Mixsonian Rosalie and Wilbur

A New House

In 1923, Rosalie’s father gave them thirty acres of land a short distance down the road, about halfway between her father’s house and Wilbur’s father’s house.   Having land was wonderful but they still needed a house and they hardly had money to buy food to feed themselves.   Wilbur checked around with family and neighbors asking if anyone had any lumber they could have and soon found  that the Sistrunk place had an old barn on it.  The Sistrunk place had been deserted for a number of years after Mr. Sistrunk got a job in the city and moved to Ocala.  Wilbur contacted Mr. Sistrunk and he said they could tear the barn down and have the wood.  Rosalie was so excited when Wilbur told her the news, they would soon have their own house!


Land description from 1923 Warranty Deed

Marion County, Florida: 40 chains west of South East con of Sec 20 Township 12 Range 20  of the Arredonda Ranch North 145 chains – 58 links thence East 15 chains and 25 links 250 East of South thence South West 10 chains thence West 15 chins and 42 links.  To the inifiative point.  Approximately 30 acres more or less. 1st day of August A.D., 1922
Signed: Tobias Anderson and Fannie Anderson

The next day Wilbur took Rosalie in the wagon to see the old barn.  Rosalie was a little shocked when she first laid eyes on the barn with it leaning heavily to one side and about to fall down, she had a hard time  seeing how it could become a house.  But Wilbur was excited showing her how the posts and beams were good and solid being hand sawed and hewed from old growth trees.  There also was plenty of siding and some rusted tin for the roof.   Rosalie trusted that Wilbur could turn the old barn into their new house. As they turned to go she spied a bald eagle sitting in a tall tree across the field which she took as a good sign.  

Wilbur, knowing that he and Rosalie could not do it by themselves, he asked his brother Gilbert to help.  Over the next two weeks they tore down the old barn and hauled the lumber from old Sistrunk place, some five miles up the road, to their new land where Wilbur, Gilbert and Rosalie built their new house.  The house was built entirely with hand tools, with Wilbur planning each plank of wood smooth for the floor by hand.  The finished house stood at the front of their thirty acres of land facing the dirt road with a nice size front yard and an old camphor tree on one side.  

Adrian and Myrtice Aridan and Myrtice

Rosalie and Wilbur moved into the house in 1924 when their daughter Myrtice was nine months old. The house was small, just two rooms, one a bedroom and the other used for the kitchen and dining room with only wood shutters for the windows and a wood stove which not only served to cook but heated the house that first winter.  In the winter they would the two children would sleep in the bed with Rosalie and Wilbur with every quilt they owned piled on top to keep warm.  Rosalie said "It wasn’t much of a house, but it was theirs." 

Over the following years they improved the house, first getting glass windows with screens.  Rosalie was so happy to be able to open the windows and not let the mosquitoes in.  They next added a living room with a fireplace on one side and second bedroom, followed by a third bedroom and porches across the length of the front and back of the house. One improvement that Rosalie added was a flower garden in the front yard for Rosalie dearly loved flowers, having fond memories of helping her mother in their rose garden as a child. Wilbur thought was a waste of time, but he did agree to clear and plow a small plot in the front yard and each year the garden got a littler larger until it went down the length of their front yard.  Rosalie wrote in her diary one July, “A hot month without lot of rain.  The marigolds are getting brown.  Just a few blooms make a bright spot in the sun – gold, cream light yellow.  The flower bed has been a joy to me and others that pass.  I planted petunias, moved the canna lilies also a few day lilies and the Gerba Daises to a new spot.  The squirrels loved the “spider lilies” so much they never bloomed in the corner among the trees.  Such a nice spot for the squirrels to nip of the tinder bloom shoots.” 

The Mixson HouseRosalie's drawing of the their house from her 1964 diary. This was after the living room and bedroom were added.  Later the left side of the front porch was closed in to make another bedroom. Also their house had a tin roof.

For seven years they had no indoor plumbing, the outhouse stood out behind the house.  With no well,  they hauled water from her parents’ house a mile down the road.  Wilbur would put the barrels on the wagon and Rosalie would go “visit” her parents, drawing the water up from the well, bucket by bucket, filling the barrels and then drive the wagon back to their house.  Rosalie was so happy when they put in a pipe well which had a windmill to pump the water into a barrel and then a pipe to bring the water into the house.  She was so happy to have a sink in the kitchen with running water.   Rosalie would bring the washtub into the kitchen to wash the kids.  Water would be heated in the kettle on the wood stove and then poured into the tub to warm the cold water.  It would be years later before they put in hot water.  

With their land being forested, the first few years they didn’t have pastures for cows and only a small garden next to the house.  To feed the family Wilbur trapped possums, coons and skunks.  He would bait and put out traps and then a few days later would get up early and then go out and check them.  On good days he would bring back two or three coons or possums which he would give to Rosalie before going to work in the garden.  Rosalie would skin the animals and stretch the hides on a board which they would either sell or make things out of. 

Updated: 12-22-2021

Read the Deeply Rooted story about the Tree, Sistrunks and Mixsons

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