The history of our house.

I was looking through this blog this morning and realized that the history of the house needed updating.  Lucky for me, I don’t have to go far to find that information since my husband has a website Old Warren Houses that includes his ongoing document research on the houses within Warren’s historic district.

Here’s the early history of our house, including purchase and sale, based on the Warren Book of Deeds, Vital Records and the Census.

Caleb Carr estate sold a parcel containing this lot to Josias Lyndon on December 10, 1768.  Lyndon broke that parcel into lots and sold lot 11 to Rufus Barton ($21 milled Spanish).  September 10, 1782.

It was at this point the house was built as the home of Rufus Barton and Prudence Cole.  She was the daughter of Ebenezer Cole who was a very prominent and wealthy citizen of the town.  The 1774 Census tells us that Ebenezer owned a woman who was at least sixteen years of age.  This unnamed enslaved woman might well have labored in this house.

By 1790, Rufus and Prudence were living here with six other white people, most likely their children.  Rufus Barton sold to N.M.Burr for $775 on January 28, 1797 and the family moved to Rensselaer, New York.

Nathan Miller Burr sold to William Eastabrooks for $1300 on October 7, 1799.   Captain Eastabrook/Easterbrook had just returned from an illegal* slave voyage on the “Betsey” to Africa that resulted in the enslavement of 79 Africans who were sold into slavery in Havana.  I have no doubt he used the profits from that heinous crime to purchase his home. He would go on to captain at least two more illegal* voyages: the “Racoon” from Boston in 1800 and the “Little Ann” from Bristol in 1806.  and the “Hannah” from Bristol in 1807. These three voyages accounted for the death or enslavement of 229 persons.  In 1817, the Captain died.

Two years later, on January 22, 1819, Seth Peck, administrator of the Eastabrooks estate, sold to William Carr and Joseph Smith for $365.  On July 1, 1824,  they sold to Abraham Greene for $400.  On October 7, 1828, he sold to Barnard Smith for $1000 and then just months later — January 13, 1829 — Barnard and Margaret sold to Turner Carr, shipwright, for $850.

*The RI General Assembly outlawed the involvement of any Rhode Island resident in the transatlantic slave trade; the law was ignored and enforcement was rare.



I am about to get my yoga room.

Today is a day I have been waiting for — the final plastering of my yoga room.  If that sounds like an indulgence, it is, but staying strong and flexible takes daily attention and yoga works for me.  Now this room is the one you enter when you come to the second floor.  All the other rooms open onto it so it functions as a big hallway.  These images show you the east side of the room with reinforced walls leveled to take the plaster.  The other walls are already done so this side and the ceiling will be today’s work.

The door on the left leads to the laundry room, the one on the right to a work space with a day bed that is a wonderful sunny room (remember this) that will allow me to work on projects yet keep the mess out of sight and away from inquiring cats.  The room also opens to the back hall (guest room/bath, the master bath) and the master bedroom.  That means two windows and five doorways so it makes sense to keep it an uncluttered open space.

Now if you are wondering what is going on with the floor, join the club.  For some reason the whole floor was screwed down with deck screws some time in the recent path.  Did the floor squeak?  We have no idea though we know the original wide pine floors are underneath.  We might pull the top boards up some day, but for now we will be layering rugs as you will see once it’s all done.

The only furniture I plan on having is the bureau you can kind of see on the right — it will be moved to the opposite wall — and a simple love seat that I will be reupholstering in a brownish linen.  Of course, there will be other details, but you will see that later.  Oh, and did I mention the room also has a fireplace?  We found an old mantel for it and have decided this is the perfect spot for a gas log and there is already a fitting for it within a foot.

I had thought I would need a TV to play DVDs but have since found a wonderful selection of yoga videos on YouTube so my laptop will do the trick.  Along with bringing me a peaceful space, I think it will be very good for the cats who have had to put up with an ever changing array of clutter on the floors in many of the rooms they live in — and we know cats DO NOT LIKE CHANGE  But they do like yoga and so this room will be one we can all enjoy.  Stay tuned for details.

We have reached a major milestone.

houseWhen we bought our house, it was covered in vinyl siding with vinyl  replacement windows.  We knew we were going to replace it all but knew it would take time.  First we removed the vinyl siding, took down the hideous carport and began to put the house back together.  A friend donated old six over six windows that had been taken out of a house just about the age of ours and I refurbished them over the course of two years.   WP_20150702_15_24_39_ProToday, the front and side of the house (except for the third floor window which is a different size so we will either build a new one or cover it in a pair of old shutters) are done.  We are proud and happy and will spend the rest of the day patting ourselves on the back!

house three quarter sept 18House front septenber 18house side sep 2018

One trellis up, one to go.

It has been hot and humid for weeks, and now the rains have begun.  Poured on Sunday and now we are working between the rainstorms to get something accomplished outside.  Everything is growing like crazy and when it dries out a bit I will have fistfuls of weeds to trellis onedeal with.  But we did get one thing done: installation of the first trellis.  Just in time too because if you look on the right side you can see a cane has grown at least a foot in 14 days and it is time for a little guidance.  Come next year this time, I bet it will be nearing the top.

If you look in the foreground, you can see some ungainly and spindly plants that aren’t much to look at — but they have secret powers!  Those are milkweed and if we are lucky the monarchs we’ve seen in our yard will lay their eggs on them and those babies will have all they need to eat themselves big enough to go into the chrysalis stage.  The result?  More monarchs.  Will post photos if monarchs make a deposit.

Gardening on the skinny.

As I mentioned last month, I have finally been able to start gardening .  I have always been a fan of perennials because they come back every year and create a garden that changes throughout the year.  But when a space is too long and narrow, a row of plants that only bloom for a month or so can be pretty boring.

driveway right

And so, when I considered the narrow strip to the right of our driveway, I reconsidered.  I went and perused the annual seed packets, found some that bloomed summer through fall and sowed them into well-tilled soil.  And it worked!

Within a week I had tiny seedlings, within a month I thinned them as directed and viola, I got flowers! (I know it is actually VOILA but Julia Child’s used to jokingly say VIOLA when she unveiled a masterpiece and since we are talking about flowers I thought it was an apt use.) I know the bachelor buttons will stay fairly short but I am a little nervous about the zinnias having seen some around the corner that are closing in on six feet.  Yet to come are the yellow and orange cosmos which should top out at two feet.

The image below, taken from the top of the driveway, also shows the perennial garden I have begun in the wider area at the top of the driveway.  Not knowing how I eventually want to plant that area (Do we want some kind of hedge between our house and the driveway/house next door?  Might I really be able to find espaliered apple trees to create an interesting divider?)   I decided to just pick up some of those orphan annuals you always find at the big box stores and give them a nice home.  I bought coreopsis, Shasta daisy and gallardia on the cheap and added the false indigo and perovskia I had yet to plant and it seems to all be working out fine.  Will post more pics soon.  driveway-length.jpg

Just a peek.



We started working on the second story windows on the east side of the house.  Three windows to do and the heat and humidity makes it unpleasant work.  But we got one vinyl out today and  an old one in.  Frame and sill need repair/replace, so hours of effort ahead…but we have gotten started..

Saturday, 8:09 AM

I turned on my phone at 8 AM and less than ten minutes later this photo appeared trelliswith the question Need two trellises?  It was our intrepid neighbors who are usually out early weekend mornings at the most interesting yard sales.  I almost tripped over a cat getting to the phone to text back Wow yes.  Later in the morning, I came out the side door to find them waiting for me….and they cost all of $15!

Now David and I have been planning to build and stain two trellises to allow us to have climbing roses on the side of the housedrive2 and in fact we planted roses shortly after this picture was taken.  However, making those trellises would be time consuming so it was certainly low on the list of summer projects when we have windows to pull and replace along with trim to repair or replace.  So having these trellises appear out of nowhere was wonderful.  One of them will go between those meters at the left of the picture, the other on the flat bump out that is the side of the entry.

The roses I got are just gorgeous: David Austen “Abraham Darby” rose Abraham darbywhich have a lovely fragrance, bloom repeatedly and will grow to eight feet.  I planted them as soon as I got them and they have already bloomed though they are just beginning to grow.  They will barely reach the trellis this year but the latticework will certainly be a nice decorative element especially on the blank wall.  I will post photos one they are up, but I didn’t want you all to think nothing was going on here, though the heat and humidity has been so unpleasant I have actually been getting up before 7 so I can get some stain on the trellises before the sun becomes unbearable.  Just as the sum hits the house, I stop working, pour myself a cup of coffee and come back out to water my new flower gardens…yes, more than one.  My favorite right now is a narrow strip where I sowed seed last month.  Looking forward to a bumper crop of colorful flowers.  Stay tuned!