Hand Dug Well

The project to build the new house at Mule Springs is underway. While “breaking ground” the man doing the site preparation uncovered an old hand dug well hidden18 inches below the ground’s surface.

The building site for the new house.

 

The well was about twelve feet deep and it was lined with old bricks. This is the type of well that would have sat beside a nineteenth century farmhouse.

The well as it looked right after Dan unearthed it.

 

Someone would go outside and lower a bucket attached to a rope down into the well, they would wait while the bucket filled with spring water, and then pull the bucket up and carry the water into the house for the family to use.

Later Dan pulled out part of an old plow from the well. We know the they used mules to plow and that the previous owners had a blacksmith’s shed near the old barn. So, the plow fits right in, but not down in the well.

 

Because our new house is larger than the old homestead was, the new house covers the old well. We went ahead and dismantled it. The old bricks are lovely, and these along with the bricks we took from the chimney of the old farmhouse, we hope to see as pavers for the courtyard outside the new house. Or maybe we will use the bricks inside as a hearth for the wood stove.

The lovely old bricks are out of the hand dug well and stacked near the building site to be used later on for a courtyard or wood stove hearth.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Hand Dug Well

  1. sher — what immense treasures you’ve discovered on your land! it was breathtaking to see the photos of the old well so carefully constructed and fully intact after how many years? in your spare time, (as you would say — HA!!) will you research the previous owners of your property and who built the well when? i bet you could even track back where and when the bricks were manufactured. or….. you and bruce can simply enjoy the warmth of old bricks, whether on path or hearth, knowing you’ve saved them.

    and…. is there no water down there now?

    1. sher — what immense treasures you’ve discovered on your land! it was breathtaking to see the photos of the old well so carefully constructed and fully intact after how many years? in your spare time, (as you would say — HA!!) will you research the previous owners of your property and who built the well when? i bet you could even track back where and when the bricks were manufactured. or….. you and bruce can simply enjoy the warmth of old bricks, whether on path or hearth, knowing you’ve saved them.

      and…. is there no water down there now?

      My goodness Heidi – you have given me a lot to respond to. Actually Sally has done research on the previous owners already, and we know the Morgan family homesteaded on the place in the late 1800s. They owned it for a long time, and had five children I believe – though not all of them survived. I bet Sally could date the bricks as she dated the windows in the old house and the nails too. The well , though, was bone dry. Down below the old house and toward the creek was a cistern, or I should say is a cistern, and it is still full of water. Maybe their well ran dry, and they then put in a cistern years later. I don’t know if we will ever know these details. Thanks for your good questions. 🙂 Sher

  2. Shirl,
    Are you sure it was a well and not a cistetn???? I find it hard to belive that the water table was only 12 ft from the surface??? Unless it was tapped into a spring, otherwise it would catch amd hold rain water? For ages we have had cistern down the bayou to catch rain water…….most times the ground water was irony or heavy with sulfur or salt!
    The artesian well on my place is so irony that tea left in the oce box willturn black!
    What is your water source for the new house?
    Thanks.for the pictures, brought back.memorys of being let down into the cistern and wells to clean them out…….it dosn’t pay to be the smallest! The big boys always made you think.they would leabe you down there! LOL

    Hope you and Bruce have a GREAT 4th!

    “Semper Fi!”
    SD

    1. Are you sure it was a well and not a cistetn???? I find it hard to belive that the water table was only 12 ft from the surface??? Unless it was tapped into a spring, otherwise it would catch amd hold rain water? For ages we have had cistern down the bayou to catch rain water…….most times the ground water was irony or heavy with sulfur or salt!
      The artesian well on my place is so irony that tea left in the oce box willturn black!
      What is your water source for the new house?
      Thanks.for the pictures, brought back.memorys of being let down into the cistern and wells to clean them out…….it dosn’t pay to be the smallest! The big boys always made you think.they would leabe you down there! LOL

      Hello Roy- Good to hear from you. I always enjoy your southern reminiscences. We are sure it is a well, but maybe it was deeper. Dan could not be sure , because part of the well was caved in– I mean he filled part of it up with dirt before he discovered it. Dan told me he thought it was twelve feet or so deep. We know there is a spring nearby, because we had it witched, and also we can tell from the vegetation including the enormous elm standing in the front yard where the house will be built.

      We also have an artestian well – it is roughly 800 feet deep, and has been on the property for over 40 years. We are using that water right now at the barn, and we plan on using it for the house. The water is 92 degrees, but is cooled somewhat by the time it reaches the barn. If we have issues, then we will dig a domestic well. That is why we had the ground around the house witched.

      p.s. I can’t imagine being lowered into a cistern — yikes! Glad you survived. 🙂 Sher

  3. That is fascinating! And what a beautifully constructed well – that must have been a lot of work to make. Love the background story you’ve ‘unearthed’ too. So nice that you are thinking of creative and unusual ways to re-use those old bricks – love the idea that they will be a piece of history made visible in the present.

    1. That is fascinating! And what a beautifully constructed well – that must have been a lot of work to make. Love the background story you’ve ‘unearthed’ too. So nice that you are thinking of creative and unusual ways to re-use those old bricks – love the idea that they will be a piece of history made visible in the present.
      Thanks Reggie. Our builders told us, in reference to the old barn, that it was one of the greatest recycle projects they had ever worked on. I think the new house will be the same way. My next post is all about the barn we dismantled for siding for the new house. This story coming next week. I hope!

  4. Oh Sher!
    How remarkable to find this!! How fortunate you and Bruce are to be recreating a home in a very lovely spot!! I love the idea to use the bricks from the well either idea sounds perfect!!!
    Mary

    1. Oh Sher!
      How remarkable to find this!! How fortunate you and Bruce are to be recreating a home in a very lovely spot!! I love the idea to use the bricks from the well either idea sounds perfect!!!
      Mary

      Hi Mary– thanks; we are also very excited. I think I am more enthused about this project than when we remodeled that old cabin in Alaska — if that is possible– because of the land connected to this place. Just to be able to be here and commune with plants and animals is fantastic and long awaited for. 🙂 Sher

  5. Imagine the labour involved to dig a well by hand – nowadays we are so spoilt with mechanised tools and electrical gadgets of every kind. Nice that you will be re-using the old bricks – they display lovely colours.

    1. Imagine the labour involved to dig a well by hand – nowadays we are so spoilt with mechanised tools and electrical gadgets of every kind. Nice that you will be re-using the old bricks – they display lovely colours.
      Hi Alison: I know the labor and the precision with which they laid the bricks is remarkable. The well looked perfect when it was found. Sher

  6. I am also enjoying following along with your adventures, Sher. But I especially have a hard time tearing my eyes away from that beautiful blue sky! Although we’ve had a few nice days here in Ketchikan lately, that just looks gorgeous. Thanks for spending the time to share what you find, Sher!

    1. I am also enjoying following along with your adventures, Sher. But I especially have a hard time tearing my eyes away from that beautiful blue sky! Although we’ve had a few nice days here in Ketchikan lately, that just looks gorgeous. Thanks for spending the time to share what you find, Sher!
      Hi Kathleen: Thanks! Well for blue sky– it was 100 degrees here today, and I wore a swimsuit for the first time in fifteen years. And I got under a sprinkler every thirty minutes to try and cool off. No AC at the farm. So yes the blue sky is mostly wonderful, but 100 degree weather, and I’d rather be in K-town. I have heard you have had a tough late spring early summer– sorry– I wish I could send you a tad of our heat! Glad you enjoy the blog! p.s. I have reconnected with Erin through GoodReads, and we talk fairly often now — about books. 🙂 Sher

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