It is funny how the simple things in life can amaze a young boy. A stone fence is just a pile of rocks that wouldn't bring a thought to most people.
Most of the area of northeastern Pennsylvania is very rocky. A glacier about ten thousand years ago pushed an incredible amount of rocks into the area. Many people were farmers in the early years and the stones had to be cleared from the land so they could farm. The best way to clear the land of the rocks was to build stone fences.
There were a lot of them near our home . The stone fences stretched for long distances. Stone fences weren't built to keep anything in or out. They were only a foot and a half to two feet high and maybe three or four feet wide. It would have been very hard to plow fields and tend to crops before the fences were built. Often the fences in older times served as property lines.
Stone fences were great places for snakes to live and it was one of the things we watched out for. My family were all hunters and deer season was a thing we all looked forward to. It wasn't a time to shoot a trophy buck to hang on the wall, although my mother did have a beautiful eight point deer head hanging on our living room wall.
One of the things was that when our family skinned a deer we needed to dispose of the head, hide, and legs, etc. We buried them in a stone fence that was not a great distance from our house. I don't know how many deer skulls one would find if they dug apart that stone fence, but it would be a great number.
I guess you could say that we found another use for a stone fence. Most people would say a stone fence is just a bunch of rocks thrown together to get them out of the way to make the land more useful.
Another advantage of having a stone fence close to home was that anytime we needed a certain shape of a stone to use for something we would search the stone fence for just the one we needed. Many times it would be a flat stone that we needed and we could always find just what we wanted somewhere in that stone fence.
Now I realize that stone fences are a part of history. In today's society people would just have hauled them away, but in the old days of horses and wagons, it was a lot easier to build a stone fence. Moving stones all day to build a stone fence must have been back-breaking work. I like looking at old things of yesteryear in museums and if it was possible a stone fence should be included. After all those stone fences are a part of history.
Copyright Larry W. Fish 2017