The Family Cabin

img_5929I spent the weekend at a Cowboy Action Shoot in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  We laughed with cowboy friends and cheered on the winners. The next morning we went for a drive to research DH’s family a bit.

In Izard County, AR, in theimg_5933 small town of Calico Rock, an 10’x19′ log cabin has been saved and restored. The cabin was built around 1858 by my husband’s 5th great grandparents, James Finis & Phoebe Walker Trimble.

In this tiny space they conceived and raised 10 children. Ten! That’s 12 people living in 190 square feet.


Rather blows my idea of necessary personal space to smithereens.

Granted there’s a loft, but still…

Could you live with 11 of your family members in here?


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22 thoughts on “The Family Cabin”

  1. How exciting that you got to go to that event and that your husband’s family preserved family history that way. That’s really great! Besides, the bigger the house the more fire wood you’d have to cut in winter, and I imagine in Arkansas no one wanted to stay indoors in summer, plus all the field work to be done. Certainly a different time and way of life.

    I image I could have lived in a house like that since you ended up in the town where two of my maternal lines connected: Mountain Home! I have a number of “great” grandparents buried there. One branch came from the north, Illinois, and the other side came from the east, Tennessee. Given the time periods they got to Arkansas, I imagine their homes most have been similar. Even my paternal line came west through Arkansas from Mississippi right before The War, but they lived further south. Still, Forth Smith was The Place, right? I found it in records for both sides of my family. It was “end” of the country before Indian Territory.

  2. I could not imagine living in that small of a house with that many people. I often complain that my house is too small. I guess it could be worse. But I imagine being that close with your siblings would make them stay close throughout their lives.

  3. Well, this gives new meaning to that country and western song–think it was by Doug Stone about Small Houses. Passing each other in the hallway, the kids came along and it was crowded, etc. They just didn’t know what SMALL HOUSES really meant! I couldn’t do it. I would have been nagging my husband to ADD ON TO THIS PLACE. LOL But what fun to go and actually SEE it and get pictures! Really cool stuff, Tracy!

  4. Very interesting, Tracy! My gosh! I don’t know where they put all those kids. And you know those kids heard everything. But this is very typical of the homes and large families on the American frontier.

  5. How much fun, Tracy. No I can’t imagine living with 11 people in such a small space. I remember once when I was young when me and my three sisters had to share one bedroom. I was unreal at the time … I sure couldn’t do that now. Or even when we got older and had to put on makeup. I doubt one mirror in the whole house wouldn’t have worked very well. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. I forgot. Did you know about the trend these days for much smaller houses? It seems folks either want a very big house of a very small one. Here are some links about the small home trend:

    There’s a movement for smaller apartments too, like beds sliding over couches, crow’s nest and the like. Reaffirms the old saying, what’s old is new!

    BTW, there’s a new one down our road that looks about the size of one-room cabin, with a porch or course. They have horses and the stable is probably ten times the size of the house!

  7. Tracy, when you think of it, most of their time was spent outside. They were inside to eat and sleep, and to escape harsh weather. When you think of it, those of us of a certain age spent most of our time outside running around, playing. I am sure there were many days that your ancestors felt the crowding and wanted more room. At the same time, they likely were thankful to have a home.

    Could I have handled it? Probably, but there are no guarantees about how much of a crouch I would be.

    • I can’t imagine I would ever be anything but a grouch, Patricia. Do you know how much room a trestle table for 12 would take? Of course
      It would also be a school desk, cutting board, sewing table…

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