Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Historical home in Barr shines

Thanks to the Democrat-Record for publishing this story on a historical home in our area. It just happens to belong to two of our best friends.  Check the beautiful spread in the newspaper for a look at more of the photos of the Crockett house. 

Nestled out in the country on Crockett Road in Eastern Tate County is one of the area’s most interesting historical homes.  Now occupied by Randy and Susan Crockett, the 120 year-old home is a sanctuary for birds, flowers, and friends.

Originally a dogtrot house consisting of two rooms and a porch, the house has had several renovations over the years, but the original log walls are still visible in the main part of the house. The house had been vacant for a period of six years following the death of Annie Dee Crockett who was born (1900) and died (1986) in the log cabin built by her father Samuel B. Crockett.

Miss Annie Dee never married.  She enjoyed a full life there in the little house where she tended flowers and was visited often by friends and relatives.

 According to Randy Crockett, the house had an addition that was in bad repair when he moved in, so he tore that out and remodeled the kitchen area.  “There is nothing straight about this house,” says Susan. “We knew the floors were not even and the windows were crooked. The house sits on logs for the foundation, so it is too low to the ground for anyone to get under.”  They later found out that Samuel Crockett was blind in one eye, which might explain why things are not quite straight.

Susan thinks Samuel Crockett used hand tools to construct the two-room structure.  Eventually the dogtrot was enclosed and a front porch added.  It had two original fireplaces.  The front door to the house today is the one that was placed there when that first renovation occurred.

Also original is one wooden gate post and decorative wire fencing of the period. On either side of the gate stand cedar trees, well over one hundred years old. Some believe these to be the oldest standing cedars in the county.

Cistern signed by Walter B. Crockett
Susan, who is an avid gardener and bird watcher, says she knew she loved Randy when they got married but says, “I would have married him for the dirt.”  She says she is blessed with great soil on the place thanks to Miss Annie Dee’s love of flowers and the vacant state of the yard for six years that let leaves and grass compost and enrich the soil.

Unusual objects are found in the flower beds surrounding the house include an antique plow, chamber pot,
old wash bucket and fountain turned bird bath. “People know I love old rusty things,” says Susan. “They give me things, and if they are not working, I plant them.”

One of those objects is a “planted” cistern that is signed by Randy’s great-granddaddy, Walter Barnard Crockett.  The inscription reads WBC January 31, 1922.  While Walter Crocket did not live in the house, he was a relative of the home’s owners, and put in wells and cisterns for a living.

On days when the temperatures are not near 100, the Crockett’s can sit on their back patio and watch the hummingbirds that come back every year.  “This year we have had about 200,” says Susan.  “If it rains or cools off, I have almost a solid wall of birds.  You always have a few mean birds that want to be the only one to drink from a particular feeder.  I call those birds ‘meanies’.” She estimates that she is making two gallons of nectar a day. 

The Crocketts do light construction, painting and minor renovations. After a hard day at work in the Mississippi heat, who wouldn’t like to sit on the back patio of a 120-year-old house, watching birds and looking at flowers, while horses slowly swat their tails in the nearby pasture.  The Crocketts feel very much at home.

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