ANDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - When John Freeman and his family came to East Texas from Alabama in 1849, all their worldly possessions came with them on covered wagons.
"The way I became interested was listening to their stories about the covered wagons and the people bringing their furniture, and in this house, we have most of the furniture."
Joyce Freeman Camp admits that she was married with children before she realized the value of her rich family history.
"I wrote this when my aunt was still living to guide me."
Joyce grew up with her aunt in Athens. Her aunt Loye Freeman was one of the first women bank presidents in Texas.
"It was left to her and she had adopted me when my mother died when I was six."
Even though Joyce was living in Houston in the 1960s, she undertook the task of researching her family's history and that of Freeman Farm, which had originally been named Kickapoo Farm.
The resulting research has earned the farm a state historical marker, a national registry marker, and Heritage Farm recognition, for having been in the family for over a hundred years.
"One thing led to another and we've been active in the Anderson County Historical Commission."
Joyce inherited Freeman Farm upon her aunt's death, but she admits she wouldn't have been able to maintain the farm without her husband Kip's help.
Kip says just the house's maintenance alone is a lot of work. However, since his family moved around a lot when he was growing up, the farm is even more special to him.
"This to me is just a paradise."
That seems to be a feeling shared by Joyce and Kip's family.
"Luckily we have four children, 16 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. They're all in love with the place. It's their farm, not ours...it's their farm."
The Freeman Farmhouse is not only a treasure itself, but it contains so many historical treasures, ranging from the original land grant to the handmade brick.
"They made all the bricks."
Almost every day, there's a new discovery in the home from antique books to priceless furniture to the role of the farm as an early post office.
"The people in this area would ride up to the window and get their mail.
Along with the discovery of past treasures, there is an ever growing appreciation of ancestors who were self-sustaining, from the food they ate and the clothes they wore to their home's growth from the original one-room kitchen to an elegant warm home, a role it plays for the present generation.