Tag Archives: journals

March Window

The month that “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” brings with it the first signs of spring. Color creeps back into the landscape, the birdsong can be heard again, and the winds blow away the dark clouds of a long winter.

This is the twelfth and last of my monthly “Windows.” Being able to share these monoprints and the words of my great-grandmother Lydia Jane Hall with all of you readers has been one of my favorite parts of creating this blog. Her words continue to inspire my painting, my writing, and my day-to-day life, and, like her, I welcome the spring that’s coming and the “good old summertime” that isn’t far behind.

"March Window," Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

“March Window,” Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

Saturday, March 2, 1912 – “March coming in like a lion. Hope it will soon be lamb like.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Tuesday, March 31, 1913 – “A beautiful early morning. The high winds of old March are howling now and hope they will cease soon as this is the last day.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Thursday, March 10, 1921 – “A nice day after the shower. The grass is beginning to look green where the snow lays. The children are well and happy out in the open. Their colds do not trouble much, only the use of handkerchiefs.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Tuesday, March 4, 1924 – “A beautiful day. A bright sunshine all day. The snow has certainly gone today, or we can see it is letting go. There is enough left yet. The water has been running off the hills all day. The boulevard covered – the streams are full. Soon the traveling will be good. The green grass will take the place of snow. The birds will come back to build their nests among the green leaves and sing their songs, and they will be welcomed by us all.” – Lydia Jane Hall

See also: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February Windows.

On Wednesday:  Letters

Outbuildings #6 – A House for an Auto

OutuildingsMost of the real work on the farm happened in the barn, in the fields, and in the house. Some of the outbuildings were so specific in purpose that they were often hastily erected and as quickly abandoned when seasons or activities changed. Others had longer lives and a bigger presence. They were spread out around the property in an almost haphazard way. A few of them I remember from childhood, but others I know only from photos.


A House for an Auto

In the spring of 1921 my grandfather Ellsworth began to think about getting a car and building a garage for it. I think of this “auto” looking like the one Uncle Wiggly, “The Bunny Rabbit Gentleman,” drove in my mother’s favorite childhood book, “Uncle Wiggly’s Auto Sled.”

From "Uncle Wiggly's Auto Sled," written by Howard R. Garis, Illustrated by Lang Campbell, 1920

From “Uncle Wiggly’s Auto Sled,” written by Howard R. Garis, Illustrated by Lang Campbell, 1920

My great-grandmother Lydia recorded the progress of the garage and the auto.

Saturday, March 12, 1921 – “Ellsworth…is thinking of building a house for an auto when he gets one. Children all have hard colds. Agnes and Emily have one. They are all sneezing in concert.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Wednesday, March 16, 1921 – “Man came to show Ellsworth a Buick automobile.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Thursday, March 17, 1921 – “Nice day. Men busy carting dirt getting ready to build a garage opposite the horse barn at the top of the hill.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Friday, March 25, 1921 – “Ellsworth has a new automobile – came today.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Saturday, April 9, 1921 – “Agnes went out to take her lesson in the automobile this afternoon with Mr. Beaumont for teacher. Will have to give her several lessons. Am afraid they will have an accident someday, but hope not.” – Lydia Jane Hall

I don’t think that my grandmother, who was a very good driver, ever did have an accident in any automobile on the farm. She did almost all the driving. Her big black car fit perfectly into the garage, and we loved being asked to go along on her errands. We followed her into the dark muskiness of the garage, climbed onto the big back seat where, unencumbered by seat belts, we bounced up and down as the car traversed the East Wallingford hills, hoping to be bouncing up when we hit a big bump so our heads would touch the car ceiling.

"A Shed for a Car," Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2013

“A Shed for a Car,” Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2013

See also Outbuildings #1, #2, #3, #4, #5

On Monday:  March Window


Measles and other infectious diseases of childhood have been much in the news recently. Modern day children are mostly free from the epidemics that sometimes threatened the lives of my ancestors. My own children had chicken pox, an illness my grandchildren won’t have to deal with.

Polio was rampant in the mid-1950s, and I remember my mother’s relief when she drove us to Dr. Salinger’s office in New Haven to get our first dose of the polio vaccine. Summertime was the most dangerous season during this epidemic. I wasn’t allowed to swim in the community pool, go to the zoo when we took the train through Chicago on our way to Montana, or be in any large gatherings of children. And to put the fear of God in me about these situations, my mother took me to a trailer on the outskirts of a local circus to I could see for myself a girl in an iron lung.

Pneumonia, diphtheria, typhus, scarlet fever, and measles threatened lives in the generations before mine. The loss of a child to these diseases was common, and no generation before mine was spared. Many of my great-grandmother’s journal entries report the sicknesses of her family and her neighbors. And in 1924 the measles came to visit the Hall farm.

Friday, April 11, 1924 – “This is a fine day. Francis not feeling well – is staying home from school. He has some fever – seems to be ailing. His mother is dosing him with calomel and physic. He thinks he may be having the measles coming on, as they are in the school.”

Thursday, April 17, 1924 – “Francis is broken out with the measles. Dr. is coming out to quarantine us. Suppose we have a siege of it now, for a month or two. Hope we will come out all right.”

Tuesday, April 22, 1924 – “Frances is well again of the measles. We are expecting Lydia and Janet next.”

Thursday, April 24, 1924 – “A nice day. The children are home from school. Lydia and Janet are coming down with measles.”

Tuesday, April 29, 1924 – Pleasant day. Lydia and Janet are still in bed with the measles. Gradually getting better.”

Saturday, May 3, 1924 – A nice day. The children are better. The measles are letting go. All dressed and downstairs but Lydia. She is downstairs but not dressed, lying on the lounge. Think she will be all right in a day or two. They have surely had the measles this time. They have troubled Lydia the most. The mother has taken good care of them. Feels tired from going up and down stairs.”  -–  Lydia Jane Hall

The mother – my grandmother Agnes Hall – certainly would have been tired after nearly a month nursing the sick children in their upstairs beds. Up she went carrying trays of food, glasses of milk and water, and bottles of nasty-tasting medicine. Back down she came with the empty trays, dirty linens, and full chamber pots. There were three sets of stairs in the house and she probably used them many times each day – not an easy task for a large woman with a bad hip.   But she was a good nurse and a devoted mother, and in the end, as my great-grandmother hoped, it “came out all right.”

"Front Staircase," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2015

“Front Staircase,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2015

On Wednesday:  Wallpaper

Outbuildings #5 – The Woodshed


Most of the real work on the farm happened in the barn, in the fields, and in the house. Some of the outbuildings were so specific in purpose that they were often hastily erected and as quickly abandoned when seasons or activities changed. Others had longer lives and a bigger presence. They were spread out around the property in an almost haphazard way. A few of them I remember from childhood, but others I know only from photos.


The Woodshed

The woodshed in the backyard of the farmhouse adjoined the old barn. Both buildings were torn down sometime in the early 1950’s I have vague memories of them, the most vivid one involving my grandmother hanging clothes on the line strung from the house to the side of the barn.

"Washing," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2014

“Washing,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2014

My great-grandmother Lydia recorded the origins of this woodshed. I have no idea what they did before that for wood storage. Maybe it was put into the barn, or more likely just kept in a pile close at hand. They needed large stores of wood for the two stoves in the house. Before the arrival of the tractor in 1921, the cutting, splitting, and sawing of sufficient wood was a year round on-going chore. The tractor and the woodshed were great helps for my grandfather and his workers.

Saturday, December 17, 1921 – “Cloudy most of the day. Men busy getting large stones from the ravine to lay the foundation for a shed for the wood pile.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Monday, December 19, 1921 – “Nice day. Men busy placing the stones for the woodshed.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Thursday, December 29, 1921 – “Snowing this morning, cloudy most of the day. At night the wind blew very hard, grew cold, and before morning it was down below zero. Two men worked all day in the shed and didn’t finish. Walter went home. We have quite a large shed.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Saturday, January 5, 1924 – “Clouds and sunshiny. A light snow fell during the night. The wind came up at night and much colder at bedtime. Men busy getting wood ready to saw for the two stoves – with their many chores, keeps them busy.” – Lydia Jane Hall

"The Woodshed," Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2015

“The Woodshed,” Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2015

See also:  Outbuildings #1, Outbuildings #2, Outbuildings #3, Outbuildings #4

On Monday:  Measles

February Window

The New England landscape in February is short on color. It still has an “Ethan Frome-ish” feeling about it. But it’s a short month, and there are days that brighten its passage. Red appears on February 14th when valentines, roses, and chocolates celebrate the day. My mother always made a cherry pie to celebrate George Washington’s February 22 birthday. We ate our slices after the evening meal garnished with big blobs of homemade whipped cream. I’m sorry the Presidential birthdays were merged into one work-friendly holiday. It seemed right and fun to celebrate George and Abe on their own special days, and then to start looking forward to spring.

"February Window," Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

“February Window,” Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

Sunday, February 11, 1912 – “Four degrees below zero in morning. Zero at nine o’clock. Severe winter weather. All at home from church.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Sunday, February 22, 1914 – Morning clear. Cold, near zero in afternoon, cloudy. South winds and very chilly. Looks like storming. The traveling very badly drifted. Snow blowing in, filling up the paths.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Friday, February 22, 1924 – “A very nice morning for Washington’s Birthday. The ground covered with snow. Quite a snow and crusty good sleighing and sliding. Hard for autos. Moonlight evening. Good time for sleigh rides. Several horse sleds have been out but no ox teams. How the times have changed since the days of Washington. Very progressive. Ellsworth and Agnes have been spending the evening listening to the President’s speech through Radio.” – Lydia Jane Hall

See also:  April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, and January Windows.

On Monday:  Tractors


I try to imagine my life without electricity – without plugging into this and that. It would take some doing and many changes to take myself “off the grid.” Electric power and its many conveniences are thoroughly imbedded in my daily life. Sometimes, when I flick a switch and the magic current fails to make light, I panic. What if it never comes back, this thing that makes my days comfortable and the dark nights less frightening?

"On the Grid," Carol Crump Bryner, pencil, 2015

“On the Grid,” Carol Crump Bryner, pencil, 2015

My great-grandmother, Lydia Jane Hall, lived most of her life without even the knowledge of electricity. She had many of the comforts that I have today, but was probably more intimately involved with their creation.


This is a foot warmer. Place warm stones or maybe coal in the metal basin, close door, put under feet in carriage, cover with lap robe. Enjoy a sleigh ride in the snow.

Foot warmer

Foot warmer


This lantern is made of cut scrap metal. Light the candle, close the door, carry to the barn at dusk, hang on a hook inside barn door. Milk cows.




Use pen, paper, and a stamp. Write and send a letter to a friend or a relative. Get one back.

Envelope for my great-grandmother, 1920

Envelope for my great-grandmother, 1920


Feed the horse, harness the horse to the buggy. Go for a Sunday drive.

Lydia Jane Hall with horse and carriage, around 1870

Lydia Jane Hall with horse and carriage, around 1870

In 1914 Lydia mentions electricity for the first time in her journals.

Wednesday, September 16, 1914 – “A very nice cool day. Men gathering peaches. I am here all alone. Agnes gone to the dentist. Hattie gone to spend the day with Grandma Hart. William [William Cannon, her grandson – son of Hattie Hall Cannon] gone to Northford to a place that used to be called “White Hollow” to wire a bungalow “for electricity,” something I never thought of that my grandson would do for that place. Hope he may do it for this place some time.” – Lydia Jane Hall

The front hall light switch in the farmhouse had a white button for on, and a black button for off. It operated the upstairs as well as the downstairs ceiling fixtures.

Front hall light switch

Front hall light switch

Whether or not William was the one to wire the farm for electricity, I don’t know, but by 1924, when Lydia wrote in her last journal, the farmhouse must have had some form of electric power. And yet my great-grandmother and my grandparents still relied on wood to stoke the furnace and run the kitchen stove, candles to light their way to bed, fresh air to dry the clothes, and words – always words – to record, entertain, and keep alive the most important of energies – human connections.

Journal page - Lydia Jane Hall

Journal page – Lydia Jane Hall

On Wednesday:  The Wood Stove

A New Year

I love calendars. It’s exciting to turn over the page and look at the clean slate of the coming month. For many years my friend Katy and I made calendars for each other, and I still hang my favorites on the walls of my studio. The one she made me in 2013 gave me the final push toward creating this blog.

"The Blog on Whirlwind Hill Calendar," Katy Gilmore, 2013

“The Blog on Whirlwind Hill Calendar,” Katy Gilmore, 2013

Now my daughter makes brightly colored calendars with photos of our family and our grandsons. I feel warmed and comforted by these efforts and the years of memories that made them.

Tomorrow I will retire my 2014 journal and open the blank pages of a new one. Since 1956 I’ve written in a diary every night. It’s both a habit and a necessity for me. And when I sit down to write I think of my great-grandmother, who also was a journal keeper.

My 2014 journal

My 2014 journal

On New Year’s Day in 1863, she married my great-grandfather, William E. Hall. Fifty years later they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.

January 1, 1913 – “Our Golden Wedding – fifty years – one hundred and twenty-five invitations. Nearly one hundred here. Some very lovely gifts – letters – cards- everyone seemed to have a good time. Cake, salad, rolls, macaroni, ice cream & coffee – salted peanuts. Reception from two until five. Fine time in evening. The day fine.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Each year in her journal she said goodbye to the old year and welcomed in the new.

Thursday, December 31, 1914 – “The last day of the old year, and pleasant and all in fairly good health. Of course we all have our troubles, which are small in comparison with some around us. Let us be thankful for past mercies that we may receive more. God help us to bear our infirmities, and to look to Him for aid.” Lydia Jane Hall

January 1, 1924 – “The old year has passed with its joys and sorrows and the new year commences. May it be a happy one to us all – God helping us – forgiving our many sins. Leading us in paths of righteousness that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. A nice day for New Year’s Day. All well and happy. A light snow on the ground – some ice which makes good sliding for the children.

I hope the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 “will be a happy one to us all.” Let’s turn over the calendars and start the year with smiles and cheer. Happy New Year!

"Blue Moon - 12/31/2009," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache,

“Blue Moon – 12/31/2009,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache,

On Friday:  January Window

October Window

The voices of my ancestors keep me company while I write these posts. Some days this process of living in the past makes me sad, and I feel all too mortal. But the cyclical nature of dying and birth, summer and winter, war and peace, loss and recovery, helps me understand these people who paved my way, and gives me clues about how to live my own life.

The strongest voice I hear is my great-grandmother’s. Lydia Jane Hall left me a cherished legacy – her words. She always said just enough. This October entry is her last. She died in 1926. But the joy of these cycles is that next month I can go back to an earlier year when she still had many more words to share.

"October Window," Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

“October Window,” Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

Saturday, October 11, 1924 – “Nice cool morning. The foliage is changing. The winds are blowing, the bright colors are coming. Nature is putting on her bight robes. Beautiful but sad, when the change comes, we are passing on. ‘Time waits for no one.’ ” – Lydia Jane Hall

See also:  April, May, June, July, August, September windows

On Monday:  The Parlor


"Clothespin," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache, 2014

“Clothespin,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache, 2014

My great-grandmother washed clothes every Monday, and she almost always wrote about it in her journal.

Monday, May 6, 1912 – “Another stormy Monday. Clothes washed and on the line. Pa sitting by the fire.” – Lydia Jane Hall

On Tuesdays she ironed.

Tuesday, May 7, 1912 – “Partly cleared. Clothes drying between the showers so they can be ironed.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Winter complicated the process.

Monday, January 29, 1912 – “Cold. Snowed all day. Washed, put out clothes, but didn’t dry. Brought them in frozen stiff, and dried them in the house.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Spring and summer brought better days.

Monday, April 1, 1912 – “Nice day. The best yet for washing. Clothes look nice. The birds are singing. Some are building their nests.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Monday, August 11, 1913 – “Nice cool day. Washing done at eleven o’clock – looks very nice and white.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Fall started the weather-related difficulties again.

Monday, October 13, 1913 – “Cooler – look for a frost tonight. Cloudy at night. Clothes dry in the house.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Monday, December 1, 1913 – “Dark dreary day – clothes still hanging on the line – not dry at bed-time. Hope it will be pleasant tomorrow.” – Lydia Jane Hall

I hardly think about doing the laundry. When clothes and linens have made a big enough pile I dump them in the washing machine and push the button. When we first came to Alaska in 1969 I had to go to a commercial laundromat once a week, and I thought that was a hardship.

But in 1912 providing clean laundry for the family must have been incredibly time-consuming. I heard somewhere that washing was done on Mondays because that was the day burning was prohibited. Clothes could be hung on the line without getting covered with black soot.

With a big family and no helpful machines, my great-grandmother and grandmother often needed help for their Monday and Tuesday routines.

Monday, June 8, 1914 – “Agnes done the washing. Two weeks washing. Mary [the help] failed to come, she had a lame back and the clothes were put a soak yesterday so had to wash them. They look very nice.” – Lydia Jane Hall

The clothesline on the farm ran from the back door to the woodshed barn in the back yard. The person hanging the wash stood on the stone steps, took clothespins from the bag hanging at the end of the line, hung the wash piece by piece, and pulled the line using a pulley so that the clothes were suspended out over the back yard.

"Washing," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2014

“Washing,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2014

By the late 1940’s, when I was a child, my grandmother had a “washing machine.” On Mondays she wheeled it from the back pantry, hooked the hose up to the kitchen sink faucet, filled the tub with clothes and soap and water, and turned it on. It wiggled and jiggled and made all kinds of noises while it agitated. This is what I begged to stay at home from school to watch. After she emptied the tub, my grandmother put the clothes through the wringer attached to the top of the tub, then hung them on the clothesline in the back yard where they billowed and flapped in the fickle Whirlwind Hill breezes.

I especially loved to watch my grandmother put the sheets and towels and clothes through the ironing mangle. This big heated and padded roller ironed linens in much less time than a regular iron. And my grandmother could sit down while using it.

As far as I know, there never was a clothes dryer on the farm. My grandmother continued to put the clothes out on the line or on a drying rack in the kitchen until she died. I think my town grandmother did the same thing. My own parents had no dryer until I was out of college. My mother hung the clothes on a circular clothesline in the back yard year round. Even when my family and I went back east during the summers to visit, and there was a dryer in a closet on the back porch, we hung our t-shirts and socks out in the sunshine. The smell of clothes dried outdoors is irresistible, and the line-dried towels had a roughness and absorbability that’s hard to find these days. Fluffy towels are one of my least favorite inventions. And don’t even get me started about “dryer sheets.”

"Clothesline," Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 1986

“Clothesline,” Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 1986

On Wednesday:  Money and Apples

The Muddy River Schoolhouse

At the foot of Whirlwind Hill, where the MacKenzie reservoir now beckons ducks, geese, swans, turtles, and hopeful fishermen and women, there was once a school. In 1810 the Muddy River Schoolhouse was built in the Wallingford, Connecticut School District No. 8, and the one-room building sat on this same spot until 1932 when plans were made to dig the new reservoir.

MacKenzie Reservoir, spring, 2014

MacKenzie Reservoir, spring, 2014

For a hundred and twenty-two years this one-room school saw Wallingford schoolchildren come and go. As many as thirty students at a time from kindergarten to sixth grade spent their days in the company of one hard-working teacher, learning to read and write and cope with all the hardships and joys of wooden desks, chalkboards, and a single stove to provide heat in the winter. For at least a year my mother was one of those students. In a 1923 photo of the school, teacher, and students, she’s the sixth child from the left, her dark hair framed by the school doorway.

Muddy River Schoolhouse with teacher and students around 1923, Janet Hall sixth child from the left

Muddy River Schoolhouse with teacher and students around 1923, Janet Hall sixth child from the left

I don’t know for sure how many of my ancestors started their educations there, but in 1861 or 1862 my great-grandmother Lydia Jane Hart came over the Totoket Mountains from Durham, Connecticut to be the teacher. Because the Hall farmland was on the uphill slope above Muddy River, I imagine my great-grandparents meeting for the first time somewhere on Whirlwind Hill. William and Lydia married in 1863, ending Lydia’s career as a teacher but beginning another generation of Muddy River schoolchildren.

In a 1998 Meriden Record article about the school, my mother, Janet Hall Crump, says, “I was pretty young, but I remember the fun things like Christmas time when we would decorate and all the parents would come,” she said. “I’m so glad I had that one year. It’s a rather interesting experience when you’re in a one-room schoolhouse. I am so glad I had that experience.”

But the year at the school that my mother remembers was a short-lived one. In January 1924 my great-grandmother Lydia recorded news of Janet and school.

Friday, January 4, 1924 – “A nice bright morning. Snow gone – no more sliding until more snow and ice come. Agnes has taken the children to school. Janet is at home. She has taken a notion she doesn’t want to go any more. Her mother is going to let her stay home until Spring.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Monday, January 14, 1924 – “Nice bright morning. Quite spring-like, tho we do not hear the birds. Children at school. Janet at home, cutting paper, etc. singing by herself.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Thursday, March 6, 1924 – “A very nice morning. Agnes taking the children to school. Janet outside with her daddy whom she likes to talk with, in the house playing with her dolls, coming with books for Grandma to read to her.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Wednesday, March 19, 1924 – “Nice day – warmer, more like spring. The children have been to school. Agnes has gone to bring them home. Janet is at home this winter. Goes to school next fall. She is as quick to learn as the others. She likes her daddy and likes to be out of doors with him.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Janet Hall with doll, around 1924

Janet Hall with doll, around 1924

It must have been hard for my grandmother Agnes, who made such effort to get her children to school, dance lessons, music lessons, etc., to just let my mom stay at home for this half year. But it was such an important time for Janet. She never forgot the joy of being the “only child” for a few hours each day, of having her daddy all to herself, and of being a part of the daily farm routine. Later on, as a mother herself, she occasionally let my brother and me stay home from school when important things happened on the farm. My brother remembers being allowed to take “sick” days when heavy equipment was working nearby so he could watch the machines in action. And I often begged to stay home so I could go to the farm kitchen to watch my grandmother do the washing.

My mother did go back to school, but not to this little building at the foot of the hill. In the fall she joined her brother and sister at the school in town. She was a good student, and she graduated from Lyman Hall High School. In this high school photo I can still see the little girl who liked to follow her daddy around the farm.

Janet Hall's High School photo

Janet Hall’s High School photo

In 1932, instead of tearing the school down to make way for the dredging of the reservoir, the town of Wallingford gave it to Oscar Williams, a farmer living on nearby Williams Road. Oscar hired Fred Audisio (who was paid in eggs since Oscar Williams raised chickens) to put a chain on the building and drag it up Williams Road to his farm where it sat mostly intact until 1998. It was then donated to the Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust and disassembled for storage. It was supposed to be moved and reassembled on another site, but as far as I know, that has never happened. The Muddy River Schoolhouse may still be in pieces in a barn on Williams Road. It’s another mystery for me to solve, and if I find out anything, I’ll let you know.

The earliest depiction I’ve seen of the schoolhouse is a watercolor by Mary E. Hart (or possibly a copy of her painting made by Melissa Hall) that hangs in my parents’ dining room on Whirlwind Hill. Until a few months ago I thought this was a painting of the Hart Homestead in Durham, but my brother told me its subject is the Muddy River Schoolhouse. I was amazed that I’d looked at this picture for so long without really knowing what it was. For me this discovery was like having a ghost step out of the past and say “howdy!” In the painting, done around 1860 or 1870, the school still has white clapboards. Next to the schoolhouse is the bridge over the river at the bottom of Whirlwind Hill. In the background, on the far side of Muddy River, the painter has brushed in the lush spring blooms of the Hall orchards.

"Muddy River Schoolhouse," Mary E. Hart, watercolor

“Muddy River Schoolhouse,” Mary E. Hart, watercolor

On Wednesday:  Painters in our Family