Grapevine fall round-up gives glimpse of life on early farms

City slickers got the chance to experience life on the farm at the 14th Annual Fall Round-Up at Grapevine’s historic Nash Farm on Saturday.

Activities include kitchen gardening, live music, farm animals, blacksmith and wood carving demonstrations, cotton picking, heritage toys, heritage games, wood-burning stove cooking demonstrations and a petting zoo.

Back again this year is the Somethin’ Pumpkin Baking Contest where guests entered their best pumpkin-flavored baked goods.

The city is proud of its Nash Farm — a life on the farm experience that includes a home, barn and cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places.

And, as it does every year, the city showcased the site at its fall festival.

“We show people how to use heritage skills to enrich their lives,” said Jim Lauderdale, Nash Farm manager. “We want them to see the rural atmosphere right here in the middle of the Metroplex.”

Lauderdale said those who visit get a glimpse of what life was like on the farm more than a century ago, even though Nash Farm is located on 5.2 acres several blocks from Historic Downtown Grapevine.

A big part of Nash Farm experience is education, Lauderdale said.

The Nash family was part of a migration of farmers from the upper South who settled on the Grape Vine Prairie in the years prior to the Civil War.

Thomas Jefferson Nash was born in 1827 and his wife, Elizabeth Mouser, in 1828. They were married on Feb. 17, 1848, and had five daughters and one son.

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The oldest three were born in Kentucky and the youngest three in Grapevine. Nash purchased 110 acres of farmland in Grapevine in 1859, Lauderdale said, which “was not an unusual size for a farm.”

At first, the family lived in a log cabin, which was later replaced by the current house around 1869. The Nash family raised an assortment of livestock and crops and “over the years, the farm grew to about 450 acres,” Lauderdale said.

Unfortunately, Lauderdale said, Thomas died in 1907 and his wife in 1925, leaving no will. The property was sold and the children split the proceeds.

Years passed and hand changed. The city and its Grapevine Heritage Foundation, which always had an eye on the property, bought the site in 2000. A capital campaign was held in 2008 that raised approximately $800,000 to restore the house.

“The 1869 house, which had undergone several renovations, was brought back to its original look, right down to the green paint that covers the building — a luxury for its time — and the yellow eaves for good luck,” Lauderdale said.

Today, Nash Farm is overseen by the Grapevine Heritage Foundation Board of Directors, who partners with the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau to provide the staff.

Among those at the annual fall festival was Dayna Bradford, great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson Nash.

“I’m fascinated by what they did here,” she said. “Now we can see how our ancestors lived. It’s rare and special. You can touch it and you can feel it. It gives a 3-D experience of where we come from.”

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