Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Wagon Wheels

with 4 comments

All these years, I’ve been walking past them. Mounted as handrails on either side of the steps to our front door are two wagon wheels.

They don’t actually make for great handrails, so I’ve never been all that enamored with them. In fact, I suspected they were simply replicas. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never really looked at these wheels closely, despite shoveling snow around them every winter.

Last week, when Matthew was here sealing the logs of our house, he pointed out that the wheels deserved some attention, too, and that they were simply screwed into the steps with three lag bolts each. He advised I remove them to sand each one down and put a couple coats of sealer on them myself.

So, I removed them.

It didn’t take long for me to discover these are REAL wagon wheels. Given the fantastic discoveries this past February that three families of my ancestors lived just about ten miles south of here in the 1860s-70s, and that my 2nd-great-grandfather, Stephen W. Hays was a wagon maker who managed a factory that manufactured wheels… having my hands on these beautiful relics is synchronous to an exponential degree for me.

I doubt it would be possible to verify the provenance of these wagon wheels, but I’m happy to just marvel over the weird coincidence of my working on these genuine wheels, given all I’ve learned about what was happening here 150-years ago that my ancestors’ hands were involved in creating.

I’ve got a second coat of sealer to apply and then I will remount these two to the front steps, and I will never walk past them again with the same cavalier regard as I had before.

Of all the features to find mounted on the front steps of a house we bought while entirely clueless about the history of the region and my ancestors’ contributions to it… It just boggles my mind.

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2020 at 6:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. It is great when something or object ties you to your ancestry. Great post.

    Geri Lawhon

    July 27, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    • Thank you, Geri! I agree, it is great! Maybe even moreso if one hasn’t been aware of connections before.

      johnwhays

      July 27, 2020 at 5:15 pm

  2. Wow, John! You are really on a “roll!”

    frisshop

    July 22, 2020 at 7:52 am


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