Winslow Homer (1836 -1910)
Every Saturday, Vol. I, October 29, 1870
Wood engraving on paper

A rare image for Homer where both boys and girls are playing together. The children are playing and having fun while also accomplishing the chores that were expected of them living on a farm. Chestnuts were valued as food and for its rot-resistant wood.  Its straight grain and fast growth habit made ideal lumber.

The tree depicted in this work, with its double trunk growing next to a steep slope, was likely modeled after an enormous American chestnut that towered over the barns of the TenEyck-DeWitt Bouwerie (farm) in 1870.  See THEN photo at right.


c. 1890.  Looking north towards a huge American chestnut tree along Hurley Mountain Road near today's intersection with Thielpape Road.  This tree is thought to be the model for Homer's 1870 engraving Chestnutting.  This photograph is thought to be the only known image of a fully mature American chestnut tree in New York State.  The early Dutch barns are visible to the left of the tree.  The farmhouse known as the TenEyck-DeWitt Bouwerie is to the right. This was the former Henry Paul farm and today the site of the Row-by-Row Farm.

The people pictured are Schenectady descendants of the DeWitt and TenEyck families.  The children standing in front of the tree are (l-r) John and Edward (Ned) Vrooman, Florence Veeder, and Marguerite and Robert Yates. Pretending to shoot chestnuts out of the tree is John Wynkoop Veeder, father to Florence, grandfather to the others.  (Courtesy of Ellen Messick.  Photographer: William C. Vrooman)


Looking south towards the bare patch of land along Hurley Mountain Road on the present-day Row-by-Row Farm where the huge double-trunked American Chestnut tree once stood.  In the first half of the 20th century, the knoll where the tree stood was shaved down to provide fill to relocate and raise the level of Hurley Mountain Road. (Photo: Bruce Whistance 2019)