Genealogy of the Woodcock Valley

Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania


It's Just a House...

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM

but it used to be a home filled with love and memories and family.  But when those are gone, it's no longer a home, right?  It was a bittersweet day on July 21, when my dad and his siblings sold the family home at public auction.  It was the only Fisher home I ever knew, but it wasn't the first for them.

My dad was one of 13 children born to Philip Carl "Mike" Fisher and Cora Blanche (Norris) Fisher.  They started in a log house in the Upper Corner area of Penn Township.  My dad recalls that the house had only one big room upstairs that was divided by a curtain to make two bedrooms.  One side was for his parents and the other side for all the kids.

All of the children were born in the log cabin, and two of the children died there at a young age.  The house had belonged to Philip's parents, Jackson and Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher.  Jackson died shortly after his youngest son married, and Sarah Belle continued to live with her son and new daughter-in-law.  Sarah Belle acted as midwife and delivered all of her grandchildren up until her death in 1937.

In May, 1945, a very large Fisher family had the opportunity to buy a farm with a larger brick farm house that gave everyone room to grow.  The house afforded enough room for a dining room table large enough for the whole family, and enough room for Grandma to bake bread, make pies, tend her garden, can and preserve the crops, and do all the things farm wives did back then.  However, this home was not to last either.  The US Army Corps of Engineers purchased the farm for the construction of Raystown Lake.  The farm itself would not be under water, but the house and outbuildings were torn down to create the Seven Points Recreation area.  The farm is right across the road from the Visitor's Center.

So, my widowed grandmother bought three acres in Penn Township between Hesston and Marklesburg and had a split-level home built between 1972 and 1973.  She made sure it had an open floor plan to accomodate her still growing family that was now being blessed with many grandchildren.  There was always room at the dining room table, and if there wasn't, a make shift table was extended into the living room.  There was always enough seating in the living room too.  I'll never know how we all fit in that house, but we most surely did.  It was always the central hub and gathering spot for any family function.

Eventually, Grandma died, and then my uncle who lived there died, until it was only my aunt left.  As everyone aged, so did the house and upkeep became more difficult for my aunt.   While it has been hard to say goodbye, it is just a house, but one with so many wonderful memories.  I had to take some final photos of the fuzzy wallpaper in the bathroom and the old wallpaper in the kitchen.  There are other aspects that will always be in my mind's eye, for which no photos are necessary.


We all gathered on a cold, drizzly morning to see the family treasures sold.  I was fortunate enough to buy my grandmother's china cupboard, a quilt made of feed-sacks that she sewed together, a set of her dishes, and some other special memories.

One of my most precious purchases was a box of old photos.  I saw the assistant pull the box out of another box and put it aside.  I watched as he looked through the box while other items were sold, and I could see the old photos.  I have no idea who was bidding against me, but those photos had to be mine regardless of the price.  I paid dearly for them, but I was thrilled with my box of more than 50 photo postcards.  

This brings me to the point of my rambling blog post...the photos in the box are largely unidentified.  The box was full of photo postcards and one tin type.  The box of photos obviously belonged to Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher, because the few that are addressed are to her.  From what I can tell, the whole box appears to be her friends and relatives.  I need your help to identify these photos!

Here is an example of one of the photos.  I am very certain that Sarah Belle (Swope) Fisher is in the middle and that the younger man on the right is probably one of her sons, maybe Chester.  I suspect the man on the left is Orbison Clapper, and that the young girl is one of his daughters.  Orbison was Sarah Belle's nephew through marriage.  This man, who I suspect is Orbison, appears in a lot of the photos.  There definitely were photos of his children in the box.

All of the photos from the box that have not already been identified are included in the Unknowns Photo Album.  Please take a look at these photos and see if you find a familiar face.  If you do, please post a comment under that photo!!!

It was a bittersweet day to say good-bye to our family home, but it was a special day to be able to buy some of my fondest memories back from my grandmother's home, and to be able to share a box of special photos with others who are interested in the Fisher family and local history.

Categories: Site Updates, Family Names, General Chatter

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