I recently rediscovered this absolutely amazing account of the Barnes Ridge, Whigville, and Summerfield areas of Noble County, OH. For anyone who has family in this area, I would encourage you to read A History of the Barnes Ridge Community, by Marsh Allen Syder. It is a wonderful documentation of the people and community in which they lived.
This section is an account of the house built by my 4th great grandfather, Alexander Franklin. I have never seen this house personally, but the last time I talked with Anita Franklin Knight in about 2000, the house still stood, but was obviously not in great shape, having been abandoned for many years.
Violet Franklin Snyder was born January 27, 1874 in a beautiful red brick home which was about one air line mile due north of Barnes Ridge school and in the direction of Whigville. This house was built by Alexander Franklin the grandfather of Violet. Alexander was a bricklayer in Pittsburgh before he came to this area. He first built a log cabin beside the Federal Road and then burned the brick on his land and built the brick house with a basement and first and second floors with a hallway through the center of the house on both floors. The front of the house faced east toward Steamtown and Summerfield. I have slept in an upstairs bedroom and the sun would rise over the ridge road and shine into my eyes and wake me up. There was an addition to the house extending westward, of two stories and containing a large room on the first floor, plus a kitchen, and sleeping rooms upstairs. All downstairs rooms had coal and wood fireplaces. A beautiful portico graced the east front of the house. The hallway through the main part of the house exited onto this portico. Comfortable covered porches were built on each side of the west addition full length. The hallway exited to the west on one of these porches. The north end room on the first floor was used as a parlor. It had etched glass knobs five inches in diameter to hold back the bottoms of the window curtains. The knobs were placed about waist high on the side of the window frames. I assume that this house was built about 1830. John Amos Franklin Violet’s father was born In 1837. He said the house was built, cracked and rebuilt before he could remember. A solid pine hedge was planted and kept trimmed one hundred yards long from the house to the barn. Also a flagstone walk five feet wide led from the house to the barn. John A. Franklin had the house plumbed for gas about 1915. John Amos Franklin’s mother was a member of the Amos family who founded the Cambridge Jeffersonian newspaper. The beautiful pine hedge was flanked on the west by a very large garden and also by a vary large orchard to feed the ten Franklin children of John A., John Amos Franklin died in 1926 and I believe the farm was sold to Austin Hurst of Caldwell. It is now owned by the Hanna Coal Company. The old brick can be seen at a distance of one half mile from County Road 51. The Barnes Ridge Road and also from State Route 146. Wouldn’t that have been a sight to see that beautiful brick house about 1840, standing in endless woods and only log cabins far and few between, The closest brick houses were at East Union and Summerfield and that is still true. The large magnificent bank barn is still standing. While hunting deer I love to walk into the old brick. It brings tears to my eyes because I have fond memories of uncles, aunts, and beautiful scenery, of people, martins gracefully flying and catching mosquitoes and other insects.