Newspapers on the Walls

Dear friends,

When I was first shown our family cabin back in 2009, one of the things I loved best were all of the newspaper fragments on the wall. At one time, whole sheets of newspaper would have been tacked against the timbers and chinking for insulation and decoration. Eventually, the newspapers were covered with sheetrock and the cabin looked like any typical house from the inside. On the outside, the timbers were covered with tarpaper and wood siding. My cousins who lived there from the 1940s until the 1960s said that they never knew their “house” was inside a “cabin” or a “cabin” was inside their “house.” I love that. I always find the layers of lives in old houses fascinating.

If you missed my story about our family cabin falling down or about the clothes I found in between the floorboards, you can find them here and here.

I also wrote a new song this month celebrating my Aunt Freda and Uncle Harlis who traveled across America in their RV and showed us slides on their Kodak projector. 

Here are some newspaper fragments from the cabin. I hope you find them as curious and thought provoking as I do.

With kindness, always,


Smith Family cabin, Smith Ridge, near Jewell Ridge, Southwest Virginia. Photo by me in 2010. Built by John Rufus Smith in the late 1800s. He was the Justice of the Peace for the Maiden Springs district of Tazewell County and was murdered in cold blood on May 20, 1936. He lived in the cabin with his wife Susie Ella Smith and their eleven children.

“carved claw feet . . . Wedding”

Pocket knives

Chest of drawers

Rocking chairs

Wild boar

Horse legs and a dress shoe

A new dress


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