As I tried to list some things my relation had passed on to me and from me to you, I felt you might like to know some of the history and some of my memories while living in the old farm house.
My great grandfather, Wm. Anderson, purchased the farm last about 1865, from a George Gee who had homesteaded this property. He lived there with his first wife and four children in a log cabin in the yard just a few feet north of the brick home. As far as I can figure, when his children were small, he joined the Army and swerved in the Civil War. He must (have) returned about the year his wife died, leaving him with children ages 10 to 5 years old. He remarried a widow, Celista Gavit, in 1867. My grandmother, Eula Louise Anderson, was born 1872 in this cabin. When she was very small, they built the octagon home, a showplace at the time, for the great sum of $4,000, a lot of money then. Wm. also bought the 80 acres just west of this land, the large brick home and barns. He later disowned the children from the first marriage, one had already died, and left his wife and Eula everything. Papers telling of this are in the safe. Eula married Wm. Gee and had one some, Willard Nelson Gee. He and his wife, Vae Saxton, had me - year ?-. Looking into old papers, I see that several people died in that home and Willard & I (Dorothea Louise Gee) were both born in it. People did it that way then.
My grandfather Gee left all properties to me before he died. I probably was one or two (years old). When my grandfather was alive it was a very prosperous farm, with prize-winning sheep, good crops, etc. My great grandmother & grandmother had an orchard with various types of producing trees and bushes, large veg. garden, and a beautiful flower garden known for miles around. Nurseries came to buy her bulbs and seeds, some were named Anderson after her. Mrs. Henry Ford with a friend even drove up to see it. It was named "Floral Home." Eula and Celista were both very talented, making many quilts, handcrats and even water color.
I remember: A large dining room table spread with all kinds of goodies from the things she (Eula) had canned and baked. I remember going to the woods and watching maple syrup being tapped and boiled down right there. I remember sheep, and baby lambs rejected by their moms, being warmed by the wood burning stove in the kitchen. Feeding lambs and calves from bottled. Finding kittens in the hay mow and teaching them to eat from a dish. A goat who would bunt you if you bend over. Mother hens and chicks in the back yard, kept in their hutches, and how they watched out forthe chicken hawks. Two white horses, Dolly and Molly, hay being cut an dstored in the loft, pulled there by the two horses. Dolly's baby colt being hung by her tie rope in the stall, watching cows being milked, milk squirted into cats' mouths, the smell of a warm barn and hay.
One time a thrashing machine came to do the wheat and blow the straw into a loft. I remember climbing trees to eat the large red and yellow sweet cherries, the green, red and purple grapes which had also climed the trees, climbing a large walnut tree which was my horse and pretending tree, shelling home grown popcorn and watching grandpa pop it over the bood burning kitchen stove. Long walks to the one-room school house, with the round heating stove in the center of the room, indoor chemical toilets, a large container holding drinking water, each student (K through 8) brought his own cup from home, the water was carried in from the hand pump in the school yard, school plays at Christmas time, in which we sang hymns even, the 8th grade boys would cut the largest cedar tree they could get. The first time I had to write "Grandma" on a Valentine's Day card, while others wrote "Mom," divorce was almost unheard of in the olden days - thank God.
I had long curls, done up by my grandmother in rags, baths in the wash tub on cold winter nites, flannel sheets and heavy homemade quilts, sitting on the floor furnace register to get warm and sometimes to melt the ice off my snow pants before I could get them off. Lots of snow, snow banks, large drifts, and playing in some on the way home from school. I even remember when beautiful chandeliers were removed to make way for electric lights, and even an outside john.
I think of these and other happy times when I look at some of the items from that home, I wish I had saved more. That is one reason I'd like you to have some of them when I'm gone. Dad and I decided that if I go first (?) you are to come get them then. I hope you are building good memories with your kids too. I've enjoyed the times you've shared them with me and our talks so much.
My prayer for you and yours. A good life with all God had for you and to be together someday always.
This is a newspaper clipping from around '80's. There is a picture of the house with the gardens and the two barns off to the right... That picture is from around 1930. The picture on the right makes it so much more clear how much damage has occurred in the last 20 years.
This is an image of William Anderson, my grandfather with, what... four "greats." The image is found in the Gratiot County Record along with a ton of info on the house and the surrounding 61 acres he had.
The little article on top of the for sale ads is about the gardens at the Anderson house. It was written in 1820 and tells a lot more detail about what types of things she had planted... peonies, huneysuckles (some of which also remains), tulips, forget-me-nots, columbine, etc.