About Us  

welcome graphic



James Kinney House

1800's Photos - Image 1

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.

Historical notes:
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.


Image 0011879 Photo [Estimated Date] [click for full size image]

Annotated Image 001
1879 Photo - Annotated [click for full size image]

1) Belle or Georgia Kinney.
2) Dora Kinney - (10 years old in 1879)
3) Jane Goff (?)
4) Nancy Prior Kinney.
5) James Kinney, Sr.
6) William Kinney - (17 years old in 1879)
There is a light spot in the window behind him. We could be seeing thru the open interior doorway and seeing light thru the window on the other side of the house.
7) James Kinney, Jr. - (19 years old in 1879)
8) May Kinney - (4 years old in 1879).
9) Wooden upping block.
10) It appears that the front door is open, and the railing for the stairs might be visible through the open doorway.


Envelope (Click to open 3 page PDF file)

















Notes Page 1 (Click to open 3 page PDF file)

Text of scanned handwritten note by Ruth Gannaway: [Click image for original scanned PDF file.]

Kinney Homestead
Belmont County Farm

The bricks for this home kilned on the property

There are six people in the picture -

1) Couple standing at front door -
My guess - James Sr. & Nancy Pryor

2) Elderly lady seated in the chair at bottom of steps -
My guess
Jane Goff - Wife of William

3) Three young girls

a. 1 in second story window far left
b. 2 behind gate & fence on the right
c. My guess. Dora, Georgia, Belle, or May. ??

[Note: This description seems to miss the little girl looking thru the second story window on the far right. Actually, maybe May is the little girl in the upper right window. According to genealogy on the right, May was born in 1875, and this little girl could be about 4 years old.
Also, the genealogy shown to the right doesn't show anyone named Jane Goff married to William.]

4) There were 5 children by James and Nancy Pryor - My guesses are purely guesses - but James Sr. did live here & Dora, Georgia & Belle kept it.

Notes Page 1 - Annotated (Click to open 3 page PDF file)

Scanned genealogy for James Kinney Sr. [Click image for original scanned PDF file.]

Nancy Belle Kinney - Born 1858 (21 years old in 1879)
James Kinney, Jr. - Born 1860 (19 years old in 1879)
William Kinney - Born 1862 (17 years old in 1879)
Georgia Kinney - Born 1867 (12 years old in 1879)
Dora Kinney - Born 1869 (10 years old in 1879)
May Kinney - Born 1875 (4 years old in 1879)

1879 chimney detail

Chimney Detail - 1879

This close up shows one of the chimneys in the 1800s photo.

2013 chimney detail
Chimney Detail - 2013

This new photo shows the current chimney for the kitchen fireplace.
Comparing the two images shows a difference in the design and type of bricks at the top of the chimney, possibly as a result of chimney fires. During our ownership of the Kinney farmstead, we have also experienced chimney fires when we were heating the house with wood burning stoves. Zooming into the photo even closer, shows that the texture of the top rows of bricks do not match the rest of the house. These may have been manufactured bricks, with mold lines not present in the handmade bricks kilned on the site. The bricks were kilned in an area behind the house, close to the corn crib/tractor garage, extending beyond the row of trees into the field. The clay for the bricks was dug nearby (possibly 100 feet southeast of the kiln area).

Due to longwall mining damage, the chimneys are no longer safe to use. The white pipe at the top of this photo shows the radon gas vent from the basement, which was installed as a result of high radon gas readings due to mining. The edge of the standing seem steel roof is also visible in this photo, along with one of the original glass lighting rod decorative glass bulbs. This house has lightning rods which alternate between white and blue bulbs across the top of the roof, these are not readily visible in the 1800s photo.







James Kinney Farmstead - Summer  Kitchen and Wood Shed

Tractor - Haybine




Loading Hay

New bales - 2008


home | drovers trail | scenic byways | links of interest | gift shop | hay for sale | about us | longwall effects