Now that we’re back in Montana, my family and I have been spending a lot of time with my mother at her house. This means my kids are playing with the old matchbox cars stashed in her shelves and reading the books she’s collected for them over the years. One that my son has become particularly interested in is Tuttle’s Red Barn, The Story of America’s Oldest Family Farm. I love this because a) he’s been super into history since we flew through the Magic Treehouse Books, and b) a little known fact about me is that my middle name, as my mother’s maiden name, is Tuttle. Our ancestors, Richard and Anne Tuttle, arrived in Massachusetts from England on the ship “Planter” in 1635 (I had to double check that date by looking through my mother’s old family reunion pictures in which all of our family t-shirts said “Tuttle 1685-1982.” Oh that I could scan those 32-year old photos in, my dear cousins…).
The Tuttles of the book are perhaps related, but who knows. Their American heritage begins with John Tuttle, who arrived in Dover, New Hampshire from England in 1632 with only his father’s ax and two pewter candleholders from his mother. We learn about the tiny cluster of cabins that was the settlement of Dover and how met his wife Dorothy at church and had four children, the youngest of whom is John Jr. Then we learn of John Jr.’s life, the second generation, then we learn about his son James, and then his son Elijah, then William, then Joseph, then on and on through twelve generations of Tuttles to the present day, a young boy named Grayson, born in 1997, all of whom have stayed on the Tuttle family farm, which has blossomed into an enormous farm market and remains the oldest continuing family farm in America.
I love that we’re getting into biographical children’s books, that not only are the stories great, but we’re all learning something that we can relate to. I love that the seasons change throughout the book, as the generations pass. I love that we can see history from generation to generation- the revolutionary war, the coming of the automobile, the hippies coming to buy fresh vegetables. It’s a fascinating book.
I think Delaware is one of the few states I’ve never actually been to. Have you been to the Tuttle’s Red Barn? Is it as fantastic as it is in my mind? Are you interested in ancestry?