Ramsey Family Barn in Revere
by JoAnn Ramsey
Appeared in the News Record & Sentinel July 25, 2012
Jo Ann Ramsey’s grandparents, George W. Ramsey and wife Vina, built their barn in 1900.Â Typical of its time, the original roof was of the steep pitch wood shingle design. The barn was first used to keep livestock on the ground level. On the second level, hay was stored for the livestock and tobacco was hung from the tier poles. Both levels had drive-through access. The siding on the second level was lattice work designed to ventilate and dry the tobacco. The sill plates and posts are single pieces of wood over 50 feet long and hand hewn. The wood for this barn came out of Boardtree Hollow just about a mile down the road.
In 1950 the pitch of the roof was reduced to create more room for livestock and the roofing shingles were replaced with tin. The steep pitch of the roof had been necessary with the wood shingles to allow snow to shed off the roof. The availability of tin in the mid 1900s allowed the Ramsey family to expand the size of the barn as the pitch didn’t need to be as steep. And, at the same time, sheds were added to both sides. This is a very typical renovation seen on barns throughout the county.
George W. Ramsey passed the property on to his son, Clarence and his wife Pattie. Their daughter, Jo Ann Ramsey, still lives on the property with the barn. She remembers the years of growing up there and her memories of the barn are both about chores and about fun. She and her three brothers and one sister, like all farm family children, had to begin and end their day with chores–before and after school. They helped as the family continued to raise tobacco until the 1980s. Dependence on the tobacco crop decreased, other families in the area used the Ramsey barn for their tobacco crops and the last time tobacco was hung was in 2004 by Alvin Chandler. Other chores included helping with the milk cows, the chickens and the hogs which provided food for the family. The family also raised corn to feed the cattle on the farm. Jo Ann’s best memories of the barn were the fun she and her siblings had on weekends when their “city” cousins from Knoxville visited. They would play in the barn, but her dad didn’t like it since he kept the barn as clean as their house! While this barn is no longer a working barn, Jo Ann Ramsey, can still look out from her house and relive those memories when life was hard but times were simple.