Our House In Morea - The Shanties And Barn 1905-1917


In addition to the house there were two shanties, and a large long yard -at the far end of which, was a barn.

The larger shanty ran the length of the house. A seven foot wide wooden walkway with partial side walls and an overhang joined the main house with this shanty. In the summer we often sat on this wooden walkway which served as our back porch.

This large shanty was an important addition. It was a necessity as the patch population grew from primarily that of all males to a mixed gender population. As the miners accumulated savings, they sent back to Europe for wives and families were eventually established.

The shanty was multi-functional. This is where Ma and Grandmother did their washing and ironing. It contained wash tubs and large boilers used to heat water. The mens working clothes were usually boiled in the boilers with strong lye soap while the women stirred and beat them with old wooden broom handles. An ironing table and irons were also stored there.

On their return from work, the men bathed in the shanty in the largest tub. In both summer and winter they first had to haul in water from the town well. This was then heated in large boilers placed on a second coal burning stove located in the center of the shanty. The shanty also contained a table where the men could relax, talk and drink a glass of wine as they helped each other with their baths. Since our house had no closets, this area also served as a place where coats were hung on hooks pounded into the bare walls. Boots were stored there along with other seasonal clothes.

In the summer the women preferred the shanty for the cooking and jarring of fruits and vegetables. It was removed from the traffic of the main house. In addition, the heat generated by the working stove was confined to this area.

The smaller shanty which was was between the house and the barn was use for storing tools etc.

The barn was large enough to house our two cows, chickens, and at times pigs, ducks and geese. Since there were no fences, the chickens ducks and geese roamed freely and were tolerated. This was our way of life. This was how we survived.

Another small but important feature of all the patch homes was the coal bin. Ours was located in front of the cold ground basement. One entered this area via of a door. The coal bin also opened via of a trap door to the front area of the house so that purchased coal could be transferred via chute from the coal wagon to the bin below.