Back in the mid 1960′s during a reunion trip to Coshocton, my parents had discussed finding a house that my dad’s mother had grown up in (or was born in). I don’t remember which one. So we headed toward the country and rural areas and started looking for said house. Apparently my dad had been there before when he was a boy.
We came across the dilipadated white house that to me seemed in the middle of nowhere. There were lots of trees around it and the drive was rock and grass covered. Sitting in the white Pontiac looking upon it, the house seemed rather sad. Obviously empty and forgotten about, some of the windows were cracked and caked with dust and dirt. Vines had found their way up onto the porch and the sides of the house. Seemed that it had been empty for quite a few years.
Mom mentioned that there might be things left inside. I think she wanted my dad to take a look to see if it really had been the house he was searching for. No dice. I remember she and I starting up onto the porch when my dad told her not to go any further. He was afraid that the porch wouldn’t hold us and cave in. I think that’s when I started being a little frightened of front porches not built on a slab. I always thought that as soon as I took that last step up on that porch that it would collapse and I would find myself underneath with all the rats and vermin. That was another thing my dad cautioned about. He was sure there were rats, snakes and who knows what else living in the house and amongst the grown up yard and vegetation. So we never got to see the inside of that house.
I was left to wonder all these years many things: Was it my grandmother’s childhood home? What did the inside look like? Were there ancestral treasures to be found in there? Who had been the last occupants and why did they leave? How long had it sat empty when we came upon it? What’s become of it since that time – at least forty years ago? Unfortunately, I’ll never know unless by some serendipitous chance I come across it again which is very doubtful.
I was able to see the home my mother was born in and spent the first year of her life living in – located in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana. When I was fifteen, my mom, sister, niece and I spent a week on “vacation”. We traveled from Southwest Ohio to Indiana and toured the Connor Prairie Living Homestead Museum in Fishers, Indiana. From there we went to Madison County and Mom pointed out the house as we drove by. Again – we didn’t take pictures – although I have some of my mom as an infant showing parts of the house. I do have a picture of the home my mom grew up in located in Greene County, Ohio. Originally the home had been in Osborn (before it and Fairfield merged to form Fairborn). Then as she explained, it was put on these big rollers and moved to Fairfield. My aunt had thrown toys from the second story window. Here’s a picture of that house with my aunt and my mom sitting in front. I also have pictures of my maternal grandfather’s childhood home in Anderson.
Departing Advice: Photograph and map out ancestral homes and land. Take photos of the home you live in now and those that follow. Check old city directories for information that might assist you in locating these homes or businesses. Plot the locations of places lived on a map to see where your ancestors lived and migrated.