HARRIS FAMILY HISTORY
THE LOG HOUSE
On the homestead, there is the log house which was constructed around 1825. Built of oak timbers 6”x 8”, it followed the pattern of early Virginia architecture (plantation plain-type) and consisted of one and one-half stories, built high off the ground, using local fieldstones and hand-made bricks for the foundation, providing an ample cellar underneath.
The lower floor has two main rooms, each 18 feet by 18 feet, with a stairway leading to the two rooms above. The upper story consists of two rooms, with the walls also of timbers 6”x 8”, with slanted ceilings. Pegs were used in the construction of the house. The timbers were notched to fit together. A chimney on each end of the house provided for fireplaces. The shed rooms on the lower floor were used for extra sleeping. Front and back porches were built in the style of the time. Originally there was a kitchen built away, but attached to the house by a breezeway. The cellar covered the entire length of the house and was used for many things, including the cooling of milk and butter, vegetables, and fruits.
The outbuildings include a smokehouse made of fieldstones and handmade bricks, a corn crib, barn, wagon shed, and shop. In the earliest days, a spring furnished water for the family. A “wash place” was set up at the spring where the laundry was done, using wooden tubs and an iron pot for boiling clothes and linens. Long-handled paddles were used to “beat” the clothes clean.
The Harris family cemetery is located on ½ acre set aside for burial of members of the family and their descendants. William Harris, who was born in 1815 and died in 1879, his wife, and some of the other members of his family are buried there. Descendants of the Harris family continue to use the family cemetery as their final resting place. This cemetery is an integral part of the family homestead and rounds out the complete cycle of life from birth to death on the plantation.
The William Harris Homestead Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide heritage, agricultural and environmental scholarship.