History of Leo’s Home

Time inexorably goes on, and early in 1894 the aging Moses, who turned 81 April 27 that year, decided to sell the old home he and Hannah had known for more than thirty four years. In May he gave the old house a fresh coat of paint, in preparation for the sale, but he became ill with a severe form of salt rheumatism in July. The small 45-acre farm had never made them rich, but they raised a beautiful daughter here, and it had supported them through good years and lean. What more could they have asked for? It was time though for younger muscles to take over.

After Moses had let it be known he wanted to sell his small farm, a young Irishman came along and bought the place from the old couple. The deal was settled and 32-year-old Joseph Walsh became the proud owner on October 1, 1894. The aging but industrious Moses and Hannah had left him with full hay mows for the winter’s cattle feed, as well as canned goods, potatoes, carrots, onions, and many other vegetables in the cellar. Moses, who died April 12, 1898, and Hannah who died February 10, 1900, were laid to rest in the Campbell Cemetery, later to have its name changed to the Flackville Cemetery.

Joseph was single, but he brought his aging mother to the peace and serenity of the small farm in the far north of New York. This was a long way in distance for Alice, as well as in circumstances, from the days of the potato famines when the Irish lass and her husband had left their native Ireland. The 77-year-old Alice Walsh, born in February 1823, was yet able and willing to keep house for her son, while he toiled on the farm. The years slowly passed and in 1910 Joseph was still earning his living on the little farm in the north country of New York. It was during this year that the new barn was built, a 30’ by 40’ structure with room for ten head of cattle with a hay mow over the top, and an additional two mows from ground to roof. His mother had died peacefully in her sleep one winter’s night, so Joseph continued on alone.The bachelor Joseph listed at age 50 on the Federal Census report, although he was actually 48 in 1920, was going through the throes of a weakening national economy, but he continued on with his life as if not too much was happening. His work was always there, so he needed to look for none. His vegetables still grew, and his hogs fattened, the chickens yet laid eggs, the cattle still gave milk, and other animals yet produced, so that he little knew the problems of those living in poorer circumstances.Joseph survived the great stock market crash of 1929 very well. A man earning a living on a small farm had little money to invest in stock. The only stock Joseph believed in was livestock. If you have no money to invest you have none to lose. Let the ones who thought they were so smart worry about such nonsense.

When the enumerator came around in 1930, the 66 year old Joseph was still living in the same home, very little had changed in his life, except, of course he was growing older and the work became a little harder every year. That might make a fellow think about earning a living in some less energetic style, but he continued each year to produce his crops as he had been doing now for 36 years. He continued to operate the farm until he died October 20, 1934 after earning his living there for a full forty years and 20 days. Joseph left a will, and in that document he left all that he owned to his sister Alice Shannon of Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, some sixty miles south of Lisbon. The old house remained empty, void of any remnants of laughter, tears, aches, pains, and other emotions and sensations of human occupation, for nearly two years, before Alice got through all the legalese making it possible for her to sell it.

Finally on September 21, 1936 Alice Shannon, sister of Joseph Walsh, sold the little farm to Byron and Anna Havens. I, Leo Lawton, having been born July 19, 1938, started the first grade of school in a one-room schoolhouse about a mile from this home in September 1942, when I was four years old. A boy, a little older than I named Clifford Havens attended the school at the same time I did. He lived in this home and was a son of Byron. There also was a daughter named Theresa. The family remained on the farm earning a decent living for a little more than nine years and three months. On January 9, 1946 Byron and his wife sold the farm to Robert and Arvilla Turner. Bob had no intention of earning a living from the farm. He had spent many years driving huge machinery on construction projects, and continued to do so. He needed a place for his family, which included his father Monroe Turner, to live, which gave the little farm a dual purpose. It provided living space for his family, and it also gave Monroe something to do in his older years. While Monroe tended a few cattle on the farm with the help of Bob’s five sons, Dick, Art, David, George, and Larry, Bob continued working away from the farm. When Monroe Turner died he was interred in the Flackville Cemetery a few hundred yards from the home where he had joyfully spent his last remaining years.

Time passed as another fine family was raised in this old house. Bob and Arvilla, known as Bonnie, sold the farm to Lawrence and Patricia Lawton September 22, 1972, but continued to occupy the home for a short while. Before his death in 1975 Bob and Bonnie had moved out of the home, and it was rented out to a newly wed couple, Donald and Beverly Parmeter. I’m sure the home was a happy place for them to start their life as a young married couple.

In 1976 Lawrence and Patricia Lawton put the farm, as well as about 86 additional acres of land across the road up for sale. My wife Nora and I purchased the 131 acres and farm buildings, along with the home June 15, 1976. Nora and I have raised our four children here, and one by one they have all left this home for lives of their own. Nora and I live on here, after having completed 30 years of occupation May 22, 2006, which is the day we moved here, although we did not officially buy it until June 15, 1976. Our youngest daughter, Donna, along with her husband Benjamin Royce, and two children Megan and Alex, built a home beside this one in 2004.

Nora passed away in April of 2016. In January of 2023, Leo became ill and transferred the property to his granddaughter Megan to be sure it stayed within the family for future generations. On February 2, 2023, Leo passed away.