Rumor has it that the ghost of a little girl - pigtailed and dressed in a nightgown - haunts both the attic and basement of 839A Patton Road, right outside of Carlisle Borough.
Though Carolyn Tolman and her family have yet to meet the suspected eighth member of their household, that's not to say she's not there.
If history is any indicator, it's likely that the child - referred to as Lucy - is not the only relic of the past to be found in the white farmhouse at the end of Sumner Road on Carlisle Barracks.
After all, the home housed Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, and served as the main quarters for a working, educational farm during the years of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
On weekends, the home and surrounding farm attracted those same students who - according to newspaper clippings from the time - retreated to the property for leisurely and peaceful afternoons.
People are also reading…
Years later, the farmhouse played home to the on-post social club for African-American soldiers during World War II.
"I believe this house has echoes of the past in it. It's a happy place," said Tolman, who, along with her five children, has spent the past year living in the structure while her husband, Col. Derek Tolman, attends the U.S. Army War College. "There's a lot that has gone on here."
Come next year, though, the doors that saw generations of families, students and soldiers pass through them will be no more.
Set for demolition in the summer of 2012, the demise of the nearly 160-year-old farmhouse will make way for four new residential homes on post, according to Carlisle Barracks spokeswoman Carol Kerr.
Denied entry into the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 due to a so-called lack of architectural integrity, Kerr explained, the house suffers from "plumbing issues, electricity issues and leaking in the foundation."
By razing it in its entirety, she added, "Four Army families will be able to move into homes that will have 21st-century plumbing, electricity and (amenities)."
Though she's accepted the fate of the farmhouse, Carolyn Tolman said, "It breaks my heart."
Sitting at the dining room table, pointing at an additional door in the front of the room, she added, "I think this is one of the original doors ... this doorknob and these windows ... and I just try to imagine all the people that have come through it."
And so, shortly before moving in last July, Tolman - with a degree in social and community history under her belt - decided to find out just who those people were, and the story behind them.
"It's like detective work. I think that's the draw... trying to dig up facts," she said. "I just love learning about people and what it was like for them when they were alive, and it just easily translates into doing a house history."
Upon learning that they would be moving to Carlisle Barracks last year, the Tolman family put in a request with the housing office for the farmhouse.
Due to the size of their family - five children and two adults - the family was granted permission to move into half of the duplex.
Curious to know more about the farmhouse where they would be living, Tolman said, "I would Google it ... everything I could from where we lived in Utah, and nothing would come up. So when we moved in July, I started asking around. I asked the housing people, I asked the garrison people. No one could tell me. All they could tell me was, ‘That house is not historical ... we're tearing it down.'"
Undeterred, Tolman headed to the Cumberland County Historical Society.
"They helped me a lot, and then the people at AHEC (the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center) were also very helpful. It was challenging, yeah, I'd say, because no one has cared enough to mention this house when they do histories of the other places on post, and it's just kind of been obscured, so it was a challenge in that way to dig up the information."
By speaking with former residents of the farmhouse, Tolman determined the house was constructed between 1800 and 1860.
Through tax records, she learned that, more specifically, it was built between 1853 and 1856.
"The tax records were only done every three years. There was a stone house here before that, and I suspect that the foundation of this house was the foundation of the stone house. But, I don't know for sure," Tolman explained. "So there was stone house in 1853 and then a brick house in 1856, so that's what I'm going on."
Land records led Tolman to the multiple owners of the farmhouse through the years.
"The most famous owner bought it in 1860 - Richard Parker," she said. "That's stuff that I have found out, that no one could tell me before."
Indian Industrial School
Despite Parker's prominence at the time as a member of the upper-crust Carlisle society, "The connection to the Indian School, I think, is the most notable," Tolman said.
In 1879, Lt. Richard H. Pratt established the Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle Barracks.
"The Parker family first rented this home to Carlisle Barracks for parade ground training ground. And then, Lt. Richard Pratt came in 1879 and wanted farms in order to teach the Indians how to farm ... to teach them to be self-sufficient," Tolman continued. "At first, (Pratt) rented a farm in Middlesex, but it was too far away. He knew about this farm all along, and actually rented from them for a while. And then finally in 1887, he was able to purchase it."
From the military history library, Tolman found a letter written by Pratt to Congress, in which he described the farm and asked for funding to purchase it.
"(In the letter), he was very complimentary of the large, commodious, farmhouse and the perfect location connected to the post and those sorts of things," Tolman said, explaining that following Pratt's purchase of the farm, "The (Indian) school's head farmer would live here and teach and manage the students. The students would come out here and work, and those who worked in the dairy would spend the night in the house and get up early to go milk the cows."
By reading weekly Indian newspapers put out by the Carlisle Indian School, which she found at the historical society, Tolman learned that girls would visit the farm on Sunday afternoons to gather vegetables and bring them back to the school.
"(There were) lots of little snippets. Like, ‘Sunday afternoon, the girls walked out (to the farm),' or ‘We're painting the farmhouse to get ready for the next dairy man who's coming,'" she recalled of the books and newspapers.
In one particular Indian School magazine article, written by the head farmer at the time, "He said that the summer before, in 1917, a lady came by who had grown up in the house, and she told him that when the Confederate soldiers took over Carlisle and slept on the parade grounds on the post, a party of soldiers came here and asked for food and lodging for the night, and her mother let them in," Tolman explained.
She continued, "From my research, I learned that that was Mary Parker McKeehan. She was the only little girl who lived here, and I knew who her mother was and I know who her father was ... and I just imagine her coming here as an older lady in 1917 and reminiscing."
Further adding to the already rich history of the farmhouse, Tolman said, she made contact with a Carlisle resident who lived there in the 1970s. During his time in the house, he told her, a repair man would come to fix the boiler in the basement. The repair man - who had worked on the boiler for 38 years - informed the resident that during World War II, the farmhouse served as the social club for African American soldiers at Carlisle Barracks.
"It's definitely a work in progress. I don't have that much time left here, and I'm very busy with my family, but I hope I can learn more about," said Tolman, who along with her family, will return home to Salt Lake City this summer, once their time at the War College is up. "We have had such a wonderful time here, and this house is a large part of it. It's charming, it's cozy ... it's a family home. It just has made our year so unique."
Continuing, Tolman added, "If it does (get torn down), I wanted to make sure the house was documented before it happened, so that there are pictures of what it looked like and people know what happened here."
In an effort to preserve the history of the home, Tolman maintains a website - www.sites.google.com/site/thefarmhouseatcarlislebarracks. On the site, visitors can read her extensive research findings into the farmhouse, as well as view photos, both old and new.
"The bottom line is, thanks to Carolyn Holman, we now have this great history that's going to be an endearing memory of a house with a lot of historic memories," Kerr said, explaining that like other barracks housing, the farmhouse is managed by Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC).
Through the Army's Residential Communities Initiative, Carlisle Barracks signed a 50-year partnership agreement with BBC. As part of the initiative, BBC assumed responsibility of day-to-day management and development of on-post family housing.
According to Kerr, the Army War College and BBC remain partners and continue to consult with each other on issues, such as the farmhouse.
"We are committed to a lot of preservation of a lot of landmarks here, and we certainly invest what's necessary to retain that history and celebrate it. But in this particular case, the historic review did not determine it to be (historically significant)," she continued. "We consider (BBC) partners and we do consult with decisions, but I'm not aware of any effort to re-visit that. It has been reviewed several times because people do have strong feelings and we respect them."
Despite an uphill battle, Holman still holds out hope that her research into the farmhouse's history will sway some votes in its favor.
"I don't think they know ... that's the thing," she said. "That's why I wrote the history, and I'm hoping that someone will value it enough to change their minds. I don't know if I have the power to do that ... but I'm just hoping to educate people."