Changing Seasons at Rose Hill Mansion

October 22nd, 2021

By Mel Oles, Visitor Services and Programs Manager at Rose Hill Mansion and Johnston House

The seasons are changing and cooler weather is here at Rose Hill Mansion.  We call this time of year “sweater weather,” we drink pumpkin spice coffee and enjoy the changing leaves.

However, during the height of farming at Rose Hill the changing season would bring a lot of activity to the the farm.  Farm workers would pick apples, make cider, harvest the hay, rake leaves, prepare gardens for winder and stockpile wood.


Workers at Rose Hill harvesting in the apple orchard.


Inside the mansion the servants would do laundry, clean and grocery shop for the months ahead.  They would also bring down the carpets from the attic and put up heavy curtains.  The changing would be a time to prepare for winter months.

The fall meant the harvest for most crops.  This would be one of busiest times during the year to Rose Hill.  Robert Swan, who lived at the mansion from 1850 to 1890, hired both seasonal and year round farm laborers.  At harvest many laborers would be hired o bring in the crops.  Sometimes children as young as six would help with the harvest.  At harvest time everyone would lend a hand harvesting the crops.

The changing season would also bring different leisure activities for the Swan family.  The family could have gone on walks and collected leaves.  During the Victorian period an annual activity would be preserving leaves.  Many Victorian homes would celebrate the harvest.  Special food and drink would be made at this time.  Compared to the hired hands the Swans would have a tranquil fall.

October is the last month to take a guided tour of Rose Hill Mansion. The tour schedule, admission and information can be found on our website.  We are aslo hosting Rose Hill By Candlelight  on November 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

2 responses to “Changing Seasons at Rose Hill Mansion”

  1. Marty Schlabach says:

    Why were potatoes being harvested in the apple orchard? Seems more likely that apples were being harvested.

    1. Anne Dealy says:

      We actually can’t tell what they are harvesting in the picture. Apples would the be logical thing, however, Robert Swan wrote in his farm journal in the 1850s that he underplanted the orchard. He specifically mentions planting peas, potatoes and barley in the space and he plowed there annually. At one point a staff member thought this was a scene of potato harvesting. I think the caption was written based on this assumption. But the fact that you can see apples in the foreground when you blow it up and that the ground does not look like its been dug up or is covered with plants makes this unlikely in my opinion. I’ve changed the caption to reflect that.

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