By Tim Ashley
WARSAW — Sarah Ellen Pound certainly bucked the trend. In an era when it was not typical for women to run large farming operations, she did so and also had a barn and house built.
The bank barn built in approximately 1909 on her farm, which was more than 300 acres at one time, is now a “labor of love” for Jon and Amanda Scroggs, who are having the barn renovated. It is located on CR 100E, near the intersection with CR 200N in Plain Township.
The Pound/Buhrt family had still owned the property where the house and barn are located with the exception of about one year until Jon and Amanda purchased it Feb. 4, 1998. “We could not believe that the house we admired and drove past for so many years was actually going to be our next big challenge,” Jon said.
The Scroggs couple want to repurpose the barn “and offer it as a historic venue” and have been given approval by the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals. Delayed by COVID-19, “our dream was born in 1998 when we first had the opportunity and felt a responsibility to use our talents and invest in preserving the barn for future generations,” Jon said, noting the goal is to start taking bookings in the summer of 2021.
Not much was done between 1998 and 2011, but then the youngest child graduated from high school and moved away to college so it became the right time to start pursuing the dream again.
Jon noted he and Amanda are both sentimental about the barn. “We both love history and the story was so compelling. We know that barns across America are being lost every year because it is so hard to find the skilled workers to take on the challenges and often, restoration is more expensive than a tear down and new build.”
He is a self-employed contractor and has already done quite a bit of work with the barn including repairing the siding, painting, replacing rotten beams, foundation repair, replacing and repairing exterior doors, a new roof (sub contracted), removing old concrete and pouring new concrete, designing and ordering architectural drawings and ordering a structural engineer report. The property has also been annexed into the city of Warsaw from the county.
Originally the barn was built for raising hogs. Pound said during a newspaper interview in 1909 a secret of successful farming is to raise corn and sell it in pork. A longer pole building near the corn crib was the hog shed. The lower level of the bank barn is a concrete foundation and the upper level a hayloft.
Pound was a wise and successful farmer and Jon said her estate from December 1917 after her death shows she owned sows, 86 hogs and 23 pigs in addition to goats, brown mare horses, chickens, spotted cows, calves, red heifers and ducks. “Her health diminished for two years prior to passing in the home from tuberculosis, so we are sure the farm had a larger stock and even more variety when she was in her prime,” Jon said.
Remaining to be done to the barn is hooking it up to city sewer and water, repairing the second story flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing for restrooms and landscaping.
More About Sarah Pound
Sarah was in the same family that ran the Pound Store in Oswego, which is still standing and open for tours during the summer by the Kosciusko County Historical Society.
Her success was remarkable enough to catch the attention of The Indianapolis Star newspaper and she was interviewed for an article published Nov. 7, 1909, on a Sunday. In the article it was noted Pound owned one of the largest farms in northern Indiana and did not just stumble into owning a farm. She was born and raised on a farm.
Born in 1848, she died in 1917 and is buried in Leesburg Cemetery.