Privy on the Porch and Pigs in the Cellar
by Martha DeWolf 9/30/12
Privy on the Porch and Pigs in the Cellar examines the lives of two neighboring 19th century families; one from Holliston and the other from East Medway (now Millis), Massachusetts and places them in the larger context of American history.
In 1984, the Old Sturbridge Village Research Library acquired the Bullard Family Papers from the Bullard Memorial Farm Association of Holliston, Massachusetts. Volumes of family correspondence as well as diaries, daybooks, ledgers and receipts have been researched and annotated to bring the reader a true story of ordinary 19th century family life.
Privy on the Porch and Pigs in the Cellar follows the families of Bethia Wheeler and Henry Bullard from 1815 through 1849. Privy on the Porch and Pigs in the Cellar examines the lives of these two 19th century farming families from East Medway and Holliston, Massachusetts and places them in the larger context of American history.
Paperback. 404 pages. Illustrated.
HollistonReporter.com asked Martha about herself and the book:
Are you related to the Bullards?
I am the great (times six) granddaughter of Benjamin and his second wife, Elizabeth Thorpe Bullard.
How long did you live at Bullard Farm and what did you do there?
I worked at the Bullard Farm as the manager/caretaker/housekeeper from 1991-2010. I was on-call 24/7. I did everything from cleaning the house and making beds to plowing the driveway, shoveling the walkways, maintaining the flower gardens and mowing the lawn. I set up and cleaned up before and after weddings and other family gatherings. I gave tours to invited guests. You can call it whatever you like; they called it servant.
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book because the breadth and depth of the Bullard Collection at OSV is extraordinary. There are very few collections like it, anywhere. Nobody else was researching it, so while I worked at the farm, in 1993, I paid OSV to send me photocopies of about a hundred letters. Over the years I have transcribed hundreds of letters from various family members to each other. (Thank you to my high school typing teacher).
How long did it take?
It has taken almost twenty years; but I was also working and raising a daughter at the same time.
What do you hope to accomplish by writing this book?
I hope to introduce other people to the collection and the family story. There is so much more to be learned.
Martha is currently working on sales outlets for Privy on the Porch and Pigs in the Cellar.