By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College; distributed Nov. 21, 1949
It’s exactly three days until thanksgiving, but Mr. and Mrs. Herman Eggleston and their three children had a big Thanksgiving about one month ago.
Herman Eggleston is a veteran of World War II and he and his wife are from Stokes County. They have three fine boys with the oldest one just ready to go to school. Last year, the Farmers’ Home Administration helped Herman buy a farm near Allreds in Montgomery County.
The farm needed lots of work done on the buildings, the out houses, and the fields. The place contains about 100 acres which includes 45 acres of open cultivated land, 10 acres of pasture, 44 acres of woods, and about 1 acre in the usual farm lots, gardens, and roadways.
The thing which Herman has to be thankful about is that his farm was selected by the veterans class at the Star High School for a face lifting job. The G.I. trainees at the Star school had heard about these face lifting, farm renovation jobs to various parts of the state so they decided to have a real one in Montgomery County. It was but natural that they would select the farm of another veteran and so Herman Eggleston’s farm was selected. As a consequence, he is ahead by five or six years in his farming operation.
But let County Agent Austin Garris of Montgomery tell the story. Here it is:
“The face of the Herman Eggleston farm at Allreds underwent some drastic surgery on Thursday, October 27. The scar of neglect was removed in one day of feverish activity.
“Early in the morning, farm tractors of all makes and sizes, with the latest thing in equipment, were unloaded from trucks and began moving into their designated plots on the farm. Little knots of people quickly gathered around their favorite machines. Workers went into football huddles, referring to maps and charts.
“The farm was formerly the old Winston Burroughs place and had been untended for a number of years until the Egglestons bought the farm last year. The old home had burned down, gullies were forming in some places, and there was broomsedge, briers, and even scrub trees choking the fields.
“Three crawler tractors with bulldozers moved in on the gullies and the areas overgrown with bushes and broomsedge. About 20 farm tractors with plows, hog harrows, tandem disks, subsoilers, cultipackers, seeders, and grain drills attacked the small fields. Soon terraces began to take shape in graceful curves along the contour across the sloping land. Well-prepared soil followed, with grain and cover crops drilled in. A pasture was made where a short time before there had been only weeds and willow thickets. This field was prepared for seeding grass and clover and a fence line was laid out. A power post-hole digger moved down the boundary line, sinking holes with apparent ease.
“By 10 o’clock that morning both sides of the half-mile of highway through the farm had been lined with cars. Some stayed a while and moved on, but other visitors took their places until the renovation job was over and the machinery had finished its job and had begun to move away from the farm about sundown.
“This work was not confined to the farm entirely. The newly erected buildings, the house and barns were given a coat of paint. The yard was graded and shrubs were planted. Inside the house, running water was installed, furnished by a new electric pump. A new cabinet kitchen sink had been put in place; the floors of three rooms were sanded and finished, and the living room walls were painted.
“In a plot of woods, good forestry management was demonstrated. Young pines were thinned to the proper stand. Weed trees were poisoned and the thin spots were replanted with pine seedlings.
“At noon all work was stopped and the people gathered around the concession stand near the house. While they munched on succulent barbecue and hot dogs, a public address system was set up, and the renovation plans were discussed by the workers directing each project.
“During all this activity, Herman and his wife, Ethel, could be seen discussing with some project leader some detail of the plans. Herman would agree with a wide grin, you just go ahead and fix it like it ought to be. The three small boys, Douglas, Tommie, and Bobby, were not in sight much during the day, but were bug-eyed at all the noise and bustle going on.
“This big over-all undertaking was broken down into enough units so that it was easy to get the job done during the day. A committee of agricultural workers was responsible for each different task. Each committee had at its disposal the equipment and materials needed to do the work. They, as well as the spectators, were given maps which showed where each activity was to take place.
“The bulldozers used were owned by Lester Williams of Star, Sikes Brothers of Wadesboro, and by the Montgomery County terracing unit, and they soon changed the appearance of the farmstead. As usual, these machines attracted the largest group of spectators. The committee in charge consisted of R.H. Wesson, assistant county agent of Montgomery County; H.N. Kelly, district conservationist with Soil Conservation Service at Wadesboro; and Paul Freeman, Veterans’ Instructor, Troy.
“On one plot, lime was spread and terraces were built. The agricultural works assisting here were C.H. King, Soil Conservation Service, Monroe; V.A. Huneycutt, assistant county agent, Albermarle; and Arthur Thomas, veterans’ instructor, Candor.
“In the next plot, terraces were built, lime spread, land prepared, and wheat was seeded. The committee in charge here was W.H. Abrams, Soil Conservation Service, Rockingham; A.E. Smith, assistant county agent, Asheboro; and Max Maness, veterans’ instructor, Biscoe.
“A third plot was terraced, plowed, and seeded to oats. The committee here was A.R. Blackwell, Soil Conservation Service, Albemarle; and John Potter, assistant county agent, Wadesboro.
“A fourth plot received lime and phosphate. Two strips of wheat were sown here in the contour and two strips left in lespedeza. This plot was handled by the same equipment and committee as the first plot.
“A seven-acre field covered with broomsedge and brushes was limed, subsoiled, a seedbed prepared, and seeded to oats and vetch as a winter hay crop. This field is to be strip cropped in the future. Lee Williams, agricultural teacher, Mt. Gilead; N.L. Hendrix, county agent, Richmond County; and P.W. Edward, Soil Conservation Service, Albemarle, assisted with this project. Along the border of this particular field, David Taylor of the Wildlife Resource Commission at Hoffman, and M.L. Ross of the Soil Conservation Service, Wadesboro, were busy planting a border of bicolor lespedeza for game, birds, and other wildlife.
“Two smaller fields were prepared for seeding and liming. The committee for this job consisted of W.L. Bowers, agricultural teacher, Troy; E.H. Garrison Jr., county agent of Moore County; and J.S. Baucom, Soil Conservation Service, both of Carthage.
“Most of the new 10-acre pasture was practically reclaimed from what one could call a wilderness. Lime and phosphate were applied; a seedbed prepared; and a part of the acreage seeded. The committee responsible consisted of H.M. Singletary, county agent of Stanly County; Hugh Thornburg, agriculture teacher, Biscoe; and C.P. Robinson, Soil Conservation Service, Wadesboro.
“While all this was happening out in the fields, the transformation of the home was taking place.
“Walter J. Marshburn of the Division of Forestry, Department of Conservation and Development, was in charge of the forest demonstration.
“The Troy Chamber of Commerce assisted with the general publicity, furnished the amplifier, and provided clerical help at the information desk during the day, along with W.B. Little, Soil Conservation Service, of Wadesboro.
“W.C. Floyd, county chairman of the local Montgomery P.M.A. committee, provided conservation materials under the usual conditions.
The remarkable thing about his renovation day is that all the original plans were completed except the actual seeding of two acres of pasture, three acres of oats, three acres of rye, and the pasture fencing. Herman says he can do these little jobs himself. What was done in that one day would have taken him probably five or ten years. The assistance given by all individuals and the firms was greatly appreciated by the Egglestons. He and Ethel Eggleston and their three boys have a good start and can carry on now in good shape. They feel that this is really and truly a thanksgiving season.
Mr. Garris says the work which was one on this farm will not only benefit the Eggleston family but is an object lesson for Montgomery County.