August 1994

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Henry DeCamp's

Stone Wall


JoAnn Coykendall Sgrecci

Henry DeCamp began to build a stone wall on his farm in 1890 when he was 56 years old, and he worked on his wall for the next twenty years, until he died, extending it along the road a quarter of a mile each way from his barn.

Helen Allen remembers going with her grandfather to work on the wall when she was six or seven years old. He would let her use his stone hammer, and she would help him to put the stones into place. She thought she was a big help to him.

Many of the stones were gathered by his son Charles from the De Camp farm; neighbors also brought stones from their farms. When Henry died the wall wasn't finished, but Charles completed the wall that his father had worked on for so many years, and to which he had brought so many stones.

The bottom of the wall is nearly seven feet underground. Some of the stones are so large that a team of horses had difficulty moving them into place. The stones in the wall differ in size and were chipped and cut to fit closely together. Each side tapers to the top. No mortar was used. On top of the wall are carefully fitted round stones.

The foundation of the wall is so deep and stable that frost doesn't bother the wall, and the wall is so solid that flood waters in 1935 running over it in two places did it no harm.

Four generations of DeCamps have lived on the farm. Henry was born in 1834, in Steuben County, New York. He was the son of David and Luenna Houck De Camp. Henry's wife was Mary Jane Yawger, born in 1836, in Steuben County, the daughter of Henry and Nancy Scott Yawger. Mary Jane died in 1891.

Henry DeCamp's farm was south of his father David's farm, on the DeCamp Road that runs north from the highway between Tyrone and Weston. Charles E. De Camp (1874-1960) and his wife Lizzie D. Baker (1874-1963), daughter of Lyman and Elizabeth Gravely Baker, followed Henry and Mary Jane's time on the farm.

Their son Harold (1903-1977) and his wife, Muzetta E. McNeil (1903-1978) were next to live on the farm. They were then followed by Leon, who with his wife, Naomi J. Lyle, were the fourth generation of DeCamps to live on the farm.

In 1990 Philip and Faith Little purchased the original DeCamp farm lying on both sides of DeCamp Road. They take pride in owning and protecting all of Henry DeCamp's stone wall, his monument to craftsmanship and to perseverance.

© 1994, JoAnn Coykendall Sgrecci
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