Greg and I spent Memorial Day weekend in the Shenandoah Valley with his folks. Gosh but I love it out there! It was pretty hot but we still managed to get out. My Father-in-law has been working hard on the Branner family geneaology. There is an existing "Branner Book" that was written in the 30's. It holds a wealth of information but Bob has been able to correct several mistakes as well as answer questions that the author Casper Branner had struggled with. The internet has been an important tool in Bob's ability to do the update!
The other element that has helped Bob in his research is the fact that, unlike Casper Branner who lived in California at the time, Bob still lives in the vicinity of the orignal Branner roots. There was actually a place called "Brannertown". While the "town" itself is long gone Brannertown Road still exists. We were able to walk around the property where the FIRST Casper Branner settled in the 1760s.
You can see here the remains of the first house that later became a spring house. The large willow in the distance sits next to the pond fed by the spring.
This an old photograph of the original house. At this point it was used as the Spring House. We have a question concerning the exterior hearth that you can see in this picture. I had not seen this picture until after our visit. I want to go back to look at the remains more closely to see if there is any evidence left of that opening.
Here is a close up that I do have....is there a slight difference in the stone work?
Here are the remains of the first structure. You can see it is built directly over the spring. Of course in the early-mid eighteenth century Indians were still a threat. Building over your water supply was a common practice in case of attack.
The fireplace is massive. I was a down hearth cook in Colonial Williamsburg for a summer. I can appreciate the workability of this space!!
This shows the later house that was built further up the hill. The slanted roof towards the rear might be the kitchen (though on second thought where is the chimney??) The fenced area to the left is where the cider press was located.
Such a beautiful place. Terry, the current owner has been so kind letting us come to see the property. (And making sure his bull was in another field!!) He remembers when some of the structures were still standing.
I also was able to get some cow pictures! These may very well show up on pots, or maybe some block prints.....
Today I was planning on returning to the studio since all the house construction was finally finished. But on Thursday afternoon I realized our AC had died....so today I am babysitting the repair guy. :(