HENRY DAVID WALL CONCRETE HOUSE
By Nancy Arnold Thompson
Henry David Wall was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1854 the fifth child of James and Melinda Price Wall. His family moved to Miller County between 1857 and 1860, settling near Brumley in Glaize Township. On 21 December 1879 he married Mariah Catherine Graham, the daughter of George Washington and Eliza Ellen Golden Graham, and thirteen children were born of this union.
Henry David Wall had 200 acres of farm land on Mill Creek Road about a mile east of Brumley and built his home there sometime before 1892. He used slip form concrete construction (previously described in the Graham Concrete house article) with walls about 15-18 inches thick. There were two large rooms across the front-a living room and a sleeping room-joined by a porch that ran the length of the front of the house. The kitchen was a separate room off the back; it had two outside doors and with porches off of each.
house in the 1940's
This photo was taken of the front of the house in the 1940's, essentially unchanged since it was built. A tripod in the front yard holds the well bucket. The small log building just to the right in the background had been moved from nearby property and was used as a chicken house. It previously served as officers' living quarters at Camp Union during the Civil War.
house side view
In 1892 a two story building was constructed adjacent to the kitchen and connected to the porch. H.D. placed two carved stones on the wall above the door, one with the date and the initials H.D.W. and M.C.W. The second stone was carved with a Masonic symbol, his name and the date Sep. 26, 1892.
Using a ram pump, water was piped into this small building from the spring at the bottom of the hill and filled a large basin along one side of the lower level. The continually circulating cold water provided refrigeration for perishable foods-a pretty amazing bit of engineering in a time before electricity. The water line extended across the road and filled a stock tank in the barn lot so livestock would have a constant supply of drinking water. (A handsome new barn was built there around 1898.)
The level above the cellar was used for storing grain in later days; I don't know if this was what it was originally designed for. A smoke house was also added on the side closest to the house and connected to the back porch. This porch was enclosed in the late 1940s and the kitchen was moved out there, then the old kitchen was converted into a second sleeping room.
wall family 1916
This photograph was taken on the day of H.D. Wall's Funeral. Back row L-R: Grandmother Eliza Graham, Mariah Wall, Lonnie, Dora, Otto, Edna, Walksie, Joel, Mary, Ralph Front row: Hazel, Luna, Nellie. The small children to the left are Evelyn and Hilgar, children of Walksie and Mary.
H.D. Wall died in 1916, and was buried at the Hawkins Cemetery not too far from his farm. A little over two years later Henry's widow married, Brumley Banker, James Hawkins who was also widowed, and she moved to his home in Brumley, taking her three youngest daughters and leaving her older sons to run the farm. M.C. and James Hawkins were divorced in April 1924 and she returned to her farm where she died thirty years later, 19 February 1954. Her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Adron Williams moved to the farm in the 1940s and lived there with their family until their deaths when it was sold.
Wall Home - 1998
A series of people owned the property after 1975-the land was divided and the house fell into disrepair. A couple from New York named Bush, bought it and contemplated tearing it down. On closer inspection they found the building was still solid and chose to rehabilitate it instead. The descendants of M.C. and H.D. Wall have been thrilled with the finished result!