The House That Peter Built

I thought I’d make my first post about the house featured in my header. Yes, I know a house is not an ancestor but it was home to 3 generations of my maternal line. It deserves its own post.

The House Peter BuiltThe House Peter Built

Built around 1900 this house was home to my maternal great grandparents, maternal grandparents, my mother and her siblings and a source of fond memories for many members of the fourth generation.

Built around 1900, it was of the square design popular in that era. It sat down a dead-end lane almost a mile from the village of New Prospect, Wisconsin. Out past the front yard, across the neighbors field, ran a branch of the Milwaukee River.  On the first floor was a large living room, dining room, kitchen and wash room.  The wash room contained a sink and a hand pump in which water was drawn from a cistern.  A bedroom tucked behind the living room completed the first floor.  Upstairs were five more bedrooms and a large hallway.

Peter and his wife Maria needed all those bedrooms. By 1901 they had 13 children.  The oldest two may have already left home by the time the house was finished but there was still plenty of family to fill those upstairs bedrooms. The children’s ages  ranged from 0-22. My Grandma Rose was their eighth child and would have been 9 or 10 years old when they moved into this house.

Peter and Maria stayed in the house until 1915.  When their daughter Rose and new son-in-law, George Herbert Meyer returned from their ill-fated adventure as farm owners in Ladysmith, WI. Peter negotiated a deal with my Grandfather to buy the 200 acre farm for 12,000 dollars. I am sure my Grandfather was anxious to provide a new home for his bride and soon to arrive first baby when he made this purchase.  Unfortunately I’m told he didn’t consult Rose first.  I can imagine the words exchanged the day he came home with the deed to the farm and learned she had no desire to live in her childhood home.

Despite her misgivings  about the purchase they would live there for the next 60 years, The house sheltered them through the Great Depression, WWII and so much more.

Along the way they added long enclosed front porch where the family enjoyed cool breezes coming through the screened windows on hot summer evenings.  A summer kitchen with a kerosene stove was added off the wash room for cooking and canning in the hot summer heat.  Still later a bathroom was added off the dining room to replace the little house out back.

The land this house sat on had been shaped by glaciers long ago in Fond Du Lac county, Wisconsin.  When the state wanted to buy the farm for a future ice age  park my Grandfather sold it with the stipulation they could remain living there until they either died or wanted to leave.  When they made the decision to move into town in the 1970’s the house itself was sold and moved. Hopefully it is still standing providing a new generations of children and their parents a  happy sheltering place to live as it did during the first century oThe House Peter Builtf its life.

The House Peter Built

3 thoughts on “The House That Peter Built

  1. kwriter13 Post author

    Hi, Jean. I wrote the piece. Most of it was told and written down for me by my Mom. I have done a lot of research on the earlier family. I am looking forward to sharing it here. Your cousin, Margaret

    1. Jean Campana

      I am Rose and George Meyer’s granddaughter and daughter of Bernice Meyer and David Tennessen. Who wrote about the history of the farm house down the country lane? I walked and drove that lane so many times. Thank you for the memories!



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