Perhaps someone should write about stiles before they totally go out of style!

I know what you’re asking. Has this old farmer finally been jilted from his senses? What the hell is he talking about? Bare with me a moment while I back up several decades.

It’s the very early 1950s. My folks just purchased a farm in Alexandria Township. Many years later, I purchased most of it from them, but the folks’ original acquisition was from the former New Jersey Congressman Fred Allan Hartley, renowned for his legislation, the Taft/Hartley Act which, to this day limits some of the powers of labor unions.

This was not without a battle in Congress. The legislation survived President Truman’s veto before it became federal law, but I digress. Hartley later retired to a different Alexandria property off of Rick Road where he peacefully lived out his days.

In the meantime, what about this stile? It is from an Old English word meaning a set of stairs that allows ascent/ descent up and over a fence without use of any gate, yet disallowing use by livestock.Stiles were clever and certainly a throwback to distant old times.

In the earlier days of Tuckaway Farm, there was still a stile or two left in the fences, left there by Mr. Hartley. Apparently he spared no expense in creating stylish stiles, complete with twisted finials atop the stair posts. I, an enthused toddler at the time, took delight in an untold number of trips back and forth over the stile closest to the house. A youngster delights in the simplest things, don’t you think?


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