The Reeves Homeplace before the addition, 1906 - Pictured: Papa, Gilbert, Mama, Ross, Pierce

The anchor for the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village is the century old Reeves Home, which will be restored as the Elm Street Visual Arts Center. Once completed, the 2500+ square foot house will accommodate artist studios, instruction space, galleries, a meeting room and coffee shop.

With this historic property, the possibilities for collaborative programming in the Elm Street Village rise to an exciting new level. Imagine improv theater groups performing historical re-enactments, workshops teaching time-honored arts and crafts in an historical setting, restoration of the orchards and gardens that once flourished on the original 12 acre in-town farm a century ago…

The Reeves House Offers a Glimpse of Life On a Small In-town Farm a Century Ago

We are fortunate to have a firsthand account of the history of the Reeves House, supplied to us by the indubitable Juanita Hughes of the Woodstock Visitors Center. The following passage is excerpted from the book “Precious Memories” by Sam Reeves, who was the last child in the large Reeves family, and grew up in the Reeves house in the early 1900’s…

After their marriage, Mama and Papa built their home in Woodstock. Papa went into “store keeping” and Mama began her life of raising eight children over a twenty year period. They built a house off Main Street in town. It was an environment much like that of living in the country except there were no big fields where one might plant crops like corn and cotton. However, having twelve acres of land we all felt we had plenty of “elbow room.” The home that they had built had two bedrooms and was not more than a city block from “downtown” Woodstock. It was an easy walk to town and to church and to school…

 

Reeves Homeplace - a 12 acre in-town farm

As I stated before, except fot the big fields, living at the homeplace was like being on a farm. We had pigs, a cow and chickens. There was a large pasture. Lots of trees grew on our property, enough to furnish all the wood needed for cooking and for buring in the fireplace for heat. There were three large “patches” of land for growing potatoes and corn. One year Ross and Papa planted the large patches in millet. Afterit was harvested Ross sold the seed in his store in Marietta. Fruit trees were planted in three large areas around the place. They provided us with apples, pears, peaches, and plums…

I am sure that all my brothers and sisters had chores as I did. After everyone had left home but me, I still milked the cow, shucked the corn and “went to the mill.” We ate lots and lots of cornbread! I also was expected to keep the wood box in the kitchen full of split dry wood. Incidentally, Mama had no thermostat or timer on her wood burning stove. To regulate the heat she had to depend on seasoned, dry pine wood which Papa and I cut from the trees in the pasture. It was amazing how she was able to use the burning wood and embers and cook a perfect cake or pie.

Gathering the eggs and feeding the chickens were also daily tasks for me. These daily or “must do” chores meant visits to see relatives, all day singings or any activities away from home had to be over early enough to get back home to do our chores. There was no such thing as a day off. When visiting relatives or friends the common parting remark would be…”We’ve got to get back to milk the cow.”

Our backyard was kept free of any kind of growth. The yard was swept clean with a “brush broom” made from canes which grew along the creek bank that were tied together. The chickens were not fenced but were allowed to roam free in the backyard and pasture. If you ever dropped your chewing gum in the backyard, picking it up and chewing it again was a gamble!! We had lots of cats. they were not pets, but were there to keep the place free of rats and snakes. The cats were never allowed in the house…

Sam Reeves’  book continues with the story of his family as they grow up and leave the home.  Rocketing into a new century, we in Woodstock are fortunate to have a little piece of history preserved in the Reeves family home, for all of us to remember.