- Education and Science
The foundation of an unknown woman: She was, therefore she is
More than 100 years ago a woman lived in this valley
I had seen artifacts upon trails and pathways in the in the woods where she meandered. Even though it was more that 100 years ago when she worked and live upon the grounds where I now work and live, it was "as clear and day" that she had been here. The foundation of her house stood a primary testimonial that the niche that my family and I presently lived in was her domain in the prime of her life.
The foundation of her house was formed from perfectly carved limestones that had been take from a "Slave-carved" stone rock fence that existed, intact and functional, in the days when slave-master Samuel Winstead ruled the country side around and about. A friend of mine who is busy archaeologist has expressed an interest to study the site where the foundation of her house is but we do not know when he will have the time to do it. As long as I am alive I will protect the site making sure that noone moves a stone or digs a hole upon the site.
It was 10 years ago when I learned that the old woman lived in the house that used to occupy the foundation that had no history. I was an event where older, local people were gathered, talking about the good old days when one of the older men greeted me and asked me how I was doing. We talked about my family's farm, and somehow the conversation drifted to a question that asked, "Is the old cistern still located adjacent to the old cottage that is on your place?" I answered, "yes it is, but it is now all filled in with dirt and rock and is no longer serving as a receptacle for catching and storing rainwater." He said, "Too bad, the old woman who had that hole dug and prepared to provide water would be disappointed that her greatest possession is no longer there." I said, "I never knew anything about an old woman living in the that old cottage, even though it is over a hundred years old." He said, "No, I am not talking about that old cottage, I am talking about a house that used to be west of it, and the water off of that house use to supply water to the cistern.
Then wheels started turning in my head. I replied to him, "You mean that place where the limestone rocks are in the ground forming the shape of a rectangle?" He said, "Yea, probably, but all I know is that the old house was there with water from its roof providing water for that cistern." What ever happened to the old woman, and what happened to the house?"
The man answered, "The story goes like this. Once upon a time on a cold winter day, the old black woman's house caught on fire. It was burning ferociously, so much so, that the old woman, being febble, and overcome by the heat and smoke could not exit the house. It just so happened that a young white man who was passing by, who knew that the old woman lived there, charged into the burning house and rescued the old woman from the flames. This incidence happened during Reconstruction (the period 1865 to 1877), so one can see why the story will always be remembered by someone even though the name of the old woman is not available to me, yet. It is my feeling, that someday, someone will be able to provide me with the full story, including the old woman's name. Until then all I have is memories of the old lady her house foundation and the site where her cistern used to be. I thank God for her. I thank God for her foundation. And I thank God "that she was, therefore, she is."
A Dr. Haddox's Historical Rendition