No. 57, Dubach farm

 tree of life

The quilt:

Tree of Life.

The quilt measures 8×8 feet and is mounted on the front of the Dubach dairy farm barn.


Tree of Life was painted by Rachel Scribben; carpentry by her husband, Jeff, and their son, Brandon. They own Artistic Woodworks in Pierpont, Ohio, a custom barn quilt building and painting business.

The saga of the traveling barn quilt

The barn quilt during its brief stay on the Benetka Road covered bridge.
The barn quilt during its brief stay on the Benetka Road covered bridge. Nighttime photography by Carl E. Feather,

This quilt was originally installed on the Benetka Road covered bridge in April 2016. The Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival Committee and several neighbors opposed the quilt and the county engineer agreed to remove it.

The children of Annabell Swedenborg, 90 at the time, were approached by Kathy McCarty of the Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Steering Committee, to see if there was interest in having the quilt on their barn. The committee identified the barn early in its formation as one of the heritage farms on which a barn quilt should be placed.

Annabell, who was in hospice at the time the quilt was installed, agreed, as did the children. It was a perfect for the farm, which is a certified tree farm (hardwoods).

Annabell passed away June 20, 2016, at her home.


The quilt was installed on the barn on June 16, 2016. Annabell’s children, Diana Peterson of Michigan, Sherry Swedenborg of Colorado and Randy Swedenborg of Ashtabula County assisted Jeff Scribben of Artistic Woodworks and two workers from the Ashtabula County Highway Department with the installation.

Installation of the barn quilt on the Dubach/Swedenborg barn, June 2016.
Installation of the barn quilt on the Dubach/Swedenborg barn, June 2016. From The Ashtabula Wave.

The farm and barn:

The bank barn was part of the Dubach Brothers Dairy enterprise, which stretched east from the farm a distance of about a mile along Route 84.

The Dubach Dairy wagon is still in the barn.

The Dubach Dairy was well known through the area and delivered milk in a horse-drawn cart, which is stored in the barn, awaiting restoration. The barn housed “dry” dairy cattle and calves, says Randy. It is believed that the front part of the barn was constructed first, possibly as early as 1870, according to one of the individuals who inspected it Thursday morning. An addition has been dated to 1918 by an inscription that stated one of the builders was leaving to fight in World War I. The barn’s hay fork and track are intact, as is the wooden water storage barrel that provided water to the house. The barrel is inside the barn, near the peak. Water was pumped into the barrel from a well behind the barn, then gravity fed to the house.

The following history of the farm is taken from the 1985 History of Ashtabula County:

The Dubach family of Saybrook Township came from Canton Bern, Switzerland. Gottleieb Dubach came to Ashtabula in 1889. His mother, Anna, three brothers, one nephew and four sisters came in 1891.

 Gottlieb, born in November 1864; Gottfried (Fred) born December 1871; Karl (Charles) born in February 1882; John, a nephew, born in August 1881; Lena born in 1874; Anna, born in June 1884; Barbara, born in February 1882 (twin to Charles); and Elizabeth, born in January 1876.

Together they started the Dubach Brothers Dairy on South Ridge in Saybrook, west of Ashtabula. Of the boys, only Gottfried had children.

Gottfried (Fred) married Martha Shipbaugh in 1909, daughter of Chrstian and Marie Shipbaugh. The Shipbaugh family also came from Canton Bern, Switzerland, and settled in Ashtabula in 1883. Martha had four sisters: Bertha, Mary, Lena and Edna. Martha was the second child.

From this marriage came John, Elizabeth, George, Ralph, Roberd (Bob), Fed and Annabelle. Another child, Alberta, died in infancy. Fred and Martha bought the Castle farm and the family lived in this century home until in later years a new house and barn was built. This farm and two others were used in the Dubach Brothers Dairy operation. On each property the new buildings were built from lumber on their own woodlands.

…Anabelle married George Swedenborg of Ashtabula in 1946 and they live on South Ridge West. They had four children: Paul, Sherry, Diana and Randall (Randy). Paul served in Vietnam.

‘Fred and Martha, through example, have left the priceless legacy of individual self worth, conern for others, industry and freedom to their children, a blessing that only this great land, under God, can bestow!

Annabelle Swedenborg grew up on the farm. Her parents, Martha and Fred, built the house to the west of the barn. Except for a brief period when she and her husband lived in Ashtabula Harbor after they were first married, it was the only house Annabell has known.

She has taken excellent care of the bank barn, which was built from timber harvested off the property. The field stone in the foundation is likewise taken from the property. It has a slate room, and every year a slate roof expert would stop at the farm, inspect the roof for damage and make necessary repairs.

A lost barn

The main dairy barn of the Dubach farm was lost to fire, purposely set because of its deteriorated condition.

It was located near the Kingdom Hall on Route 84 and once had a double wooden silo attached to it. Owner was Martha Burlin, whose parents, Elizabeth and James Reasner worked the farm. It was last worked as a dairy farm about 30 years ago.



Ashtabula County, Ohio, barn quilt trail with more than 100 quilts