Sonnystone Saga: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the twelfth installment of the series. 

I am not a fan of naming your children after yourself, but then I did name my son Michael after his father so I lost my complaining rights.  I know first-hand how confusing it gets until you finally call one Michael “Mike” and one “Mickey” or “junior”.   So I’ve tried to not get too judge-y about Albion Fellows Bacon naming her second daughter her own name: “Albion Mary”.  In 1892, the elder Bacon was 26-years-old and certainly not famous yet.  While her friends and family called her Allie or Albion, she was styled “Mrs. Hilary E. Bacon” back then; all women of society did.  So for whatever reason, the little girl born on 4 Jan 1892 to Hilary and Albion Bacon was named Albion Mary Bacon and I will call her Albion, Jr.

For the first years of Albion, Jr.’s life her mother was in a deep depression, unable to interact with her or her sister, Margaret, who was three years older.  With the house dark and silent, the girls were most likely cared for by Nannies, but there were also plenty of extended family members living very close by.   The girls’ grandmother, Mary Erskine Fellows, lived just a block away with their Aunt Lura Heilman, their mother’s oldest sister.  Aunt Lura had a big family, including two daughters around the same age as Margaret and Albion, Jr.  Aunt Annie Fellows Johnston lived just a couple of blocks away, as well. Their father’s family lived down in Roaring Springs, Kentucky and holiday visits were made there.

By the time her mother was back engaging with life again, Albion Jr was seven, Margaret was ten, and the World was entering a New Century. The family moved into a new home that was even closer to their Aunt Lura and Grandmother Fellows. Their father had formed a new partnership and in 1898 he and Adolph Lahr opened the Lahr-Bacon Company at Sixth and Main in downtown Evansville…business was flourishing.

Part of Albion Sr.’s return to living must have involved getting to “know’ her husband again, and she gave birth in 1901 to twins, Hilary, Jr. and Joy.  The twins never knew their mother to be depressed, that’s certain.  Albion, Sr.’s involvement in social and housing reformed started about 1906, when Margaret and Albion Jr were both attending Evansville High School.

Albion Jr’s older sister, Margaret, graduated from Evansville High School with honors in 1907 and went away to school at Mt. Vernon Seminary, a finishing school in Washington, D.C.  In 1909 she went to El Paso, Tx to be a bridesmaid at a school-friend’s wedding.  The night before the nuptials, Margaret Erskine Bacon collapsed and died.  It was a shock, to say the least.  No one knew she had a heart ailment that had most likely been congenital.

While that slowed Albion Fellows Bacon down for a couple of months, she powered on.  She seems to have pulled Albion jr in a little closer.

After graduating, also with honors, from Evansville High School in 1910, Albion Jr went to college, but I’m not sure where.

Albion Mary Bacon, about 18-years-old

By 1912, though, she is frequently escorted by George Davis Smith.

Smith was the only child of George Clarkson and Delia Davis Smith.  George C. Smith, with the help of his father, Jonas, a shirt manufacturer, had opened Young American News Depot in 1866 when he was only 14-years-old.  It took off like a flash and was The Place to buy books, magazines, newspapers.

In 1882, A. S. Butterfield, a successful book and stationary salesman, became partners with Smith, and the Young America News Depot became Smith & Butterfield, a company still in existence today and very familiar to native Evillians…

George C. married Delia Davis, from Michigan, in 1884, and their son, George Davis Smith, was born in 1886.  The family lived in the same neighborhood as the Bacons and George D. graduated from Evansville High School in 1908.  He then attended the University of Michigan where he studied who knows what?  Probably Business?  He was very active in the local alumnae group, according to news articles.

In 1912, Mary Erskine Fellows died…

In 1913, George Davis Smith and Albion Mary Bacon announced their engagement and it was met with rounds of parties from the social elite of Evansville.  They were married on January 14, 1914.

The couple took up residence in Audubon Apartments, a beautiful building built by the groom’s father, located two blocks from the Bacon and Heilman residences.  They seem to be a social couple and I read several paragraphs in the “Personals” over time chronicling Albion Jr’s club meetings or teas.  I’m not sure what George D. had done before the marriage, assuming he worked for his father, but by 1916, he was Treasurer for his father-in-law’s store, H.E. Bacon & Co.

In 1917, Mr. and Mrs. George Davis Smith celebrated the birth of a son, George Bacon Smith.  I feel like this announcement has to be a typo — 14 pounds!!  What a lucky child, rich with love and money.

In around 1923, George and Albion (I can surely drop the jr by now) bought a house and acres in an area that was becoming quite a fashionable area for summer places.  Just five miles out from their Audubon apartment, it was a quaint little house and some outbuildings on 20 acres that included a small pond.  Finally! we are back to Sonnystone, though my acres number only 4.

From 1923-1928, the Smith Family only used Sonnystone as a summer home, making gradual improvements.  George’s parents, George C. and Delia D. Smith, died in 1925 within months of each other, and George D. sold the Smith part of Smith & Butterfield to the Butterfields.

In 1927,  George D. and Albion, along with their 8-year-old son, George B., traveled to Europe.  While visiting Nice, France little George’s appendix burst.  Within hours he had died of peritonitis.

If I am as sad as I am reading about it, think how devastated the parents were.  I can’t.  It’s just horrible.  His little body was brought back home and buried in the family plot at Oak Hill Cemetery.

That is when George and Albion decided to move into their summer home permanently.  That is when the major improvements were made to the house and grounds.  That is when they put the S on the chimney.

George and Albion Smith lived here at Sonnystone Acres from 1923 until 1957.  I have some information about their years here, but must go to Willard to fill in some gaps.

Stay tuned…

Sonnystone Saga: Sisters

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the tenth installment of the series…

Mary Erskine Fellows only stayed at her Dad’s farm for a couple of years after the death of her husband and daughter in 1865. By 1870, she had returned to Evansville and was living on Gum Street with her three daughters and her sister, Anna Erskine, who was teaching school. She owned real property worth $5000 and personal property of $600, and the enumerator records her as “Mary E. Fellows, widow”. She never really cared for the city, though, and around 1873 she left again, this time building a house next to her father’s. Two of her brothers, Levi and James Erskine, lived on either side of the home on Erskine Lane, just a stone’s throw from the Methodist chapel built back in 1848. There she stayed for the next eight years.

From the 1880 Vanderburgh County Atlas…just under No5 Erskin Bros, it says “Mrs. Fellows” just next door to the “M E Church” …

Community life in the village of McCutchanville revolved around the church and the school. Mary was a very devout Christian and raised her daughters to be the same; they were in church every time the doors were opened and attended every Revival.

McCutchanville residents had built their first schoolhouse, a log-cabin affair, in 1852, not far from the Fellows’ home. In 1874, a brand new two-story, brick school building was erected. The new school had two school rooms and an upstairs auditorium that also served as a community meeting place. But the village had no streets, no stores, and the post office was the private home of Samuel McCutchan, where mail was delivered weekly. It was far from the bustle of Evansville, away from the smoke stacks that blackened the city skies, but still only an 8-mile buggy ride into town to visit with family or to shop.

Lura, Mary’s oldest daughter, went away to attend the University of Wisconsin in 1875. Her younger daughters, Annie and Allie (as Albion was nicknamed) were inseparable. They had ten cousins living close by and in addition to attending school and church together, they spent much of their childhood years together taking part in the seasonal activities of farm life: planting and harvesting, sheep-shearing, sorghum and cider-making, wheat-threshing, There was always something to be done.

In addition to attending McCutchanville School, Mary taught the girls at home where Allie and Annie read everything they could get their hands on and memorized long poems. They took to writing and when the girls were 16 and 14, they each had one of their poems published in a magazine, “Gems of Poetry”. It was a great thrill for them. Though they didn’t try to get anything else published for a long while, they continued to write and were members of “The Literary Society” a group that met in the community hall in the schoolhouse, where they shared their efforts.

In 1877, Mary’s father, John Erskine, died. Born in Ireland, Erskine was one of the original settlers of the British Settlement. He divided his assets among his many descendants.

17-year-old Annie Fellows began teaching at McCutchanville for the 1880-1881 school year. Allie had just finished elementary school, and was excited to begin Art lessons in Evansville.

Albion and Annie Fellows, circa 1880 — from the Albion Fellows Special Collection, Special Collections, Willard Library

The biggest excitement of 1880 came when their older sister, Lura, married George P. Heilman on November 2. The Heilmans were a prominent Evansville family who owned a large foundry, Heilman Plow Works, as well as other business interests. After a honeymoon in Europe, the couple moved into a beautiful home on Chandler Avenue and started their family.

Annie Fellows went off to college in 1881-1882, attending the University of Iowa where a paternal uncle was a professor. Mary and Albion moved back to Evansville that same year, moving in with Lura and George Heilman. Allie attended Evansville High School, graduating in just two years in 1883. Albion was salutatorian of her high school class and wrote the words and music to the class song, as well as delivering a stirring speech at the commencement ceremonies.

Annie returned after a year at University, and began to teach in the Evansville School System in 1883, a job she continued for the next three years.

Later on, Albion wrote that she was “crushed” that she was unable to attend college to pursue a study of Art and states that her mother’s monetary resources were scarce. I seriously question that explanation. For whatever reason, though, she did not attend, instead taking a job as a secretary in her Uncle Asa Igleheart’s law office. She learned shorthand and quickly became a well-respected court stenographer. She admitted in later years that this experience–often being the only woman in the courtroom, traveling to different counties to record trials, learning how laws are made and tested– prepared her for her future more than a college education could have. She also continued to write and had several poems published in magazines. She joined Trinity Methodist Church (where her father had laid the cornerstone) and was active in various women’s clubs with her sister, Annie.

By the mid-1880s, Allie had moved out of the Heilman house and was living at her Uncle Asa’s house at 1003 Upper Second St. Quite the independent young lady, she had several beaus, though she and Annie were still as inseparable as two working women could be.

One of the gentlemen who courted Albion was Hilary Bacon. Hilary lived just two doors down from Uncle Asa, boarding with his half-brother, Dr. Charles Parke Bacon. The doctor and his wife had helped Hilary set up a dry goods business with three partners, starting out as Keck-Miller, and Co. Thanks to a lot of hard work, it was very successful. By 1887, two of the partners sold out and the store was called Keck-Bacon, located at 207 Main, where it remained for the next decade.

Hilary was enamored of Albion, but so were several other gentlemen. She had at least one declined proposal, and wasn’t particularly inclined toward marriage. She and Annie had grand plans to travel to Europe, though their mother was pressuring them both to marry.

Then Uncle Asa died suddenly in 1887. He was mourned throughout the State of Indiana, and was sorely grieved by his niece Mary Fellows, and her two daughters. He had been their benefactor, as well as a stable, secure source of wisdom and strength to the little family.

After Asa’s death, their mother, Mary, increased the pressure on her two youngest daughters to marry. Annie and Allie gave in, and in December, 1887, they announced their engagements and plans for a double wedding. Albion was to marry Hilary Bacon and Annie was to marry William Johnston. Johnston was their cousin (cringe), son of Kitty Igleheart Johnston, who had died when he was just 9. Johnston had been raised by the old pioneer Charles F. McJohnston up in McCutchanville. He was 12 years older than Annie, a widower with three children, and an established pharmacist (then called a druggist) in Evansville. The wedding was planned for fall of 1888.

But before they married, the sisters insisted on embarking on an adventure which they had planned since they were little girls in McCutchanville: to travel abroad together. Their Grand Tour began on May 21, 1888, and they traveled for three months, seeing as many wonders as they had dreamed of in their childhood.

Returning at the end of the August, Albion and Annie Fellows began to plan their wedding in earnest and set the date for October 11, 1888.

Stay tuned…

Sonnystone Saga: The Fellows

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the ninth installment of the series…

Mary Igleheart Erskine had accomplished her goal of attending college despite all the hardship of an outbreak of typhoid fever, spending two years at Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw) in Greencastle, Indiana.  While there she met and fell in love with a seminary student, Albion Fellows.

Albion Fellows was born in New Hampshire, but his family had moved to Dixon, IL when he was young.  He had attended Mt. Morris College, near his hometown, for a couple of years before beginning his studies in Theology at Indiana Asbury.  He and Mary were married a month after his ordination in 1854 and they began the traveling life of a Methodist minister of the times.  Rev. Fellows joined the Northwest Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, serving first in Valparaiso, then in Westville, where their daughter, Ella Delia, was born in 1856.  In 1857, he was a professor of Greek at the Methodist seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  That year, Mary and the Reverend welcomed their second daughter, Lura.  ( Mary returned to McCutchanville for the births.)

In 1859, when Mary was pregnant with their third child, the Rev was transferred to the Southern Indiana Conference, where he pastored a church in Boonville, Warrick County, Indiana, fairly close to Mary’s childhood home. Mary gave birth to a son, Wilbur, in August, 1859.   The 1860 census reveals that the Fellows Family -Albion, 32, Mary, 31, Ella, 4, Lura, 2, and Wilbur, 11 months, are living in Boonville where Albion is a “Minister, ME” with real estate valued $600 and personal property, $300.  Also living with them are Mary’s sister, Martha, who is a schoolteacher.  Sadly, baby Wilbur died later that year.

Rev. Fellows and family moved briefly to Patoka (Gibson County) and then to Mt. Vernon (Posey County) between 1860-1862.  In April, 1861, another son was born: Erwin. Erwin died just a month past his first birthday in 1862.

By 1863, the family had moved to Evansville, then a thriving town of 11,600 souls;  All of Mary’s Igleheart uncles were living there, as well as a couple of her Erskine relatives.  I’d wager she was glad to be closer to home/family, especially after the loss of her babies.

According to the 1863 City Directory, the Fellows were living at 66 SE Second Street (now the parking lot of EVSC offices); Albion is listed as “Presiding Elder, ME”.  1863 also saw the addition to the family of daughter, Anna.

Two years later, Rev and Mary were still at the same address, but he is named as Pastor of Locust Street ME Church. just across the street.  Locust Street ME had been built in 1839 and was growing strong. The congregation had made plans for a new building, had even bought the land for it on Third and Chestnut, but the Civil War had delayed the efforts.  When Fellows became Pastor, he re-invigorated the building plans.

From “Holy History/Evansville Living Magazine, May/June, 2016:

“The local architectural firm Mursinna & Boyd prepared drawings for a 150-by-76-foot, Gothic-style building patterned after St. Paul’s M. E. Church in Newark, New Jersey. In 1864 the Evansville Daily Journal asserted the building would prove “one of the very handsomest church edifices in the whole western country.

Trinity UMC Evansville IN – truly one of the prettiest churches I’ve ever attended…(sketch from 1870s)

“Work began in early 1864, with the first of 400,000 bricks set in place on May 16, 1864. A little over a month later, on June 19, the congregation laid the cornerstone — at this event Rev. Fellows praised the congregation’s faith in undertaking such a project during the Civil War.”

Ah, yes, that pesky Civil War. Evansville’s commerce along the Ohio River was reduced during the war, especially after the closure of the Mississippi to commercial trade with the South.  There was some economic recovery in Eville by providing transport to Union troops across the river, and the growing railroad network kept them afloat.  Other than the men who joined the Indiana Regiments, the city’s greatest contribution to the war effort was providing medical care for the wounded soldiers.  During the Civil War, four hospitals served the Evansville area and took in hundreds of injured soldiers from the bloody battles being fought up and downriver in Kentucky and Tennessee.

The new church building for which Rev. Fellows had laid the cornerstone was completed in 1866, but the Pastor did not live to see it completed.  It is written in the history of the church that he was “overtaxed” by the building of the church, leading to his premature death at age 37.  The family history relates that the Rev. had become soaked and chilled after a horseback ride back to town from a rural church, and subsequently came down with a fatal case of pneumonia.  Most likely both histories are true.

At the time of Reverend Albion Fellows’ death on March 4, 1865, Mary Erskine Fellows was very pregnant.  She gave birth on April 8 and named the baby girl after her deceased husband: Albion.  Tragically, Mary’s oldest daughter, nine-year-old Ella, died four months later on August 25.  Shortly after, Mary and her three daughters retreated to her father’s farm in McCutchanville.

Stay tuned…


Sonnystone Saga: Erskines and Iglehearts

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the eighth installment of the series…

I just received a hard-to-find copy of Kenneth McCutchan’s book “From Then ‘Til Now: History of McCutchanville”, autographed by the author even!  This book was published in 1954 by the Indiana Historical Society and it is chock-full of interesting information such as this:

“The Erskines, the second white family to arrive in McCutchanville, came also from Ireland, but were descended from a very old Scottish family whose records go back for centuries…

It was the bitterly cold Christmas Day of 1819 when William and Mary Erskin and their four children tied up their flatboat at the Evansville landing.  They had come from Largey, in Antrim County, Ireland.  Whether they had intended going on down the river is not known, for during that Christmas night the river froze over so solidly that all traffic was brought to a halt.  Mr. Erskine was able to rent a small cabin from Hugh McGary, the founder of Evansville, and the family remained there until spring.

Perhaps during the long months while the winter wore away they began to like southern Indiana, for when the weather broke and good green days came again, Mr. Erskin went back into the hills and selected a site for a farm, which he later purchased at the Vincennes Land Office for $1.25 per acre.

With the spring, the family moved to their new estate and set to work to build a barn.  There were more hands to do the work than there had been in the McJohnston family.  The Erskin children were already grown; the two oldest boys were 22 and 23 years of age.  This barn, constructed of round hickory logs, is thought to have been the first building erected in the McCutchanville area.  It was located on the brow of the hill north of the present (McCutchanville Methodist) church at the end of what is now Erskine Lane.”

The children of William and Mary Erskine were John, b. 1797; Andrew, b. 1799; William, b. 1802; and Mary Ann, b. 1805.  The elder Erskines died in 1825, just six years after their arrival, both aged around 60.  By that time, though, the community had already come together and the “children” were integral members.

Levi Igleheart, Sr. was 37 when he settled into western Warrick County in 1823.  He and his wife, Anne, had seven children with them: Harriett, 14; Elizabeth, 12; Mary Ann, 10; Catherine (Kitty), 8; Asa, 6; Levi, Jr. 3; and Eleanor, 1. In 1825, their last child, William, was born.

The Iglehearts were not in McCuchanville. so there is next-to-nothing written about the family in Kenneth McCutchan’s book.  Their land was situated in Warrick County along the Vanderburgh/Warrick County line,  just a  short distance east of the British Settlement.

From Indiana Biography Reference Page, Levi Igleheart, Sr. :

“There is reason to believe that proximity to the British Settlement was an inducement to the elder Igleheart to settle with his family, as the leading families of the British Settlement had brought with them into the wilderness, British ideals, correct speech, musical and literary culture, with church opportunities, and all three of Mr. Igleheart’s sons found their wives in the British Settlement and two out of five of his daughters found their husbands there.”

However, Levi Igleheart, Sr. was a big deal in Warrick County. In 1825 he was appointed Magistrate in Warrick County and was elected by the Board of Magistrates to be its president. He continued in that position until after 1830, when the law was changed to form a board of three County Commissioners, to which Igleheart was perennially elected.

In 1826, Levi’s eldest daughter, Harriett, 18, married John Erskine, 29,   They set right in having babies and ended up with eight children: Joseph, b. 1827; Mary, b. 1829; James, b. 1831; Levi, b. 1833; William, b. 1835; Anne, b. 1837; Martha, b. 1839; and Sarah, b. 1846.

Soon, all of Harriet’s and John’s siblings married.  John’s brother, Andrew, had married Ann Ewing in 1825. In 1834, Harriet’s sister, Kitty, married John Johnston. In 1842, brother Asa was wedded to Ann Cowle. Youngest sister Eleanor married Amos Wright in 1843. Levi, Jr. married Susanna Ingle in 1844., and William tagged along in 1848 when he married Mary Ann Ingle (his sister-in-law’s sister).  The population was booming as they started having babies.

All of these grandchildren of Levi Igleheart, Sr. lived a typical American Frontier life, even though their grandfather owned the biggest house in the village.  The older daughters were taught to be responsible for their younger siblings at an early age, as their mother was having babies every two years.  The boys were expected to help in the fields as soon as they were able.  Formal schooling only lasted 10-12 weeks and studying had to be worked around many chores.  Their mothers picked up the slack, teaching at home and encouraged learning, and the Igleheart men were supportive of education for both girls and boys.

John and Harriett Erskine’s oldest children, Joseph and Mary, dreamed of going away to college.  In 1837 Indiana Asbury (now DePauw University) had been founded in Greencastle, Indiana, and the two siblings, with the blessing of their parents, planned to attend together in 1847.  Alas, that was not to be.  In 1846, an epidemic swept through the village, killing 37-year-old Harriett Igleheart Erskine.   Joseph, 19, also succumbed, as did little Sarah, only two-years-old.  The fever also killed Anne Taylor Igleheart, the matriarch of the Igleheart clan.

Mary Erskine, just 17, was devastated by the loss of her adored brother, mother, and grandmother. Now she had to be a mother to her younger brothers and sisters, who ranged in age from 6 to 15, and her dream of attending college seemed like just a dream.  The family, indeed the whole community, helped where they could, but the responsibility was crushing.

In 1849, Mary’s Uncle Asa Igleheart, who had been studying for years, passed the Indiana Bar Exam and received his license to practice law.  He, his wife and young children moved to Evansville, about eight miles south of the farms, where he set up a law practice.

Finally in 1852, Mary Erskine, now 23, and three of her siblings traveled the 150 miles to Greencastle, rented rooms, and began their studies. (note: the college was not co-ed; the women attended in separate buildings, called the Ladies’ Seminary)   She loved it and things went so well that in 1853 they returned, bringing with them another sister and two Igleheart cousins.

In 1853, there was an outbreak of typhoid fever that took the life of one of the cousins.  One of her sisters was very ill and Mary spent months nursing her back to health.   Though she missed a lot of classes,  she made the best of it. She had, after all, fulfilled her dream…and had also met the man who she would marry…Albion Fellows, a seminary student.

Meanwhile…back at the farms…

 Uncle Levi, Jr. moved to Evansville in 1853 where he established a saw mill.

 In 1854, Uncle Asa was appointed Judge of the Pleas Court, a position he held for the rest of his life.

In 1855, Grandpa Levi Igleheart, Sr. died,, distributing his wealth and land among his family.

In 1856, Asa, Levi, Jr., and little brother, William went into business together, establishing a grain mill at 5th and Locust in downtown Evansville (where the old Majestic Theatre was in my childhood).  They called it Igleheart Brothers, Millers.

Stay tuned…



Sonnystone Saga: the British Settlement

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the seventh installment of the series…

Soon after the death of his wife in 1817, Charles McCutchan-Johnstone sold his businesses in County Longford, Ireland, gathered up his seven children, and set out for the USA.  They arrived at Pittsburg, PA, where Charles (hereafter the family name is McJohnston) bought flatboats and traveled down the Ohio River to Evansville, IN.  Eville had little to show for itself in 1819, so McJohnston continued past it and up the Pigeon Creek until he reached Stringtown Hill road where he disembarked.  He had brought with him, besides household goods, a wagon, horses and plenty of pounds sterling…  He headed northward along Stringtown Road Ridge.  In 1819 the “road” was nothing more than a winding path through the forest from which the saplings and underbrush had been cut, but which had giant forest trees standing in its center along its entire course.

Instead of following the road northward and on toward Vincennes and Princeton, as earlier arrivals had done, Mr. McJohnston struck out eastward on an Indian trail about a quarter mile past Sonnystone, now called Petersburg Road.  The family crossed the valley, and climbed the next ridge of hills where they stopped. The land had been government property since the Indian treaties and was open to claim. He registered approximately one thousand acres at the Vincennes Land Office.  Upon those acres lay the future village of McCutchanville.

There was an influx of settlers who followed the McJohnstons.  Do you remember the Inwoods?  William Inwood, father of both of John Reed’s wives, also arrived in 1819 with his family; his son John married one of McJohnston’s daughters.   There were the Erskines, the Wheelers, the Maidlows, the Hornbecks.  McJohnston’s brother, William McCutchan, came later.  The area around McCutchanville was known in those early days as the “British Settlement”. By the end of 1820 there were 53 families who owned 12,800 acres of land and capital of $80,000…about 1.2 million today.  Not a bad start.

It was 1823 before Levi Igleheart, Sr. arrived with his family.  The Igleheart family had come to Maryland from Germany in 1740.  Levi’s father, John, had fought in the Revolutionary War and owned plantations in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Levi and his wife were Woke!  They decided slavery was wrong and sold their slaves (you could not actually Free slaves in those days; there were Laws against free black people living in the slave states).  However, they found they couldn’t farm the property without the slaves, so they sold their land to relatives and pioneered west.  After a stop in Kentucky, they finally settled on the outskirts of McCutchanville along the eastern edge of Vanderburgh County.

The community was tight-knit.  There was a lot of work to be done clearing and building homes, barns, and mills.  Though of varying denominations, there was a circuit rider that began to visit the village in the early 1820s. The homes most often visited were those of Charles McJohnston, Sr., Levi Igleheart, Sr., Mark Wheeler, John Erskine, Sr. The preacher came on Saturday night, sometimes traveling for a month to get there. Two services were held on the Sabbath, morning and afternoon. The living room was cleared, beds were removed and slabs were brought in and set up for seats. The “congregation” had traveled anywhere from 5 to 10 miles on horseback, in wagons, and on foot. They brought cold lunches with them that were supplemented by cooking done the day before by the homeowner.

The village built their first schoolhouse in 1832.   Girls were given the same consideration for education as the boys. It was 1845 when Samuel McCutchan (McJohnston’s nephew) was appointed the first Postmaster and the community was named after him.  That same year, ground was broken to build a Methodist-episcopal church-building with $300 old Charles McJohnston had willed for that purpose.

From McCutchanville to the Evansville Court House it was about 8 miles.  The only way to get there was down Petersburg Road to Stringtown Rd, past Sonnystone Acres and down the hill across Pigeon Creek to the flatland.  We are situated about about halfway between the two places, so the residents of McCutchanville passed by Sonnystone on a regular basis on their way to town.

100 years after McJohnston blazed that trail, one of the descendants of those early settlers, Albion Mary Smith, moved into Sonnystone and she and her husband, George Davis Smith,  placed the S on the chimney.

But first, let’s meet Mrs. Smith’s ancestors…

Stay Tuned…


Sonnystone Saga: The Reeds: Coda

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the sixth installment of the series…

Minnie Reed Olmsted took possession of her family home, now known as Sonnystone Acres, in 1908 upon the death of her mother, Mary Inwood Reed. Mary was the last surviving child of pioneers William and Hannah Inwood, a family that had been integral to the British Settlement established in 1819. I have loved stalking the Inwoods…especially Uncle John and his kids…

In 1910, Minnie Reed Olmsted, 52, and her husband, Goodrich, 60, were living here at the Acres with a “boarder”, William Harper, 14. I believe he helped out on the farm, as their occupation was truck farming. Their oldest daughter, Emma, had married in 1906 and moved to New Albany, IN. Daughter Mary Ella, had married in 1908, and she and her husband, Oscar Hanning, owned a dairy farm on nearby Kratzville Road.

Minnie and Goodrich Olmsted…

Ada Reed Van Dusen, 50, and her husband, Louis, 52, were also empty nesters. Their daughter, Mary Irene, had married in 1901. Her husband was a butcher by the name of Louis Yokel. By 1910 Yokel had opened his own grocery and meat shop on the corner of Main and 7th streets, named Yokel and Sons. The family still lived on Stringtown Road, though, in a house across from present-day Old North UMC that we Almost bought just before we found Sonnystone. Coincidentally, I got to know Mary Irene’s daughter, Marjorie Yokel Copeland, and her grand-daughter, Carol Stremming, when I was attending Old North back in the 80s…

Sometime around 1910, Minnie’s son, Charles Elston Olmsted, and her sister Ada’s son, LeRoy Reed Van Dusen, set out for the West where they bought a farm/ranch in Prairie Springs, Idaho. Cousins! How adventurous!

As for the other Reeds in 1910, Thomas, 64, is still a drayman, still on Goodsell Street with a houseful. Living with him are his sons Harry and Inwood, Harry’s wife and three children, and his daughter, Sadie.

Jack Reed, now 68, is living out on Darmstadt Rd, boarding with Fred and Mary Kaiser. His occupation is “own account” which means he works for himself or has an independent income.

George Childs, 63, was the Postmaster of Chandler in 1910, where he and his wife, Anna, the schoolteacher, resided. Their son, Leslie, still lived with them and his occupation is listed as “gold miner”… Seriously. More likely, he was a coal miner.

Louis Van Dusen died in 1917 and Goodrich Olmstead died six months later in 1918. Per the 1920 census, the two widowed sisters, Minnie, 62, and Ada, 60, were living together here at Sonnystone. They list their occupation as truck farmers…always…

I can’t find a record of the death of Jack Reed, but according to my abstract he died around 1921. I’m not surprised that he wasn’t buried in the family plot. George Childs died in 1923 and he was interred with the rest of the family in Salem Cemetery.

In 1923, Minnie sold the farm, at least that’s what it says on my abstract. Minnie died in 1929 and her death certificate says that the coroner “took her remains” for an inquest. That would mean, I think, that she had died unexpectedly, perhaps in her sleep. It says he came to the scene at 7:30 a.m. and that the informant was Ada Van Dusen. Cause of death was “coronary lesion” — heart attack. Here’s the mystery: the location of her death and of her residence on the certiicate are R.R. 5, Stringtown Road. That would be Here, but then when did the new owners move in…? Why was Minnie here in 1929? Or was she? I’ll work on that.

Ada Reed Van Dusen was the last survivor of the Reedmont days, living until 1943. She died at Regina Pacis Nursing Home.

The New Owners were George Davis Smith and his wife, Albion Bacon Smith. The Smiths placed the “S” on the chimney that inspired me to name the place Sonnystone Acres. They are responsible for the east addition and the garage-without-a-driveway, as well as the leftover kennel pens and the skeet-shooter hidden by brush on the edge of the woods. George and Albion were members of Elite Evansville Society, third-generation wealth.

Their fascinating family stories will take us back to the pioneer days of the British Settlement around McCutchanville and Mechanicsville again, but this time we’ll visit the bustling metropolis of Evansville before we return to “Stringtown Rd. 5 miles out”…

Stay Tuned…

Sonnystone Saga: The Will

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the fifth installment of the series…

I wonder if his family were aware of the stipulations of John Reed’s Last Will and Testament before he died. The Will starts off quite normally:  Being of sound mind but failing body, Thank the Lord for his Goodness, pay all the debts, etc.  He leaves his beloved wife, Mary, all of his personal property and 1/3 of his real estate.  He dictates that she should keep all the income from all of the property for the first year.  Later in the Will, he names her as executor.

Then it gets convoluted, and of course it’s about Jack.

“I give and devise unto my son, John Reed, a sum of money equal to 1/15 in value and amount of this devise shall be ascertained in the following manner to wit:  Within ninety days from my death, two reputable free-holders of Vanderburgh County, state of Indiana, wholly disinterested and not of kin to any of my devisees shall be selected, one of my said son, John, the other by Thomas Reed, George Childs, Minnie Olmsted, and Ada Belle Van-Dusen, to appraise the whole of the real estate of which I may die seized.”

I don’t think he trusts them..  There’s more…He says if any of them fail or refuse to select an appraiser then one should be chosen by his wife Mary along with the Vanderburgh County Court Clerk…and if they fail to agree with that choice, a third should be chosen and the majority rules… Rather expecting an argument, doncha think?  So once they finally agree and get it appraised, John’s 1/15 is to be a lien on the property of the others and paid in a very specific manner

“Within ninety days from the day of my death and each of every ninety days thereafter on demand, the sum of twenty-five dollars, until the amount is fully paid; said sums so paid to be a credit upon my said son John’s legacy. “

He goes on to say that if the full amount isn’t paid within two years, interest of 4% should be paid to Jack.  If Jack dies before the full amount is paid, the rest is to be given to his grandchildren (Jack’s daughters) Alice and Mary Reed.  He also wills 1/15 of his real estate to Alice and Mary, to be held as joint tenants. No other grandchildren are mentioned.

Thomas Reed, George Childs, Minnie Olmsted, and Ada Van Dusen are each given 9/60 (nine sixtieths).  He stipulates that’s only if they give John his money.

Furthermore, he states:

“It is my further will that in case any of my devisees or legatees shall object to the provisions in this my will made for them and shall institute any legal proceedings for the purpose of setting this my will aside or in any manner interfering with the disposition herein made of any of my property, then and that case the devise of legacy herein made to the objector or objectors shall immediately become null and void and the share, or shares of the objector or objectors shall be divided equally share and share alike among those of my devisees or legatees who are satisfied and content with the provisions herein made for them.”

The will was signed and sealed on 12 January 1881.  John Reed died 14 January 1888, age 72.  Mary Inwood Reed,  was 64.

Phew!  I don’t get it.  It’s obvious something was Wrong with Jack.  Given my Life Experience, I’m gonna guess alcohol is involved. He has run out on his wife and daughters, obviously ran up debts to his cousin James, and — Spoiler Alert! — his life gets no better.  Yet his father writes a Will that forces his brothers and sisters to Support him and gives Jack’s daughters a share of property equal to theirs.  John Reed’s actions are those of a real enabler.

In 1889, Thomas, George, Minnie, and Ada did go to court against Mary, the grand-daughter.  Alice Reed had died before her grandfather.  Mary had claimed that the Will gave she and her sister Each 1/15 and that she was her sister’s legal heir. However, the case was found in favor of the plaintiffs and Mary was given only 1/15…which is what it seems to me that John wanted.  The land is partitioned off in that document, giving Jack’s daughter, Mary, about 14 acres, leaving 100 or so to the Big Four.

Sonnystone proper belonged to Mary Inwood Reed as part of her 1/3.  It consisted of the house and about 60 acres.  Thomas Reed and George Childs sold their share of the land to their sisters and George bought a place in Chandler, IN.   The Van Dusens and Olmsteds pretty much stayed in the homes where they’d always lived and continued to farm through the decade of the 1890s.

By 1900, Charles and Minnie Olmsted and their three teenagers were living at Sonnystone with Mary, age 77.  Louis and Ada Belle Van Dusen lived just down the road and Louis’s 84-year-old mother lived with them.  Both families had a servant living with them.  Both men are listed as gardeners…!

George and Anna Childs were still in Chandler.  George is listed as an “agent machines?”.  The machine part is pretty clear, but I can’t read the first word well. Son John, 25, was a schoolteacher like his Mom.  19-year-old son Leslie was a day laborer.

Thomas Reed was still on Goodsell Street, still working as a drayman.  He had a houseful: four children, Harry, 24; Ben (also called Inwood), 21; Thomas, jr., 18; and Sarah Belle, 13;  and one niece, Ella, 30 (daughter of cousin James Inwood, who had died in 1884).  But that’s not all..  Thom’s wayward brother, Jack Reed, 55-years-old, is also living with him, not working… What a guy…

Mary Inwood Reed died 17 April 1908.  Her death certificate states cause of death as senility.  She was 85-years-old.  The following month court papers were filed stating that Thomas Reed, George Childs, and Ada Van Dusen gave up all their claim to Mary’s property and giving it to Minnie Reed Olmsted.  It is the first time that I see the property listed as our address on Stringtown Road, though it is still a rural route.

Minnie Reed  Olmsted was now the proud owner of her family home, Reedmont, aka Sonnystone Acres.

Stay tuned…






The Sonnystone Saga: The Reeds Again

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the fourth installment of the series…

When the enumerators returned to Reedmont, aka Sonnystone Acres, in 1870, John, now 54 years old, and Mary, 47, still had four of their children living with them:  Sarah Childs, 27; George Childs, 23; Minnie, 14; Ada, 12.

By the time of the 1870 census, Jack Reed was 28 years old and married to Jane Sutton.  His occupation is listed as “laborer” and he owns his own home in Evansville valued at $1100 with personal property $200.  Living with him are his father-in-law, William Sutton, a laborer, and his brother-in-law, Joseph Sutton, an insurance clerk.  Mr. Sutton and his family had arrived from England in 1853 when Jane was 11 years old.

John’s ex-wife, Sarah Inwood  Green, 50,  was living with her sons, William, 15, and Benjamin, 13, in downtown Evansville near the home of her brother, William.  She says she is a widow, keeping house.

Regarding the rest of the Inwood siblings, John had retired from farming and was also living in downtown Evansville.  John evidently thought a lot of the Reeds, as he named one of his sons Thomas Reed Inwood…very confusing because he and Thomas Reed are nearly the same age.  Uncle George Inwood is still living on the farm nearby Reedmont and has a servant by the name of Anna Davidson living with him and his wife,

The decade of the 70’s brought many changes, particularly weddings…

Thomas got the ball rolling in 1873 when he married — get this– his cousin, Amelia Inwood, one of his Uncle John Inwood’s daughters!  So Thomas Reed and Thomas Reed Inwood were cousin/brothers-in-law…weird…

In 1874, George Childs, 27, married Anna Georgianna Davidson, 22.  Anna is the same servant who had been living with Uncle George Inwood, but she is subsequently listed as a schoolteacher.

Early in 1878, Uncle John Inwood died and was buried in the McCutchanville cemetery next to his wife, Harriett.

1878 saw the wedding of the youngest Reed, Ada, who was also called Belle.  She was 18 when she married Louis Van Dusen, 22.  Louis was the son of Martin Van Dusen, a wealthy farmer who lived in nearby Kratzville.  His mother was Abby Olmsted, daughter of Judge William Olmsted, one of Vanderburgh County’s first magistrates.  Judge Olmsted, who had come to Evansville in 1818 from Ridgefield, Connecticut, was not “learned in the law”, but he was scrupulously honest, unlike many judges at that time.  He was also County Commissioner and a well-respected public servant.

In 1879, Minnie Faye Reed married Charles Goodrich Olmsted, Jr., a cousin of Louis VanDusen,  and another grandson of Judge Olmsted.  His grandfather wasn’t his only claim to fame, though.  His father, Charles,Sr. was 37 years old with four children when he joined the Union Army in 1861.  He was captain of the 42nd Indiana Volunteers, and by all accounts an excellent leader.  He died at the head of his command at the Battle of Perryville, KY.  He was a Hero to the residents of Vanderburgh County.  His widow kept his farms in Mechanicsville near Reedmont and raised the children there.  Charles, Jr. went by the name “Goodrich”…

The Reed-Olmsted nuptials were held right here at Sonnystone…

In 1880 John Reed’s property was a compound of four families.  John and Mary Reed lived in Sonnystone house with George and Anna Childs and their son, John Reis Childs; next door were the Van Dusens, Ada and Louis, and their daughter, Mary Irene; next door to them were Goodrich and Minnie Olmstead who were newly-weds.  All the men were farmers and Anna is a schoolteacher.

Thomas and Amelia Reed, living on Goodsell Street in Evansville, had two sons by 1880, Harry, 4, and Benjamin, 11 months.   Thom’s sister-in-law/cousin, Mary Inwood, (daughter of the late John Inwood) was also living with them, working as a schoolteacher.

Where’s Jack?  In 1880 Jack was living with his cousin, James Inwood, son of the late Uncle John.  He was not listed as a cousin, however.  Instead, his relationship to James was “servant” and his occupation was listed as “servant/farm laborer.  Jack is divorced.  His ex-wife, Jane Sutton Reed, and his daughters, Alice and Mary, were living with her brother, Joseph, and his family.

Jack seems a little troubled, doesn’t he?  He probably blamed it on the divorce…  I have reason to believe that he didn’t get along well with his half-siblings…

Sarah Inwood Green,  ex-wife /sister-in-law of of John E. Reed,  died in 1884 and was buried in the Inwood family plot at McCutchanville Cemetery.  I continue to look for her sons, the Green boys, to no avail.

In 1886, George Inwood, Mary’s last surviving brother, sold his farm adjacent to Reedmont and moved with his family to Kansas.

John E. Reed died on January 14, 1888 at the age of 72.  He left a Last Will and Testament that is a doozey…  It sits prominently at the front of the Abstract of Sonnystone, so it caught my eye immediately as I started my research.  Anytime you end a Will with the warning that anyone who objects to it should be disinherited you figure you’ve got a Feuding Family…

Stay Tuned…


Sonnystone Saga: Meet the Reeds

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the third installment of the series…

John L. Reed was born in England in 1815. Try as I might, I find no record of his parents or when he arrived. Because his life is intricately entwined with the Inwoods, I have reason t believe that upon his arrival he settled in with the British community that had been established in the 1820s around McCutchanville.

William and Hannah Inwood were from Godalming, Surrey, England and were among the earliest settlers here in Southern Indiana.  When they arrived in the USA in 1821, they already had three children: Harriett, b. 1815; John, b. 1817; and Sarah, b. 1820.  They had three more children after their move to Indiana:  Mary, b. 1823; George, b. 1826; and William, Jr. b. 1828.  William and his family settled land between Mechanicsville and McCutchanville along the state road, now Petersburg Road.  Hannah died in 1835, age 47.  William lived another 20 years, dying in 1855.  His children were grown by then and he had already conveyed his land and wealth to them.

In 1841, John Reed married Sarah Inwood, the daughter of William, Sr. and Hannah.  He and Sarah had three children together:  John “Jack”, b. 1842; Thomas, b. 1846; and Mary J., b. 1849.  The 1850 census shows that the family lives in Kratzville, a small community near Stringtown.  John was working for a trucking service as a drayman (driver of a beer truck). He owns real estate valued at $1100.  The kids were ages 7, 4, and 1.

Something very unexpected occurred between 1850 and 1860…John and Sarah Inwood Reed divorced.

Divorced?! you say, Divorced in the 1850’s?!  Unheard of.  I don’t have record of the actual divorce as those are hard to come by, but I discovered — to my amazement — that divorce was not as uncommon as I thought in those years.  In fact, Indiana had such lax divorce laws in the 1850s that coming to the state was a popular quick way to shed your spouse.

From “The Indiana Magazine of History” : [From 1852 ] until 1873, Indiana used to have one of the most liberal divorce laws in the country, and unhappily married individuals flocked to the Hoosier state in order to bring their unions to a quick—and relatively painless—end. According to Garber, in those days judges were inclined to grant a divorce decree “as a matter of course in every case where the defendant did not appear and oppose it.” The applicant had only to provide “proof of residence” and swear under oath that there was “statutory cause” for their petition.

Still, Divorce was considered quite scandalous in polite society… It appears that Sarah Inwood Reed was the first to stray which was even more sordid.   Sarah gave birth in 1856 to a son named William Green and in 1858 had another son, Benjamin Green.  I have no clue who their Daddy was, though I’ve looked everywhere for him.  The only candidate I’ve found would be a married man!  I’ve not ruled it out…

In the meantime, John Reed had moved to Richmond, Indiana and married — get this –his ex-wife Sarah’s younger sister, Mary Inwood Childs!!

Mary had married Stephen Childs in 1842 and they had three children:  Sarah, b. 1843; George, b. 1847; and Mary, b. 1849. I do not see a record of Stephen Childs’ death — or his life, for that matter, other than the record of his marriage to Mary, but let’s just assume that he died because one divorce is all I can handle.

While John and Mary rode out the scandal in Richmond, they had two children together: Minnie, b. 1857; and Ada Belle, b. 1859.  I do not know if John’s sons with Sarah, Thomas and John, jr., went with them, but their daughter Mary disappears during that decade.

So it was that in 1860, John and Mary Inwood Reed returned to Center Township, Vanderburgh County. Post office of McCutchanville, and bought Sonnystone land and home from Jacob Miller.  The family had moved in by the June, 1860 census and it shows that the property is valued at $2700, personal property $120.  They had a full house:  Sarah Childs, 17; George Childs, 13; Thomas Reed, 14; Minnie, 3; and Ada (Belle), 7 months.  John, Jr., 18, is also counted as living with them, working as a farmhand.

John and Mary Reed named their estate Reedmont. They owned their farm and are surrounded by Mary’s family.  Mary’s brother, John Inwood and his family lived on the farm just south of them.  Her brother, George, lived two farms north.  Welcomed back into the fold?  By some, perhaps, but the Inwood family reunions must have been a bit awkward…

1860 census reveals that Sarah Inwood Green and her two sons, ages 5 and 3, are living with her youngest brother, William, a grocer who lived in downtown Evansville.  Guess who else is counted as living there?  John Reed, Jr., heretofore called Jack, is listed as a drayman…

I can’t find a record of Jack serving in the Civil War, though he was just the “right” age for it.  Thomas Reed was only 15 in 1861 when the War started, but he managed to get in at the very end, joining the Indiana 42nd Regiment, Company A in February of 1864.  The 42nd met up with Sherman to fight the Battle of Jonesboro and were part of the March to the Sea and the Siege of Savannah.

The decade of the 1870’s was a bright one for most of the Family of Reedmont/Sonnystone Acres…

Stay Tuned…




The Sonnystone Saga: The Millers

To celebrate 17 years living at Sonnystone Acres, we are publishing  a series of posts chronicling the first three families who lived here, spanning 111 years… This is the second installment of the series…

Jacob Miller was born 1812 in the Electorate of Hessia.  It’s unclear when he came over from Germany and finding a Jacob Miller/Muller/Mueller in the plethora of German immigrants who swarmed into Vanderburgh County in those days is like finding a needle in a haystack.

What’s certain is this particular Jacob Miller was 26-years-old when he married Maria Klein in 1838.  He bought his first 20 acres of land in Center Township in 1840 and opened a blacksmith shop, one of many in Mechanicsville,  on the north corner of Sonnystone, near the State Road (now Stringtown Road).  Just up the hill, they built the original Sonnystone house, and the hand hewn logs that Jacob placed as a foundation still hold the place up quite nicely today.

Maria and Jacob had five children:  Henry was born in 1840; Conrad, 1842; John, 1844; Jacob, Jr., 1846; and Mary, 1848.  The 1850 census reports that Jacob’s property is worth $2000.  That’s about middle of the property value of his neighbors.

The Miller children were educated in the schools of the time.  John died before 1860, probably right here at Sonnystone  None of the sons became blacksmiths, but they made their own way.

In 1860 the Senior Millers sold Sonnystone and moved the blacksmith shop south of Pigeon Creek near downtown Evansville.  His sons were grown and his daughter had married.

Oldest son Henry was working as a Post Office clerk in 1860, living down near the Ohio River. When the Civil War started, he found work on the steamboats and was a  Union Army Captain by the end of the war.  He married a lady from Nashville, TN in 1868 and together they had three daughters.  Henry died in 1874, just 34-years-old.

By 1870 Jacob,Sr. had retired from the smithy and the couple were living with Conrad and Jacob Jr., all of them rather wealthy according to the census.   Conrad and Jacob, Jr. started work as store clerks, but by 1871 they established a business together: Miller Brothers Dry Goods.  Maria died in 1879.  Jacob, Sr. died in 1883.

In 1885 the Miller Brothers erected a building on Main Street that was the Largest dry goods store in the state at the time and for many years thereafter.

In 1886, Conrad withdrew from the business and moved to Boston and engaged in the same sort of business, becoming a successful merchant there. After Conrad left Miller Bros. Jacob joined in with W.S. Gilbert and the name of the business became Gilbert-Miller Dry Goods.

Jacob, Jr. never married, but has a lengthy biography in the aforementioned “History of Vanderburgh County” (1889) that gushes over his character and accomplishments. He served for a year in the Civil War, 136th Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry and was also a city councilman for several years.

In the meantime (1887), Conrad, age 45 and now living in Boston, MA,  married Anna “Annie” Jenness who is a famous lady that I’d  never heard of.  She was a “dress reformer”…huh?

From Wikipedia:  Anna “Annie” Jenness Miller (January 28, 1859—August 1935) was a pioneering clothing designer and an advocate for dress reform, as well as an author and lecturer.  She basically loosened the corsets and invented “leglets” for women, making it easier for them to ride bicycles.  I think we call them pants today.    She was really cool, a member of the Massachusetts Women of Letters alongside the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone and that was before she married Conrad (17 years her senior) at age 28.  You can read more about here here.


During the 20 years that the Millers lived at Sonnystone the area had faltered commercially.  Evansville’s population, which had declined between 1840 and 1850 to only 3,235, surged to 11,484 in 1860 and businesses there were growing strong.  The areas around Sonnystone — Mechanicsville, Kratzville, and McCutchanville — were mostly farms.

John Reed bought the estate in 1860 and he and his family farmed here for 63 years.

The Reeds have a convoluted story to tell…

Stay Tuned…