|A Rural Survey of Morgan County, Missouri (1916)||<Previous|
In addition to filling out the list of questions, many pupils in the public schools supplied papers in which they described the farm home. Were it possible to do so, many of these essays would be reproduced in this bulletin. The following, however, some idea as to the high character of this work. A pupil of the Glensted school wrote as follows, taking as her subject, "My Country Home."
I live on a farm of 200 acres, three-quarters of a mile northeast of Glensted. Our farm has four forty-acre tracts running north and south. On the second forty from the north running to the east is another "forty." Two forties to the north the forty running east are north of a county road. Just across the road on the third forty from the north is our home. The other forty running on to a county road on that side.
In the north forty, running south to a branch, is a twenty-acre meadow. Across the branch in the remainder of that piece are two acres of alfalfa, eleven [p.35] acres of pasture and seven acres of meadow. Running along the west of the second forty are fourteen acres of wheat. On east of the wheat is a ten-acre pasture.
East of the pasture is an old-fashioned house that any one would be proud of and which was formerly occupied by my grandmother. Although my grandmother has been dead for over two years, her old house still contains things of which my father and his family are proud.
The house is old, one room having been built long before the Civil war. On the front door, facing this large room, may still be seen a piece which was tacked on during the war, after some soldiers had broken into the house one day, when all the family were away.
I used to enjoy hearing grandmother tell stories about the war and how the soldiers came and took things. I can picture in my mind how the old log room looked. It now has five rooms, is weatherboarded, painted white, and has lightning rods.
But let us see what we can now see in the quaint old house. We will first go into the old log room, built before the war, and we will see on the west a large old fireplace with the two iron "dogs" (as grandmother called them) still sitting on the wide hearth, never having been used since grandmother's departure. On either side may be seen spinning wheels, which she had used for years and had spun many yards of wool for home use. They are strongly made of oak, and were possibly made by Great-grandfather Sims. While in the corner may be seen an old-fashioned loom made by Great-grandfather Sims and presented to my grandfather and grandmother. On this grandmother has woven hundreds of yards for clothes, blankets and carpets. Leaning against the side of the fireplace may be seen the old reel and "swifts" from which grandmother has "spooled" many hanks of thread.
Midway of the north side of the room is a door fastened with an old-fashioned lock. In the southeast corner of the room is the rope-corded bed with its posts rising like ghosts.
On around the south wall is the door in which we are standing. Turning our face to the west, we see the stairway running almost straight up. By this door is a picture of my grandfather and his family, and under the picture sets the old lounge over which is spread a homemade woolen coverlid, woven by my grandmother upon the loom pictured. Five generations are represented in this picture. [p.37] The loom, and chair in which father is sitting were made and owned by Greatgrandfather Sims, while the room of which we are speaking was owned by grandfather, and my father is sitting by my sister's lounge, holding her son. I think this room with its homemade furnishings make a complete picture.
If we should go on through the house we would see many other interesting things, but we will drift on to the outside of this old home.
The house is situated in the center of a big yard, shaded by large cedars, cottonwoods, locusts and walnuts. The smokehouse, with the cellar under it, still stands. The henhouse and barn are also still standing. Out east and northeast of the house is the garden, and the orchard, which is almost destitute of its trees.
The forty acres east of this old house is all a large pasture in which my father is feeding twenty head of cattle and nineteen head of hogs. He feeds them only once a day at the present, but will later on probably feed them twice a day. He feeds the cattle fodder and cold-pressed cottonseed "cake," and the hogs are fed corn.
Our house is twenty yards south of the road. It was built in 1908 and is a large eight-room house. It is built so that it forms the letter "T." Our barn, 46 by 59 feet, was also built in 1908.
My father raises and sells stock. He has three registered saddle horses. Their names have been entered on the registered list in Kentucky, the names being "Maude E," "Rexie Sims" and "Elberta."
I have now told the most important things of my home, and in conclusion I will say that I enjoy and appreciate such a place.
Following is another description of a farm home in Morgan county, this paper being one of many written by public school pupils:
Woodland Glen, a small farm consisting of 120 acres, is two miles west of Glenstead and eight miles northwest of Versailles.
My father bought this farm in the spring of 1901. When we moved to it there were very few improvements. The house consisted of one large room [p.38] and a shed room. Other buildings were a log crib, a log smokehouse, a log henhouse and a log barn. The barn had enough room for four to six horses. It had a loft in which could be put a little hay.
A cistern was the only well when we moved. In 1904 my father had a well drilled and a pump put in. In 1912 papa had a windmill put up and with it a tank that held eight barrels. In 1906 a new house was erected which three rooms, two rooms in front and one room in the rear. This house faces the east. It has two porches, one on the east and one on the south. In 1915 my father had a buggy and wagon shed built, and on the west is a tin-roof shed, which he uses for shelter in feeding cattle and hogs, and for many other purposes. A henhouse was built in 1909. This henhouse is about 12 by 14 feet. It has three rows of nests for the hens to lay in.
In 1905 my father bought a farmer's telephone and put it in our house. It is very useful. I don't see how we could do without it.
In 1910 the old log crib and barn were torn down and a large barn erected. My father had a concrete foundation built for it. The barn is about sixteen feet from the foundation to the roof. It has a hallway about five feet wide which runs through the center of the barn. On the west side of this hall is a granary about 8 by 10 feet, a crib which holds about 1,000 bushels of ear corn. Then there are at two double stalls for horses. On the east side of the hall are two rolling doors and three stalls, each large enough for two horses. The barn has a nice large loft in which an abundance of hay can be stored. It has a hayfork to put the hay in with. My father put about 15 tons of hay in the loft this year. We have a place for Kafir corn and our apples are in a pen covered up with hay. In the south end of the barn there is a large door which you let down in order to put the hay in with the hayfork. Last year my father had his wheat stacked so that the separator would put the straw right in the barn.
In 1911 my father fenced one forty of his land with American hog wire. He is feeding twenty-two head of cattle and twenty-five head of hogs in this pasture. He feeds his cattle corn and cottonseed cake and fodder.
We have three mules on the farm. Two of them are work mules. They are large and strong. One of them is a gray and the other one is a black. They are almost the same size and work very well together. We have two milch cows. One is a Jersey and one is a "brindle." We have four calves, and I think a great [p.39] deal of one of them. Its mother died when it was about two weeks old and we had to raise it as a pet. I used to be able to go up to her any place and rub and play with her, but she has gotten so that I can't play with her any more.
This year my father had fifteen acres of wheat that made about thirty bushels per acre, and ten acres that made about fifteen bushels per acre. He had ten acres of millet and fifteen acres of corn. The remainder of the farm was in pasture, except the garden, orchard and truck patch. In our truck patch we put out tomato and sweet potato plants. We plant Irish potatoes, corn, watermelons and muskmelons and different things. We had a nice watermelon patch this year. Although about half of them were taken, we had enough left for our own use. We raised a bushel and a half of pop corn.
We have about seventy trees in our orchard, some peach trees, some apple, and cherry, and one quince tree. We have one peach tree which has ripe peaches on it by the Fourth of July, and the rest of them have ripe peaches in September. We have two blackberry patches. One is in the garden, the other one is north of the orchard. We have a row of grapes which extends from one side of the garden to the other. They are tame grapes and are very nice when we have a season. Sometimes we can a few grapes while they are green.
We made sweet pickle and canned about twenty-five gallons of peaches from our orchard this year. Besides, we sold a few to our neighbors.
Following is still another description of a Morgan county farm home:
Glen Dale is a small farm consisting of 145 acres, situated on the banks of a beautiful stream of water.
This stream is a tributary of Richland creek. This creek is constantly overflowing, which causes some damage by washing and is dangerous to be crossed for several days.
In 1906 there was a large overflow of this stream. Heavy rains fell for several days, causing the creek to keep rising higher and higher until it looked almost a mile wide. It was a wonderful sight to watch the logs, trees, corn shocks, wire fences, posts and all kinds of things washing down this "river," as it seemed then. This overflow caused many dollars of damage to the farmers by flooding [p.40] the fields, destroying the corn and fences and washing away the soil. Also, some stock was drowned by being in the fields with no way to get out. Finally, after several days of such high water, the stream went down to its natural size.
There was a bridge across this creek, but when the high water came the bridge was washed away and there has never been any other built, for the overflows are so frequent and unexpected that the people cannot afford to build bridges so often.
Some people who own land near this creek are building a dam to change the course of the creek. The dam was begun last summer and the creek is changing real fast. These people are wanting the creek to flow through one of their other fields, which is not so valuable, and build up another field. The dam is being built of logs, trees, drifts, rocks, etc., and large posts are driven into the bed of the creek to hold the logs in position. When heavy rains fall the creek washes all kinds of drifts, logs, etc., against this dam, causing it to be built stronger.
In the summer time the creek is noted for its fine bathing, fishing and boating, and in winter for skating.
On one side of the creek are great bluffs, some of rock and some entirely covered with cedar. In summer the bluffs are covered with beautiful flowers, shade trees and moss. In winter, when the cedars are covered with snow and the caverns are hung with large icicles reaching from top to bottom, the bluffs are beautiful.
Our house is situated about 200 yards from this bluff. It was built in 1890. We have a large new barn, built in 1912. Besides this new barn, we have sheds for the cattle, a granary and corncrib.
We have a fine drilled well, which was drilled about twelve years ago. It is just 48 feet deep and affords a great deal of water, so that it cannot be pumped dry with the engine.[p.41]
My parents have lived on this farm for twenty-eight years. When they first moved here there were just old log buildings, formerly occupied by my grandmother. Father bought the land and in a few years began building.
Mamma and we girls raise poultry and all kinds of garden products. Papa and brother raise live stock and farm products. This year they raised corn, wheat, oats, Kafir corn, clover hay and cane hay. The live stock they have now consists of five head of cattle, fifteen head of hogs and nine head of horses.
Brother has a beautiful pet pony, four years old. Her color is a deep yellow, and her name is Julia. We raised her as a pet and ever since she was a colt we would feed her sugar out of our hands.
Brother has one pony, two mules, one cow and calf and some hogs. Papa has a pretty black pony, three years old. We did not pet her so much as we did Julia, but she is very gentle. Her name is Nellie. Julia and Nellie make a pretty driving team, and are safe for ladies to drive.
Mamma has a real old spinning wheel that was my grandmother's. I can remember how I used to like to watch grandmother spin. I would always want to turn the wheel.
We also have an old loom, which was made before the Civil war. Grandfather started to make it but died before it was completed, but someone else finished it. Grandmother has woven many yards of cloth, carpet, blanket, etc., on this old wooden loom.
We have, as a keepsake, an old silver sugar shell and butter knife of my grandmother's. Grandfather died before the Civil war, leaving grandmother a widow with five children to care for during this hard struggle. During the war she buried the spoon and knife with her money to keep them from being stolen.
Missouri State Board of Agriculture Monthly Bulletin Vol. XIV, No. 2 (February, 1916): A Rural Survey of Morgan County Missouri. Digital version © 2001 Peter Binkley; permission to reproduce for non-commercial purposes is granted.