Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Area stone houses

Does seeing an old, abandoned house or farm make you feel sad?  It does me- thinking about the folks that used to live there and now all their hopes, dreams, and plans are over.  In 100 years will our home be just a memory too?  Probably, because our homes nowadays are not built out of stone like these were. 
A while back I wrote about our stone house and the history I have learned about it.  I don't know the history of the top two houses, they are a few miles north of us.  But the house below does have an interesting story.  It is located just a mile south of us and was built by one of the first settlers in our area, a man by the name of Wilcox.  There's not much of it left anymore, someone lit the inside on fire 30 or 40 years ago and that did it in.  
This Mr. Wilcox lived with his family in Texas back in the days before the Civil War.  But being from the north and an outspoken Union sympathizer he had to leave the state quickly when the war broke out.  His neighbors gave him 24 hours to leave but he took out right away on his horse and his wife and children followed in the wagon and they all met up down the trail.  As they came through our area on their way north to Illinois he told his wife, "Mother, this is the prettiest spot I ever saw. Let's go settle our business in Illinois, return here and make it our home."  And that is just what they did.  In 1866 he built this 8 room limestone house and he also built a stone barn which has been moved away.  They didn't have any close neighbors, the nearest being about 10 miles away. 
Mr. Wilcox had 1,000 head of cattle that ran free on the range.  He also kept 2 dozen buffalo that he had captured as calves further west on the prairie.  This didn't work out too well when settlers began moving in though.  When the cattle or buffalo came on their land they would sometimes be shot.  This made Mr. Wilcox very upset. 
One time Wilcox's men found 2 of his buffalo that had been shot on a neighbor's land.  The neighbor had not shot them, but they did not know that.  When Mr. Wilcox heard about it he saddled up his horse and rode over to the neighbor, who was stacking hay, and said, "you killed my buffalo, and now I'm going to kill you".  But the neighbor calmly told him that would accomplish nothing, he wouldn't get his buffalo back and it would just cause a lot of trouble for him and his family.  So Wilcox backed down.  This resulted in feuding in the community for about 10 years.  Finally, Wilcox and the neighbor met on the road one day and they agreed to let bygones be bygones, and both stood for neighborhood peace and goodwill till their dying day.


  1. I love old stone houses. Very interesting! Heidi H

  2. Wonderful story and history. What a great testament these old limestone houses have today to the hard work and dedication of the original owners. Beautiful! Pamela


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