A Step through the Door of History
...it is a humbling, and/or spiritual experience to go there. I stood in the upper room of the fort, and stared out the same little window where our ancestors used to post a "lookout" to watch for Indians!
As I stepped into the fort, now two hundred and five years old, I seemed to be emotionally transported back in time, to share the experiences of the families seeking shelter there. I stared into the fireplace, marveling at the masonry work that had endured so well through the many years. How many meals had the pioneer women cooked here; bending over the hot coals to stir food cooking in heavy iron pots? One small window to the right of the fireplace had been their only natural light; their only source of a breath of fresh air. There was a wooden track made to slide the window open, when it was safe enough and warm enough to do so.
The logs used in the construction of the walls still visibly display the marks of the broad axe and drawing knife. I pause and wonder HOW these massive logs were raised into place. The craftsmanship is truly something to behold. Jacob Hollingsworth was obviously a master mason and carpenter, for this building to still be standing after two hundred years!
I made my way up the narrow steps to the upper room. There, you can see the rocks and white mud "chinking" that was used to fill the cracks between the timbers. I inspected and touched each wall, noting the hand-carved wooden pegs that still held them in place. Each truss overhead also had a wooden peg to hold them together where they met at the peak of the roof. I wondered how many children slept in this room. Were they safe? Were they warm? Were they happy? How many times did they huddle together in fear of Indian attacks? After all, the primary reason for the building of the fort was to have a safe place to go when the Indians did, indeed, attack these "intruders".
I stood and gazed out the little window in the upper room, where the inhabitants of yesteryear stood watch for the movement of the Indians. It is a peaceful, wooded scene, but I could imagine the apprehension of the former occupants; not knowing when that peace would be shattered by an attack. It was a very moving and emotional moment for me. I lingered as long as I could, trying to soak up the history that surrounded me, and was sad to have to leave this place.
Fort Hollingsworth is now in the care of four sisters; descendants of the original White family. They grew up in that very house. It pleases me to know that they have formed an organization to save, restore, and preserve, both the fort and the house. Too much of our noble history has been lost and destroyed in the name of progress. I applaud them for their efforts!
If you want to experience the history of the pioneers, step through the door of Fort Hollingsworth!
This article was written by Bonnie Hollingsworth. Jacob Hollingsworth, who built the fort, is the great, great, great great uncle of her husband. She enjoys writing and has won awards for her poetry. Her first book, The Way it Was is soon to be published by WorldComm.
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