Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pinehaven Redux

I am fascinated by history but nowhere so much as here. I cannot help but wonder what the past was like within these very walls. The first picture we have of Pinehaven is the one below. We believe it was taken about 1900. I'll explain why in a moment.

The house itself has changed in many ways. A century ago there was a front door; now that spot is taken by a fireplace and an external chimney. A hundred years ago the building was nondescript cold frame; now it has a veneer of warm brick. And the original roof was shake shingles, they were replaced by modern asphalt.
The small trees at either side of the house are long gone though perhaps the stump of the one on the right is what we find at the edge of our flower bed.
Since the front door is gone, so, too, are the charming wooden pillars. And the four windows, still looking out on S. Clayton Road, are in the same spot as the originals, also gone to history.
But look at the figures in the front yard! If I zoom in a bit you'll get a better look.

William Sholly (middle) was born in Pennsylvania in December 1845. He died here on February 26, 1928. So, too, his wife, Susan (Susana) Sholly (right) was born in Pennsylvania in October 1853. She died here in 1920 (the exact date is unknown).
But what of the young boy on the left? That's Orville L. Shell, their grandson, and he would come to own the house on March 18, 1929, just 13 months after his grandfather died. Shell owned Pinehaven until 1941.
It is Orville that somewhat dates the picture. He was born June 13, 1892. Could the boy in the picture be older than about eight? We think not. And yet even then, in 1900, the house does not appear to be new. The trees have grown, after all. Our original research placed the house construction to about 1891.
Orville died in August 1953, but four years after my own birth. He was living at the time in Jefferson Twp., our neighboring township to the east. Why did he leave here?

Both William and Susan are buried at the Holp Cemetery, just 1.4 miles north of Pinehaven, almost exactly the distance west of S. Clayton Road as Pinehaven itself sits. It's as though they've never left.
I walked among the mossy stones this afternoon and felt the morning rain still filtering through the leaves above. I thought of my own words as I concluded Pinehaven:

But I talk of more than names and numbers.
They merely describe.
We are the "here and now" of it.
At the moment, it is enough to live the days,
Enjoy this wonderful roof over our heads,
Neither look back nor ahead.