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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-04-03 07:31 pm

The (very) old Freeman homeplace

Last spring, a little over a year to this day, my dad and I went to take photos of the McCarley family cemetery, long abandoned and quite neglected.

As we emerged four-wheel drive hell, we came across an old abandoned homeplace on our cousin-in-law's land. We didn't stop then, but I have been dying to get photos of it ever since.

My plat book says that William Alfred Freeman got a land patent on that parcel in 1845. The home, which shows signs of two additions, probably will not be standing much longer. If any of the Freeman descendants are interested, below are photos of how it looks now, as well as the little bit of Freeman family history I've been able to piece together.

Because as can be expected, one of the Freemans married into the Burris clan...

Dad and I saw the house from the side on that first trip, and discussed whether it was really a house or an old barn.

You get the front view first.


It's a shotgun house, as was common in the South (best seen from the rear).


However, as Dad pointed out to me, it didn't start that way.

The house had two additions to it over the years, as you can see in the side view here, with different styles of siding on each addition and the original.


As I looked at how small that first section was, I wondered how many people the home had sheltered before they decided to add on.

William Alfred Freeman probably did not live there very long. He got the land patent in 1845, but died by 1847. His widow, Mary Elizabeth Ward lived until 1873.

I found three of their sons in the 1850 census in Conway County (this land was at that time in Griffin Township, Conway County, and did not become Pope County until later).

Those sons were Alfred (born in 1822), Thomas (born in 1825) and Jesse (born in 1831). Alfred was married by the 1850 census, and he and his wife, Kezziah Mariah Bass, had two sons, Richard and James.

Thomas was a newlywed at the 1850 census, having married Lucinda Angeline Burris, daughter of John Burris and Cynthia Ann Ashmore. Jesse was still single.

So it's possible that in 1850, the first section of that house provided a home for as many as eight people. (Side view with sections marked in red below.)


The house stood on rock pilings.

Dad noticed that several of the rocks had been chiseled to make them fit snugly together.


Because of the shape of this one, we wondered if it had been flipped over at the entrance to make a step more stable.


Even if they hauled the rocks from the creekbed nearby, it's still about a quarter of a mile away.

And then, they chiseled them by hand.

I don't know who lived in the house when the Freemans left it, or if anyone did.

But it's a little bit of history in the woods of Pope County, and I wanted to be able to remember it, even after it is gone.

[identity profile] (from 2011-04-04 04:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Fabulous, fabulous job! Incredible photos and words. This is one of my favorites of all your posts, Dee.

[identity profile] 2011-04-04 06:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you.