The Old Log House
Oliver Tucker Museum, Beverly, Ohio

You may not have seen all I used to know
In my log house abode of long ago.
So I'll tell you about those bygone days
To acquaint you better with old time ways.

from a poem by George Mindling (1882-1977)

This building was already standing on a farm near Waterford, Ohio in 1873 when the farm was purchased by Nicholas Mindling, my great grandfather Jacob's brother. Nicholas was married to Elizabeth Peters, my great grandmother's sister, and six of their eight children were born here. These children included George Mindling, weatherman, poet and cyclist. George was a prolific writer, and two of his writings are included here: a note written after the log house was rebuilt on the grounds of the Lower Muskingum Museum in Beverley Ohio, and his poem about log house days.

The Log House

Click on this floor plan of the log house for a larger image


By George Mindling, provided by Martin Mindling

The Lower Muskingum Valley Historical Museum in Beverly, Ohio, has acquired the old log house in which I and brothers Charlie and Grover and sisters Maggie and Emma all were born. It was donated by the Skinner family, who bought the farm from Osie Mindling (brother Jake's widow) about 1924. It must have been built as early as 1840; for when Pa and Ma moved into it in 1873, it required extensive repairs including a new roof. We lived in it until 1893 when our new house was completed.

This old log house is being rebuilt on the grounds of the old 13-room house in Beverly, where Oliver Tucker, a well-known merchant lived, I believe as long ago as 1870. The location is near the river and steamboat canal. Mr. Tucker also owned a large valuable farm just outside Waterford on the Watertown Road.

A very active worker in this project is Mary Irvin, daughter of my cousin Margaret Starlin Armstrong. The old Tucker home is well preserved and is being furnished with relics and heirloom pieces donated by many of the best known people in the community.GWM

Log House Days
A poem by George Mindling
You may not have seen all I used to know
In my log house abode of long ago.
So I'll tell you about those bygone days
To acquaint you better with old time ways.
Our floors were bare in all but one room.
For cleaning them daily there was only a broom.
The abundance of mud and dirt in the yard
Made Mother's housekeeping distressingly hard.
For heating and cooking we burned what we could;
No gas, oil, or coal, we had nothing but wood.

But the wood burned fast and fire wouldn't last;
And there could be nothing of which you would tire
Like every five minutes to fix up the fire.
A few of the farmers of that bygone day
had beds filled with feathers, while others used hay.
When we turned in not long after dusk
We crawled into beds filled with shredded corn husk.
For beds such as ours there was quite a demand;
In fact, some people considered them grand.

So every fall we shredded corn husk for sale,
Enough for a bed in a big round bale.
About once a week came a husk-shredding night
With a room filled with husk, quite a messy sight.
We children pulled husks from the tough horny stems
And arrayed them on benches like so many gems.
Then our dad drew them over the slitting device
From which they came off looking fairly nice.

Our lighting arrangements were a long way from grand,
Just a tallow candle on a metal stand
To be used in the cellar or taken upstairs
Leaving only one lanp for general affairs.
Now the care of the lamp was itself quite a chore:
It had to be cleaned once a day if not more.
And every day you must trim the wick;
With so many duties you had to be quick.
About twice a week refill it with oil,
Being ever so careful, lest the table you soil.
The cost of the oil was considered so high
That with only one lamp we had to get by,
Although a dime would purchase a month's supply.

So let me explain that regard for a dime,
So different things were in that long ago time.
For a dime a carpenter worked a full hour
Applying all of his skill and power.
You could hire as much skill for ten cents then
As you can today for thirty times ten.
I should also mention in simple rhyme
Other things sold then for about a dime;
A pound of butter, ten pounds of wheat,
A dozen eggs, a pound of fresh meat,
A framed little picture to hang on the wall,
A pound of coffee, a dressed up doll.
One curious emblem of outmoded date
Was the long forgotten schoolchild slate.
Graphite pencils were priced too high,
The pencils useless with no sharpened nigh.
But a slate pencil lasted the whole term through
Doing always as well as when it was new.