Thursday, March 14, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Sycamore Hills Farms

Sycamore Hills Farm
"Those Places Thursday" is another daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers that I couldn't wait to write on because it gave me a chance to highlight not only a location where several generations of Washler's lived and worked, but also where I grew up - Sycamore Hills Farms.



The farm located in Concord township in DeKalb County, Indiana has been in the Washler family since sometime between 1880 and 1900.  As of yet, I have not been able to find the actual land records to show the exact date that Curtis and his family moved to this location, but through census research, I have been able to confirm that it was prior to the 1900 Census and after he had moved out of his father-in-law's home where he was living in 1880.  (The lament of all genealogists - If only the 1890 Census was still in existence!)

Curtis and family - circa early 1900's
The farm has remained in the Washler family since that original purchase, passing from Curtis to his son (my grandfather) Donald and then to my father.  The picture above was taken sometime prior to the late 1970's when my family moved there (it doesn't show the new house which was built across the drive from the old farm house.  It wasn't until my father owned the farm that the name "Sycamore Hills" was "officially" used, but Dad has told me that the name had been kicked around for as long as he could remember.

I can remember when we first moved there, the old house still stood and served as both a "museum" of sorts since it held remnants of my father's childhood and the years before, and also as a "playground" for me as a young boy.  What young boy could resist the urge to explore an old abandoned house and the dark basement underneath??  Of course, the time came when the house was no longer safe to explore, and it was eventually torn down leaving only the windmill and old stairs standing for most of my childhood.  Now, many years later, even the windmill is gone (it became a danger to leave standing), and the old cement steps have been overgrown with weeds and some bushes.  There are still huge bushes standing at what use to be the corner of the house.  Those and the overgrown stairs are reminders to the family of the past.

It's kind of an ironic twist of growing up that as a kid, I couldn't wait to leave the farm and go off to see the world outside of that little corner of DeKalb County, but now, decades later as an adult, I sometime find myself longing for life back at the farm.  I can't say that I would ever consider moving back to the farm, but having that as a place to always go back to is something that I hope never changes.

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