Stonemason’s handiwork

Stonemason extraordinaire. Richard and Bridget Buckley Cummings emigrated from Ireland in 1850 and settled in Floyd County east of Charles City. In 1875 they purchased 160 acres of land, and Richard built this small stone barn.

A Cummings great-granddaughter, Kathy McCann, took this photo in 2015 and recently sent a copy to me. On May 12, 2023, I discovered to my dismay that the loft had fallen due to storms in the area a few years earlier, although the tiny milk house on the right is still intact. See photo below.

Matt Crayne, naturalist with the Chickasaw County Conservation Board, explains that the colorful stones are glacier-transported fieldstone fragments of granite and other minerals that differ from the local bedrock. His colleague commented that some of the stones would have needed to be split in order to get the flat faces seen here.

Next to the tiny milk house was another amazing discovery. There is a solid concrete “fence” extending from the milk house to the barn, with 3-D images of a heart, spade, club, and diamond embedded in the concrete, as seen below. It may be that he was fond of playing cards in his spare time.

What an industrious immigrant he was: not only a farmer, but also a stonemason.