Secrets of the Homestead
We are currently in the throes of renovating the second floor of our 1760s barn in preparation for a wedding that is occurring in July. We refinished the flooring in the northernmost mow, the place where hay, straw, and fodder were typically stored. We fixed up numerous other spots in the floor as well. We’ve cleaned out the granary, the place where barley, rye, wheat, hemp, and flax were stored until they were ready for use. It was while we were cleaning out the greenery, a place I’ve been in many times as a child, that we discovered one secret that the homestead had for us. It was a secret that I did not know.
One of the frustrations of trying to place buildings in the right frame of history is a lack of date stones on this property. There is a date in the northern-most now that’s written in plaster, but we know that’s not the date the barn was built. While we didn’t discover a date stone, we did discover the name of the original inhabitants that lived on this farm, Jacob Metzler, stenciled on a board that was used to hold back the grain in the granary. As I was cleaning out a stack of wood in one of the grain storage areas, there it sat tucked in among a stack of planks.
There are actually 3 Jacob Metzler’s that lived on the farm. We are guessing this board and stenciling occurred while the second Jacob Metzler was living here, who was a son of the first Jacob Metzler. It was during this time that many alterations to the barn were made. The barn was extended an additional 20 feet. Other modifications are made it to the structure during this time period as well. It is possible that this is the original Jacob Metzler’s stenciling, that it was his way of leaving his mark on this property, something that is not blatantly evidenced anywhere else.
It is unknown whether it was the first or the second Jacob Metzler who lived here and stenciled this piece of wood and put it into the granary. Either way it’s still a piece of history that ties into this farm history and our family.