Rocks of ages
SINKING CREEK – Stone by stone, the old rock chimney rises proudly once more from field stones that came out of the ground nearby.
Self-taught stone mason Freeman Shanahan chose and fitted each rock carefully.
A couple of weeks ago in 80-plus-degree heat Shanahan, with the help of Johnny Estes, rebuilt a pre-Civil War chimney from original field stone.
Shanahan was raised on the old Kate Farrier place on Rt. 42 in Craig County in the Sinking Creek area.
The two men preserved the look of the building that once owned by the late Dr. Oscar Wiley, who served as a surgeon in the Civil War.
Tracy Roberts who lives in the Farrier home today documented in photographs the work by Shanahan and Estes. She said the “old Kate Farrier homeplace” was built about 1825 “so we assume this building out front is close to the same age. Dr. Wiley used the pre-war building for his practice.” During the 1920s the little building served as a post office, Roberts added.
She said a Civil War Minié ball was found in the walls. It hadn’t been shot into the walls, she said, but was laying in a window casing.
Although they are called balls, the commonly used Civil War ammunition were cylindrical bullets with hollow bases that are said to have been invented by a French army officer Claude-Etienne Minié.
Shanahan said he was 2 years old when he moved onto the farm. He recalled Kate Farrier, who was a teacher, gave him a birthday card each year for his whole life.