Posts tagged ‘uncover’


Dealing with the Difficulties

“Um, there’s some bad news”.

Yes, these are pretty much the worst words that can be uttered during a massive renovation. Just like the reno that my house is currently going through. I’ve been more mum than usual about the process. Mostly this is because my contractors and crew are fabulous, and tend to just handle any problems that come up without even telling me until later.  For a worrier like me, this is a good thing. However, all the “bad news” issues make the renovation more costly and time-consuming, but that’s not even the worst part. The worst is the “what, now?” feeling. That expecting more badness. The fear of something horrible that is just too much to fix, or will result in losing some beloved part of my house.

First, it was that wood floor in the bedroom would have to be replaced. Then, the front porch was pretty much devoured by termites, as were two walls in the second bedroom. Then it was finding out that the contractor  paid to add the first addition didn’t support the roof as needed. Next, all of the original wood in the bay that I was hoping could be saved was rotten. Then it was that the back porch was only supported by a single 2×4. More problems? Oh, yes! most of the soffit and fascia was rotten. That’s not even everything. I can’t even remember all the problems. So, yesterday, when my workers told me that the fascia on the bay was completely rotten was kind of a blow. Not because the fascia can’t be replaced. I know they can fix it, probably better than it was, but because that leads to this negativistic thinking. If the fascia is rotten, maybe the rafters are rotten. If the rafters are rotten…Does that mean I have to lose my beautiful, original, metal roof on the bay? You see the worry here?

 So, yeah, we’ve had a lot of nasty surprises and problems. I think this whole process would be easier if I was less attached to the house. Yet, if I cared less, I probably wouldn’t be going through this whole thing to begin with! The bottom line — renovations are stressful. More stressful than even I originally anticipated. I must keep that in mind for future projects.


Photo Update: Progress!

So much is happening!


The Trimble Family History, Part II

A history recap: The previous post ended with the death of James Trimble’s wife, Bettie Luella Huddleston. They had four children, Etta, Betty, Samuel, and Mayme. Betty died in infancy, and James was working as a mason and contractor.

Nannie's Death Certificate

James Trimble married for a second time around 1893, about 12 years after the death of his first wife. He married Nannie Belle Miller. Nannie was born on September 23, 1866 in Kanawha County, WV. In some of the census records, Nannie’s maiden name is Morris, but  her birth and death records list it as Miller, so I believe it was just recorded incorrectly in the old census records.  Her parents were Archibald Miller and Margaret Ann Wiseman.  James was about 42, and she was 27 years old when they married. They had six children:  Arch (May 7, 1894 – 1981 ), Mary (June 13, 1896 – 1974), Corrine (Cora) (Abt 1899 -?), Osman (January 30, 1901 – 1988), Margaret (May 22, 1903 – 1987), and Jeanetta (March 27, 1909 – 1987). According to the census records, they had another child that did not survive. I don’t have any more information than that they had 7 children, 6 living.

James Trimble died on August 22, 1918, at the age of 67. He died of some sort of hemmorage. The death certificate is illegiable beyond that. Nannie died on August 16, 1947 from congestive heart failure. Both are buried in the Pratt Cemetery.

Not as much is known about Nannie and James. It seems like census data was even more difficult to find on than James and his first wife. Many of the names of Nannie and the children were recorded incorrectly, so I’m not positive about the names and dates here. I do have an interesting story, though.

Another historical home in the town is connected to my house. This house, known as the Shields’ Cottage, was built in 1880 and originally owned by Mrs. Morris. It was originally located across the street from the Trimble farmlands. Well, my house is pretty small, so when James married Nannie, he decided to buy this home for his children with Luella, and move Nannie in my house. His children were not that young at the time. Henrietta was his oldest child and I do not have a birthdate for her, though it had to be prior to 1875, so she was over 18. Anyway, James purchased the house and had it moved diagonally, across the road, and onto his property for his children. The cottage is still in the town, with the original front door.


About Wolves, and the Lack of Updates

I know there has been a distinctive lack of updates recently. It has been a busy month full of family gatherings, graduations,  and a wedding (Congrats to N & B!).  So we have been having a little mini break away from the house, where we have been helping my dad build and decorate a chicken coop and attending these functions. Not a lot of progress has been made since the termite treatment was completed earlier this month. I promise  a photo update soon, but since I have a virus of some sort, it is going to have to wait.

Meanwhile, here is something to read from the former owner of the house, a clipping about wolf hybrids in WV. After all, he did have a wolf hybrid. It has some random numbers scribbled on it, as most things from the house.  I blurred out anything that resembled phone numbers, just to be safe!

Article about Wolf Hybrids Found in the House


Rumor Has It

If you happen to live in a small town, then you are probably used to the camaraderie and the sense of community. Since the purchase of the house, many of our neighbors have come by to introduce themselves, and been pleasant and well, neighborly. They seem so interested in the renovation!  This was most evident last week when the house was being treated for termites. While I was waiting for them to finish, I chatted about the house with two neighbors, and gave house tours to four more! I am glad the community is so interested in the progress on the house.

Vintage Circus Poster, from google images

One of the ladies that stopped by was married to a distant descendent of the family. She told me a really interesting story about the last Trimble that lived in the house. Now, we know that he had a half-wolf/half-dog in the house, as well as a second really large dog. From his possessions and notes about the dogs, it was pretty obvious he was very proud of them. According to this source, both of these dogs were quite well-behaved, because the this man was a former animal trainer in the circus! Now, here’s the fly in this ointment. We have heard this guy was a violinist-pianist-alcoholic-mentally ill-artist-painter-writer. Was he really all these things and an animal trainer, too? I’m all for being a complex person with varied interests, but how many professions can one person have? Who was he really? It makes me wonder if he was all these things, or if he was just a mysterious figure in the community that people heard gossip about. I mean, growing up, to me he was “the guy with the wolves”.

I think part of the search for a description for him is because we purchased the house with all of this man’s earthly belongings still in it. It leaves me with a touch of sympathy and sadness, I suppose. I went through his things, I feel like I should know him on some level. On a deeper level, it makes me question all sorts of things. What does ones life amount to in the end? How would this community remember me?  Would I be that grad student-psychologist-renovator-decorator that likes loud punk rock and has an affinity for the color teal? What sort of rumors and gossip would be added to my story? I guess time will tell. As for the former owner, I may never know the truth. At least in his belongings, I found some printouts from a circus messageboard and some information on old circuses, so there is at least some evidence to support that rumor.


Stories from Clifton

Before Pratt was named after a prominent coal company, It was a settlement named Clifton from 1851-1873. Clifton was not a well populated or large settlement, but was considered to be a beautiful place.


 At this point the river makes a short bend, very much in the shape of a horse-shoe, and a more beautiful site for a town cannot be found anywhere in West Virginia. It is a natural location for a city, for in addition to the hundred or more acres of rolling land in this smooth bend of a picturesque river, there is a large coal field all around it, embracing perhaps nearly every class of coal that is found in West Virginia, which is a great source of wealth, and will someday, during its development, afford employment to hundreds of laborers  ( Atkinson, 1876).

These are some of the stories from the town, uncovered in the book History of Kanawha by Geo W. Atkinson (1876):

  •  Clifton was one the home of a Native American community, or a large group of settlers. Out of the 3 settlers that dug cellars for their homes, all 3 found human skeletons. It appears from the quantity of remains found that a square of ground about 10 acres of the town facing the river was a cemetary for the community. Remains were found when digging every cellar, well, and posthole. Also uncovered were earthenware pottery, bone necklaces, carved shells, bone fishhooks, and an image carved into stone.
  •  One of the more prominent settlers, Mr. Marshall Hansford, found in a posthole sheets of rolled copper, and while digging his cellar, found the skeleton of a large-sized man, and a great variety of bones of birds, bears, and other wild animals. To determine the age of the remains, Mr. Hanford offered that just before the remains were discovered, they were covered with sycamores that were fully five hundred years old.
  • Paint Creek, near Clifton was the site of a stone with a carved fish. Someone tried to carry off the stone to use in the construction of a hearth, and broke it, though part of the fish was still visible in 1876.
  • In 1776 or 1777, a man named Robert Hughes was captured by Native Americans, presumably the Shawnee,  in the Clifton area. At the time, only two families were settled in Clifton, and it was considered unsafe to venture too far from the town, as Native American were often seen in the surrounding areas. Apparently, Hughes did not heed these warnings, as he maintained a fish trap at the mouth of Paint Creek, near Clifton, that he checked every morning. He was captured by 5 Native Americans one morning as he went to check the trap. The Native Americans took him about 30 miles up the creek, to their settlement. They stayed within the creek bed, as to avoid leaving any signs or clues for others to follow. Villagers looked for Hughes, but had to abandon the search because of the lack of a trail. Interestingly enough, Hughes returned about two years later. He reported that he had went to the head of Paint Creek, and eventually ended up on the Little Miami river. During his time with the Native Americans, he had learned to speak Shawnee fluently and became familiar with most of their customs. He enjoyed telling the story of his capture to anyone that would listen, and was said to be quite entertaining. He claimed that he was forced to run the gauntlet on two occasions, and that her was saved from being burnt at the stake by the daughter of a chief. He was reportedly a good hunter, and after living with the Native Americans for a year,  was frequently sent off alone to hunt. It was on one of these trips that he escaped to Point Pleasant, and eventually back to his home. Another man was taken along with Hughes, but there is no record of what happened to him.

    Examples of Native American Pottery found in the area



A House History

Do you remember when I met the town historian of that fateful Saturday, and found a wealth of history about my house? Well one of the most interesting documents was the house history compiled by the architects that helped to make Pratt’s historical District. Because my house is “pivotal” to the historic designation, they wrote up everything they could gather about it, along with the other “pivotal” historic houses in the district.  Here is a copy of the document from the archive, entitled The Trimble Farm.

For many years the tract of land between Pratt and Paint Creek belonged to the Trimble family. Much of the area was put into farm land and beside it lay the old road to Hansford just north of the acreage and parallel to the C&O Railway. This county road crossed the Old Iron Paint Creek Bridge (now gone) and the vestiges of the wagon tracks can still be located on the Hansford side of the creek.

The early dwelling of the Trimble family was located on the east side of Paint Creek and was called “The Carrol House”. The grandparents of (today’s family) Osman Stockton Trimble and Jeanetta (White) Trimble bought the two-story frame house from Van B. Hanna and his wife Lucy. Later the house, unoccupied, burned and no sign of it remains today.

So the Trimble family originally lived in another house. I have never seen the wagon tracks that they mention in this document, but I’m not really certain where the old bridge was located, either. I’ll have to track that down and see if they are still there! I am skeptical about that, though.

Up in the village, however, near where Ferry Street became the original country road, James Trimble built a frame dwelling where many later generations grew up. The house still stands where it was built and it has kept its original design. It is an “L” shape with the lower end of the “L” facing the road. This gable end is covered with fish scale shingles at the top, and below contains a beautiful, small three-window bay that is capped with a decorative metal roof. Each side of this facade is flanked by matching ends of porches — the west side a very small porch and the east a part of the major porch that extends along the inner side of the “L”. The white-painted house (now with a composition roof) is in good condition and at present time is a rental property.

Behind the dwelling the land slopes down into a beautiful park-like area shaded by huge elm trees and extending several acres to the west. The remains of the Paint Creek railroad spur curls around the property and has become an access road to the lower end of the village. When Mr. Trimble sold the land for this railroad spur, he required the Company to build a wooden fence between the right-of-way and his home in order to protect his family and small children.

An old picture of the Trestle

Unfortunately, this land had been changed considerably since this document was written. I believe most of this railroad spur was demolished when another house was put behind my house. I have not seen any remains of it. Also, there is no longer a wooden fence around the property.

This tract of land from Ferry Street to Paint Creek, properly called the “Trimble Addition”, has been divided into lots and now is filled with neat, modern homes. No vestige of the old frame home on the Creek remains, but according to one source, some of the bricks from the place were used in the construction of part of the houses that were built in the addition  by members of the family. The remaining members still living in the village are Osman Trimble, Margaret Trimble Jarrett, and Jeanetta Trimble Montgomery

Obviously, there is a lot of information about the house in this document, gathered from descendents of the original builder of the home. Unfortunately, they have all passed away in the 20 years or so since this document was written.


Eleanor is Unstable, and Kind of Cheap: A Book Post

Book Coverf          Image from the book    


Property of the Library

Eleanor was so unstable, that the cover completely disintegrated after scanning. Half of this book was missing, and the whole thing was very poor condition. It also looks like rats may have chewed the edges of the pages. What can I say? She had a hard life. She was also very cheap, considering she was stolen from the Pratt Library! Maybe I should try to return it? Now, I do not know where or when the Pratt Library was there. The local elementary school has a Library, but I’m not sure these two libraries are one in the same. As you can see, the library was established by the “T.G. Society.” I don’t know who or what this society was, either! The book was donated to the library by Martin Hansford. I will have to find more information about him. Felix and Marshall Hansford were very prominent brothers in the area, so it is safe to say that Martin was probably related to them, but how he is related to them, I am not sure. Was he in the “T.G. Society”? Who knows, and Eleanor is not telling.


Jeanetta Was Not Blinded by Science: a Book Post

A new type of post! When we purchased the house it had maybe 100 old books and magazines in it, many nearly 100 years old.  Unfortunately, they were all stored in the basement for at least 20 years or more. This resulted in all of them being covered in disgusting amounts of mold and filth. I tried cleaning some of them up, but it was impossible. They just fell apart, and crumbled. I went through them all and kept the ones with interesting inscriptions, or pictures and plan to scan them in. That way I at least have a digital record of this part of the house.

Cartoons from the back cover, including a dutch "girl" and a "toothless flapper".

This is A Year in Science, published in 1916. It appears to be a school book of Jeanetta Trimble, one of James’ daughters with his second wife. From the amount of doodling and drawing in the book, it seems that science was not her favorite subject in school. She used the book in 1925, as per the inscriptions and dated absence forms that I found inside. She called herself “Sheba”, and had little conversations and cartoons with a friend or classmate that she called “Sheik”.

"Sheik" and "Sheba" Cartoons

Other Doodles:



The Home Show, 2011

Yesterday, I went to the Home Show in Charleston. Just what is a Home Show, you may ask? Imagine a carnival of home improvement and renovation; and a smorgasboard of  new products. Display booths, prizes, and a house built inside of an arena, are just a few of the sights to be seen at such an event.

 Now, of course, I didn’t just go to gawk at the displays, the most important part of a home show is that it connects people like me – renovators, with the people who can do this stuff much better than I – contractors. It is networking. I now have the numbers for siding specialists, heating and cooling people, plumbers, window and door manufacturers, landscapers, professional painters. Basically, anyone I could ever need to complete my project.

Some of the highlights?

Gate made by Harshberger Barns

Amanda’s Glass Art – A stained glass artist from WV. Her work was beautiful, and she teaches classes! I am already thinking about taking this summer. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have some stained glass in the bay?

Harshberger Barns – Amish builders and blacksmiths, so no website.  My sister was interested in their barns for her future horses. They also made beautiful hand forges iron hardware and gates. I would love to have one of these for the house.

Leonard chicken coop – This was just interesting, and a really nice building for keeping chickens! Not really for my house, though.

Building & Remodeling Warehouse – Lots of building materials, and I received $100 off my first order. Yay for discounts! I’ll need it.

Bailes Granite & Marble – I didn’t know their was a place like this in Charleston, not that I’ve perused for granite suppliers before. They also have honed granite and soapstone, two of the products I may be interested in for the kitchen in the future.

House pictures from the Home Show website.