As I mentioned on Friday’s post, this year my family decided to do something different for Thanksgiving – we went for a hike. But this wasn’t just any hike, it was a trip back to the original family homestead from after the War of 1812.
You may remember that I wrote about this back in July, when the Canadian government issued a plaque to commemorate my great (x5) grandfather, Jacob Rawn‘s service in the War of 1812.
He came to Canada in 1804 from upstate New York and his family settled the area, created businesses and built this beautiful home on land given to them by the British government as a thank you for fighting in the war.
My mother has since then become friends with the current owner of the property and he graciously allowed our family who missed the summer event to come out this weekend to hike around the land.
It was a perfect fall Saturday afternoon.
The trees were still putting on their colourful show and the wind kept itself at bay.
Farther up the ridge, we came across this log cabin. This may have been where the original foundation was for the family’s first log cabin home.
The views were just unbelievable – the photos really don’t do it justice. At one point we could see all the way to Toronto and the skyscrapers, over an hour away.
We came across this huge mound of rocks…
…and grabbed one to add to our family rock collection. Years ago we started a tradition of bringing home rocks from our travels all over the world and we keep them in a basket, with the locations and dates etched on them.
You can see that the original beams in the barn were roughly planed, with the bark still on them (not unlike my grandfather’s home), and then eventually white washed.
This stone wall just outside is actually the wall of the original barn.
Somewhere out back here, Jacob Rawn was laid to rest. We don’t know where, but it’s definitely a nice, quiet place to be.
I snuck a peek inside the windows. Look at how tall the baseboards were!
I would love to see what it looks like restored to its original glory.
I’m so glad we were able to make this happen and celebrate our family’s heritage together.
We also stopped into the graveyard where the dedication was done this summer.
The graveyard itself was pretty interesting. After traveling to Salem, New Orleans and Savannah, I’ve seen plenty of them over the past year, but it’s different when it’s people who may have been related to you over 150 years ago. I found this one really interesting because of the design at the top.
Upon a closer look, it seems to be a weeping willow tree, just like the one at the front of the family home.
We all got back in our cars and headed down the old country roads to visit the home of my aunt’s uncle.
They have a beautiful property with their own mini golf green, a big pond and a lovely open concept home. It was so quiet and serene out there with laundry hanging on the line and a cool breeze coming through – if I lived there I’d never want to leave!
After a lovely afternoon hike, we headed back to my parents’ for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. My mom and I worked really hard Friday night and Saturday morning so that we could go on the hike and enjoy ourselves without worrying about the dinner. My aunt and sister were staying behind, so they were able to keep an eye on the turkey and ham.
Dad was in charge of carving the turkey, his culinary speciality.
(I fixed that bumped picture frame right after this picture. When there are 14 people in the house, something is bound to get bumped or moved around)
We had everything set up when we got home so that only a few dishes had to go in the oven (including Mom’s Infamous Macaroni and Cheese), then mash the potatoes and make the gravy. We used the slow cooker again to cook up some of the side dishes and keep this warm while serving.
My aunt brought this great new roasted cauliflower dish that I need to get the recipe for. It had a great lemon-garlic dressing poured over it halfway through the roasting. So flavourful and delicious.
All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving with some of the people who are nearest and dearest to my heart. On days like this, with all the mayhem and laughter filling the house, I can’t help but feel so lucky to be a part of this family. To everyone else who is celebrating this weekend, I hope you’ve had a lovely Thanksgiving!
Ahhhhh I love this! I want to visit!
Sheila English says
Beautiful old farm house. They would have had a lot of pride in their home.
I like your idea of etching the location and date on stones you collect. I have a collection and some I remember where they came from but not all.
Brian Rawn says
That was very interesting and well – written and photographed. Perhaps we could plan a trip to Upper New York State to visit the original Rawn homesteads this summer.? have you had the opportunity to visit the first Rawn farm in Markham township?
Amanda - Small Home Big Start says
I made it to Herkimer County a few years ago, but I didn’t get to see the original homestead. Where is the one in Markham?
Appreciated reading this article and getting a feel for the area Jacob Rawn and descendants lived through the photographs. Jacob was my husband’s 4X great grandfather through grandsonson Frederick and his daughter Leavissa.