Saturday, June 16, 2012


A week ago I learned that the house built by my 8x great grandfather William
Harlow in Plymouth, Ma. still exists and was open for tours on Thursday afternoon.
Now I live about twenty miles from Plymouth and except for visiting Plimoth
Plantation about forty-five years ago I haven't visited the historical sites down
there. Considering how much of our family history took place in Plymouth and
the adjoining towns I decided it was time I fixed that. So yesterday I drove Ping
the Wonder Car down to visit the Harlow Old Fort House.

It was a nice day and I took one of the backroads, Rte 36, most of the way. I'm
glad I went now because in a week or so when people start visiting Plymouth
on vacation the traffic will be heavier. The Harlow House is located at 119 Sandwich
House just past Plymouth Center and right across from the Plymouth Fire Dept.
headquarters. I arrived twenty minutes before the start of the tour so I looked
around a bit and took a picture of one of the rooms through a window. I also
looked around the gift shop and the workshop where events and educational
programs are held. Pat, the young lady in charge, asked me to sign the visitors'
book and when I told her I was a Harlow descendant she asked if I could add
the details of my lineage. Luckily, I just happened to have a relationship
chart with me that I had printed out that morning.

The tour started at 2pm and there was only myself and an elderly couple from
Colorado.  Our guide was a gentleman named Ron who was very good. He
demonstrated the steps William Harlow would have taken in constructing a
wooden barrel(my ancestor was a cooper by trade) and then led us into the
common room for a discussion of what life was like for the Harlow family in
the late 1600's. The discussion continued in a third room and I was impressed
with how knowledgeable and enthusiastic Ron was talking about the history
of the house.

I won't go into specifics of Ron's tour; after all, if I did that there'd be no
reason for you to go and hear him yourself, and you really should do it if
you are in the Plymouth area on a Thursday afternoon. But I do want to
paraphrase something Ron said: how many people can say they've stood
on the same floor, in the same house, in the same location(the house has
not been moved) that their ancestors did centuries before?

Thanks to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society and their volunteers, I can say that!

((Admission for adults is $5.00, $2.00 for children. You can read more about the
Harlow House and the two other houses maintained by the Plymouth Antiquarian
Society here at their site.))

1 comment:

Anna Matthews said...

I can't go back nearly this far, but the family farm founded by a 2nd great-grandfather is still in the family now run by one of my cousins. Great post - very cool story!