Civil War Cabin Discovered In a Home During Demolition

Doug Williams
 
The cabin is made from hand-hewn timbers. Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum
The cabin is made from hand-hewn timbers. Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

For those who live in America’s south, property can come with another possibility — it may have played a role in the Civil War, between 1861 and 1865.

 

Sometimes it’s impossible to know what a home renovation will reveal. Previous owners may have painted a family room purple, or a teenager could have splashed black on his walls to match a despairing mood.

Or one might find horsehair plaster — that’s a material commonly found in century homes all over North America, used in construction during the 19th century.

It was used as a bonding agent in the old days, keeping wooden walls secure before the invention of modern plaster.

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Owning an old home and then redoing it is always a roll of the dice; stripping away decades of material may reveal something hideous, or something fabulous. One just never knows.

But residents are less likely to find wartime treasures within their homes’ walls — or at least it seemed highly unlikely until earlier this month.

A couple in Prescott, Arkansas were beginning the arduous process of razing their house to make way for a new one when, astonishingly, they uncovered a log cabin.

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

And not just any log cabin, according to experts at the Nevada County Depot and Museum. Thanks to their research and access to records, the couple discovered that the log cabin probably witnessed a Civil War battle, the Battle of Prairie D’Ane.

All the while this historically significant building was hiding in plain sight, so to speak, behind the walls of the home they presumed was built sometime in the 20th century.  It was a home within a home, essentially.

“It is made of hand-hewn timbers and predates the coming of the railroads in the 1870s, which brought sawed lumber,” said a post on the museum’s Facebook page.

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

“There is the great possibility that the house is likely a Civil wartime structure, if not antebellum. If all of this is proven true, then this log cabin could very well have stood on the edge of the Battle of Prairie D’Ane.” In other words, this modest cabin was likely a witness to history.

With the couple’s permission, the cabin was carefully disassembled, packed up and sent to the museum, which hopes to rebuild it at a later date.

The battlefield itself is now part of the Camden Expeditions Sites National Historic Landmark, and experts told Fox News they hope the structure can be resurrected right on the battlefield one day.

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Credit: Nevada County Depot and Museum

Through careful research of land deeds, titles and other documents, the museum surmised that the cabin was once owned by a man named John Vaughn, from 1850 — 1860.

By thoroughly examining where and when Vaughn owned land, they were able to trace the cabin’s origins to the Prairie battlefield.

“What a great find for Prescott’s history!” concluded the Facebook post enthusiastically. It also noted that it was the generosity of a local donor that made it possible for the museum to take ownership of the log cabin and move it to their site.

This is not the first time vestiges of the Civil War have been stumbled upon by unsuspecting home and property owners. Just last September a cannonball from the war was found stuck inside a walnut tree that had been chopped down because it was riddled with disease.

And several other Civil War cannonballs have been found since the property began being restored and updated several months ago.

But remodelling is not the only way these treasures from America’s past resurface.

Credit: Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Credit: Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

After the storms of Hurricane Dorian began in late August and hit the United States in September, two cannonballs were found on a beach in North Carolina. They may have been lying in the sea, just out of sight and reach, for almost two centuries.

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However, these artifacts come to be discovered, one thing is certain: they are prized as links to America’s past, and treasured by the museums that tell those historic stories.

 
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