First Hand Account

I’m a proud member of the Morrill family.  Today the Senator, Justin Smith Morrill, and his wife, Ruth Swan Morrill, are out for a carriage ride in their “Rockaway” carriage. When the carriage is not in use you can see it in the carriage barn at the Morrill Homestead in Strafford.  The Morrills are out visiting some friends before heading to Washington, DC.  My name is Trump and I’m the family’s favorite.  You can find my oil portrait in the Music Room of the Morrill Homestead.  It was painted by the famous painter Thomas Waterman Wood at the same time he painted two portraits of the Senator.  Not every dog can claim that honor.

The Senator and Mrs. Morrill go back and forth between their house in Strafford and their house at One Thomas Circle in Washington, DC.  They only stay in Washington while Congress is in session.  Designed by the architect of the U.S. Capitol, that house was designed for entertaining political friends.  The Homestead in Strafford was designed by Justin Morrill before he entered politics and is the family’s favorite home.  It is quite a sight in the upper village of Strafford as it’s painted a rosy pink to resemble freshly cut stone. It is in the Gothic Revival style with steeply pitched roofs, many bay windows and decorative features.  The Senator is quite scholarly and studied architectural handbooks and books on landscape gardening while he was designing his dream house.  It has many rooms for relaxing and enjoying life in Vermont.

The landscape around the house is especially interesting and varied.  There are seven outbuildings for horses, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, for storing ice, and playing shuffleboard.  All are arranged in a picturesque manner taking advantage of the natural lay of the land with added enhancements.  A pond at the top of the hill supplies water for the gardens and the overflow provides water for a stone lined stream designed to make rippling sounds as the water passes over rocks and through an old granite millstone.  Cats love to sit and lay on the stone bridges basking in the sunlight and watching the water flow through the millstone.  The pond also provided ice in the winter which was cut and stored in the ice house for use in the summer. 

As for me, I like to chase the squirrels in the garden and sticks whenever the Senator and Mrs. Morrill’s son tosses them towards me.   We have lots of fun playing hide and seek and walking the paths at the Homestead.  When you visit us you can do that too. Did you know Justin Morrill had a “dingle?”  If you don’t know what that is, one of the site hosts can show you it in the summer when you visit the site.