This photo and the handwritten notes were received from Mrs. Ruth Gannaway from New Mexico.
This first photo is the oldest photo we have received of the James Kinney Farmstead, built in 1863. I (David Simpson) estimate that this photo was taken in 1879, since Dora Kinney was born in 1869, and she appears to be about 10 years old in this photo. Also, if the youngest girl in the upper right window is May, born in 1874, then she appears to be about 4 or 5 years old.
1) After James and Floyd Simpson bought the property in 1957, her nephew drove Dora Kinney back to the farm for a visit in about 1960.
As written by Floyd Simpson, Dec 2013:
"Dora Kinney was brought out to the farm to see me by her nephew, Emmett (Spelling?) Neuhart. Dora had gone to live with the Newharts in Belmont. Emmett was the father of Richard who later contracted to put on storm windows and doors which serve well to this day."
Floyd Simpson asked her when the house was constructed and she replied:
"The last nail was driven during the battle of Gettysburg." Which means the house was completed during the first week of July 1863.
2) There were questions asked of Floyd Simpson by some of the Kinney relatives as to the disposition of the upping block shown at the left side of this photo. This block was used to allow riders to more easily mount a horse.
Floyd replied that he had never seen an upping block in the front yard. At time, we didn't know that this photo existed. Unlike the stone/concrete upping blocks a few miles away in Belmont, Ohio, this photo shows that the upping block was made from wood, so it rotted away.
3) I (David Simpson, born in 1960), remember seeing a few of the wooden boards from the front yard fence when I was a young kid. None of that wood survives today.
4) John Smith, with Allegheny Restoration explained that he didn't see any journeyman workmanship within this house. He thinks that since the young men were fighting the Civil War the only workmen available were the older and more experienced craftsmen.
5) From Floyd Simpson, regarding the source of the clay for the bricks:
"Yes, the bricks were kilned in the area you state. the soil for them seemed to have come from close by as an area just 100 feet southeast of the kiln area seems depressed as though soil was taken out by horse drawn slip scraper as it looks almost like a depression for a road. In the area near the foundation of the barn there is a layer of light colored clay that could have been used for pottery but it does not seem to be the base material of the bricks. Some would call this "potters clay" as it is very light colored with very fine particle size."
The described location would be in the wooded area behind the summer kitchen, below the mowed access path between the tree line to the field we call the Festival Field, where the Drovers Trail Festival was previously held.
6) The slate roof on the main house was in use until the spring of 2004 when it was replaced with a new standing seam metal roof. The coal and wood shed, summer kitchen and smoke house still retain their original slate roofs.