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January 2019 Barn of the Month

By: Troy Coggins
The January 2019 barn of the month belongs to Mr. Ronald Thompson of Denton, NC. The barn was built for his Great, Great Grandfather, Mr. Reubin Morris, before the American Civil War. The barn was utilized as most barns were of that era, hay storage in the loft, with stalls for draft animals and the family milk cows on the ground level. It was an essential component of a successful farm in the day. It is wonderful to say this building has been serving a productive role on the farm ever since.  Today, Mr. Thompson rents the barn and pasture land to a beef cattle producer, Mr. Terry Boyles. He raises top quality red angus cattle and this barn is an active part of the livestock operation.


When you hear of barns built in the 1800’s, most people immediately think of log construction, but this barn is a solid piece of evidence that other methods were known and effectively executed. Mr. Ronald Thompson referred to the construction design utilized to build the barn as “mill cap” style held in place with wooden pegs. This system utilizes very large wooden girders, beams and columns for framing.  The materials were made from trees harvested on the farm and hewn or sized by hand, utilizing tools such as an ax or broad ax, an adze, and a drawing knife. The boards or planks used for siding were processed the same way. 


The land and structures have been passed down through 5 generations. Mr. Morris past the property to his daughter, Dicey Morris who married Mr. Thompson. As time moved on, the property was past to their son, Mr. Gurney Thompson. Gurney Thompson’s son, Mr. James A. Thompson, was the next to own and care for the farm. Today, the farm and its structures belong to James A. and Pearl Thompson’s son, Ronald Thompson. This structure, being at least 160 years old, did not stand the test of time without continuous care, repair and maintenance. I think Mr. Reubin Morris would have been proud of his heir’s commitment to the farm and his barn.


If you would like to see this functional price of history for yourself, I would encourage you to take a drive due east of Denton and travel through Sexton Rd.  The barn is located on the west side of Sexton Rd. just south of Ebel Church Rd. If you love the rural America and appreciate the beauty a farm adds to the landscape, you will not be disappointed.

 

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