THE MORE THRIFTY FARMERS of New Jersey and of Pennsylvania in colonial times, particularly those of Dutch origin, had the reputation of giving more attention to the construction of their barns than to their dwellings. With an abundance of timber readily at hand, there was no need for skimping in size. Their great barns sheltered at once the farm animals and the produce, as well as the farm implements. Under broad sloping roofs were capacious grain lofts, and wide doors opened on the threshing floors below. These rough, substantial structures, so typical of the spirit and the character of the rural people, made a lasting impression upon Europeans who traveled the colonial highways.
Read's notes deal at length with farm structures and with other phases of farm engineering. In no branch of agriculture does he show greater genius for detail. The notes are particularly rich in descriptions of buildings and fences, and to a lesser extent of farm machines. Not content with diagrams and specifications for the construction of barracks, he gives instructions for computing their capacity, with a table for barracks of various sizes.
Plans for cowsheds are scientifically worked out. He describes the cattle barn of his "Worthy Friend Robert Ogden" of Elizabeth, which was equipped with stanchions not unlike the modern type. In similar manner he advises on the dimensions of a horse stable, allowing adequate room for manger, feed racks, and hooks for hanging up saddles and harness. Hints are given also for the construction of hanging shelves, a cheese house and an icehouse. Sir John Sinclair, who in the 1760's lived at Belleville, near Trenton, was reputed to have had the first icehouse in New Jersey,1 and an icehouse was reported on the estate of the late Colonel Peter Schuyler, on the____________________