Later it is gratifying to learn each barn’s history. Meyers spent two years interviewing numerous families. In fact, Meyers' own mother, Fannie Shirley, grew up as one of 10 children on the Alpharetta farm of her father, James Wright Shirley. Meyers also covers barn construction, farming techniques and farm animal history in interesting story sidebars.
One of Meyers’ most intriguing stories tells of the landmark Alpharetta silos on Crabapple Road, where industrious business man Jake Hughes kept a large farm, among his many other pursuits. I’ll forever think of Hughes’ humorous nonchalance at losing four of his fingers grinding grain at the silos, a story Meyers recounts in a chapter he entitles "The Silos: An Amazing Legacy."
To read “Barns of Old Milton County” is to learn about people like us, making a living, raising a family, finding purpose in life. An old barn might just be a structure, but to know its history infuses it with special symbolism and meaning. Meyers successfully taps that sentiment.
“A century or more ago,” Meyers writes, “farmers were intimately connected to the land, and barns were an essential part of a farm family’s life … Barns were emblems of a society that valued individualism as well as community spirit … For many of us, barns evoke feelings of nostalgia, warmth and affection …"
Old barns might be disappearing, but their beauty and histories are now captured for future generations, thanks to Meyers’ insistence on telling their priceless stories.
Veronica Buckman has been a resident of Milton for nine years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.