Monday, October 26, 2015

S.S. Richardson Recalls Hard Times and 5-Cent Cotton, 1914

“When Times Were Hard,” from the Monroe Journal, October 1914

“It is true,” said Mr. S.S. Richardson, “that we had 5 cent cotton a few years ago, but a pound of cotton would then buy a pound of meat, and everything else was cheap in proportion. But now a pound of cotton will not buy much of anything, in fact, it would take two pounds to buy one pound of meat. But the hardest times we have ever seen were during the war. I was eight years old when the war broke out, and for four years we did without things in such a way that would be a lesson in these times of extravagance. We made our own hats, clothes, shoes, and everything else we had. In fact, we had to make the lasts on which the shoes were made. We tanned hides in troughs made from large pine trees, and we even made buttons out of the leather. My father went to Virginia with a four-horse wagon to get salt for the neighborhood. And as for sugar and coffee, we simply did without. But we did have plenty to eat. In this section, we made all the food crops that we needed.

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