Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Redlingshafer barn

John G. and Isabelle Redlingshafer's barn.

My record as a photographer of endangered landmarks is fairly dismal. I look at an old building, think "yea, that's not always going to be there and I should take a picture," then don't." It's happened again, this time down in Benton Township to old Mt. Carmel Church. It doesn't do much good to get mad at the windstorm that knocked it down, so I'll be mad at myself --- and try to do better.

My cousin, Keith, told me about the church yesterday when he stopped at the museum and we got to talking about a whole lot of things. His mom was the late and much lamented Rose Marie, a Myers cousin, and talking to him is a lot like talking to her, and that's really neat. Keith's dad, David, also is a cousin, on the Miller end of things. And there's actually another family connection, too, but if I tried to explain that one, you'd just get dizzy. It's the way things sometimes work out in Lucas County. Keith is a Redlingshafer descendant, too --- twice.

His grandparents, Walter and Edna Relph, moved the old Mt. Carmel building (built in 1882) many years ago from its original location on the old Daniel Myers Sr. farm after it had been closed and abandoned for a long time and the church lot was sold out from underneath it. Daniel Myers Sr. was Edna's grandfather and my great-grandfather; Keith's great-great-grandfather.

So old Mt. Carmel was hauled around the corner northeast, across the Chariton River and to a hilltop on the Relph farm, which Keith now owns, where it stood minding its own business until that big wind came along.


But instead of focusing on one of my failures, I'll talk a little about a landmark I actually worked up enough energy quite a few years ago to take a photo of before it was torn down --- John and Isabelle Redlingshafer's old barn at the top here, also in Benton Township.

If you click and enlarge this map from 1896, you can see where the barn once stood. Look in Section 20 and at the little black dot in the upper right hand corner of the 80-acre tract labeled "John G. Redlingshafer." You'll find Mt. Carmel Church in Section 27 if you care to look that way.

John, born during 1827 in Bavaria, came to Pennsylvania with his parents and seven siblings during 1848. He first came to Lucas County during 1856, scouting out the land perhaps at the behest of Risbeck cousins who had arrived somewhat earlier.

John liked what he saw and returned to Pennsylvania to marry Isabelle Greer that fall. During the late winter of 1856-57, they traveled by river from Pennsylvania to Burlington via St. Louis and then by train to Mt. Pleasant where they purchased a team of horses and a wagon for the overland trek to Lucas County. They arrived here in March and purchased the first 40 acres of the Section 20 farm where a log cabin already had been built.

That cabin was located a considerable distance south of where the barn and a new house eventually were built, near a spring. Their nearest neighbors were just down over the hill in the Wolf Creek valley.

When the time came to build a new house --- and its not clear when that was --- they decided to build an entirely new farmstead, including the barn, alongside the road that by that time had developed along section lines to the north to connect what now is Highway 14 and the New York Road.

Here is a photograph of John and Isabelle with Mary Maxwell, a granddaughter they raised. They probably had lived for some years in the new house when this photo was taken.

And here's the house itself, taken not long after 1894, when Isabelle died. John is seated in the rocking chair at left with Mary Maxwell standing behind him. His son, Greer, is seated to the right. Standing are Greer's wife, Fannie Augusta Arnold, and their first child, Carrie Sophia (Havner).

By this time, John and Isabelle had purchased more land and  the neighborhood had become Redlingshafer territory. John's brother, George, arrived a couple of years after 1857 and by the 1890s owned all the land on the south side of the road east of John and Isabelle --- across the Wolf Creek valley and up the hills to the New York Road. Their sister, Anna Margaret (Redlingshafer) Rosa/Wulf acquired the land west of John and Isabelle after the death in Chariton during 1867 of her first husband, John Rosa (she subsequently married Joachim Wulf). Another sister, Margaret Anna (Redlingshafer) Hupp and her husband, Aaron, lived just around the corner along the New York Road south of George.

Greer and Augusta (Arnold) Redlingshafer's wedding portrait.

Several years after Isabelle's 1894 death, John and granddaughter Mary moved into Chariton and son Greer and his family acquired the home place. He had built a new home for his family across the road north of his parents' home, however, so the old house was taken down.

As long as Greer and Augusta lived on the farm,  the old barn remained in use. By the time this photo of the barn was taken, the land south of the road had been sold at least three times since Greer and Augusta moved to town and the newest, and current, owners had no use for the old building and it was taken down.

So that's the story of the old Redlingshafer barn, so far as I know it. If I were taking its picture now, I would have photographed it from every possible angle and probably even tried to sneak inside to take a few more.

But let my Mt. Carmel lesson be one to you, too. If you've been thinking about photographing a landmark, family or otherwise, that you know isn't going to be there for ever --- go do it. Now. Well, actually you can wait until the sun comes up.


joyce peak said...

This article was sent to me by my brother Gary Wiren. We are the children of twila havner wiren. Carrie R, the baby in this picture. was our grandmother. We have a copy of the picture with my grandmother as a baby.

Anonymous said...

This is very cool Frank, you have pictures here of my great grand parents and their parents on my mother's side. She was a Havner. Thanks much. Gary Wiren

Anonymous said...

This is very cool Frank, you have pictures here of my great grand parents and their parents on my mother's side. She was a Havner. Thanks much. Gary Wiren