And no, I’m not referring to Jonah’s passion for protecting his new home, although his aggression towards anyone that happens to find themselves at the house is concerning.
What’s new, you ask? Well, other than a part time job, getting the flu twice, becoming a CASA volunteer, the Teen Center being one step closer to opening their doors in Stayton, getting the flu again, starting all the garden seedlings (yay tomatoes!!!), mom got bummer lambs, having it snow just this morning as if Spring wasn’t a real thing yet, some bonfires, the filberts growing up bigger and stronger every day, and earning enough to pay off a significant chunk of my student loan just in time to consider taking on a mortgage. Yay!
Other than that — just a super cool trip to the County. No, not the County Jail… I’ve changed my ways, it’s in the past! Dad and I went and looked through books that are older than anyone alive on earth! I’ve always been appreciative of old times heritage and tradition. I love imagining how excited people were 150+ years ago as they were recording these things in those books with the dog eared pages and careful penmanship. And then to imagine that I will be contributing to this heritage. Participating in this lineage. Whats new is that my paternal family homestead will be coming back into the family! Is that so cool?!?! Home ownership– yeah! So we went to the county to ask about land use and fees yada, yada, yada. But then! She says “Are you going to trace the purchase records?” So we went upstairs to the old, old books and got to play detectives. It was AWESOME!!!
The current owners purchased it from my great aunt Maggie. She lived there almost her entire life, caring for her parents, Anton and Anna, from 1921 until they passed away in the 1950s and then living out the remainder of her life in that house. In THIS house:
Okay, calm down! YES! It’s really, tremendously exciting that we know the names of every person who had their name on the title of this one piece of dirt and that my name could be added to the annals of history. The thought has you squirming in your toe socks, I can tell. The really fun part, for me, was when I read that Great-Great-Grandpa Anton and Great-Great-Grandma Anna first bought the farm in 1921. Great aunt Maggie would have been 13 years old when the family moved from a few miles away to this house. That was nearly a century ago! So cool!
We were at the County records office almost until they closed their doors for the night. It was so interesting! And we learned lots from the folks working there- they were great! Oregon became a territory in 1848. In 1850 there was the Donation Land Claim Act when you could go get yourself 320 acres just by showing up and saying you wanted it. Just go find a nice view and sign some papers and it was yours? Sure, why not. Then there was the Oregon Homestead Act was in 1962 and gave any [free] person the ability to claim 160 acres of land that you had to live on and develop in the next 5 years. Not quite sure what the difference between the two. So maybe there were a few guys who took the initial Act and scooped up more than their share and just turned around and sold it? So the government said, “Not quite so much land this time” and added the part about actually living there. I dunno.
Can you imagine the president just handing out land to whoever wanted to have some? Much less handing it out in square mile chunks? That definitely would have caused a severe wave of Oregon Fever (defined by the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center as: a desire to migrate to Oregon Territory during the mid-19th century, for its rich soil and healthful climate. I think I got a real bad case!)! I don’t remember that part. Heck, oxen, salt pork, and caulking and floating the wagon is about all I know about the Oregon Trail.
After John and Nancy got it for free, build a house, then they sold it a few years later. Then a few years later. And a few years later. No one kept their hands on it too, too long until half a dozen sales later when Great-Great Grandpa & Grandma got their names on it and then it was in the family from 1921 until 2008. Now 2018 and the opportunity to bring it back again! As if the dirt on a specific geographic location with arbitrary gridlines drawn around it decades ago could have huge significance and meaning and memory or something.
The County records show that the house was built in 1875 (2 years after originally purchased by John & Nancy Bilyeu) yet it also notes an “effective year built” date as 1921. So we’re thinking that after the Great-Great-G’s bought it, they added the bathroom and back porch, then the County inspected. With such modern conveniences as a “lavatory” no one could deny this was a more modern house!
Seeing all those old names. Learning the house could be coming up on 150 years old. Finding out there could be grant money and leniency on building codes if it is registered as a Historical site. But wait. My favorite thing– The date that the Great-Great G’s originally bought this land and house and moved their family onto this 120 acres? It was the same date on which, 65 years later I was born! I mean I always felt like this was an answer to prayers, except now I realize I’d had it backwards. It wasn’t God granting me a wish, it was just me finally coming around to God’s plans that He has had for me since before I was ever here. Kinda makes me feel like a tiny little piece of a big giant thing going on here. It is awesome to be so loved! So freaking cool!
Who knew not going to India could be so much fun!
All that really exciting stuff on one side. The other side of the coin is not so pretty. The house is in total disrepair. The ten years between when Maggie lived there and now were years of degeneration and disrepair. There may never have been much of a foundation, yet if it’s lasted this long, it can’t be all bad. The roof has been improved, yet is not as structurally sound as one would want before living under said roof. It would have to be taken down to the studs, they tell me. Yet it they’re trying to say it like it’s a bad thing, maybe they should clarify what sort of studs they are talking about– a tall, dark, handsome stud for me please!
New septic system, new electrical, duh, and that lavatory definitely needs new plumbing underneath. And that’s not even to mention the permits, fees, license, and minor details I don’t ever think about. Big stuff in the works and my Oregon Fever just keeps getting worse! Nothing is final just yet. We are all pretty excited about what has been happening and are looking forward to getting the last things in order in these next few weeks. And then Jonah might have a new home porch to guard! Too bad it doesn’t have comfy chairs like his current porch does…
So grateful for family heritage. So blessed to be in Oregon. So hopeful…