Saturday, August 31, 2013

Anson County Honors Woman of the Year, 1964

Anson County Home Demonstration Woman of the Year, 1964—Ruby Frank, Ansonville; Eva Ratliff, Gulledge; Macie Martin, Warftown; Mrs. M.G. Frank, Mineral Springs; Mrs. Betty Feezor, WBTV Home Economist; Mrs. Vernon Kiker, Burnsville; Mrs. Betty Griffin, White Store; Mrs. Gerrie Rorie, Olivet; Mrs. Inez McRae, Peachland; and Connie Caudle, Brown Creek.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Personal Mention" from Extension Farm-News, Aug. 1955

“Personal Mention” by Frank Jeter in Extension Farm-News, August, 1955. Extension Farm-News was published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh, and distributed to employees throughout the state.

The Kellogg Foundation has selected North Carolina as one of four states to make an evaluation study of the new Farm and Home Development in Agricultural Extension. The state has done valuable pioneering in the field of farm and home management and in other farm family enterprises. The new Extension approach has been brought to the attention of the Congress, so we are proud of having been given this responsibility to help form a national policy.

We are proud, too, of our three weeks’ professional training course attended by over 100 alert men and women agents. It was a wonderful experience for us all and the editorial section was made happy when those attending had enough confidence in its work that about half of all attending elected to take the work in effective use of communications media.

Next, let’s not forget another of those annual 4-H Club weeks. Again, say staff members, it was one of the best. We congratulate club leader Harrill and his capable staff. Somehow they always find the power to do something different and better. How they do it is one of those eternal mysteries of Agricultural Extension.
We tell you of other equally effective activities. None better than the Home Demonstration Music Camp at Catawba College in Salisbury. Or the lamb pools, wool pools, tobacco meetings on the branch research station farms, the irrigation demonstrations, and similar things in which Extension is interested.

Morris L. McGough sends a glowing report about the meeting of the Southeastern Community Development Association at Cherokee. Mac was happy at securing Under Secretary of Agriculture True D. Morse as his featured speaker and the forestry people also were happy at having Mr. Morse speak at the dedication exercises of Tree Farms near Asheville. He said that trees, along with oil wells and gold mines, are among the few things that return 28 percent interest in five years. He was quoting someone else but no matter, he made it stick. Also dedicated the community building at Addie in Jackson County. He remarked that everywhere he traveled in the United States he heard of the remarkable work being conducted by the organized communities of North Carolina. Which, by the way, led McGough to say that Mary Johnston and Paul Gibson, and their associates, are doing a fine job at Addie and with the other organized communities in Jackson County.

We must congratulate Madison County for its effective celebration over being chosen as the county in western North Carolina making the most progress last year in rural community advancement. Director Weaver went up to help celebrate the occasion.

John Arey reports good luck on a recent fishing trip in Carteret. Sam Mitchiner says the airplane trip to Coker’s farm was enjoyed by the Forsyth tobacco growers. Lots of excitement in Randolph over a wild steer hunt staged by E.C. Gray of Asheboro.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Roxie White of Salem Fork

From Tar Heel Homemakers, 1975

Mrs. Roxie White of the Salem Fork community of Surry County has chalked up many “firsts” in her 81 years of living.

She lives in an area that was the first settlement between Kapps Mill and Dobson, formerly known as “the big woods.”

Mrs. White was the first person to play an organ in the new Salem Fork Baptist Church when she was 13 years of age. Her pump organ was carried to the church for her to play.

Her musical education is a story within itself. She confessed to being self-taught. Her father, James Long, could not read or write but could read shaped musical notes and often sat with a hymn book humming the tunes. This intrigued her as a child and as early as she can remember—around the age of five or six—she would get a hymn book and sit beside him, listening to the sounds as she followed the notes. By the time she was 13, she had mastered the shaped notes to the extent that she was asked to play in the new Baptist Church.

When the first Home Extension Club was organized in Surry County in 1936, she was a charter member and is still a staunch supporter of the Salem Fork Club, having a perfect attendance record for the past 14 years. She probably has the distinction of being the only living charter member in Surry County.

The sturdy brick Salem Fork Home Extension Club House is just a short distance from her home. She gave the land on which the building stands in addition to helping with the annual Harvest Sale and Auction fundraising event, which has provided the money to pay off the building debt. Before the Club House was built in 1952, club meetings were held in the homes.

Mrs. White is still very agile and enjoys canning and freezing plus sewing for herself and her daughter, Ruby White, who lives with her mother and is also an active member of the Home Extension Club.

The home of Mrs. White has served as the scheduled stop for the Surry County Bookmobile every two weeks for many years. She is an avid reader—reading around 150 books per year plus reading the Bible through once or twice.

She is the widow of Brady White and the mother of six children—five are living.

The Spotlight is beamed on Mrs. Roxie White for the place she occupies in the history of Salem Fork community, for her progressive nature and desire to make things better for those who come after her, and for the joy she has brought to others through her persistent efforts in learning to play a musical instrument.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Greensboro College Students Harvest Tomatoes for Canning, 1911

At the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College, Greensboro, 10 volunteer farmers gather tomatoes to can. The photo is labeled “about 1911.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Farm News from "Around the State," August, 1955

“Around the State” in Extension Farm-News, August, 1955. Extension Farm-News was published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh, and distributed to employees throughout the state.

If Major League baseball player Gil Coan ever wants to hang up his spikes, he ought to make a pretty good farmer. Transylvania County Agent JA. Glazener says that the fleet-footed Coan who patrols the outfield for the Baltimore Orioles, did more than a fair job of growing corn on six acres the past year as he did on 10 in the previous year. He planted U.S. 282 hybrid corn and followed all of the good practices recommended by Glazener.
Z.C. Burton, tobacco farmer from Cedar Grove, really gets the most out of his bulldozer. Orange County Agent Don S. Matheson says that during the fall, winter and spring, Burton uses the dozer to clear land on his farm and nearby farms. In the summer he attaches a large pump to it and irrigates 4 ½ acres of tobacco at a time. Matheson says the diesel motor operates very economically.
Victor Crosby, Olin farmer, has come up with another use for old automobile hoods. Iredell County Agent W.L. Franklin says that Crosby took the hoods of two junked cars and welded them together to make a boat to use on his farm pond. He says the boat draws very little water, paddles easily, and when painted, should last for years.
They’re lizard farming in Macon County, according to R.F. McNeill, assistant county agent. Warren Owenby of the Nanthala section, like farmers everywhere, is looking into neglected areas to try to maintain an income. As a lizard broker, he’s helped himself and his neighbors. He buys lizards from his neighbors at 3 cents each, packages them, and sells them to a bait dealer. One week recently, he cleared $46.75. Some of the neighborhood boys who supply him with lizards make more than $1 an hour for their work.
After seeing how successfully a neighbor remodeled his house, the B.W. Lanes of Raleigh, Route 2, are finally getting their plans out of the “talking stage.” Wake County Negro Agent W.C. Davenport says that the Lanes have made all the arrangements for “giving their house a going over.” The Extensin Service will assist them with their plans. The Lanes’ house will remain much the same except that the rooms will be reworked and a bath room installed.
M.A. Elliott of Rich Square found that you can’t just pick up sweet potato plants “here and younder” and expect much out of them. Northampton County Agent P.H. Jameson says that the plants Elliott produce don his farm through careful selection and care lived fine. He had only a 75 percent stand on the others he chose at random. “From now on I will buy only the best or produce my own plants,” he declares.
Plenty of farmers would like to have this problem. A pine tree on Mrs. Missouri Pleasant’s farm in Fork township is too large to measure accurately. Warren County Agent F.W. Reams says that the circumference of the tree is 14 feet, three inches. But the board feet couldn’t be determined because the forestry measuring stick in the county agent’s office wasn’t made for trees this large. Reams guesses the tree would cut out around 4,000 board feet.
Lee Howell of Jonathan Creek plans to see that cutworms on his farm are well-fed from now on. He’s planning on giving them a square meal of Paris green, however. Haywood County Assistant Agent A.L. Ramsey says that Howell’s corn had an unusually heavy infestation of cutworms and looked as if it was going to be a total loss. He got busy with a mixture of wheat brand and Paris green moistened with sweetened water and the cutworms soon found they’d had enough of Howell’s corn.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Extension Summer School, 1949

Attending Extension Summer School in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1949. First row, left to right: Lawrence Biever, D.B. Robinson, H.C. Ramsower, William S. Gillett, John F. McKee, Robert M. Hall, Russell L. Zell, E.A. Jorgensen, William P. Jones, Harry C. Baird, Mae Belle Smith, Crosby Murray, and May Masten.

Second Row, left to right: George W. Gustafson, J.V. Cain, Ray I. Pestle, D.D. Clinton, C.H. Shannon, Raymond L. Venard, Charles E. Potter, Doris A. Anders, Leatha Christensen, Alverda James, Myrtle Baumann, Julia Morgan, Martha I. Cullop, Deborah Sharp, and Verne C. Beverly.
Third Row, left to right: John W. Magruder, Herbert L. Koch, J.E. Stanley, Floyd F. Collins, Virgil N. Sapp, Karl Knaus, E.J. Weigle, Ruth R. Clark, Beatrice A. Judkins, Virginia Stewart, Eva Legett, Una A. Rice, E.H. Lange, and P.K. Connelly.

Fourth Row, left to right: Josephine Pollock, Anamerle Arant, Mary Louise Collings, B.W. Harrison, Clyde C. Noyes, E.J. Kilpatrick, Gale Peppers, Stasia Lonergan, Fred T. Grimm, Loretta Zastrow, Eileen L. Niedermeier, Isabel Dodrill, Thelma Huber, Ruth Winner, and Archie Johnson.

Top row, left to right: V.W. Anderson, Raymond T. Swenson, Miles G. Rowe, Evelyn R. Morrow, S.M. Gregory, W.A. Sumner, Lloyd E. Lutz, J.W. Merrill, Clara M. Kuhnert, Ella L. Ollanburg, Laverne H. Sawyer, Maud K. Schaub, Ellen E. Gill, Clifford L. Smith, F.S. Sloan, Marlys Richert, Sallie S. Swann, Allen S. Leland, Marian Roberts, Mary Todd, Ann Nygaard, Dorothy Morehouse, T.G. Stewart, Beulah Blackwell, Clara V. Wellman, Jane Ketchen, and A.F. Wileden.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Farm Wives Worked Hard and Prized Learning, Says Sheila Jones

By Sheila C. Jones

In 1950 women in the neighborhood met at the home of Elizabeth Davenport to form a Home Demonstration club with county agent Rita Preston. The agent would come to the meetings and demonstrate or talk about whatever was on the agenda each month. Wives and mothers were eager and came to learn.

For years the women knew they could call the agent for answers to many homemaking questions.  If she didn’t know the answer she would go to work to try to find answers.

Many wives got up in the mornings before or when their husbands did:  3, 4, or 5 a.m. They cooked breakfast and helped where needed on the farm:  Working in the field, working at the barn, feeding chickens, picking up eggs, feeding the cows, milking the cows, making butter;  feeding the hogs, helping on hog killing days (cooking chitlins, making crackling biscuits, measuring the lard, cooking souse). Their work was endless:  they chopped the garden, did the canning, freezing and pickling, cut hedges in the yard, took food to neighborhood funerals, washed clothes in a ringer washing machine and rinsed them in a tin wash tub (all by hand), hung the clothes out (with wooden clothes pins) on a clothes line that went from one pole to another or one tree to another.  In the middle of the clothesline there would be a long thin pole made from a small tree or limb from the woods (leaves stripped off). With this pole they would push the line up high so nothing would touch the clothes and they would be up where the wind could blow them dry. They darned socks, polished furniture, cleaned windows, scrubbed floors, made clothes for their families, quilted quilts to keep them all warm, made homemade ice cream in ice tray’s in the refrigerator-freezer, cooked birthday cakes from “scratch”, made homemade cookies from “scratch”, cooked candy on the stove top, fixed beds, cleaned out cabinets and refrigerators. Some crochet, knitted, did smocking, painted furniture, upholstered furniture, painted rooms in the house, starched and ironed almost EVERYTHING. Televisions and telephones and indoor plumbing was not yet in all county homes.  Even electricity was a wonderful new thing in the country in the 40s and 50s.

Many nights mothers were up long hours rocking a baby that couldn’t sleep or with a sick child or sewing or ironing or finishing something for the family or lending an ear over the phone or by the side of a friend or family member to console them for whatever sorrow they may have been burdened with.

They did not seem to be afraid to do or try whatever had to be done and STILL cooked three meals a day from scratch. They could kill a chicken, pluck the feathers, singe the hair off, cut it, wash it and fix all the fixings to go with it. Then they washed and dried the dishes all by hand.

 While things like all this was going on mother’s still found time for their children:  They went to their children’s school functions, helped them with homework, special projects, went to recitals and school plays, PTA meetings, cooked candies and cakes for grade-mother duties, told bedtime stories and while  swinging with them sing songs to the children or with the children. They made sure elbows, knees and behind ears were clean, teeth and hair brushed. On Sunday, day of rest, they made sure the children and clothes were clean, shoes polished and parents went with their children (maybe took neighbors with them) to worship at the neighborhood church.  We were taught to pray before meals and to kneel by our beds to pray before sleep at night, sometimes by example as well as being told.

The county agents that I remember in the 1960s were Virginia Credle and Carolyn Alligood. They were extremely helpful for the Beaufort county women.

Before the 1960s were over, housewives began taking jobs outside the home and it became difficult to go to meetings (can you imagine why?!) Clubs began to fold. Only a few held on.

In 1976 Ernestine Woolard began a new club, the 76er’s. Some had looked forward to joining when they retired and some looked forward to returning when they retired and did so. These women, now in the ‘80s and ‘90s, are to be commended for all they have done. They went through the depression and WW2 and took care to make their family life special for their husband and children, their church, friends, neighbors. They worked many hours, day and night. Women that wanted to learn and wasn’t afraid to work or try whatever needed to be done, they made part of this past 100 years a wonderful and innocent era for their children to grow up in. 

This is 2013, one hundred years after a much needed help system first began. This was a time like no other.  A system that helped many that wanted to learn what to do to give their family the best they could, in their time.       

Beaufort  County now has been blessed with a much needed, wonderfully sweet Liaison (County Agent): Louise Hinsley.

Home Demonstration is now ECA (EXTENTION and COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION).  May the tradition of helping continue! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Louise Kearns, State Extension Homemaker President, 1975

Photo: Mrs. Carl (Louise)
“Meet Your 1975 President” from the Spring 1975 issue of Tar Heel Homemakers

Mrs. Carl (Louise) Kearns, a resident of the Farmer community for the past 20 years, since her marriage to Carl Kearns, got started in the local Homemakers Extension Club “because someone invited me.”

As a newly wed, recently moved to the community from Asheboro where she had served as secretary for Mr. Croom at what is now Scott’s Book Store, she had much to learn.

“I had to learn to cook and everything out here in the country,” she says. “I didn’t know anyone and the club was a way to meet people and learn something. It was partly social and partly informative,” she recalls.

“Over the years I’ve done all of our canning and, recently, freezing. We have a big garden. And I make all my own clothes and some of Carl’s,” she says.

For 18 ½ of the last 20 years, Louise has lived in the old home of her husband’s family. The only water coming into the house was at the kitchen sink and she and her husband heated water to bathe in a metal tub. And she cooked on a wood-burning stove, to boot.

But a year and a half ago, she and her husband moved into the new new “dream house” that they had built right next door to the old house. She finds that she can really appreciate closet space and the oter conveniences of a modern home.

Louise has many special interests. Arts and crafts head the list and new information she gains, she shares with others in workshops and with non-club members.

She has worked with the entire county membership to plan and carry out Christmas in Randolph, an event that occurs every two years where several thousand persons enjoy old and new ideas for their Christmas pleasure. She has helped plan and set up exhibits at local fairs as a special way to further educate and inform the public of Extension helps available. She has served as Home Economics Committee Chairman of the Day Care Program of the Northern Piedmont Area Development Association. She is a member of the Denton Chapter 216 of the Eastern Star, and serves on the Girls Haven Board of Directors.

When asked how she became state president, Louse says, “You have to walk up. First you have to be a club president, then county council president, then district president. After all of this, you’re eligible to become the state second vice president—to continue on to first V-P, and then president. I never really thought that I’d be the state president. But I was urged to fill out the application, so I did—and here I am.”

Sunday, August 11, 2013

30th 4-H Club Week Held at N.C. State, 1955

Friendly politicians are Nancy Johnson of Newton, new 4-H president, and Governor Hodges. Nancy's prize steer helped feed the governor a few weeks ago.

Dangerous but not so deadly as a car, Sgt. E.W. Jones tells 4-H'er Kay Pate of Zebulon during highway class.

New officers get candlelight from L.R. Harrill, state leader, as assistant leaders watch final 4-H Club Week ceremony

Rebecca Tulbert, left, and Betty Jean Myers, right, of Iredell County, win team dairy foods demonstration championship. 

Catherine Deberry, East Rockingham, practices an unusual talent--telling bedtime stories--before a 4-H audience.

Clay and Cherokee Counties state the Health Pageant, "A Place in the Sun," that featured the crowning of the Health Royalty.

King and Queen of Health are Rachel Jurney, Statesville, Route 5, and Manly Wilder, Middlesex, Route 2. Members of the health court included Frankie Eckard and Roberta Cherry, Hayesville.

Guess who just won the individual foods contest? Peggy Carroll of Arden.

This young man with a horn and the makings of a music critic is Charles McClure of Enka.

Public speaking champions are Nancy Tuttle of Walnut Cove and Leonidas Holt of Julian.

A big moment for everyone was the naming of the State Dress Revue winner, Gretchen O'Neal of Washington, Rt. 2. State Leader L.R. Harrill pins an orchid to the winning dress.

Kenneth Howe, Gastonia, and Joan Batten, Kenly, are among Honor Club initiates.

And the photographers say they worked! This swimmer is Roslyn Waters of Winterville.

TAR HEEL through and through is the 12-pound prime cut of meat presented to Gov. Hodges earlier this month by Jim Graham, left, of Winston-Salem, and Dr. D.W. Colvard, right, dean of the School of Agriculture at State College. The Hereford steer from which the cut came was bred, born, fed-out, wholesaled and retailed in North Carolina. the steer was grand champion of the Iredell County Fat Stock Show. The Catawba County animal was from the little heard of Newton; it was fed out by Nancy Johnson, Newton 4-H'er, who entered it in the Statesville show and sale. Colonial Stores bought it and the N.C. Hereford Association, of which Graham is secretary, bought the roast from Colonial. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Griffin, Turner, and Batts at the Nash County Curb Market, 1954

At the Nash County Curb Market--Tempie Griffin, Patricia Turner and Faye Batts sell produce and cakes, August 1954

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Doris Strickland, Halifax County, Wins State and National Awards, 1949

Doris Strickland, Halifax County, demonstrates home canning. She was the 1949 state and national food demonstration winner.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What It Takes to Feed a Person for a Year,1955

Al Banadyga teaches a family food supply program at the Eastern and Southeastern District Meeting at N.C. State in Raleigh in 1955. This is a display of food needed for one person for a year. Extension pointed out that all of this food could be produced on the home farm, and women across the state were busy preserving the bounty.

Iola Pritchard and Al Banadyga, N.C. State College, present information on what it takes to provide food for one year at another District Agents Conference.

"Grow It, Don't Buy It" was the message carried to farm and home agents attending district meetings in 1955. Banadyga and Pritchard were members of the Extension Home Food Supply Committee, which presented the display.

It’s interesting to see what things used to cost. In 1955 a person could eat on $366.25 a year, so it cost the average family of five $1,831.25 and Extension taught North Carolinians to grow their own as much as possible. Here's an estimate of what it took to provide a healthy diet for a person for one year:

--The 100 pounds of leafy green and yellow vegetables were worth $30.

--Another hundred pounds of vegetables high in vitamin C, including tomatoes and cabbage, were worth $12.

--A hundred pounds of Irish potatoes, 160 pounds of other vegetables, and 160 pounds of fruit were worth $46.10.

--If a family kept a cow and made cheese, they could produce 73 gallons of milk and 13 pounds of cheese, saving $78.20 at the store.

--The average person spent $141.90 a year on protein foods, including 53 pounds of beef or veal, 75 pounds of pork, 22 pounds of lamb, fish, or game, 36 pounds of chicken or turkey, 34 dozen eggs, and 20 pounds of dried beans or peas.

--Also needed were 100 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of corn meal, grits, and other cereals, which would cost $19.50; and 23 pounds of butter and 13 pounds of cooking fat (lard), which cost $27.25.

--Under miscellaneous, the average person consumed 40 pounds of sugar and 3 gallons of syrup, which cost $11.30.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

An Honest Look at the Life of a Durham Tobacco Farmer, 1939

From “American Life Histories,” stories of everyday Americans collected during the Great Depression. These stories are now online. Writers frequently changed the name of people mentioned in the story, but the database now gives real names. Cassie, mentioned in the story below, is actually named Bessie. And Archie Marler, the storyteller, is actually John Holder, Route 4, Durham.

Date of first writing: August 15, 1939
Person interviewed: John Holder (white)
Address: Route #4 Durham, N. C.
Occupation: Tobacco farmer
Writer: Omar Darrow
Reviser: Edwin Massengill


Three small boys, two white and the other one colored, were rolling automobile tires down the narrow dusty path. Their clothes were soiled, obviously having not been changed all the week, and it was now Friday.

They were too small to be placed at work at the tobacco "bench" where the other members of the family work five and six days each week, so they usually resort to the tires, their only "playthings" for amusement.

"That's Cassie's little boy," remarked the larger of the white children as he attempted to explain the presence of the colored child. "He plays with us sometimes while his mama helps my mama." Then the white child spat tobacco juice. The other two did likewise.

These two white children belong to Archie Marler, a landowner, who plants tobacco for his means of livelihood. They rolled their tires on down the path until they came to the bridge which crosses the stream between the road and their house. Here they stopped, and one of the little boys took from his pocket a deck of playing cards.

"Want to play a game of something?" he asked. "I play anything, pinocle, blackjack, poker, or anything."

"Let's play poker," added the other little boy.

The house was only a short distance from this bridge. Maria, the wife of Archie, was in the kitchen, for it was one of the days on which they didn't have to barn tobacco. The house is old with warped weatherboarding. It has never been painted, and the floor sagged in places. The little boys called to their mother and she appeared at the door, dressed in a neat gingham dress but soiled apron.

"I'm just ashamed for you to see everything in such a mess," she apologized, "but have a seat if you can find any place to put the chair amongst all these pea hulls scattered all over the floor. We're curing and getting in tobacco all the time, and I have four extra hands to cook for all the time besides the fifteen we have on barning days. But Archie is at the house today, and he has been helping me to shell the butter beans and peas. It takes near 'bout a bushel of each to feed this crowd. I also have to kill 'bout five or six chickens at the time to go 'round for two meals. I always cook my dinner and supper together."

Maria was now in the room next to the kitchen, a room with two iron beds and the household's only dresser, and its mirror was so nearly covered with flyspecks that one could barely see himself. The two beds also were dingy, but this was due to the fact that children play upon them constantly. The flies were also bad, inside and out.

"I don't know what to do 'bout the children's heads," Maria remarked. "They've been covered in them sores, and nothing I tried won't do them no good. See how big them scabs are?"

The little boys were in the kitchen pawing over the left-over food. The kitchen was furnished with an old weather-beaten sideboard, a table, a safe, and a wood stove. They eat in the bedroom.

"Some of the boys have fixed them a room upstairs in the pack house," she continued. "That helps out, too, and they says they like it better 'cause they ain't bothered by the children. My oldest girl is now married and don't live here no more.

"My oldest boy sure is a good one. During all the time that Archie was working at the prison camp guarding prisoners he stayed at home and was man of the house. But I don't know what to do with the rest of them. Them littlest boys will dip snuff in spite of all I can do. I don't know where they got it unless they picked it up from some of the niggers 'round. I just don't have time to stop and whip them.

"There's Archies now if you wanted to ask him anything 'bout tobacco," she interrupted herself.

Archie was wearing clean khaki pants, a blue shirt, a gray hat, and was barefoot as was his wife.

"I've got in two barns now," he began, "I'm always glad when I got my barns filled, then I can get out of them clothes and feel a bit cleaner. I'll tell you what's so, when I come out of them clothes awhile ago them overalls was so full of gum they stood alone 'cause they was so stiff.

"Raising tobacco is sure a nasty job as well as a hard one. If I'd get what my crop this year is worth in dollars and cents I'd never have to hit another lick or work no matter how long I lived, but we folks what makes it don't get nothing much.

"Here's what us tobacco growers have to do to make a crop: We burn out places that we want to sow our seeds along maybe in November. To burn a plant bed means that we burn brush over the spot. That kills out grass seeds and ground insects and leaves ashes that helps to fertilize the ground. Then as soon as we get that bed worked up like we want we sow the seeds. This comes the last of January. We leave the bed then for the seeds to start germinating which is about three or four weeks, then we put canvas on it.

"The seeds start coming up about the last of February, and in a week or so we have to start weeding the bed. We start planting by the last of April into May but plant no later than June. We plow it at least four times and chop it not less than three times.

"Before we can plant it at all we have to work the land by plowing. Then we fertilize deeply in the furrows that are first run for rows. We start working this land for planting almost by the time we start canvassing the plant bed. After it is plowed the second time we start harrowing it until it is soft before we ever cut a furrow with a plow.

"Almost by the time the plant is set the worms start coming, then there's worming to be done. The grass starts along with the worming which calls for plowing and chopping. We start priming it around July, first or second week, and each field is primed at least five times before it is finally cut. It takes two and a half cords of wood to cure a barn and that has to be cut and split.

"After we get a barn filled we fire it and get it started to curing at between 80 and 90 degrees and let it stay thereabout until it turns yellow. Then we get the thermometer up to 110 for about eight or ten hours, then increase the fire, stopping when it reaches 120 degrees for three or four hours. After this, we run the heat up to 130 for twenty-five hours, drying the leaf. Then we go up to 170 or 180 to kill it out. It takes four days and four nights to cure one barn. We hardly ever set up, though; we just set a clock to alarm at different times. When it's dried we just let the fire get down and drag the coals out of the flues. Then we keep the dirt floors of the barns wet and keep this up a day and half or two days to get the leaf in order for moving. This softens the leaves so that they don't crack or tear from handling. If the weather is rainy or damp we only open the doors to let the moisture in. When it is ready to move we pack it up in a pile with all the tips turned one way, then we pen it with all the sticks to the outside of the pens so that ventilation might prevent molding.

"Then it must be graded. It takes three days for one grader to grade a barn and he must have two men to tie it up. There is three grades, or that's the new way of grading. It used to be that there was about six grades. We have a first grade which is yellow--that is the choice. The second grade is ordinary, and the third grade is the remainder that's saved of the crop.

"I've got a corn crop that will bring me nearly 500 barrels. I have mules and horses, to say nothing of the two hogs that weigh 400 pounds. I can have my own corn ground for meal, for all of us likes corn broad a heap better than we do biscuit. We have lots of chickens, too, and we feed them corn and then there is the fodder and the tops that we feed to the milch cow.

"We have a big family of our own and since my brother's wife died I have his son along with my own children. His boy is near on to twenty years old, and I give him a tobacco patch that made him almost a barn. I didn't count it along with mine when I talked to you.

"Every year I market sweet potatoes and often turnip salad. As for any other crop, Maria has been able to can tomatoes, corn, and fruits of such as we have here on the farm. I just don't know just what a man could do and how a man could get along with a family if they didn't have just such a wife as Maria is, for she sure has stuck and done all she could to get along.

"I don't pay no attention to politics no more. I used to be a Democrat but now I hardly know what to call myself 'cause I ain't much of a New Dealer.

"I'm no church member. Maria is. She's been a member since she was a girl. I never felt much like I should be a church member, for when I look around me it seems that being a member don't chance a person much. And I never thought it was right to do anything if you don't exactly know you're right in doing it, so I never joined a church. I go with Maria when we can get off, but that ain't often 'cause we got so many children. Maria's one of them old-fashioned kind of mothers that wants to take the kids to church with us, and there's so many to wash and dress we just can't get there on time.

"We don't have no car on the place except Bronco's old '26 Ford. I ain't felt able to buy another for we need a new house here.

"I own the place. The land's right good and I make good crops, but I have to work mighty hard to give my family plenty to eat and clothes to wear. I've got near to 100 acres in this piece and another little tract close by just over the hill yonder. A poor man has to work all his life anyhow, but it's healthy."

Date of first writing: August 15, 1939
Person interviewed: John Holder (white)
Address: Route #4 Durham, N. C.
Occupation: Tobacco farmer
Writer: Omar Darrow
Reviser: Edwin Massengill

Friday, August 2, 2013

If you are old enough, you may remember your mother or your grandmother putting up surplus fruits and vegetables from the home garden. If you had family in Moore County in 1956, one of the women in this photo may be your mother or grandmother. Women strove to meet the recommendations in the Extension Service’s Food Conservation Plan. In this 1956 photo taken at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, Moore County women proudly display the canned fruits and vegetables needed to see a family of five through the winter.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Interest in Furniture Refinishing Led to Years of Service in Homemaker Club, 1961

These three chairs are alike, but in different stages of refinishing. Mrs. Lagg is seated on a completely refinished chair. The one to her right has had no work done on it. The chair in the foreground, which has been sanded, is in the halfway stage. The secretary in the background is over 200 years old. (Post Staff Photo by Suther).

“Recipe for Happiness: Just Let One Thing Lead to Another” by Julia Weatherman in the Salisbury Post, Aug. 20, 1961

When one thing leads to another, the result may be a more beautiful home. In the case of Mrs. Elmer Lagg of Milford Drive, this is exactly what happened.

In 1959, Mrs. Lagg joined a “Special Interest” class which was part of the State Home Demonstration Extension, taught by Edith Hinshaw, the local home demonstration agent.

Her “special interest” was to convert an old rocking chair into a useful article of furniture. The chair was covered with a thick layer of paint, and its cane back and bottom were broken away. Before she could ply her newly-learned skill, Mrs. Lagg had to learn to refinish furniture.

When she started to work on her chair she discovered that she had a real collector’s item. The armor of paint had completely hidden the carving on the back and hip-rests. The wood itself, mellowed by age, had a warm, rich glow.

“After I finished my course, Edith Hinshaw asked me to come with her once to teach a class in Statesville. I was so surprised, and I asked her, ‘Do you think I know enough?’” Mrs. Lagg laughed as she remembered.
“Everyone is real dumb to begin with, but it doesn’t take long to learn. It isn’t hard. Sometimes it gets tedious, but most of the time, I am so fascinated with it, to see the design grow. Cane is cheap, but the labor involved makes caned chairs expensive. It took around 20 hours to finish that chair.”

Mrs. Lagg looked at the rocker, now in her living room. She had completely refinished it and it looked like the work of a real pro. Her success with one chair whetted Mrs. Lagg’s appetite for a set of kitchen chairs, so she began to haunt the auction sales. A chair here, a chair there, and soon she had four different chairs to refinish.

“They looked so terrible when I bought them, I was ashamed to tell my husband how much they had cost. Even $5 seemed too much.”

After her first antique, Mrs. Lagg was hooked. That Antique Collector’s Fever had taken hold. For what woman can resist the chance to get her hands on a battered piece of furniture, especially if she has had Mrs. Lagg’s good luck with the beautiful old relics?

This good luck inspired Mrs. Lagg to tackle a secretary she had received as a wedding gift.

“It wasn’t much when I got it. It was covered with an ugly brown stain, and without a top, it looked sawed off. But it was good to fill in a corner. But I had such good luck with my chairs, and that encouraged me. One thing just led to another.”

The secretary, a European piece, is more than 200 years old. Sanding revealed inlays of ebony and a blond wood. The desk itself is probably oak, but the grain was unfamiliar to Mrs. Lagg, who easily recognizes American woods. The fine detailing and the dove-tailing and wooden pegs, which are the marks of a true antique, seem to say that the piece is the work of a gifted craftsman.

The tiny drawers have knobs of bone or tortoise-shell. “I looked and looked for a secret drawer, but . . . .”

The secretary still looked “sawed off” though. Then on one of Mrs. Lagg’s antique-shop pilgrimages, she discovered it. It was a chest and cabinet in two pieces. The chest was about waist-high, and the cabinet looked like it might fit on top of the secretary.

“It was a wild chance. I started the bidding at $25, and finally bought it for 50. Well, the cabinet fit perfectly,and the hardware matched that of the secretary almost identically.

“The wood is a little redder, though, but I can fix that. It’s not as old, either. It’s only 88 years old.

“Gosh, I have so much to do—so many things I want to do. If I just didn’t have cooking and housework and a family to take care of and cats to feed. But without that, there wouldn’t be much joy.”

Mrs. Lagg’s greatest joy is in making a home for her husband and 11-year-old daughter, Libby, and two mamma cats and three kittens. “I can’t understand people who say they have nothing to do. There is no excuse for being bored. You can always find something to do, if you look for it.”

Mrs. Lagg knows that keeping busy is a good way to keep happy. Keep busy doing something you enjoy, and let one thing lead to another.