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The Homestead at Roach

Betty Allison Moore's recollection of the Homestead in Roach, Colorado, 1930 or 1931.

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Illustration by Hyatt Moore III, painter

In 1930 or 1931, my grandpa, John Philip Allison, and his family moved to an area in northern Colorado, 40 miles southwest of Laramie, WY, very close to the state border. They lived in an unused, one room log cabin, known as "the Johnson Creek Place," rent free, for six to seven months before they acquired a home of their own, a deconstructed and reconstructed log cabin that we all called "The Homestead."

My family and I visited The Homestead in 1972 during a cross country trip. Time and free range cattle did little kindness to the place in the years since my dad and his family had lived there. The cabin's doors and windows were gone and many of the floor boards were missing or broken. There was no trace of the frame room my grandpa built (my dad called it a lean to). Most of the outbuildings, including the root cellar, were barely-there structures. Except for the outhouse. My brother and I found it very funny that the building that had withstood the test of time the best was the outhouse.

The following is the story of The Homestead, as told by my Aunt Betty (Betty Allison Moore), reprinted with permission from Mom and Dad, A Remembrance in Their Own Words, compiled and edited by Hyatt Moore III - Lisa Allison Albert

About eight miles from us was the town of Roach, which doesn't exist any more. It was just a settlement, with a post office, one general store, a sawmill and a schoolhouse. The school was one room with all graces and one teacher who came every year from another state. There were two of us seventh graders. It was a company town of the owners who owned the sawmill. They made railroad ties. When the trees suitable for that purpose were gone, the company would desert that town and start a new one. If I remember right, Roach was the name of the company that owned the sawmill, and the town.

That is how we got our house for the homestead. One of the houses left behind was one that no person wanted so my dad got it for free. He borrowed a team and wagon and moved the house to our homestead, after he took it apart, marking the logs with numbers so he could put it back together the same way it was.

Daddy was pretty clever. The living room of the original house had had three windows, probably about three feet square. Instead of putting one in each of the three walls as they had been before, he placed them alongside of each other so it was a nice long window. We had a forerunner of a picture window. My mother was very proud of that.

It looked out on the "lawn" of native grass. Of course, it was never mowed because we didn't have a mower.

The place was really more of a cabin. It consisted of two rooms. One was the kitchen-dining room, with a space for a wood burning stove and wood box, a dining table and six chairs, a small cabinet, maybe six feet long, and a shelf by the door for a bucket of water, with a dipper and a tin washbasin. There were no overhead cabinets. And we didn't have any living room furniture.

The other room was big enough for the bed. That was for all seven of us!

Later my dad added a third room. This one was not made of logs. He called it a frame room. It was just wide boards of one thickness, with no insulation and no heat. In cold weather we would all dress and undress by the stove in the corner of the main room and then RUN for the beds in the frame room.

In it there were three beds: one double and two three-quarter beds. Two of my brothers slept in one and another brother and I slept in the other. I didn't think anything of it as I thought everybody lived that way. There must have been a crib also, though I can't remember it. My brother Jim, ten years younger than me, was only about two years old when we went there.

There was just room for those three beds, no dressers, mirrors, or anything else.

Also, when he built that extra room he put lots of nice windows in it. And the kitchen had two windows that same size above the cabinet.

Beside the wood burning range Daddy built a cabinet with a shelf to hold dishes and pans, and the top for the washing dishes. It was probably about four feet long and was the only place for any kitchen storage. There was a shelf for a washpan, and a water bucket and dipper. There was a hook on the wall for a towel. At the other end of that room was a square oak dining table and chairs.

But it was so crowded it was hard to get around the table. One side was placed against the wall so we used only three sides of it, with two chairs on each side. But we had seven in the family! I suppose we had a high chair for baby Jim.

There was a closet of sorts that Daddy built in that room. My mother kept most things in boxes under beds. We did have one chest of drawers that my mother called a chiffonier; she kept that in the living room. It was not very big and probably of oak. She painted it yellow. It would likely go for a pretty penny at an antique store now.


Owner/SourceHyatt Moore, painter
File nameAllison_John_Philip_Hauling-Logs_Hyatt_Moore.jpg
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Linked toBennie Elizabeth Allison; James Howard Allison; John Philip Allison; Lute Philip Allison; Rolland Morton Allison; Woodson Max Allison; Nellie Joyce Morton

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