Let the spiritS MOVE you… with a side of irony

Posted on December 7, 2021 by


It’s been a long time (2018) since I last blogged here (I have occasionally blogged elsewhere, but that’s another story, and related to another field that has been keeping my attention for the last 3 or 4 years), and I’ll not go into all the reasons as to why, but one big one always seems to be a factor… time available to commit to writing. I have, however, (at least the intent was there) been wanting to write a new blog post, here, for quite a while.

Nonetheless, a little over five years ago (I’m surprised I didn’t blog about it in 2016), I moved from my beloved Shenandoah Valley, into the Cumberland Valley, in Pennsylvania (part of the overall Great Valley, and the northern edge of the Shenandoah, after one jumps across the Potomac). My decision on a house in this area was an interesting one. We had toured a number of houses, but none seemed to really draw enough interest. Then, one day, I opted to take a little drive in an area in which we had yet to tour a house. I was familiar with the area, as it was where I knew a line of ancestors lived, from the early 1700s until the early 1800s (my McKinney, Quigley, Jacobs, and other lines). We did find a house under a mile from where these ancestors worshiped. Out of all the houses we had seen, it was more to our liking, though we only intended it to be a temporary abode (4-8 years… we’ll see how that goes) until we could make our return to the Shenandoah Valley. I’ve since taken a few pleasant afternoon walks to the cemetery, where those above-named ancestors were buried.

Hanna/Lower Middle Spring Cemetery

So, take it for what it’s worth, but had I not decided to make the venture in this direction (and only because I knew of the ancestors affiliated with the area), I’m not sure I would have found the house. Nice little nudge from my ancestors or simply a coincidence? I like to think of such things as an occasional nudge, but that’s just me.

Fast-forward to earlier this year…

When checking out an embankment on our property, I ran across a bunch of loose bricks. Strange enough, before we even moved in, I knew about a stack of bricks on the wood’s edge/cliff edge of our property, but this was a different set, altogether, and in a different location.

I initially thought this scattered set of bricks were the remains of a chimney on the property, but with a little research, I realized there were actually from a lime kiln, built ca. 1849.

The lime kiln (almost in the center of this map) is near the intersection of the road, across the road from the Bomberger House, and above the Hauser House.

… and, this proved to be only the part of a daisy-chain of discoveries/realizations about the property on which we live…

Adding to this, there are a number of boulders along our cliff’s base which I thought were odd… up until I realized there was a lime kiln… and then, two more lime kilns.

In fact, that other stack of bricks on the one side of our property seem to be from lime kiln #2. The third lime kiln was actually on property that is on a neighbor’s land.

In the course of looking all this up, I also realized that, prior to being owned by Joseph Bomberger (1801-1869… Bomberger purchased the house and land in 1837), this property belonged to the Caldwell/Colwell family. In fact, in the mid-1770s, James Caldwell (1730-1799) built the limestone house that I can see downrange from my front porch.

James Caldwell’s ca. 1776 house, seen from the site of the 1849 lime kiln.

Wouldn’t you know… though James Caldwell was born in County Antrim, Ireland, I recognized the Caldwell name from my research of my Moore/Mure/Muir lines in SW Scotland… and, yes, these Caldwells also originated in SW Scotland. The irony is, I speculate my Muirs had a connection with the Caldwells, in the line of Mures of Caldwell, aka Muirs of Caldwell House.

The story seemed to have come full circle… nudges from ancestors, or not. 🙂