The Peck Barn

Montpelier, Ohio

Click the image above to see a larger photograph.

This well-maintained red gambrel-roof barn is representative of many in the Great Lakes region. It was built in 1914 by a local carpenter named Ulysses Kunsman at a total cost of $800 (with only the first name as a clue, I’d guess Mr. Kunsman was born shortly after the Civil War, making him about 50 years old when he built the barn) and is constructed of solid oak and maple timbers. The timber was sawed on a portable steam powered mill from a wood lot immediately to the right of the barn.

The original barn measures 36' x 60' and the lean-to added in 1948 is 18' x 36'; there is also a circa 1951 16' x 60' addition on the back. A new coat of red paint and white trim is planned for the fall (the photo is several years old). It is clear that the Peck’s are good stewards of their heritage.

The barn has five bents and four bays that are defined by the double set of barn doors, and the cow and horse "barns" on either side of the double driveway. The two doors on the right were shortened and the windows added when the loft area was reconverted to house 1000 laying hens. The small doors on either end are hinged and were designed to allow ventilation and light into the cow and horse stalls during mild weather.

Mr. Peck has lived his entire life on the 151 acre farm that is located in extreme NW Ohio-only a few miles from the Indiana and Michigan borders. This farm is part of the "Toledo Strip" that was the subject of near armed hostility between Michigan and Ohio in 1836. Michigan, about to receive statehood considered the five mile wide strip extending from the Indiana line to Toledo as within its boundary. Ohio having been a state since 1803 and with representatives in Congress predictably won the dispute but Michigan received the 20 000 sq mile Upper Peninsula as a consolation prize.

Everett Peck is the 4th generation Peck on the farm. The land was patented (purchased from the government) in 1834 and it was his great-grandfather Chauncey who purchased it in 1852. Chauncey was followed by grandfather Blinn Peck, and Everett’s father Urban who had the barn built when Everett was two years old.

Mr. and Mrs. Peck live in the 1865 house built by Chauncey that features interior walnut and butternut woodwork. The Pecks have a son and two grandsons representing the 5th and 6th generations of Pecks in the Montpelier area.

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