One of the things that has always fascinated me, were barn raisings. I remember reading stories about how everyone would come together to help build or repair a barn for families in the community. To me, it sounds like it would be such a wonderful feeling to work together with your neighbors to help build something they needed.
Since the cost of building a barn would be more than these early settlers could afford, they had to rely on the help of neighbors.
In researching, I found out that in many communities, it was expected for all able-bodied men to help if there was a barn raising. If they didn’t, they would be outcasts.
Sometimes, a skilled worker would be hired to lead the project, or they would use men who had already done many barn raisings so had some experience. The men would be required to put in the labor, while the women would also be expected to help by providing meals.
I can imagine these times as bringing a community even closer, the women working together to prepare meals, and the men working side by side to build the barn for someone who needed it. The barn was one of the most important buildings on these homesteads, so having a structure built was crucial.
Churches would sometimes be built for a community in the same manner. I was reading just today about a large church near where I live that was built entirely by the congregation donating manpower and materials. It is so hard to wrap my mind around something that would never happen today.
I read how people donated rocks for the cement, how they worked together to cut the wood and plane it for use, and how even women and children would go around and gather used nails, hammering them straight to be used again.
Can you imagine how good it would be to still have these same ethics?
Today, no one would be willing to help without something in return. And, they might even be afraid to build anything that might end up being better than their own. That is the society we live in today.
It is just easier to pay someone to do it. However, by doing that, we miss out on the camaraderie and the satisfaction of helping a neighbour.
Maybe it’s time to bring back the old fashioned barn raising.
|This is the barn I played in when I was growing up - it still stands at my mom and dad's house.|
Kay P. Dawson’s first mail order bride series, Wilder West, is available on Amazon. Her new series, Oregon Sky, will feature the Wallace family who have settled in the Willamette Valley. The first two books in the series, "Phoebe's Promise" and "Audrey's Awakening" are now available on Amazon!
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