Featured, Local History

Forty Years Ago — Old Time Barn Raising

Editor’s Note: The following article from the July 30, 1981 Breeze captures a picture of a time that has all but disappeared.

Old Time Barn Raising Held At Wood Home
By Irene Ambler

Last Saturday the family, friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Jessie Wood of the Mount Olive community near Hurricane met at the Wood home in a common purpose – that of assisting Mr. Wood in the raising of a brand new barn. The footer for the 36 x 40 ft. barn had already been laid. Mr. Wood had cut the timber and sawed the logs at his own sawmill, and everything was ready for the completion of the barn. The sound of hammer and saw rang out through the beautiful, uncluttered countryside and across the rich green foliage on the rolling hills as far as the eye could see. The plan was that the barn would be completed except for the roof before dark Saturday evening.

Never before had Dave or I been to a barn raising; and for that matter, not many people have ever seen the sight of about twenty men working like beavers to complete the project. Mrs. Wanda Holston called us about 11:00 am Saturday morning and invited us to the event. She said that dinner was going to be served about 11:30. You can bet that we didn’t lose any time in getting to the lovely, modern home of Mr. and Mrs. Wood, where the sumptuous meal was served. There were pinto beans, green beans, sauerkraut and spare ribs, fried potatoes, macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, banana pie, lemon meringue pie, corn bread, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers in vinegar, a delicious hot pepper sauce which Mrs. Wood had made, coffee, iced tea, lemonade and if I have forgotten anything, I am sorry. The ladies cooking the delicious meal were Mrs. wood (Ollie), Mrs. Judy Mercer, Mrs. Delores Wood and Mrs. Wanda Holston.

After dinner and a lot of visiting we drove up high on the hill, where the men were hard at work raising the barn. It is a stock barn and is built in a pattern that I have never seen before. The runway is a few feet higher than the section where the livestock will be kept. Tractors and trucks may be driven through the barn; and hay can be unloaded into the loft right off the vehicle. It is a beautiful barn; and we hope to go back and see it since it has been completed. The workers were obviously enjoying themselves; and, of course, they enjoyed the coffee and cold drinks that the ladies took to them later on in the afternoon. I believe I saw one young man eating a piece of banana pie, too.

Sometime after noon Miss Betty Wood, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wood who works at the Godfrey Animal Clinic, came home, and she, too, went to survey the work the men were doing atop the hill. Betty had with her Duchess, a beautiful Golden Retriever who, Betty said, was around anytime any action was taking place. Charlie, the Wood’s Dalmatian, was also on the scene.

It was a wonderful experience to visit with the Wood’s and their family, the Holstons and all the other nice people we visited with at the barn raising. This is the Putnam County that I know and love; and these are the people that I know and love. I wouldn’t have missed the barn raising for anything; and I want to thank the nice folks who invited us and shared their friendship with us.

Stopping long enough to have their picture taken were front row – Ron Holston: second row – Chris Hogsten, Greg Wood, Gerald Bloss, Pete Holston and David Wood; third row – Larry Perry, Jessie Wood, L.P. Wood, Joe Wood, Damon Polk, Gene Perry and Kermit Wood. Camera shy workers not pictured are Russell Mercer, Bill Wertz, Jerry Cogar, Andy Cogar, Bernie Cogar and Joey McCallister. (Photos taken by Dave Ambler)
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