWAMP REGION.

We can't claim that our ancestors lived on this farm but we do have very similar stories to tell of the same period of time. Bring your own 'remember when' stories of this or other similar places and we will 'try' to be good listeners.

The Old Barn is equally distinctive and for a short time recently was turned into a unique, comfortable if primitive environment for showing and selling antique, primitive & collectible merchandise- This was done without changing the strucure of the barn; stalls were used as shops with woodshavings floors and hand hewn feed troughs and hay racks were left in place.

While retired we can still be talked into farm and farmhouse tours for history buffs or students of any age, vacationers passing by, folks "coming back home to visit," artists and photographers also.

We are located on FM 2626 (5.5 miles from HWY 87 North of Newton or just 6.5 miles from HWY 190 East of Newton)
I know you never heard of Newton,, spot Toledo Bend Tx/La. on your map and work your way just a bit west.
We will be looking for you. Watch for the RAFTER H RANCH sign.
All we ask is that you bring with you a sweet spirit and your best country manners...after all "This is a place where God Lives..In us. Ya'll Come!

Post Script/update: We sold the farm [approximately 200 acres] in June of 2006  and since then the OLD BARN and the Farmhouse have dissappeared  from the landscape on highway 2626 in Newton county Texas.

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