This barn was built in 1916 using frame construction and balloon framing. It is likely that Barney Schares had a hand in building it. Barney built many barns in the Heisler area and this barn is very similar to his other barns. The barn was constructed by the Roth family to replace an old log barn that stood in the yard prior to 1914. Perhaps Barney Schares just provided the blue print and know-how to the Roth family. We do know for certain that the new barn was built with the help of friends and neighbours.
Burkhard and Augustine Roth came to the Heisler area in 1904 from North Dakota. They officially homesteaded a quarter section of land 2 miles west of the property this barn sits on. Homestead rules stated that a family could live on a piece of land within 2 miles of their homestead quarter. Burkhard had purchased the quarter this barn sits on, a CPR quarter, in 1903 from someone he knew in the States. He liked the CPR quarter better than his homestead land and so the family began residing there.
Burkhard, Augustine, and family moved to the outskirts of Cheweelah, Washington for 3 years, from 1911-1914. They rented out the land near Heisler while they were away to Joe Leeb. By that time, they had already had six children: Killian (died young), Annie, Martha, Carl, Herman, William. William Roth was only three-years-old at the time of the move and six-years-old when they moved back to the Heisler area. However, he remembers that he didn’t like the mountains very much. No, the prairie suited him better and so he was glad when the family made the trek home. Burkhard passed away in 1923 and William helped his mother on the family farm after that. In 1933, William married Mary Rakoz and the two lived on the quarter this barn stands on with Augustine until she moved to Heisler in 1935.
The barn was built 30 feet high for the storage of loose hay. There were no balers at the time of construction. Instead, the hay was cut with a mower, raked by horse drawn equipment into windrows, and forked by hand onto a hay wagon. When a full wagon of hay pulled in front of the barn, the southern loft door would be lowered and slings of hay would then be lifted into the loft by the horses. The hay carrier and all of its related systems accomplished this momentous task. If you wish to see a video of a hay carrier system in action or learn more about hay carriers please click here and scroll to the “Hay Carrier System” section.
The younger children of the Roth family got the job of following the hay sling to the back of the barn’s loft and pulling the trip rope that dropped the hay in the sling into a pile. Pull and run, so as not to get covered, was the trick. Randy Roth, William and Mary’s youngest child, remembers the loft being full to the roof’s peak with loose hay. He could then climb the pile up and get into the large wooden cupula to look out to the north to see the Spring Lake Church! Hay was forked down chutes into the mangers on the main level where the horses and cows would eat. All the children had the opportunity to fall through a chute at least once.
In the early years, the western shed housed the horses that were used to work the land and thus it is still known as the “horse barn.” Ken Roth, William and Mary’s oldest child, still remembers having to harrow with the horses. The main part of the barn was for cows. Milk from the cows in the early years was left to rest to allow the cream to rise to the top. Then the cream was skimmed off for making butter. Some cream and butter were taken to town to exchange for groceries. Later, a cream separator, first turned by hand with a crank and later powered by electricity, was used to obtain the cream. A cream truck would come from Sedgewick to pick up the cream and leave a cheque that was used for groceries. The milk was not sold but instead eaten by the family or given to the pigs.
Tractors came to the Roth farm in the early 1940’s so not as many horses were needed. The southern end of the “horse barn” was used for pigs and calves yet it was referred to, and is still referred to, as the “horse barn.” For many year, the northern end of the main barn housed pigs in old milking stalls that had been renovated into pig pens. However, most of the main barn was still used for milking cows. In the mid 1960’s, Doug Roth, William and Mary’s second youngest child, brought in a milking machine, possibly a Westfalia, that made milking much faster and easier on the hands. William Roth continued using the barn until the mid 1970’s. After that, the animals were split between Ken and Doug and the barn has been used for storage ever since.
William and Mary Roth moved into Daysland in 1987. Randy and Barb Roth moved back to the quarter this barn stands on in 1991 from Forestburg.
Roth, Randy and Barb. Personal communication. 17 Aug. 2017.
Roth, Randy and Barb. Wagon Trails in the Sod: A History of the Heisler Area: Volume II. 1st ed. Heisler: Heisler Community Historical Society, 2017, pg. 671-672. Print.
52.717520, -112.222832 SW 23-43-16 W4
Barn Condition: Poor
Construction Date: 1916
Features: Seven wooden cupolas; one large, six small, hay hood, hay carrier, and hay track, shed addition, weather vane
Roof Shape: Gambrel
Paint: Faded, used to be red with white trim
Decorations: No names or dates
Roof Covering: Wooden shingles
Siding: Wooden drop siding
Additional History on the Property
Burkhard and Augustine Roth Family History
Roth, Herman and Bill. “Roth, Burkhard and Augustine”. Wagon Trails in the Sod: A History of Heisler and Area: Volume I. 1st ed. Heisler: Heisler Historical Society, 1982. Print.
William (Bill) and Mary Roth Family History
The Family. “Roth, William and Mary”. Wagon Trails in the Sod: A History of Heisler and Area: Volume I. 1st ed. Heisler: Heisler Historical Society, 1982. Print.
Randy and Barb Roth Family History
“Roth, Randy and Barb”. Wagon Trails in the Sod: A History of Heisler and Area: Volume II. 1st ed. Heisler: Heisler Historical Society, 1982. Print.