My ancestors traveled across the Atlantic in search of good farmland. When they arrived at a place that resembled their birthplace in Wales, they stopped the ox-drawn wagon and horses to make it their new home. The land was populated with woods and wild animals. The settlers envisioned clearing a part of it to build a shelter and to plant gardens.
They wanted a complete community that included a church and school, but not much more. They wanted to be self-sustainable, and with determination, they accomplished that.
In the beginning, the farmers bartered with one another to obtain a variety of things that they needed. It didn’t take long for commerce to take off, and for farmers to discover customers for their products that went well beyond the local community.
Roads were needed for transport. Some folks were happy just to be stay-at-home farmers. Because, after all, there was so much work to do.
One great grandpa, Albert Showalter and his wife, Vada were happy to harvest maple sap to make the syrup that they could sell or trade for other things. They had a lovely little farm in Harmony Township, Morrow County, Ohio where they raised four children. The Showalters came to Harmony from Chester Township just up the road where Albert’s father was a farmer-minister at the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. The Showalters came from a Mennonite strain from Pennsylvania that traces back to a community in France. All that it means is that Showalter’s were probably a humble bunch.
Albert had syrup boiling in the kitchen, and somehow it got too hot and started to burn. The kitchen was on fire, and he couldn’t extinguish it. The house burned down.
After that, because he and Vada were getting on in years, they sold the farm and moved into the village of Fulton, Ohio. Their house was adjacent the train tracks. The new house had a pump in the kitchen for water. The toilet was outside. It had a large bedroom upstairs and one downstairs with a small living room and dining room next to the kitchen.
Albert died, but when I was a boy, Great Grandma Vada Wallace Showalter was still living. She had the distinct aroma of mints because she had a heart condition and popped mints a lot to settle her acid reflex. That did not stop her from dancing on the porch with my brother and me.
She cooked a boiled dinner with cabbage and turnips that were an acquired taste. While the Showalter home was in the village, if you know anything about Fulton, Ohio, you are aware that there is little distinction between the country and the village. It is almost seamless.
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