THE BARNABAS REED HOMESTEAD
. ...reprinted from the article which appeared
1n THE NEW IBERIAN newspaper 6 August 1980
By Peggy Smith Hake
It is a magnificent structure, this old home built by Barnabas and Rebecca Reed in the19th century. There are only four large rooms…two upstairs and two down, but she has the appearance of a much larger home at first glimpse. There are two huge chimneys, one at each end of the house, that were used to heat the home in the harsh winters of Miller County's past. One chimney is in the kitchen and was the fireplace used for cooking. The second chimney was in the living room area and was used for the wood heating stoves. I interviewed Mrs. Grace Cardwell of Eldon, Ma since she and her husband, Fred, were the last occupants of the old home. They moved away in 1944 and there have been no other residents since that year. Mrs. Cardwell told me that the house was very difficult to heat in the years they lived there. There were approximately 19 windows that she could recall and the rooms were big and the ceilings were high so it was very difficult to keep the house warm on the winter days they lived there.
There is an old well out to the back of the structure but in the years that the Cardwells lived there it was almost unusable and they had difficulty with their water supply. The house is constructed of cement interspersed with rocks that give it a honey-combed effect. There are huge cracks in the walls today, but I believe that it could probably withstand abuse from Mother Nature for another 100 years.
In its early history, this land where the old homestead of the Reed's still stands, was originally entered and patented by William Kinder, a native of Shelby County, Kentucky. He homesteaded several acres in 1840 surrounding the present home. This land passed through many hands until the Reed family acquired it in 1858. William Kinder sold off 80 acres of virgin land to his father-in-law, William Bilyeu, and moved into an area north of present day Ulman. William Bilyeu kept the land for only two years and then sold it to Joseph Ulmon in 1843. In 1855, Joseph sold 161 acres to John and Mary Casey who in turn sold 239 acres to Barnabas Reed in 1858 for the price of $1500.
In August, 1851, Barnabas married Miss Rebecca Jane Ulmon, daughter of Joseph Ulmon. Barnabas and Rebecca Jane also owned acreage about 1 1/2 miles southeast of Ulmon's Ridge and most likely they lived on that land a few years before purchasing this new piece of land which laid nearer to the small village of Ulmon's Ridge. When Barnabas bought his 239 acres, it was not a full 240 acre tract because a man named James H. Karr owned the other 1 acre that was missing and had erected two buildings on the site. Later in 1869, Barnabas bought the missing acre for $100 and I presume he also was the new owner of the two buildings as well.
Joseph Ulmon, father of Rebecca, gave his daughter over 200 acres of land very near their home site in 1873. She was becoming a wealthy woman by this time with an influential husband and apparently a father who was also prosperous. But there was a clause in this transaction of land that gave me a clue that Mr. Ulmon wasn't very senile and apparently he was looking out for his own future because there was a stipulation that stated Rebecca would received the land only upon the condition that she would support her father during his lifetime in both sickness and health...if she should die first, then her heirs must also maintain his support. If they failed to do so, he would demand payment of $1,000 which he valued his land and he did all this legally through the Circuit Court of Miller County.
The house is over 100 years old...I have not been able to pinpoint the exact year it was constructed but I do know that in 1886, Barnabas and Rebecca deeded all their land to their two sons, Barnabas, Jr. and Robert Lee Reed. It contained 240 acres and their homestead was located on the property in that year because the house was mentioned in an old deed which conveyed the property to Robert Lee and Barnabas, Jr. They were to also support their parents for the rest of their natural lives in exchange for the land.
On 1 July 1888 Barnabas, Jr. married Miss Sophie E. Thompson of Brumley. This marriage was performed by Rev. Samuel O. Burks, an ordained minister. His brother, Robert Lee, married Vernettie C. Wilson on 23 Dec 1890 at the bride's home in Ulmon's Ridge, performed by Rev. E. L. Hawkins.
Barnabas and Rebecca must have died in the latter part of the 19th century and their two sons continued on in the family's tradition of prosperous farming, but they branched out into other fields as well. They were instrumental in organizing the Ulman Milling Company in 1906. They owned the land where the mill was erected and served on its Board of Directors. This old edifice was a steam mill that was used for general milling purposes located just a short distance south of Ulman's town limits. The office was located in the Company's building and their general stock amounted to $5000 divided into 100 shares of $50 each. The Board of Directors included Barney Reed (Barnabas, Jr.), J. M. Wickham, E.M. Clark, J.M. Bass, and F.D. Barron. Barney Reed was the major stockholder owning 12 shares. They constructed a steam mill with rollers on the site and it was used to grind corn and Wheat and it was also used to saw lumber. They bought and sold grain and feed as well.
The Reed brothers also owned another brick building in Ulman and in 1908 they leased it to a kinsman, Alonzo Reed, to be used as a general store. In the lease which was drawn up for a 5-year period, they rented him the building, all the glass counters, a warehouse, and a chicken house! He was also given water rights from the well owned by Robert Reed for the use in his store until they dug a well on the store's property.
In December 1907, Barney & Robert Reed sold a small parcel of land measuring 30'x60' in the town of Ulman to the newly-formed Bank of Ulman. The Reed brothers also served in the capacity of bankers for a number of years and were also self-taught lawyers and justices of the peace. I stand amazed at the stamina of these Reed brothers who played a big role in the early history of Ulmon's Ridge, later called Ulman.
Small portions of the land were sold off in the early years of the 20th century to various owners with the surnames of Belshe, Mayfield, Drumrnell, and Bain, but eventually, the land that remained passed on to Robert and Vernettie Reed. Barney and
Sophia moved into the Eldon area and evidently sold their part of the land. They lived in Eldon the rest of their lives. In 1949, Robert and Vernettie deeded the land to their daughter, Rebecca Lee Reed Berry, wife of William Wiley Berry. Rebecca may have been their only heir. She was named for her grandmother, Rebecca Ulmon Reed, wife of Barnabas, Sr. who was the first mistress of this stately old home that stands so majestically on the lonely prairie land just a small distance south of Ulman. Her parents, Robert and Vernettie, both died in 1951 and in 1954, this land finally left the Reed family after a century of ownership. Rebecca Reed Berry sold all her interest in the land to Roy McCubbin.
When I pass by this old home, it seems to beckon to me and I have the eerie feeling that the old house has much more history to tell me if only her walls could speak. I am sure they could relate beautiful stories of days past in a different era of time and of a lost century and a completely inexperienced lifestyle that I can not comprehend today.
This wonderful old house was demolished in early spring of this year. I recently drove by the place it once stood and all that remains is the bare earth and a few of the stones piled aside of a fence row. The land will now be made into pastures for a heard of cattle grazing on the rolling hillsides of Glaize Township. (psh)