Shown in the photo above, this was the Henry Harmon place built according to Town tax records circa 1850. Henry was a cousin to Jotham Harmon, a well-off landowner, who built the Kennett home and barn.
The gable ended barn became the most popular New England barn layout after 1830. The Kaskell barn is a typical barn structure of the 1840’s and 50’s. The front door is offset to accommodate a central floor, a larger haymow bay on the north side, and narrower cow tie up bay on the warmer southerly side of the barn. This smaller bay also has windows along the southern wall to add warmth and light to the animal stalls.
Because there is no hay loft over the central floor and the haymow bay, it is possible to view the intricate sawn framing timbers of this barn. In keeping with the period of the barn’s construction, this barn has English tying joints which tie together the top of the outside wall post, the top plate of the wall, the tying beam between the eaves, and the foot of the rafter. These joints and other framing timbers are secured by the use of wooden pegs. The roofing boards are installed vertically and are nailed to the framing member, known as purlins, which run parallel with the ridge and connect the principal rafters.
The gable ended barn’s popularity with New England farmers was enhanced, in part, by the ease with which the barn could be enlarged. By framing additional bays on the end, a barn could be extended without the necessity of reworking the existing structure. The Kaskell barn demonstrates this characteristic in reverse. In the 1940’s one third of the barn was removed without effecting the structural configuration or integrity of the remaining building.
Well-known local resident and historian, Roger Clayton, who passed away in 2013, asserted that this barn, once known as the Henry Harmon barn, was moved by oxen from Madison corner to its present location on Goe Hill. Other town records suggest that this could very well have been true as the moving of farm buildings from one location to another was not uncommon in the farming history of Madison.