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Life on the Farm in America - Early 20th Century

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  • #16
    Before the war my parents lived in St. Louis. They rented rooms in the same house that Lindberg had lived in out by the airport. My father worked at the old Curtiss Wright Aircraft plant in St. Louis. But I was not born in a hospital in the city. My mother told me that I was born in a bed that they had put up in the living room of the old farmhouse in the country and they called in the old family doctor. They must have taken Mom back home for the birth. I was born in May of 1941. Then sometime after Pearl Harbor my dad joined the Army Air Force with one of his buddies from the factory and Mom and I went to the farm to live. My middle sister was born in the same room in the old farmhouse.

    I lived on the farm with my mother and grandparents (my father’s parents) while my dad was away. When my father returned from the war, we went to Wichita, where he worked for Cessna, but got laid off fairly quickly. He went back to the country and took over my mother’s parents’ farm and he farmed for about three years and went to agricultural school on the GI bill. But he was not happy. So when the opportunity came to move to Chicago to go to work for his old WWII buddy, we packed up and went. I was in the 4th grade when we went, 9 years old. It was 1950.

    While I cannot remember details of what row corps Grandpa put in, I do remember corn and winter wheat. He farmed with horses until well after WWII. He milked some cows and sold the milk to the cheese factory as he did not maintain a Grade A dairy barn.

    My grandma kept chickens and while I am sure that they ate some eggs, I mainly remember her keeping the eggs in cardboard containers that stacked up in layers and after she had a crate she would take it into town and “trade” them for groceries. She kept a very close record of all the income and outgo in a big black ledger book.

    Details that I remember from the time we lived with them.

    I can remember them docking lambs tails and daubing black tar on the stubs to keep them from bleeding. I remember them bringing in a sheep shearer to shear the sheep. They sold all the wool, I am sure, because grandma neither spun nor wove. (Many years later she wove rag rugs on a big loom that they bought and she sold a lot of them for extra income. Grandpa would always set up the thread because that was a big chore, and she would do the actual weaving).

    My mother sewed and made dresses on an old treadle Singer sewing machine. They did not have electricity. I can remember Mom’s leg working up and down on the treadle. She also crocheted and made my sister and me some pretty little pink dresses. We would go and visit my mother’s parents frequently. That grandpa had a blacksmith shop on his place and I can remember being fascinated with the bellows when he fired up to make or repair things. I think he did more repairing than making, but for some reason, I seem to remember him making horseshoes, although I don’t remember him having horses. My other grandpa had horses and I remember him having a horse-shoeer come and put new shoes on the horses. I was particularly impressed with how the shoeer just went over and picked up the horse’s leg and bent it and began to work on its foot. Those horses were named John and Sally. I was warned always to stay away from the back end of the horses and the cows; that they could kick me in the head.

    My grandpa and grandma kept a dog, “Old Tige” and cats. Tige would be sent to bring in the cows for milking. While Grandpa was milking he sat on a little stool. It seems like it had only one leg and that he sort of balanced on it. He would put his head into the cow’s flank and croon to her. “Sa-cow, sa-cow”. Then he might squirt milk from a teat and aim it at a cat. The cats would lap the milk from mid-air. My grandma would separate out the cream sometimes and we would have lovely homemade ice cream. The cats always got the filter from the cream separator. The grandparents would also make snow ice cream in the winter. They would get in a big pan of fresh snow, put in fresh cream and sugar and vanilla and mix it up and voila. Ice cream. I can remember them growing peanuts and roasting them in the chimney well in the winter.

    Grandma would make biscuits and gravy from fresh milk. So good and rich. She would roll out the biscuits with a rolling pin and cut them out with a floured rim of a glass. In the spring we would look for wild strawberries and have berries and fresh cream. My grandmother would pick fresh dandelion greens in the spring and cook greens and fatback or jowl. She would also make a wilted “salat” from fresh leaf lettuce, green onions, and bacon grease, vinegar and a little sugar. My mouth waters just thinking of it.

    My grandpa would shoot squirrels and we would sometimes have fried squirrel and gravy and mashed potatoes for supper. He would also kill an occasional rabbit, but fried squirrel was the great favorite. They would fish in the pond and catch fish, clean them and roll the fillets in corn meal and fry them. They fished with cane poles and bobbers. The best bait was fat white grub-worms dug out of the old manure piles in the back of the barn.

    I think at that time they always ate “light bread” that came from the grocery store in town. I don’t recall grandma baking much. She did biscuits for breakfast and would make cinnamon yeast rolls for special treats. At certain times of the growing season, Grandpa would go into his cornfield and pick field corn and we would have “roasten’ ears”, slathered up with fresh homemade butter. This lasted for about a week or two before the corn got too hard.

    I remember baby chicks. They would order them from a hatchery and I think they came in the mail. They had a tight little coop away from the big hen house and were coddled and kept a close watch on. Then after about 6 weeks or so, somehow grandma could tell the males from the females (I think they started growing combs sooner than the pullets) and she would begin to kill the little males for fryers. You never wanted very many roosters around. (One time after we moved to the other farm, a big old rooster got my baby sister down and flogged the heck out of her, she was probably 2 or 3 years old.)

    They would butcher a couple of hogs and a vealer every year. I can vaguely remember them sharing out the work and meat, because in those days the only way to preserve was salting or smoking. I don’t remember Grandpa smoking meat, but there was an old smokehouse on the place, so perhaps he did. The main thing I remember was rendering fat down into lard and eating “cracklings” and sausage making. They “sugarcured” pork hams and shoulders and wrapped them in layers and layers of cloth (must have been muslin from old flour sacks) and hung them in the almost unused upstairs. They also made mince meat and canned it. Do any of you remember mince meat pies?

    There was an old sassafras tree down in the pasture and grandma would get twigs off of the tree in the spring and boil them up and make sassafras tea to thin our blood and get it ready for summer. That is the only herbal thing that I remember her doing. She also used kerosene for wound treatment. I remember once when I was much older and staying there for a summer visit, I got stung by a yellow jacket. I was screaming in pain and the old gentleman who lived up the road was there for a visit. He chewed tobacco and he got his “chaw” out and put it on the sting to draw out the “pisen”.

    They did not have an inside bathroom but an outhouse. For the nights, grandma kept a “pot” with a lid under the bed. It was always an adventure to go to the outhouse as it had wasps, dirt-daubers and bugs of all sorts. They kept corncobs in a bin of some sort to use as wipes. They would also use the old Montgomery Ward catalogue pages as toilet paper. They would take baths on Saturday nights. Grandma would heat up several buckets of water on her old black stove and put it in a washtub on their screened in back (utility) porch. I don’t recall them ever having a hipbath. They stood in the tub and dipped and poured the water over themselves. Grandpa would bathe first and then grandma and so on down through the family with an occasional refresher of hot water. Every morning grandma would pour hot water into a wash basin and do a rag wash on herself and the rest of us would do the same. A basin was kept in the back porch for grandpa to wash up in when he came in from work. On hot summer days they would put cold well water in a wash tub and we kids would play in it. They had an old cistern that caught and held rainwater from off of the roof. Grandma always loved to wash her long grey hair with that soft water. Little frogs lived in the cistern and I always worried about her getting frogs in her hair, but it never happened. She also used the cistern water when she did laundery.

    I remember the sounds of hounds running “coons” at night. Grandpa never ran hounds but after my dad got back from the war and we moved to the other grandparents’ farm he kept some hounds and did his share of coon hunting, frog-gigging and noodling/hand-fishing for catfish in the river. He ran with some real good-ole boys. Mom threatened to leave him a time or two when he came home with liquor on his breath. It is probably just as well that we went to the city.
    Last edited by Jannie; 25 Sep 11, 21:44.
    Homo homini lupus


    • #17
      When my father’s parents married my grandfather was homesteading with his brother and his family on a height of land above the Missouri River back up against a little butte, named Eagle Butte in Chouteau County, Montana.. Lewis and Clark had camped down on the river below at Eagle Rock over 100 years before. Grandpa earned cash money by being a cowboy in the Judith Basin in Montana. When WWI came along, he enlisted in Montana and the time he spent in the Army counted toward proving up the land.

      When he got home he came back to visit his family in Missouri and married grandma. So she went out to Montana also. When my father was born, it was a very difficult birth and he was blind in one eye from it and he was born with a broken arm and collarbone. He had a twin brother who did not survive the birth. My dad was the only living child they had. I think they were told that grandma might not survive another birth. This was in 1920.

      I think they must have decided that they needed to be closer to civilization and they moved to California, but he had proved up on the Montana land and it is still in the family. Grandpa managed a gas station and grandma worked in a fruit packing plant in California and somehow they saved enough money to come back to the Ozarks and buy their little farm.

      The farm was just down the road from where my great grandfather lived. He and great grandma had separated and she lived in town with Aunt Tilda. Great grandma was kindly and sweet. I can vaguely remember my great grandfather. He was a gruff, grumpy old man. A second cousin now lives in great-grandpa’s old place.

      Several years ago he told my sister that there were some old tomb stones in his field. So she went to investigate and found the tombstones of our great-great grandparents. The old cemetery and the church that it had belonged to disappeared with time but the tombstones had been lying in the ground face down and were perfectly readable. I think that at one time the old church had been used as a school and that is where my dad went to grade school.

      Anyway, I went to kindergarten in Wichita, Kansas and my baby sister was born in a hospital there. We always made a big thing about her being born in the hospital. After we moved back to Missouri, I went to a one-room schoolhouse for first and second grade. I had to walk a half-mile to school and I had to do it alone.

      My dad had a big Jersey bull and I had been warned to stay away from him as he was quite dangerous. The neighbor had turned some Hereford cattle into the field bordering the road that I walked on to school. One of the cattle was a big bull. So one day when I was walking home, he was right by the fence next to the road. It seemed that he was watching me. The closer I got to him the more afraid I was that he was going to charge through the fence and attack me. So I ran into the woods on the other side of the road and hid behind some bushes. I was just petrified with fear. Sometime later my mother came looking for me. I was so glad to see her. Of course, she was glad to see me too. But Mom and Dad both made fun of me though for being afraid of that fenced in bull.

      There were 8 grades in one room in that school. We had 2 outhouses, one in each north corner of the school yard. I cannot remember exactly how many students there were in the school, but it was not more than 10 or 15. The big boys helped the teacher keep the fire going in a wood stove in the wintertime and keep the water bucket filled. We all drank out of the bucket from a common dipper.

      I learned to read with Dick and Jane readers there. I don’t remember a lot of details about the education itself. I do remember doing a Christmas Program where everyone had to recite a poem or sing a song. Santa Clause came and handed out gifts to all of the children. I also remember a pie supper fund-raiser for the school in which home-made pies were made and auctioned off with the privilege of eating the pie with the baker. My mom made a pie and it was auctioned in my name. Now I was a 7-year-old at the time and a grown-up man bought it. I can still remember being worried about what to talk to the man about. Little children just did not converse with grownup men that were not in the family. Not to worry, he sat with the whole family and Mom and Dad carried the conversation.

      My middle sister was 18 months younger than I. So she should have been 2 years behind me in school. But she was so jealous of me going to school and created such a fuss that Mom and Dad let her come with me in my second year, and the teacher said it was OK if she could keep up with the first grade class work. Of course, she did just fine. I was very happy to have her to walk to school with.

      One of the games we played was Annie, Annie Over. You had a small baseball sized ball and would stand on one side of the school building and cry out “Annie Over” and throw the ball over the building. The kids stationed on the other side had to catch the ball as it came rolling off of the roof. If they missed you won the point. Then they had to do the same to your side. For some reason I loved that game more than any other we played and it is the only one I remember with great clarity.

      I posted some about the rural life in

      My great-grandmother Clara Johnson Fugate taught school when she was young and after Mom graduated from High School, she taught school out by where Great-Grandmother lived. Mom lived with her and Dad would walk the 5 miles from where he lived to court her.

      I am going to try to post a couple of pictures. My sister has posted many on the county Genweb site so I have pulled them off.

      The first is a four generation picture of Mom and her mother, then me and great-grandmother.
      The next is of Mom and her students at the one room school where she taught.
      The last one is a picture of a mill that I used to ride along with Grandpa to. He took his corn there to grind down for livestock feed. We went in an old truck. I guess it was a pickup truck or an early version of one. No horses and wagons for us.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Jannie; 26 Sep 11, 13:27.
      Homo homini lupus


      • #18
        Great Posts and pictures, Jannie, including the links to the old posts. I'd love to read more about the school houses if you want to write more- were they fun, boring, was discipline strict, etc.?


        • #19
          The problem is that I was in First and Second grade only in the one room school house. So I don’t remember very much about being taught. I think that I wrote just about all that I remember. It’s been 60 some odd years ago.

          The big girls were given responsibility for the younger kids. I do remember that. To help them by answering questions or helping with a word that the little ones could not figure out while the teacher was busy with other kids and to keep a close eye on them at recess. The big boys were given responsibility with the physical work of keeping things going during the day. It does seem like there was that expectation of being responsible and being helpful.

          I remember memory work. We little kids were given simple poems to memorize and our parents were expected to help us. The big kids were given big long poems and prose pieces to do. When there were school programs, it seems like this was the main part of the show. Each child had to recite a piece. I do think that this was a good thing. I have never had any problems speaking before a group, and I think I owe that capability to speaking before all of the parents at school when I was virtually an infant. We did not do any music learning other than some Christmas carols for the Christmas program. (We had an old player piano in our house, left when my grandparents moved to town. Mom could play the piano some and gave my sisters and me some lessons. They never took. I much preferred to listen to piano rolls than pick out a tune myself. I also loved to hear my aunt play the boogie-woogie. I always asked her to do that when she came to visit or we visited them.)

          All of our lunches were packed at home. But I don’t remember what mom packed except biscuits or cornbread sometimes if there were leftovers. I am pretty sure we only drank water with our lunches. Kool-aid was a big thing at home. No sodas. That was a town treat.

          As far as discipline goes, the only thing I remember was my parents telling me that if I got in trouble at school and they heard about it, that I would be in trouble at home. I don’t remember any physical discipline used by the teacher. I do remember if a child got caught chewing gum, he had to take it out of his mouth and put it on his nose and wear it for a while.

          One of my family heirlooms is Mom’s little hand-bell that her grandmother gave her when she began to teach. It had been great-grandmother’s when she taught. Mom gave it to me several years ago when she was distributing treasures to my sisters and me.

          I do know that my middle sister and I love to read. The younger sister not so much. She never went to a one room school. So it is possible that it was a good influence that way.
          Homo homini lupus


          • #20
            I just thought of something that goes back to the mid-1950s. In 1954 there was a terrible drought that involved the Ozarks area as well a lot of the whole mid-west and south-west. We were already in Chicago but Mom and Dad always brought us girls down to Grandpa and Grandma as soon as school was out. That was a terribly hot and dry summer and it had been hot and dry the summer before. My now husband lived on a farm in the next county over and they saw permanent springs dry up and their good-sized creek dried up. They had to sell off some of their cattle.

            Well, my grandparents’ well was a fairly shallow well and the water began to go bad and sometimes if they drew up a lot of water in a short time they would bring up muddy water.

            They decided to drill a deeper well. And they brought in a water-witcher. I saw him witch that well. He had a forked twig in his hands. He held the branched out end with a twig in each hand with the single end sticking out in front of him. And he walked around in widening circles around the old well. Every once in while that twig would twitch and point down but then it would come back up. Then bingo, it went down and really started pulling down on his hands. So they marked that spot. Then he walked around some more but he never had as strong a reaction as the one that had had the major pull. So that was where they dug the new well. But they had to drill pretty deep to get good water. The water-witcher was a cousin of Mom’s.

            Then in the 1980’s when my Dad retired, Mom and Dad moved down to the old home place. They needed a well that could support a modern home with washer and dryer, ice making fridge, hot water heater, and that sort of thing. So they had to drill a new well that could take a pump and put out a good flow of water, so they called in Cousin Arnold again and he witched them a well too, but I did not see that being done.
            Homo homini lupus


            • #21
              Following up Jannie's very interesting comments, I found some links to articles on cream separators and butter churning, and on diary farming:




              The Farm Museum in the Grange building at the Topsfield (MA) fair has a nice exhibit on old agricultural implements that came from local (Essex County, Mass.) farms. There is quite a bit of diary equipment, a corn grinder, some scythes and hay rakes, and other interesting tools. Probably the single most interesting exhibit is an old horse-drawn plow, that is well-preserved. I wonder if it is similar to the implement the horses are pulling in the picture with my great-grandfather. Below is a link about this farm museum.



              Below is a link to a company in Amish Country which sells horse-drawn plows.


              and another link:


              Last edited by lakechampainer; 01 Oct 11, 13:38.


              • #22
                I live in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. One of our favorite end of summer journeys take us to the Worlds Fair in Tunbridge, Vermont.


                We've been going as a family for a good many years. The fair organizers have managed to keep the fair's historic image and agricultural heritage intact. It's just a wonderful country fair that time seems to have forgotten. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the old county fairs in a spectacular setting.
                There's No Such Thing As "Only A Simulation"


                • #23
                  Amazing what they could produce back then.

                  I wonder what they same places can make now... if they make anything at all.
                  "Why is the Rum gone?"

                  -Captain Jack


                  • #24
                    The Grange

                    The Grange - The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry - was founded in 1867 as an organization that would help farm families to band together for their common economic and political well-being. It's membership grew rapidly, and it had a great effect on issues such as the regulation of railroads, rural free delivery, and the Cooperative Extension Service. It had over a million members for decades. Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt were members. The Grange currently has about 300,000 members - Washington is the state with the most members, about 40,000.

                    There are about 30 grange organizations currently in Vermont - none in the Champlain Islands. There are several in towns on the "mainland" shore of the lake.



                    Last edited by lakechampainer; 07 Oct 11, 11:52.


                    • #25
                      The 4-H

                      4-H is a youth organization with 6.5 million members ages 5 - 19 in the United States. The 4H's represent head, heart, hands, and health, the four areas of personal development the organization focuses on. The slogan of the 4-H is "learn by doing" or "learn to do by doing". The official emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each life. The white represents purity and the green growth. The organization began about 1902.

                      Up the street from my grandparents' cottage was a big 4-H camp. It sure seemed like the kids sure had a lot of fun there. They had a great location, right on the lake of course, and going back into the woods, but their shoreline was on a ledge/cliff, so they often came down to my grandparents shore (always politely asking permission) to use the shore as a launching and landing point for their kayaks and canoes. It was very impressive when they were paddling on the lake in force - boy did I want to be with them.

                      I remember when this camp closed in the 70s. I remember walking through their with my mother and aunt and brother and sister and cousins, looking for what I'm not really sure. There was talk of the state buying the land for a state park, but it never happened. There is a state park, Bow Arrow Point about a mile away as a bird flies, partly on the old RR right of way. There is another state park, Knight Point State park, which was an old ferry site, about two miles away. Both of these parks opened later. Kudos to the state of VT for making these sites available to everyone.




                      An excerpt from the Wikipedia article, which discusses the history of the organization.

                      The foundations of 4-H began around the start of the twentieth century, with the work of several people in different parts of the United States. The focal point of 4-H has been the idea of practical and hands-on learning, which came from the desire to make public school education more connected to rural life. Early programs tied both public and private resources together to benefit rural youth.
                      During this time, researchers at experiment stations of the land-grant universities and USDA saw that adults in the farming community did not readily accept new agricultural discoveries, but educators found that youth would experiment with these new ideas and then share their experiences and successes with the adults. So rural youth programs became a way to introduce new agriculture technology to the adults.

                      Sign announcing 4-H membership on a ranch in Larimer County, Colorado

                      A. B. Graham started one of the youth programs in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902, which is considered the birth of the 4-H program in the United States. The first club was called "The Tomato Club" or the "Corn Growing Club". T.A. "Dad" Erickson of Douglas County, Minnesota, started local agricultural after-school clubs and fairs also in 1902. Jessie Field Shambaugh developed the clover pin with an H on each leaf in 1910, and, by 1912, they were called 4-H clubs.[3] The national 4-H organization was formed in 1914. When the United States Congress created the Cooperative Extension Service of the USDA by passage of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, it included within the CES charter the work of various boys' and girls' clubs involved with agriculture, home economics and related subjects.[4] By 1924, these clubs became organized as 4-H clubs, and the clover emblem was adopted.[5]
                      The first 4-H camp was held in Randolph County, West Virginia. Originally, these camps were for what was referred to as "Corn Clubs". Campers slept in corn fields, in tents, only to wake up and work almost the entirety of each day. Superintendent of schools G. C. Adams began a boys' corn club in Newton County, Georgia, in 1904. However, the city of Jacksboro, Texas, also stakes a claim to having the first forerunner to 4-H in 1910.

                      4-H Club member storing food she canned from her garden, Rockbridge County, Virginia, ca. 1942

                      4-H membership hit an all-time high in 1974 as a result of its popular educational program about nutrition, Mulligan Stew, shown in schools and on television across the country.
                      Last edited by lakechampainer; 09 Oct 11, 09:08.


                      • #26
                        thank for

                        thank for that post, please write again soon


                        • #27
                          More information on the farm

                          Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
                          I found a copy of a posting I made several years ago on the LinkedIn History Enthusiasts Group. I had posted a question about the Lower Canada rebellion of 1837 -1838 to see if maybe that had something to do with my people moving across the border. (I never found this out, but based upon genealogy records, My guess is not directly, but that the forces the led some to discontent inc. population growth and the way the English treated the French-Canadians, together with more freedom and land in the US, helped fuel immigration).

                          Anyway, some things that I posted jogged my memory and also prompt me to mention some things:

                          My great-grandmother spoke mostly French, she didn't speak much English. My mother told me that when she (my mother) took French in High School, she was not a good student, because she found the different pronunciations between Quebec French and French French to be confusing.

                          The farm was about 80 acres (As I had measured it on google at the time: nothing to do with half a homestead). The perimeter of the farm had apple and pear trees. In my linkedIn posting, I had put in quotes that my mother told me "this was the old French Way". I just remembered now my mother telling me that there was another (5 or 10 acre?) field that was in question who owned it. I found this amazing, as in our society this would be a big deal. This land was near and/or may have included land that later included a large 4-H vacation camp. Edit - I wonder if the trees were planted not just for the fruit, but to provide a location for bees to locate their hives. I assume also of course that they were a "fence."

                          When my great-grandparents were first married, they lived in a cabin in the woods, she would show us the foundation. I don't know if that was on what was later their farm. I don't know how they got the farm, I just realized that I had always understood it was not inherited. I also just realized that I should be able to find that out with some research.

                          My mother used to tell me her grandparents were the first couple married in the newly opened North Hero church. This is confirmed in a book I have called "History Town of North Hero Vermont - an account of the discovery, settlement and interesting events" Compiled by Allen L. Stratton, North Hero, VT Printed by the George Little Press, Inc. Burlington, Vermont, 1976. from pages 135 -136

                          "The first baptism in the North Hero Church , was on 15 June 1887, Henry LaFlame, Son of Alfred LaFlame, and also Sarah Brule', Dau. of John and Clara (Popaloose) Brule' (Bruley). The first marriage was Desire Dubuque and Jeanie Poquette, the parents of Luke Dubuque, Sr., our venerable and much respected townsman now living south part of North Hero Town."

                          My big mystery is how were my great-grandparents so relatively prosperous for that time and place? I'm left with two thoughts: their parents were fairly well off, and maybe the ancestors who crossed the border came with some wealth, and also, because of the large vacation complex up the street/just South where rich people from NYC had lovely homes, a golf course, etc. The children all worked their at one point or another, the oldest son (Luke Sr. mentioned in the quote) worked for the people "at the point" his whole adult life, until he was into his 80s. I wonder if they not only had this direct income, but if they sold farm products to them directly sometimes.

                          From genealogy records (which the Quebec people are known to have kept good records, through church records) I believe they each had one parent born in Canada and one in Vermont. I found a Quebec genealogy info guide which says that French Canadians started to move down Lake Champlain about 1830, based on the census. I have a great-great grandfather born in North Hero in 1840.
                          link to Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society:

                          "The Point" is how my Irish grandmother got to Vermont. She was living in NYC working for some of these people and she worked several summers there, which is where she met my grandfather. They were actually married in NYC.
                          I was re-tracing my steps on the family geneology, and I found a post on a genealogy forum from one of my older cousins, from about 10 years ago. The farm of my great-grandparents was inherited by my great-grandfather Desire Dubuque II, from his father Desire Dubuque I. There was an error still out there which referred to a "Peter Dubuque", which is a name I remember my mother speaking of. He was born in 1832 and is buried in Grand Isle. I was operating under the assumption he was my great-great-grandfather - this was my source of confusion.

                          This clears up for me how my great-grandparents happened to live in a house on the edge of the farm right after they were married - the one my mother used to show us. They were going to inherit the farm!

                          Anyway, I am proud to know that my great-great-grandfather served in the Civil War, with a NY unit. I ASSUME that he bought the farm some time after 1871, when it was referred to as the Hazen farm (see post #10)

                          Below is a link to the ACG Civil War service thread.

                          Last edited by lakechampainer; 22 Oct 11, 20:16.


                          • #28
                            Clear Signal Radio Stations

                            "Clear Signal" AM radio stations played an important part in rural America from about 1930 up to the television age especially. These stations were also in other parts of North America. These stations, many of which still exist, were high-powered stations whose frequencies were kept clear after dark, so they could cover huge parts of North America. Stations were allowed to broadcast on or near the assigned clear-channel frequencies during the day, but had to go off the air at night.

                            I myself have enjoyed listening to these stations from time to time, mostly the New York stations although I could often get others, including Baltimore and Chicago.

                            Link to Wikipedia article below.



                            • #29
                              Below is a link to a web site I found, which several hundred pictures of life in rural Minnesota in the period about 1900 to 1950. I found the pictures of the clothing, the tractors and cars, and the animal teams to be particularly interesting.


                              Below is a link to a USDA publication, called The 20th Century Transformation of U.S. Agriculture and Farm Policy. I find it gives an interesting but of course limited view of changes over the entire 20th Century.


                              Link to an interesting web site on Nebraska farm life, from The Wessels Living History Farm in York, Nebraska. The video segment which shows a 4 horse team plowing is very interesting. Also shown are tractors from various decades, starting with one from 1929.

                              This is probably the most interesting web site on the subject I have found - it goes into a lot of details.

                              Last edited by lakechampainer; 30 Oct 11, 15:03.


                              • #30
                                The settlement of much of America, especially prior to the Homestead Act, involved competing land claims and much involvement of land speculators. This certainly applied to the Lake Champlain Islands. These were claimed by New York, New Hampshire, and the Republic of Vermont. Eventually North and South Hero were settled under land grants given to The Green Mountain Boys, especially Ethan and Ira Allen. Source for the information here and below is History Town of North Hero Vermont An Account of the Discovery, Settlement, and Interesting and Remarkable Events. Compiled by Alan L. Stratton North Hero, Vermont

                                In 1769 North Hero - known as Long Island - was granted to William Beekman and 29 others by Governor Moore of the Colony of New York, on behalf of the British King. This became part of The Township of Beekman, New York. New Hampshire also made claims on the Champlain Islands.

                                On January 15, 1777, a convention was called in Westminster, Vermont. This occurred after the Continental Congress denied Vermont admission to the US as a state. This was led by Ira Allen and others (Ethan Allen was held by the British in London after being captured at Montreal, he was released in a prisoner exchange in 1778). Among other things the convention declared all land grants from New York and New Hampshire null and void.

                                On October 23, 1779 the Republic of Vermont accepted a petition signed by Ethan Allen and 363 others which granted them the Two Heroes (Ethan Allen named them after himself and his brother Ira).

                                In 1781 Vermont again requested permission to become a state. Governor Thomas Chittenden of Vermont received a letter from George Washington, which indicated that if Vermont could settle its land disputes with NY and NH, it could become a state. At some point Ira Allen and others were dealing with a committee of the Congress, and Ira Allen drew a line on an existing map which indicated the Islands of Grand Isle County and the towns of Fair Haven and Benson as part of Vermont. He gave this Roger Sherman of CT, asked Sherman to introduce it as his own proposal, which he did. Congress accepted it.

                                Apparently none of the original grantees ever settled on the islands. The original lot assignment records for North Hero are lost, although those for South Hero and Grand Isle still exist. The first deed for the The Heroes is recorded to Captain Jedidiah Hyde in 1781. His son, Jedidiah Hyde, later settled in present-day Grand Isle. His restored cabin is a tourist site, link below.

                                The first town meeting in North Hero was held in March, 1789. The moderator was Nathan Hazen. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the land of my family's farm was shown on a 1871 map as belonging to "A. Hazen" presumably a descendant. There were a Capt. Joseph Hazen who was involved in the War of 1812, who with the others in his company rowed across the lake in 1814 to participate in the Battle of Plattsburgh.
                                Last edited by lakechampainer; 05 Nov 11, 11:50.


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