Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Goose Lake Farm

In 1871 William Brubaker purchased one hundred and thirty acres of native forest land bordering Goose Lake in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana. I don't know if the house was built before or after the purchase of the property. When Hale Brubaker died on December 14, 1910, my great grandparents Maude and Charles Brubaker were living in Traverse City, Michigan. They moved back to Columbia City and lived for a short time with William and Malissa. William Brubaker died on January 26, 1912 and the property was sold to Charles a year or so later. The family lived at the farm until about 1918 when the house and land was sold.

Home on the Farm at Goose Lake ~ about 1914 ~ Thornton Brubaker (sitting on the stump, half-brother of William Brubaker), Jane, Orville Day (a hired man), Maud, Billy, Hazlette, Spot, and Charles Romain Brubaker.

The house as it is was on August 16, 2005. A garage has been added to the right, a roof extension put over the porch, the chimney was removed, and they have put in new windows and siding. All of the out-buildings described by my grandmother have been torn down and replaced with a very large pole barn.

There is a partial basement under the left portion of the house, which leads me to believe that the left side was the original house. The current owners have a living room and master bedroom on the lower floor and two bedrooms upstairs. The kitchen is in the right side of the house. It now has all of the modern conveniences.

My grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker Phend, describes the house in her autobiography:

From the wood shed to the door and into the summer dining room we have been walking on a brick walk. And the small yard in front of the dining room and around the windmill was brick. This brick must have been there for years because even in 1909 it was green with moss.

I think that summer dining room was quite unique. There was an iron water tank in one corner that was enclosed by a modern cabinet with a lid on it; the tank held about forty gallons of water. This room was screened in on the north and south with a storage room to the east and the kitchen to the west. There were wooden doors that enclosed it all in the wintertime. There was as large cupboard that had been built years before and Grandma always had the room looking cool and nice.

The next room was the kitchen. I guess I can hardly tell you anything good about it, yet I learned to cook there on an old wood-burning stove. The entrance to the cellar was a trap door in the floor, you opened it and went down the ladder and hoped no one would fall into the opening while you were down below. The cellar was where the potatoes and onions were stored along with the canned fruits and vegetables; a hanging shelf was our refrigerator. The kitchen table was in the space beside this trap door and many was the time that we would have to open the door for milk or cream after we were all seated at the table. The ones that sat on the side near the door, usually Jane and Me, had to stand guard till the trip for cream was made.

On the other side was the buttery and pantry; it was just a big dark place to put everything. There were shelves and a table or sink. It was always dark as night, there were no windows and no kerosene lamp could take the awful dark away - or at least that is the way it seemed to me! There was a plastered room for meat and anything else eatable that freezing wouldn't hurt. This room was always locked.

There had been an addition to this kitchen and in the space between the pantry and the back door was a cistern pump with an iron sink. In 1909 this was quite a modern improvement. The stove was opposite the sink with the wood box and a cupboard.

It really seems very primitive but there were many delicious meals prepared and eaten in that kitchen. There was a screen door between the kitchen and the dining room, which was used as a dining room only on very rare occasions. But the screen door had been put up when we were very small so that Mama could keep an eye on us while working about the kitchen.

The dining room had wainscoting about three feet high all around and this room was my favorite. It had the heating stove beside which we kids would always get dressed on cold mornings. There was a table upon which we played games and got our lessons, Grandma had a nice cupboard here and a couple of rocking chairs. There was a wall desk that I just adored - the front came down revealing pigeonholes with lots of things in it that us kids were not to touch! The telephone was in this room, which was the heart of the house.

And it was in this room that I recall my first Christmas tree. It was just before Billy was born. I had kept saying that I wanted a yellow doll (a doll dressed in yellow) and after all the gifts were removed and opened from beneath what I thought was an enormous tree, Papa lifted me up and there in the tree was a beautiful doll dressed in yellow!

Off this room was the parlor. When Grandma lived here it was very cold and formal. In fact I don't believe we ever went into this room except for Uncle Hale's funeral. But when we moved into this house in 1911 all that was changed and we used it always whenever we had company. Later Papa bought us a piano and we took music lessons and I guess this room just came alive.

Off this room was the great bedroom, which became Jane's and mine when we grew older. There was another bedroom off the dining room, which was the master bedroom. Mama would let me stay in that room sometimes when I was sick; I remember the pink roses in the wallpaper. This room was at the back of the house but you could see the orchard from the window. It was really lovely in the spring.

There were two large rooms upstairs and an enormously interesting attic. The large room in front had a closet that ran the full length of the room, this was Hale's room and it was sacred to Grandma and was kept locked. But after Uncle Hale died and we moved into the house this is where we kids slept. It was papered with a white rose paper that was lovely. The crab apple tree, which even now stands west of the house, would then touch the windows of this room and the perfume from the blossoms was so lovely, I can still remember spring mornings in that room.

The other room was never papered, the stair well was here and the entrance to the attic. And oh, what an attic! We were allowed to play here on rainy days and it was delightful. Grandpa had a civil war gun with musket and his knapsack. There were candle molds and the butchering equipment was kept here - sausage stuffer and lard renderer, the great big meat grinder attached to a bench. There were trunks of old clothes and books that I would give a lot to see now. This room had just one window but the chimney came up through here and it was always cozy. It also had mice and wasps, which nearly scared me to death - but I loved to go there anyway.

1 comment:

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I love the description of the upstairs, the crab apple tree and all the neat treasures in the attic. I used to love to play in my grandparents atticcxb.