When we first walked around this property 2 1/2 years ago, I fell in love. I knew this little homestead was meant for our family. At nearly 200 years old, the house has all the nooks and crannies and charm that I could hope for. With 8 acres of woods, pasture, creek and garden, the property provides incredible space for all of us to work and play. Let me share some fascinating tidbits about the history of this place…
The original deed for the land was gifted to Dr. John Hole for services rendered in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Hole was a physician to General George Washington. The Hole Family deeded 76 acres of the land to Levin Hatfield, and in 1816, Mr. Hatfield built the home. Over the next century, the home underwent 2 major remodels, including a large expansion in 1926 to create a “country home” for its owners who lived in downtown Dayton. I can just imagine some rich socialite family of the early-20th century stepping into their horse & buggy to escape the stress of big city life and enjoy the quiet of their country home. It was around this time that the homestead became known as “Fox Hollow”. The history of the deed documents the passing of the title from family to family over nearly two centuries. In 2012 we joined this historical record when we bought the home from a family who had owned Fox Hollow for 50 years. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were an incredible couple who had raised 5 boys here (I supposed this place was made for boys!). I learned from his son that Mr. Smith had an immense love for this place and took care of it until he was 92 years old! I did not know Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but I have learned a lot about the kind of people they were and all that they did to bless this home and give to their community. I think of them often as I’m painting walls, tilling my garden and feeding my chickens, and I hope that they smile at the way I have given my heart to this beautiful place.
It’s fun to live here and to think about all the souls who have walked these halls. As I read the history of the deed and think about the homestead’s past owners, I think about how each one cared for it, improved it, left their mark and eventually passed on. It reminds me that there is little on this earth that is really “ours”. We have simply been given stewardship over most everything in our lives. Stewardship is a blessing, and with that blessing comes great responsibility to nurture and care for, improve and bless. I have stewardship over this home – have I beautified it today? I have stewardship over my garden – have I weeded it today? I have stewardship over the teenage girls at my church – have I prayed for them today? I have stewardship over my children – have I taught them today? Have I made them smile today?
I have poured blood, sweat and tears into this place so that someday people will notice the good marks that I have left on it. I hope that I consistently do the same and leave good marks in all aspects of my life!