The New England forests have many cellar holes, most being anonymous reminders of lives lived long ago despite our not knowing who they were or when they lived. Though we'll never have a photo of it or know what this home looked like, we do know a bit about who lived there.
This cellar hole measures approximately 11 X16 with another roughly 11X16 addition to it that didn't have a cellar. If that addition was living space this family of 6 lived in about 350 square feet.
Who were the Carneys? Patrick Carney (ca.1831-1867) and his wife Anna Higgins (ca.1825 - 1900) were Irish Immigrants who married in Orange, NJ in 1856. They are found in Rutland in the 1860 census. The Carneys were very poor at the time of that census with a personal estate worth only $20 and Patrick working as a day laborer. They had children Mary b.ca. 1857, Margarette b. 1858, Bridget b.ca. 1862, and Edward b. 1866. A 2nd daughter named Mary who was the twin of Margarette died at 2 days old.
Patrick enlisted in 1861 and served in Company F, Vermont 6th Infantry Regiment. Patrick came home an invalid after 3 years service that saw numerous engagements. He died January 14, 1867 of "intermittent fever".
Ann's financial situation was improved by the time of the 1870 census as indicated by her having a personal estate of $300. That wasn't much by most measures but it was a marked improvement over the 1860 census. She was not working nor were any of the children but it appears she may have been receiving a widow's pension from Patrick's war service. Another possibility is she may have had some income from the mineral springs near her home. The mineral springs possibility could explain why the Carney home was where it was on the narrow strip of land below the steep rise on the north side of Gorge Rd and the sheer cliff on the south side. It wouldn't have been a good site for most purposes. Ann was still living there at the time of the 1880 census with her two youngest children Bridget and Edward who was suffering from rheumatism. Edward followed his father's footsteps by enlisting in the army in 1890 but was soon discharged due to disability and died in 1892 at age 26.
Ann eventually moved to Rockingham, VT where she lived with her daughter Bridget.
The photos shown are courtesy of Phil Mandolare 2018.