Not since I was a child had I been on the old Pirkle home place near Cumming,
Georgia in Forsyth County. The last time I was there on the farm was on a
hunting trip with my father, Marshall F. Pirkle and some of his brothers.
My grandfather, Doc H. Taylor Pirkle, had lived on the property, as did his
father, Nelson Taylor Pirkle, as did his father, Rev. William Jackson Pirkle.
Frank Jackson Pirkle sold the farm out of the family in the 1970s and in
the summer of 2001 I got wind that grading of a new subdivision was soon
to begin. I felt the strong tug of seeing my fathers family home place
one more time while the property was intact.
On July 15, 2001 a group of us found the old fallen down house that had
not been lived in for over 70 years. It was constructed by the Pirkles in
the early 1800s with large, heavy, notched and hand hewn beams of chestnut.
Wide planks of handcrafted boards formed the flooring of the porch. Many
sizes of square nails were found throughout the house, some quite large in
the main beams. Very large rocks had formed the foundation pillars and were
also used to build the chimney. Some of the rocks used to line the inside
of the fireplace were still black with soot. The roof was covered with tin
at one point and was still visible in the rubble. We found a glass knob that
was on the original front door in a trash pile that is remembered by family
members. Scattered boards, beams, rocks and pieces of tin were all that was
left of the old farmhouse.
The landscape surrounding the house was still recognizable even though
the plants had grown unchecked for so long. The house was located on a rise
close to a creek. One huge walnut tree still grows close to the house and
several others had volunteered near the parent tree. A large rose bush grew
near one of the fallen chimneys and had oversized canes growing from it.
Several other rose bushes are planted in a row near the foundations of a
building that was either a smoke house or corncrib and scattered around the
house more bushes were found. Sadly, these rose bushes are the only indications
of where the barn and the out buildings were located. A lake reflected Sawnee
Mountain and the Indian Seats on the southern end of the property. The lake
was built by family members to water cattle and provide recreation. Many
happy days were spent around its shoreline during my childhood.
It was easy to visualize how hard working anyone had to be way back then
to keep food on the table and how my ancestors had to use the lands
resources. Several old varieties of fruit trees scattered around the house
are still producing fruit. We all sampled an ancient apple trees tasty,
crisp, tart apples. Crabapple trees still grow near the house and an orchard
of different varieties of fruit trees still grow in an area near where the
old garden was planted. Evidence of a cellar near the creek was exciting
to find. Dug out walls still kept their shape after all these years. Jars
of canned goods that were grown on the property were stored there in years
past. The land was primarily used to raise cattle and to this day had an
abundance of lush green grass.
A trash pile revealed bits and pieces of family treasures. Old gray crockery
was found, one piece was part of a handle. We uncovered many small chips
of different china pieces. A row of pink flowers on a white background, blue
willow, a black pattern on white and many beautiful sky blue chips were
discovered digging in the dirt. Jagged pieces of both clear glass and old
opalescent canning jars were in abundance. A large piece of pottery that
was part of a blue bowl was found very near the surface. Links of hand forged
chain and other rusted pieces of discarded equipment were also found.
It was a special treat for me to introduce my daughter, Shana Laine Webb
to one of the familys first home sites in Forsyth County. The day was
filled with exciting discoveries and remembering fun times on the Old Pirkle