“Go West and you’ll find plenty of land.” That statement was told to an abundance of farmers who found the eastern states were becoming too crowded. Looking for a place to call home, Thomas Nash moved his family to the Grape Vine Prairie in 1859. We can picture the family’s pleased faces when they arrived at their 110 acre plot. While they had many hard days ahead, they knew that they had found a home and looked forward to settling down in Grapevine. We stopped by the Nash Farm to see how they show visitors what the early days of farming life was like.
The Family Home
When Thomas and Elizabeth Nash arrived in Grapevine, they found fertile soil. Grapevine was named for the “Mustang” grapes that grew wild in this region. The family built a log cabin on their plot, which would serve them until their house was completed in 1869. A nearby forest of pecan, oak, and black walnut trees provided lumber and firewood. These days the farm acreage has reduced significantly, but we still found plenty of farm life to immerse ourselves in this unique Texas history.
Settling in Grapevine
Life on the prairie was difficult, since families had to be self-sufficient. The farm would have grown all of the necessities for daily life, as well as cash crops. Corn, cotton, and wheat were commonplace in this region. The monies earned from these crops would pay for the rare extravagances. As we toured the home, we found that it was filled with many artifacts that would have been found in that era. It was interesting to see the hide-a-bed that would have been used for a child.
Thomas and Elizabeth were blessed with six children. In the 1800s, agricultural life required lots of hands. While children always find time to play, we are sure they faced a long list of daily chores. While the home looks large, with its two-story construction, we can imagine how crowded it must have felt when everyone was inside. To top it off, Thomas’ brother William lived with them for most of his adult life.
Bringing in the Spuds
Our visit wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the fields. We lucked out and found them harvesting a crop of potatoes. The staff at Nash Farms dresses in period clothes, which made our visit feel like we had stepped back in time. While they did use a tractor to till up the land, much of the farmwork was done as it has been for generations.
Meeting the Family
We continued to explore the grounds and soon came to the animals. A coop filled with chickens was a familiar sight. Our guide explained that they let them out at times, but have to protect them from predators. We also got to meet one of the sheep that call Nash Farm home. This baby lamb seemed happy to be carried and enjoyed the attention we showered on him.
Visiting Nash Farm
We wrapped up our visit to Nash Farm with a stop in their store. Here we discovered a variety of sweet treats ready to be enjoyed. There were also plenty of souvenirs to remind us of our visit. Our stop took place on a weekday, so it was business as normal for the staff. We learned that they have a variety of events that allow visitors to immerse themselves into farm life. Their First Fridays showcase a different heritage skill each month. There are also annual events that draw in throngs of visitors looking to experience life on an 1800s farm. Looks like the Nash family started something when they settled in Grapevine, Texas.