Privy Location on 1850s Farm?

Robby Raccoon

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Privy.jpg
House.jpg


1850s farm house (A). 3/4 Cape Cod in style with a door on each wall; plank construction settler's cabin.
Original barn burned (E). Lots of stuff around it. Historically, it was a cattle farm with some crops on original 40 acres.

In my opinion, the most likely location of the privy is somewhere in B, quadrants 1, 3, 4, or 5. I think quadrant 2 is too close to the house. I think the original "driveway" was in K, so it cannot be out front.

Sadly, quadrants 1-4 in B are where the septic system should be (it's not on any existing maps) so it would be difficult to successfully dig if anything is left. B3 is where the cover is.

The wind blows from the house to the neighboring drive at right (Eastward) most of the year as indicated by arrows. In winter, it blows from the top left to the lower right as also indicated. Occasionally, it blows from lower left to upper right or due North. This is why I think the privy must be right of the house (A) and it must be a well in circle I. I assume you'd want the privy down-wind of the house and opposite the well, and that the wind hasn't changed directions in 160 years. An old orchard (C) may go back to early years, so it seems unlikely for the privy to be near it.

Would the well be worth digging? So far only some 1920s bottles have been found on the property. The swampy location at lower right only has boulders, not bottles.

Metal detecting hits a signal every few feet pretty much everywhere, so it hasn't been useful in locating the privy. Literally, the entire property seems to be nothing but signals and is full of iron and tin pieces. Ceramics can also be found even outside of the pic boundaries at surface level.

For those curious, the house looks like this and is undergoing renovation. Should look somewhat like final pic when done (blue and brown). I'm trying to find artifacts to display in the house.

house 1.jpg

Jake house.jpg
 

nhpharm

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Good luck! Those farmhouse privies can be elusive (and empty, often). I think you are on the right track where you are looking. You might be surprised at how close they were to the house sometimes...no one wanted to go too far, especially in the winter.
 

yacorie

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Agree with the above post. Figure within 50 feet of the back door and they may put it right under that parking pad.
 

westKYdigger

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Have you probed below the 1960's trash pit? They may have filled in the privy as the fill sank. That seems to be a good spot for the Privy. Also, probe around that big tree next to J. I don't think it would be on the side of the house toward the road (if that is the same road as in 1800's).
 

Robby Raccoon

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nhpharm, thank you. I spent a few days in the fall figuring out where I'd put it and finally made a map.

Yacorie, the problem is, there's a door on every wall and the closest one to the bedroom is the one in B2. It went straight to the property line, away from the wind, and was a rather useless spot for a farmer.

PlaneDiggerCam, sadly the entire yard seems to be a trash pit. lol. Around the barn is a lot of metal from when the barn burned down and hundreds of bones. The rubble of its stone foundation extends 10 feet away from where it would have sat as it was just pushed over into itself and the yard.

West KY Digger, yes, I dug below the trash pit as well in the hopes that there was more under it. I went down a few feet and found the ground to be untouched below that as it matched the surrounding soil. What looks like a road on the map is actually a modern driveway for a house behind us. Originally that was close to the property line with the neighboring farm. The land was divided up in 2001 from 40 acres to 5 acre parcels.

Leon, and what letter is that? There's nothing left on the fringes of the property in the tree-line. It was all likely cleared out when the new houses were put in.
 

Nickneff

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View attachment 216560View attachment 216561

1850s farm house (A). 3/4 Cape Cod in style with a door on each wall; plank construction settler's cabin.
Original barn burned (E). Lots of stuff around it. Historically, it was a cattle farm with some crops on original 40 acres.

In my opinion, the most likely location of the privy is somewhere in B, quadrants 1, 3, 4, or 5. I think quadrant 2 is too close to the house. I think the original "driveway" was in K, so it cannot be out front.

Sadly, quadrants 1-4 in B are where the septic system should be (it's not on any existing maps) so it would be difficult to successfully dig if anything is left. B3 is where the cover is.

The wind blows from the house to the neighboring drive at right (Eastward) most of the year as indicated by arrows. In winter, it blows from the top left to the lower right as also indicated. Occasionally, it blows from lower left to upper right or due North. This is why I think the privy must be right of the house (A) and it must be a well in circle I. I assume you'd want the privy down-wind of the house and opposite the well, and that the wind hasn't changed directions in 160 years. An old orchard (C) may go back to early years, so it seems unlikely for the privy to be near it.

Would the well be worth digging? So far only some 1920s bottles have been found on the property. The swampy location at lower right only has boulders, not bottles.

Metal detecting hits a signal every few feet pretty much everywhere, so it hasn't been useful in locating the privy. Literally, the entire property seems to be nothing but signals and is full of iron and tin pieces. Ceramics can also be found even outside of the pic boundaries at surface level.

For those curious, the house looks like this and is undergoing renovation. Should look somewhat like final pic when done (blue and brown). I'm trying to find artifacts to display in the house.

View attachment 216571
View attachment 216572
Where is your location A&B locations is what we want to look at the original dwelling is where you want to look how far from Louisville Kentucky are you I got a nice truck but I got three hundred thousand miles on it and I don't know if I can take a real far Journey but I'm a if enticed buy really nice looking bottle that do you have found on that property I have two metal detectors to we can look around with those and see if we can find any cool things supposed to be back and we'll see what's happening
 

PlaneDiggerCam

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It would also help if we could see an image of the full property extents so we can get a better idea where stuff could be. Usually farm privies did not have much in them, becuase the farms had so much property that trash was usually dumped somewhere else. I'd also check any areas where they couldn't use the land for farming such as swamps, steep slopes, etc. From the picture id say the area to the North or Northeast looks likely for where a dump, trash pit or privy would be located since it is behind the house and barn and the wind blows that way. Wherever the drive is to get to the house is almost always the front. It looks like the privy would probably have been to that direction.. Good Luck.
 

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