Ulster American Folk Park

Pennsylvania Log Farmhouse

New World, building number 38

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The Pennsylvania Farmhouse is an exact replica of the six-room dwelling in which Thomas Mellon and his family lived. The original house still stands the town of Export, Pennsylvania.

This log farmhouse is typical of those constructed by permanent settlers in the New World. Thomas Mellon wrote about his family’s early years in America. He describes them as years of ‘all work and no play’, but within four years the hard work had paid off and the family had started to prosper.

The log cabin which had given so ‘much satisfaction and contentment’ when they first settled in America had begun to seem too small and cramped so in its place they built ‘as fine a six-roomed dwelling as the best of our neighbours’.

The construction is similar to the log cabin. However the logs are completely hewn or 'squared' and are tightly fitted to prevent rain from seeping in.

The greater size and more finished appearance of the farmhouse was a sign of the increasing prosperity of the Mellons. More and better household furnishings replaced the crude and largely homemade furniture of the cabin.  The presence of even a few bought clothes and shoes was sign of a more comfortable lifestyle.

However, even though the family were prospering, daily life still entailed hard work. The tasks of ploughing, tending crops, looking after livestock, repairing fences and land clearance were time consuming and strenuous. Women noticed little change in their life of toil with their days filled with an endless routine of baking, cooking and cleaning, sewing, spinning and weaving.

Look at the overall construction of the house and how different it is from the log cabin. It shows how quickly the family prospered in America. In Ulster similar families faced a fall in living standards.