The Old Smoke House came to us from a little town called Bugtussel in Clinton County, Kentucky and is in original condition save for the base beams and the windows which were added in the first half of this century. It was built in the early 1800’s by a pioneer named Isaac Balch. Isaac received the land that would become his farm as reward for service in the Revolutionary War. The first deed which mentions the structure is to Isaac’s eldest son Orin and dates from 1836. It reads “800 acres with a log house, a smoke house, and a chicken coop.”
The House is an excellent representation of the craftsmanship and construction methods of the early settlers. The logs are yellow poplar; each measures approximately 2 feet wide and 5 inches thick. All have been hand hewn with a broad ax, the preferred tool of the period. Says the historian who saved the house, “the craftsmanship and construction are excellent and the hewing is as expert as any house I have ever seen.
An interesting side note, the Balch family continued to play a role in history during later generations. Two of Isaac’s grandsons fought during the Civil War, one on the North side and the other on the South. Both were killed.