Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sold for Back Taxes in Watauga County, 1907

From the Watauga Democrat, Feb. 7, 1907


North Carolina, Watauga County. To G.H. Church, you will take notice that on the 7th day of May 1906 at the court house door of Watauga County, North Carolina, W.B. Baird, Ex-Sheriff of Watauga county, sold to the highest bidder your entire interest in the following described lands adjoining the lands of T.W. Adams, George Blackburn and J.I. Willson and others, containing 93 acres. Said lands were sold for taxes due for the year 1904, titled in the name of G.H. Church. The amount of taxes due and paid by the undersigned being $3.50. The time for the redemption of said lands being May 7th, 1907. Said lands lying in Bald Mountain township, in said county and state. This Jan. 23, 1907
                                                J.T. Ray, Purchaser


North Carolina, Watauga County, to the heirs of James Jackson deceased: You will take notice that on the 7th day of May 1906 at the court house door of Watauga County, N.C., W.B. Baird, ex-Sheriff of Watauga County, sold to the highest bidder your entire interest in the following described lands situated in North Fork township, Watauga County, containing 24 acres, and said lands were sold for the taxes for the years, 1902, 1903, and 1904 listed in the name of James Jackson’s heirs aforesaid. The amount of taxes due and paid by the undersigned being $4.70. The time for the redemption of said lands being May 7, 1907. This Jan. 23, 1907.
                                                J.T. Ray, Purchaser

Ray also paid back taxes on 14 acres in Laurell Creek township near John Ward’s store, owned by W.B. Baird. “Said lands were sold for taxes for the year 1904, listed in the name of Wiley Gentry. The amount of taxes being $1.70.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Watauga County Soldier in France Talks With His Peers Who Didn't Serve, 1919

From the Feb. 6, 1919 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone
The Fellows Who Couldn’t Go

(By a Watauga boy in France)

Do you remember back in ’17 when you spent some gloomy days?
When you heard that we’s a-goin’ to fall in them European ways.
Was you filled with sad misgivin’s, thinking of meeting with the foe;
And a-envying o’ the fellers who wouldn’t have to go?

You wasn’t born a rich man’s son, with a factory to claim attention,
Where they manufacture autos, and the “essential plea” exemption.
You was just a’ ordinary chap, with a row in life to hoe;
Not like the essential fellers, who wouldn’t have to go.

Then there was some just turned thirty one, an’ a week or two an’ you’d see
All the time you’s a-wondering, if this was really so;
Yes, “they had their reason,” and it wasn’t fear; they’s too old to go.

An’ you recollect the fellow with the brand new blushing bride?
She certainly couldn’t exist no time without him by her side.
Of course her pa and ma were rich, but the exemption board wouldn’t know;
So how could this young man expect to break home ties and go?

Say, do you mind the worthy son, with the aged mother, oh!, so frail?
Who’d stood by the but from morn till night to keep him out of jail.
He got a job and stayed in nights; workin’est boy ‘round, you know!
To a sheet of fools-cap, closely writ, to say why he couldn’t go.

Well, a year’s gone by, and nearly two, and things don’t look so blue.
You’ve gone across and fit your fight; showed the world what you could do,
Finished the job on schedule time, made ‘em reap what they started to sow;
And you didn’t need the other boys, the ones who didn’t go.

Now you’re coming home, no more to roam, so free from all worry and care.
We’ll be here to meet you, and right proud to greet you, and tell you that you’ve done your share;
You’ll never regret that you took up the bet, by answerin’ the challenging foe;
An’ didn’t heed doubt and try to slip out, with the fellers who couldn’t go.

And when you arrive, ‘twill be hard to survive the wonderful things here for you,
All the rumors you’ve heard will take flight like a bird, your sweetheart has been true blue.
And if on the street you should happen to meet a fellow with head hanging low;
Don’t commit any sin by rubbing it in; he’s sorry that he didn’t go.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Carolina Farm Notes, Feb. 1944

From “Carolina Farm Notes” by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, as published in the Southern Planter, February 1944

Alfalfa Pays Like Tobacco

Alfalfa is about as profitable as tobacco and does not require nearly so much hard labor, says M.J. Fagg of Walnut Cove, Stokes County. He was led to believe this because of harvesting 141 bales of hay from an acre of the legume last season, weighing an estimated seven tons. The hay is valued at $40 a ton or $280 an acre, and this income approaches closely that which Mr. Fagg has received from his labor with tobacco.
“Then,” he added, “the hay can be fed to cows, workstock, hogs, chickens or in any other kind of livestock on the place.

Dusted Peanuts Produce Better

Speaking from a background of six years of experience, W.L. Powell of Windsor, Bertie County, says that dusting his peanut vines with sulphur has paid him well each year.

Despite the dry weather of 1943, Powell reports one of the best crops that he ever harvested. A part of this, he attributes to dusting the nuts three times with commercial dusting sulphur. From 90 acres of dusted peanuts, he harvested 2,018 bags, which is an average of 2,154 pounds of nuts or 22.4 bags an acre. The hay from the acreage dusted was of better quality in that it retained its green color better than that from the undusted area.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Zionsville Woman Making Big Money Selling Eggs, 1919

“Big Money In Eggs” from the Feb. 6, 1919, issue of The Watauga Democrat

During December and January just past, from a flock of 48 laying hens, Mrs. T.P. Adams of Zionsville, N.C., sold eggs to the amount of $76 besides what was used at home, which would carry the amount to near $80. Several hens laid around a dollar’s worth of eggs per month. Her hens are Rose Comb Brown Leghorns.

Last year, from a flock averaging 70 hens, Mrs. Adams sold eggs and chickens to the amount of nearly $300. This may not be unusual, but we know of no one else who has made so good a record.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

North Carolina's Youngest Soldier in WW I Enlisted at 14

“Youngest Soldier” from the Feb. 6, 1919 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone

Concord can boast, perhaps, of the youngest soldier sent overseas in the recent conflict, in the person of Master Plato Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. B.N.H. Miller.

When war was declared on Germany, young Miller, then only 14 years of age, was ready, anxious and wanting to go, but on account of his age he did not get into the service for several months. However, not to be foiled in his attempt to help lick the Germans, he made one effort after another to enter the service, only to be told that he was too young, and also that his weight was against him.

Finally one day he left home and enlisted, having attained the proper weight, and being very much overgrown for his age, he was accepted and sent to a training camp. After spending several weeks in training he was sent overseas and was with Gen. Pershing’s forces doing his “bit” before he was 15, having celebrated his 15th birthday in France.

Cabarrus County lays claim to the youngest soldier in the service.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Bank of Todd in Watauga County Is Established, 1919

“Another Bank for Ashe County” from the Feb. 6, 1919, issue of The Watauga Democrat

Another bank has been established in the good county of Ashe, The Bank of Todd being its name and is located in the town of Todd on the V.C. Railroad. The capital stock is $5,000; Mr. W.S. Miller is president, and a Mr. Barr of Florida is the cashier. This is Bank No. 4 for Ashe County.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Boone 11-Year-Old Girl Dies of Flu, Feb. 1919

“Little Danford Spaulding Dies” from the Feb. 6, 1919, issue of The Watauga Democrat

On last Saturday, after a protracted illness, following an attack of influenza, little Danford Spaulding, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Spaulding, died at the home of her parents in East Boone. The little girl was eleven years old, bright, attractive and a general favorite with those who knew her best. 

She was buried in the town cemetery Sunday afternoon, the funeral being conducted by the Rev. H.L. Powell. The fond parents, who are almost heartbroken, have the deep sympathy of their friends in this, their deep sorrow.

Local Activities in Watauga County, February 1919

“Local Affairs” from the Feb. 6, 1919, issue of The Watauga Democrat

Mrs. Newton Greene has been quite sick since Monday. However, she is now improving.

Rev. M.A. Adams of Canton, former beloved pastor of the Baptist Church in Boone, is in the county for a few days.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe C. Cook and family, of Todd, were visitors in Boone Sunday, returning to their home on Monday.

Rev. S.E. Gragg of Shulls Mills recently sold his Patterson Hodges farm to Mr. Roby Adams, the consideration being $5,000.

There will be a meeting of the stock holders in the Brushy Fork cheese factory, held at 2 p.m. next Monday. Full attendance is desired.

Sunday came a-shinin’ and Monday came a-snowin’, yet some of the people still disbelieve in the ground hog as a weather prognosticator!

Mrs. Dr. Harden of Shulls Mills, with her little son, returned home Saturday after a visit of a few days at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Hardin.

Dr. E. Glenn Salmons is off to Baltimore, Md., on business. His wife and little boys visiting at the home of his mother on Route 1 during his absence.

Mr. G.C. Winkler of the New River Stock Farm is preparing to erect a barn which, when completed, we are told, will be second to none in the county.

Four cases of flu in the family of Mrs. Cora Norris just east of the village, but they are all improving. The greatest care is being taken to prevent any spread of the disease from the stricken family.

Chas. Main of Tamarack, who was recently taken home from Shulls Mills with flu, died of the disease soon after his arrival. His wife contracted it, and on Monday last she passed to the great beyond leaving five small children on the cold charities of the world. A most pitiable case, this.

Sherman Bentley, carrier on the star mail route from Valle Crucis to Boone, was lodged in jail here Tuesday charged with an attempted assault upon the person of a little daughter of Mr. Jesse F. Robbins. His bond was fixed for preliminary hearing at $2,000, in default of which he was placed in jail. No particulars.

Dr. L.E. Farthing, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Farthing, who, for a number of years, has been practicing his profession in Pittsboro, Chatham County, has moved to Wilmington, his reason for moving being to avoid the long rides over muddy roads. His practice in Chatham has been heavy, and he leaves that good county with regrets.

Mr. Wm. L. Trivett of Route 1 returned from Raleigh last week, where he attended the annual meeting of the grand lodge of Masons. On the night of his arrival he developed a typical case of influenza, and now his entire family is down with the disease. Mrs. Todd, his mother-in-law, is the only one to look over the comforts and needs of the afflicted family.

Mr. Conrad Yates of West Riverside and Miss Annie Hendrix of Stony Fork were married a few days since and are now in Boone, where they will locate permanently. Just now they are at the Critcher hotel, and Mr. Yates will, just a little later on, open up a mercantile business here. On behalf of their many friends, The Democrat extends congratulations to the popular couple. The people of Boone are delighted to have them locate in their midst.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Father Mourns the Loss of His Son in Battle, 1919

“Roosevelt As He Mourned for His Son Is Typical of Millions” from the Feb. 6, 1919 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone

The intensely human side of Colonel Roosevelt’s life is indicated in a letter received by the editor of The Manufacturers Record from a friend, who, writing about Colonel Roosevelt’s death, said:

“Did you read where the Colonel had been found lately in the stable with Quentin’s pony, which is 20 years old? It is the pony that climbed to the second story of the White House when Quentin was a child. The Colonel was found shortly after he heard of the death of his boy in France with his arms around the pony’s neck, crying.”

In this little story is seen a touch of one side of Col. Roosevelt’s life of which the public rarely heard much. Here is the iron-nerved fighter melted into the tender-hearted father, as round the neck of Quentin’s boyhood pony he throws his arms and weeps in silence that in the great call of civilization his boy has had to make the supreme sacrifice.

As our hearts are melted at the thought of Roosevelt weeping for his boy, let us remember that millions and millions of fathers and mothers, wives and others have had to week because their loved ones had had to suffer and die because of the accursed work of Germany, which for half a century planned wholesale murder that it might loot and lust to heart’s content.

Roosevelt, as he threw his arms around the neck of Quentin’s pony and wept for his boy, typified the mighty woe of hundreds of millions who for four years lived in the agony of fear, and of tens of millions whose dear ones never came back and who unto the grave will carry the burden of their sorrow.

Obituary for Corp. James Lowrance Who Died in France, 1919

“Corporal James C. Lowrance” from the Feb. 6, 1919 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone

Corporal James C. Lowrance, son of Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Lowrance, was reared on Banner Elk in Avery County. He was born Jan. 29, 1896, and died Oct. 9, 1918, age 22 years, 8 months and 11 days. He professed faith in Christ on Jan. 3, 1918, and lived a Christian life until his death.

He volunteered in the service of the United States August 2, 1916. He was stationed at Camp Sevier, Greenville, S.C., for some few months and in May, 1918, he sailed for France, where he engaged in several great battles, and was one of the number who gave his life to help with the great victory. He was wounded in action on the front October 8, and died the following day at 7:30 p.m. His remains were laid to rest in a military cemetery over there to await the resurrection morn.

He leaves a dear father and mother, sisters and a dear little boy to grieve their loss. But our loss is his eternal gain. May we all live true Christian lives, and may we meet the dear one that has gone on before.

“A precious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled,
A place is vacant in the home
That never can be filled.”
Let us not mourn but be ready to meet him in the sweet by and by.

                                ONE WHO LOVED HIM

Letters of Condolence from Army Officers on Private W.S. Edmisten's Death, 1919

“Mrs. R.F. Edmisten Receives Letters of Condolence from Army Officers” from the Feb. 6, 1919 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone

Mrs. R.F. Edmisten, whose son Mr. W.S. Edmisten died at the military camps at Toledo, Oregon, on Jan. 2, has received the following comforting letter from the dead soldier’s commanding officer, Capt. Roderick D. Grant:

“It is with deep regret that I write to you on so sad a subject as the death of your son on Jan. 2, 1919. Private William S. Edmisten was at all times faithful and conscientious in his work, and was well liked by the men of his squadron.

“I want you to know that his work here was just as necessary, and his death was just as glorious in this great conflict for the democracy of the world as any work or any death on the battle field.

“As the Commanding Officer of this regiment to which he belonged, I want you to know that his work was appreciated, and that I feel a keen sympathy for you on account of his loss.”

Following is an extract from a letter received by Mrs. Edmisten from Capt. Herman S. Judd of the Medical Corps, U.S. Army:

“We are very sorry that we were not able to save the life of this soldier, but it seems that the “flu” pneumonia is very, very severe this year and in some cases it seems that almost nothing does any good. He was a good patient and did everything he could to help us and to make his recovery possible, but it seemed that nothing helped. He did not suffer but simply grew worse and went away. Again I want to assure you that every care was given him and that we all regret your loss and certainly do wish it could have been otherwise. If at any time we can be of any service to you, we want you to let us hear from you.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Social Notes From Currituck County During the 1920 Flu Epidemic

“Currituck Notes” from the Feb. 20, 1920, and Feb. 27, 1920 issues of the Elizabeth City Independent. This was the year after the Flu Pandemic, and people were very concerned about the flu.

FEBRUARY 20, 1920

Poplar Branch
The Betterment Society met for the purpose of appointing a committee to arrange for the play that will be given in the Auditorium by the High School students in a few weeks. The ladies of this society will serve refreshments and will give a beautiful table runner to the hone who wins the lucky number.

The Red Cross Society will sell six sweaters to the highest bidder at the High School building after the play. This will be placed in the Red Cross treasury until further calls are made.

Mrs. Arizona Parker has returned from Norfolk. She has been nursing her brother there who has been ill with pneumonia.

Messrs. Curtis and Julian Baum, accompanied by their sister Miss Mildred Baum and Miss Eula Griffin, spent Saturday evening with Miss Crist and Miss Wilson at Jarvisburg.

Miss Elizabeth Brumsey spent the week end with Miss Alice Gallop.

We have been very fortunate that our school has not been disturbed by the flu.

Miss Nell Walker will come home this week. Her school has been closed on Knotts Island because of the flu epidemic.

Mrs. J.J. Lewis is teaching in the place of Miss Ray who is very sick.

Rev. J.J. Lewis will preach at the chapel at Waterlily on the fifth Sunday of this month.

Mr. Roy Summerell went to Elizabeth City this week to purchase a new car.

The friends of Miss Mary Poyner regret that she is unable to fill her place.

Miss Mahala Ballance was hostess at a Rook party Saturday night. Those present were Misses Clara and Margaret Williams, Mary Ballance, Mildred Brumsey, Grace Walker, Nellie Cayton, Elizabeth Brunsey, Messrs. Tully Williams, Henry Snowden, Carl Brumsey, Tommie Brumsey, Leon Doxey, Julian Griggs, Johnnie Snowden, and Norma Balance. Miss Mary Ballance entertained the same crowd Sunday night.

Miss Mamie Snowden spent the week end at Elizabeth City visiting relatives.

Mr. Bryan Snowden spent Sunday at him home at Maple, N.C.

Miss Alice Snowden has returned from Norfolk where she has been visiting relatives.

Coinjock Notes
Mr. A.B. Midgett is yet very ill.

Mr. Frank Raymond has not yet returned from attending the funeral of his fiancée.

Mr. Lucian Midgett was hurt while out fishing Wednesday morning but is rapidly improving.

The Working Club met with Miss Kathryn Simmons Wednesday night.

Miss Sophia Raymond is nursing at Murfreesboro, N.C.

The Steamer Greensboro went through here Friday night and we hope she will soon be making her regular trips.

Misses Vivian and Edna Boswood entertained at their home Saturday night Misses Mattie Midgett, Adelia Perry, Elizabeth Toler, Messrs. Junius Overton, Guy Forbes, Purnell Guard and Oscar Forbes.

Card of Thanks
We wish to express our appreciation of the many acts of kindness and words of sympathy which we received during the sickness and death of our dear husband and father, Mrs. Elihu Harris.

We are also grateful for the flowers and automobiles sent by friends.
                                Mrs Elihu Harris and Daughter

FEBRUARY 27, 1920

The O. Henry Literary Society met Friday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock in the High School auditorium. The subject of a very interesting debate was resolved: That the United States should adopt Penny Postage. The affirmative Miss Erline Baxter and Mr. Elijah Tate; the negative Misses Nellie Cayton and Ruby Ballance. The judges, Miss Bettie Williams, Geneave Holloman, Bertie Harrell, decided in favor of the negative.

Miss Nellie Cayton was hostess at a Rook party Saturday evening. Those present were Misses Marr\y Ballance, Margaret and Clara Williams, Mahala Ballance, Grace Walker, Mildred Brumsey, Henry Snowden, Tommie Brumsey, Tully Williams, Oden Doxey, Lawrence Doxey, Johnnie Snowden, Julian Griggs, and Mrs. Taylor of Jarvisburg.

Misses Mary Ballance, Nellie Cayton and Mahala Ballance, Messrs. Elijah Tate, Hal Tatem and Willie Cayton enjoyed a very pleasant yachting trip to Mackey Island Sunday.

Miss Bettie Williams came home Wednesday on the account of the Flu Epidemic which caused her school to be closed.

Miss Mamie Snowden entertained at her home Friday night Misses Mary Ballance, Nellie Cayton, Grace Walker and Mildred Brumsey, Messrs Tully Williams, Norman Ballance, Henry Snowden and Tully Williams.

Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Chandler have returned home after spending a few days in Raleigh.
Mrs. J.D. Clifton is seriously ill at her home.

We have been very fortunate so far our school has not been disturbed by flu epidemic.

Aydlett News
Mr. St. Clair O’Neill Jr. is at home very sick with the flu.

Miss Venie Hazel Parker of Norfolk, Va., who has been visiting her mother, who has been very sick, has returned to her work.

Mr. and Mrs. Lot Forbes of Great Bridge, Va., have moved to the home of Mr. J.F. Hampton.
Mr. Lloyd Hampton is very sick with a cold, but no flu.

Messrs. Wallace O’Neill, Doxey O’Neill and Archie Dunton spent Sunday at the seaside.

Mr. Scott Lister of Elizabeth city came through this township tuning pianos last week.

Miss Venie Parker entertained at her home Sunday night Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Hampton and family, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace O’Neill and family, Mr. James Casey, Mr. Alonzo Saunders and Mr. Arbie Olmsted.

Mr. J.T. Hampton of Norfolk is spending a few days with friends here.

Rev. J.J. Lewis filled his regular appointment at Ebenezer M.E. Church Sunday with a very impressive sermon.

Coinjock Notes
Miss Georgia Forbes of Norfolk spent the week end with her mother.

Miss Mary Barco of Norfolk spent some time last week with her mother.

Mr. E.B. McHorney of Norfolk is ill with the flu at the home of his sister Mrs. W.B. Boswood.

Mr. Purnell Gard spent Saturday and Sunday at home with his people.

Mr. A.B. Midgett is slowly improving.

We are sorry to say that we have a number of cases of flu at Coinjock.

Poplar Branch
Mrs. S.D. Griggs has gone to Sarah Lee Hospital in Norfolk where she will undergo an operation.

Mrs. W.A. Doxie and Miss Eula Griffin were in Elizabeth City Saturday shopping.

Mr. E.O. Baum, who a student of Driver Hill School, is spending a few days with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Baum.

Miss Minnie Curles is visiting friends and relatives in Norfolk for several days.

Messrs. Norman Newbern and Elton Aydlett were in Elizabeth City on business.

Miss Ewalyn Baum who has been very sick for a week is convalescing.

Miss Esther Rea has been sick for some time but is able to take up her work again.

The faculty of Poplar Branch High School spent Sunday at Poyner’s Hill, the guests of Mrs. J.W. Poyner.

Miss Nell Walker, who has been teaching at Knott’s Island, arrived home this week.

Mr. L.C. Baum was in Elizabeth City Saturday on business.

Mr. St. Clair O’Neill is very ill at his home with the influenza.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Do Farmers Have Legitimate Complaints, and Should Government Help? 1922

“Some Aspects of the Farmers’ Problems” by Bernard M. Baruch as published in the Feb. 2, 1922 issue of The Watauga Democrat (Reprinted from Atlantic Monthly)

The whole rural world is in a ferment of unrest, and there is an unparalleled volume and intensity of determined, if not angry, protest and ominous swarming of occupational conferences, interest groupings, political movements and propaganda. Such a turmoil cannot but arrest our attention. Indeed, it demands our careful study and examination. It is not likely that six million aloof and ruggedly independent men have come together and banded themselves into active unions, societies, farm bureaus, and so forth, for no sufficient cause.

Investigation of the subject conclusively proves that, while there is much overstatement of grievances and misconception of remedies, the farmers are right in complaining of wrongs long endured, and right in holding that it is feasible to relieve their ills with benefit to the rest of the community. This being the case of an industry that contributes, in the raw material form alone, about one-third of the national annual wealth production and is the means of livelihood of about 49 percent of the population, it is obvious that the subject is one of grave concern. Not only do the farmers make up one-half of the nation, but the well-being of the other half depends upon them.

So long as we have nations, a wise political economy will aim at a large degree of national self-sufficiency and self-containment. Roam fell when the food supply was too far removed from the belly. Like her, we shall destroy our own agriculture and extend our sources of food distantly and precariously, if we do not see to it that our farmers are well and fairly paid for their services. The farm gives the nation men as well as food. Cities derive their vitality and are forever renewed from the country, but an impoverished countryside exports intelligence and retains unintelligence. Only the lower grades of mentality and character will remain on, or seek, the farm, unless agriculture is capable of being pursued with contentment and adequate compensation. Hence, to embitter and impoverish the farmer is to dry up and contaminate the vital sources of the nation.

The war showed convincingly how dependent the nation is on the full productivity of farms. Despite herculean efforts, agricultural production kept only a few weeks or months ahead of consumption , and that only by increasing the acreage of certain staple crops at the cost of reducing that of others. We ought not to forget that lesson when we ponder on the farmer’s problems, and there should be no attempt to deal with them as if they were purely selfish demands of a clear-cut group, antagonistic to the rest of the community. Rather should we consider agriculture in the light of broad national policy, just as we consider oil, coal, steel, dyestuffs, and so forth, as sinews of national strength. Our growing population and a higher standard of living demand increasing food supplies, and more wool, cotton, hides, and the rest. With the disappearance of free or cheap fertile land, additional acreage and increased yields can come only from costly effort. This we need not expect from an impoverished or unhappy rural population.

It will not do to take a narrow view of the rural discontent, or to appraise it from the standpoint of yesterday. This is peculiarly an age of flux and change and new deals. Because a thing always has been so no longer means that it is righteous, or always shall be so. More, perhaps, than ever before, there is a widespread feeling that all human relations can be improved by taking thought, and that it is not becoming for the reasoning animal to leave his destiny largely to chance and natural incidence.

Prudent and orderly adjustment of production and distribution in accordance with consumption is recognized as wise management in every business but that of farming. Yet, I venture to say, there is no other industry in which it is so important to the public—to the city dweller—that production should be sure, steady, and increasing, and that distribution should be in proportion to the need. The unorganized farmers naturally act blindly and impulsively and, in consequence, surfeit and dearth, accompanied by disconcerting price-variations, harass the consumer. One year potatoes rot in the fields because of excess production, and there is a scarcity of the things that have been displaced to make way for the expansion of the potato acreage. Next year the punished farmers mass their fields on some other crop, and potatoes enter the class of luxuries, and so on.

Agriculture is the greatest and fundamentally the most important of our American industries. The cities are but the branches of the tree of national life, the roots of which go deeply into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer. So, when we of the cities read of the present universal distress of the farmers, of a slump of six billion dollars in the farm value of their crops in a single year, of their inability to meet mortgages or to pay current bills, and how, seeking relief from their ills, they are planning for form pools, inaugurate farmers’ strikes, and demand legislation abolishing grain exchanges, private cattle markets, and the like, we ought not hastily to brand them as economic heretics and highwaymen, and hurl at them the charge of being seekers of special privilege. Rather, we should ask if their trouble is not ours, and see what can be done to improve the situation. Purely from self-interest, if for no higher motive, we should help them. All of us want to get back permanently to “normalcy,” but is it reasonable to help for that condition unless our greatest and most basic industry can be put on a sound and solid permanent foundation? The farmers are not entitled for special privileges; but are they not right in demanding that they be placed on an equal footing with the buyers of their products and with other industries?

Let us, then, consider some of the farmer’s grievances, and see how far they are real. In doing so, we should remember that, while there have been, and still are, instances of purposeful abuse, the subject should not be approached with any general imputation to existing distributive agencies of deliberately intentional oppression, but rather with the conception that the marketing of farm products has not been modernized.

An ancient evil, and a persistent one, is the undergrading of farm products, with the result that what the farmers sell as one quality is resold as of a higher. That this sort of chicanery should persist on any important scale in these days of business integrity would seem almost incredible, but there is so much evidence that it does persist. Even as I write, the newspapers announce the suspension of several firms from the New York Produce Exchange for exporting to Germany as No. 2 wheat a whole shipload of grossly inferior wheat mixed with oats, chaff and the like.

Another evil is that of inaccurate weighing of farm products, which it is charged, is sometimes a matter of dishonest intention and sometimes of protective policy on the part of the local buyer, who fears that he may “weigh out” more than he “weighs in.”

A greater grievance is that at present the field farmer has little or no control over the time and conditions of marketing his products, with the result that he is often under paid for his products and usually overcharged for marketing service. The difference between what the farmer receives and what the consumer pays often exceeds all possibility of justification. To cite a single illustration. Last year, according to figures attested by the railways and the growers, Georgia watermelon-raisers received on the average 7.5 cents for a melon, the railroads got 12.7 cents for carrying it to Baltimore and the consumer paid one dollar, leaving 79.8 cents for the service of marketing and its risks, as against 20.2 cents for growing and transporting. The hard annals of farm-life are replete with such commentaries on the crudeness of present practices.

Nature prescribes that the farmer’s “goods” must be finished within two or three months of the year, while financial and storage limitations generally compel him to sell them at the same time. As a rule, other industries are in a continuous process of finishing goods for the markets. They distribute as they produce, and they can curtail production without too great injury to themselves or the community. But if the farmer restricts his output, it is with disastrous consequences, both to himself and to the community.

The average farmer is busy with production for the major part of the year, and has nothing to sell. The bulk of his output comes on the market at once. Because of lack of storage facilities and of financial support, the farmer cannot carry his goods through the year and dispose of them as they are currently needed. In the great majority of cases, farmers have to entrust storage—in warehouses and elevators—and the financial carrying of their products to others.

Farm products are generally marketed at a time when there is a congestion of both transportation and finance—when cars and money are scarce. The outcome in many instances, is that the farmers not only sell under pressure, and therefore at a disadvantage, but are compelled to take further reductions in net returns, in order to meet the charges for the service of storing, transporting, financing, and ultimate marketing—which charges they claim, are often excessive, bear heavily on both consumer and producer, and are under the control of those performing the services. It is true that they are relieved of the risks of a changing market by selling at once; but they are quite willing to take the unfavorable chance, if the favorable on e also is theirs and they can retain for themselves a part of the service charges that are uniform, in good years and bad, with high prices and low.

While, in the main, the farmer must sell, regardless of market conditions, at the time of the maturity of crops, he cannot suspend production in toto. He must go on producing if he is to go on living, and if the world is to exist. The most he can do is to curtail production a little or alter its form, and that—because he is in the dark as to the probable demand for his goods—may be only to jump from the frying pan into the fire, taking the consumer with him.

Even the dairy farmers, whose output is not seasonal, complain that they find themselves at a disadvantage in the marketing of their productions, especially raw milk, because of the high costs of distribution, which they must ultimately bear.

Now that the farmers are stirring, thinking, and uniting as never before to eradicate these inequalities, they are subjected to stern economic lectures, and are met with the accusation that they are demanding, and are the recipients of special privileges. Let us see what  privileges the government has confirmed on the farmers. Much has been made of Section 6 of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which purported to permit them to combine with immunity, under certain conditions. Admitting that, nominally, this exemption was in the nature of special privilege,--though I think it was so in appearance rather than in fact,--we find that the courts have nullified it by judicial interpretation. Why should not the farmers be permitted to accomplish by co-operative methods what other businesses are already doing by co-operation in the form of incorporation? If it is proper for men to form, by fusion of existing corporations or otherwise, a corporation that controls the entire production of a commodity, or a large part of it, why is it not proper for a group of farmers to unite for the marketing of their common products, either in one or in several selling agencies? Why should it be right for a hundred thousand corporate shareholders to direct 25 or 30 or 40 percent of an industry, and wrong for a hundred thousand co-operative farmers to control a no larger proportion of the wheat crop, or cotton, or any other product?

The Department of Agriculture is often spoken as a special concession to the farmers, but in its commercial results, it is of as much benefit to the buyers and consumers of agricultural products as to the producers, or even more. I do not suppose that anyone opposes the benefits that the farmers derive from the educational and research work of the department or the help that it gives them in working out improved cultural methods and practices, in developing better yielding varieties through breeding and selection in introducing new varieties from remote parts of the world and adapting them to our climate and economic condition, and in devising practical measures for the elimination or control of dangerous and destructive animal and plant diseases, insect pests, and the like. All these things manifestly tend to stimulate and enlarge production, and their general beneficial effects are obvious.

It is complained that, whereas the law restricts Federal Reserve banks to three months’ time for commercial paper, the farmer is allowed six months on his notes. This is not a special privilege, but merely such a recognition of business conditions as makes it possible for country banks to do business with country people. The crop farmer has only one turnover a year, while the merchant and manufacturer have many.  Incidentally, I note that the Federal Reserve Board has just authorized the Federal Reserve banks to discount export paper for a period of six months, to conform to the nature of the business.

The Farm Loan banks are pointed to as an instance of special government favor for farmers. Are they not rather the outcome of laudable efforts to equalize rural and urban conditions? And about all the government does there is to help set up an administrative organization and lend a little credit at the start. Eventually the farmers will provide all the capital and carry all the liabilities themselves. It is true that Farm Loan bonds are tax exempt; but so are bonds of municipal light and the traction plants, and new housing is to be exempt from taxation, in New York, for ten years.

On the other hand, the farmer reads of plans for municipal housing projects that run into the billions, of hundreds of millions annually spent on the merchant marine; he reads that the railroads are being favored with increased rates and virtual guaranties of earnings by the government, with the result to him of an increased toll on all that he sells and all that he buys. He hears of many manifestations of governmental concern for particular industries and interests. Rescuing the railways from insolvency is undoubtedly for the benefit of the country as a whole, but what can be of more general benefit than encouragement of ample production of the principal necessaries of life and their even flow from contented producers to satisfied consumers?

While it may be conceded that special governmental aid may be necessary in the general interest, we must all agree that it is difficult to see why agriculture and the production and distribution of farm products are not accorded the same opportunities that are provided for other businesses; especially as the enjoyment by the farmer of such opportunities would appear to be even more contributory to the general good than in the case of other industries. The spirit of American democracy is unalterably opposed, alike to enacted special privilege and to the special privilege of unequal opportunity that arises automatically from the failure to correct glaring economic inequalities. I am opposed to the injection of government into business, but I do believe that it is an essential function of democratic government to equalize opportunity so far as it is within its power to do so, whether by the repeal of archaic statutes or the enactment of modern ones. If the anti-trust laws keep the farmers from endeavoring scientifically to integrate their industry while other industries find a way to meet modern conditions without violating such statutes, then it would seem reasonable to find a way for the farmers to meet them under the same conditions. The law should operate equally in fact. Repairing the economic structure on one side is no injustice to the other side, which is in good repair.

We have traveled a long way from the old conception of government as merely a defensive and policing agency; and regulative, corrective, or equalizing legislation, which apparently is of a special nature, is often of the most general beneficial consequences. Even the First Congress passed a tariff act that avowedly for the protection of manufacturers; but a protective tariff always has been defended as a means of promoting the general good through a particular approach; and the statute books are filled with acts for the benefit of shipping, commerce, and labor.

Now, what is the farmer asking? Without trying to catalogue the remedial measures that have been suggested in his behalf, the principal proposals that bear directly on the improvement of his distributing and marketing relations may be summarized as follows:

First, the storage warehouses for cotton, wool, and tobacco, and elevators for grain, of sufficient capacity to meet the maximum demand on them at the peak of the marketing period. The farmer thinks that either private capital must furnish these facilities, or the state must erect and own the elevators and warehouses.

Second, weighing and grading of agricultural products and certification thereof to be done by impartial and disinterested public inspectors (this is already accomplished to some extent by the federal licensing of weighers and graders), to eliminate underpaying, overcharging, and unfair grading, and to facilitate the utilization of the stored products as the basis of credit.

Third, a certainty of credit sufficient to enable the marketing of products in an orderly manner.

Fourth, the Department of Agriculture should collect, tabulate, summarize, and regularly and frequently publish and distribute to farmers full information from all the markets of the world, so that they shall be as well informed of their selling position as buyers are now of their buying position.

Fifth, freedom to integrate the business of agriculture by means of consolidated agencies, co-ordinating and co-operating in such a way as to put the farmer on an equal footing with the large buyers of his products, and with commercial relations in other industries.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tribute to Fallen Agricultural Leader: Benjamin Wesley Kilgore, 1944

From “Carolina Farm Notes” by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, as published in the Southern Planter, February 1944

North Carolina’s great agricultural leader, Dr. Benjamin Wesley Kilgore, former Dean of Agriculture and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service at State College, died in Raleigh on Monday evening, December 27 at 7:15 o’clock. His end came without suffering, surrounded by member of his family, and it closed the career of one of the most useful men that agricultural education in the State has ever known. At the time of his death, Dr. Kilgore was serving as State Chemist, largely in an advisory capacity.

He was a native of Lafayette County, Mississippi, and a graduate of the A. & M. College of that State. He came first to North Carolina in 1889 as assistant chemist for the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station. He returned to his native state in 1897 to become professor of chemistry and State Chemist but after two years in his old home, was called back to North Carolina where he remained until his death.

He served as director of the North Carolina Experiment Station from 1901 until 1907 and again from 1912 to 1925 when the Station was operated by a joint committee for agricultural work representing the State College and the State Department of Agriculture. He conceived the idea for the establishment of branch station farms during his first directorship and selected the locations for these useful research units. In 1914, when the Smith-Lever Act was passed, he was appointed the first director of Extension and served until 1925. In 1921 he added to his duties by accepting appointment as Dean of Agriculture at State College, holding this position until he retired from college work in 1926.

Dr. Kilgore was honored by both Davidson and State College with honorary doctor’s degrees; he was awarded a certificate of meritorious service in agriculture by the N.C. State Grange; another certificate by the National Farm Bureau Federation, and, in many other ways, he became the recipient of the gratitude and understanding of rural people. Dr. Kilgore was father of the Association of Southern Agricultural workers, serving as secretary of the Association from 1899 to 1911. This Association presented him with a plaque for distinguished service to Southern agriculture because of his efforts to coordinate agricultural research throughout the South.

He was one of the pioneers in the cooperative movement in North Carolina, a promoter of the livestock industry and a successful business man.

Throughout his entire career as an educational leader, Dr. Kilgore’s remarkable facility to see ahead made him an outstanding person. Plans were made in research and extension from year to year to fit into a long-time program which would have for its ultimate purpose the building of a more permanent type of agriculture. Men who worked under him were allowed a remarkable degree of independence  to develop their own ideas. Largely because of his wise leadership, North Carolina has become the great agricultural state that it is today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mt. Mourne Extension Homemakers Hear History of Iredell Clubs, 1984

From the January-March 1984 issue of Tar Heel Homemaker

Iredell Clubs Organized in 1914

Way back in 1914, Miss Cora Bell organized three Home Demonstration Clubs in Iredell County. Fifteen members of the Mt. Mourne Extension Homemakers heard a history of their association at a luncheon meeting at Julia’s Talley House in Troutman.

Annie Honeycutt, president, greeted the members and collected the gifts for the club’s adopted daughter, Frances Connelly at Western Carolina Center, which included a watch, pantsuit and other personal gifts. They also planned to remember a person in the Mt. Mourne community.

After the luncheon, Stella Woodfin and Colleen Davis had the devotions and presented corsages to the five members who are shut in and unable to attend the meetings. They are Connie Ashley Gordon, Mrs. Fred Sherrill, Mary Bell Caldwell and Margaret Burney.

Miss Plato Kelly presented a history of the Mt. Mourne Club, stating that Miss Cora Bell, now deceased, won the first certificate ever awarded to a North Carolinian for service as a neighborhood 4-H leader and then she organized a Tomato Club for young girls, teaching them to plant and can foods, make jellies and preserves.

In 1914, she organized three home demonstration clubs, the first in Iredell County—Mt. Mourne, Shepherd and Linwood. Her next few summers were spent working for the State Extension Service, assisting county agents in organizing new clubs in other counties.

This was the beginning of the Extension Homemakers Association.

In 1924, the first clubhouse was built in Iredell County by the club members and their husbands.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anson County Apron Contest

This photo, taken at the Anson County Courthouse, shows participants modeling their homemade aprons. Not all the women are identified, but names on the back of the photo are Mrs. Walter Redfern, Mrs. Connie Burns, Mrs. Norwood Teal, and Mrs. R.E. Capel.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowstorms in the South: An Historic Perspective

It's snowing heavily in Raleigh right now, with sleet and ice to follow. This has me wondering about other historic snowstorms in the South. Here's a link to "Snowstorms in the South: An Historic Perspective" by Christopher C. Burt:

UNC-G Researchers Study Family and Old Age in Rowan County, 1985

INTERVIEWS will be done with 400 Rowan County citizens over 65 years old during the next few months to find out how family solidarity affects people as they age. Max Learner of UNC-G is shown above discussing the questionnaire to be used with persons who will work as local interviewers. (Post staff photo by Fred Wilson)

By Rose Post, Staff Writer, the Salisbury Evening Post, Feb. 28, 1980

Will the birthday card maiden Aunt Lou sends to Johnny when he’s six years old make a difference when she’s too old to look after herself?

Will the letters she writes him when he goes off to college play a part in whether or not she’s lonely when she reaches her golden years?

Or even possibly keep her out of a rest home?

Approximately 400 Rowan County residents 65 years old and over will be asked 35 pages of questions during the next few months to help two researchers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro get the answers to these questions and many others involving kinfolk and old age.

Local Interviewers
Mrs. Kivett, an assistant professor in the UNC-G staff, and Learner, a doctoral student and research assistant, were in Salisbury yesterday to train 11 local persons who will serve as interviewers to gather data for their research project, which is aimed at determining patterns of kin group solidarity among older rural and urban adults and could, Mrs. Kivett hopes, lead to changes in government policies involving the elderly.

The interviewers, who will work in randomly selected neighborhoods in Rowan, include Ruth Steves, Helen Cheney, Anita Marioneaux, Edith Hinshaw, Mae Davis, Helen Hager, Lillie Davis, Elizabeth Overcash, Juanita Lagg, Ada Fleming, and George Allen.

Rowan was selected for the study using census data and “a formula of sorts,” Mrs. Kivett said, from a number of counties in the state “that represent a rapid transition from a rural non-farm to a more urban area, because of the rate of industrialization taking place.

“We felt it would give us a good environment to look at what is happening to families.”

Rowan Selected
A major factor in its selection, she said, is the “rapidly increasing number of people 65 and over in the county, the percentage of increase in the population of that age within the last five to 10 years.”

The 1980 census is expected to show there will be a major increase in the number of citizens 65 and over in Rowan. In 1970, 9.9 percent of the population was 65 or older, but the 1980 census is expected to show that percentage has increased to 13.3 percent, according to figures released yesterday by Howard Poole of the Rowan planning staff.

Moreover, Mrs. Kivett said, Rowan has “some element of the urban, some element of the ural, and evidence of the change that’s occurring.”

Selected areas have been designated in Salisbury, Spencer, East Spencer, and Gold Hill, Providence, Scotch-Irish, Mt. Ulla, Franklin, Locke, China Grove, Kannapolis, and Atwell townships, and they will interview all the people in those ares over 65 who are willing to be interviewed.

Each interview, Mrs. Kivett says, will taken an hour to an hour and a half. Expected to begin early next week, they will probably be completed about December, she said.

Though the present concern is with the relationship of families and age, Mrs. Kivett’s research concerning the elderly has produced some information which has received notice for some time.

She recently directed a study of loneliness among the rural elderly, focusing attention on an area which has been idienfied as among the 12 most serious dilemmas facing people as they age.

The results of such studies, she said, have implications for counselor and ministers working with the elderly and for ways “government can speak to a support system. Are there policies, for example, that can speak better than they are presently?”

If the local study shows that present government polices—financial help through Medicare and Medicaid, for example—force families to put their elderly in rest homes and nursing homes, possible revisions in those polices, which would allow families financial help, might “help families be able to keep their relatives at home.”

And being able to remain home might help ease the problems of loneliness, transportation, even health, which the elderly not only face but also fear.

“Our interest,” Mrs. Kivett said, “comes from the fact that more and more the family is being looked to as the natural support system of old people because of the increasing numbers of people living into old age and the longer time they’re spending in the post-parental period.

“Therefore, the chances of being dependent because of increased age is more of a reality. It become apparent that some system of people, rather than a bureaucratic system, will have to meet the needs of older people.

“So we wanted to take an intense look” at the availability of kinfolk and how far concern reaches. Does it just involve children? Or do grandchildren and nieces and nephews and in-laws also provide financial, emotional, and psychological support for the elderly?

For a long time, Mrs. Kivett says, “even before this movement toward increasing the quality of life came about, I’ve had an intense interest in what older people have to offer society, the resources they have that aren’t being utilized, their needs.

“I think for a while there, in the fifties, sixties, there was so much talk of the nuclear family, of the lack of communication, of interaction between middle aged children and older family member,” but maybe that talk and the studies showing the decline of the family didn’t tell the whole story.

Family Help
Other research, Mrs. Kivett says, indicates there is a “more or less modified extended family and a good bit of exchange of services, still, despite industrialization. There’s a good bit of evidence that children are facilitators to older parents, getting services to them, helping them deal with bureaucratic systems. But I’m not sure how much of this goes on with other relatives.”

Some studies, she said, say that “In our society there tends to be a close relationship with blood kin, but little with those through marriage. We think that’s true, but we want to take a look and see. Who do older people depend on when primary kin are not available? What is available?

“We think we know what things contribute to family ties,” she says, including association (the more contact, the closer the ties), the amount of affection exchanged (birthday cards, presents, letters, the non-essential services), and the concensus of values (the extent that younger and older members value the same things).

“But we don’t know what things combine to affect those factors. We’re going to look to see if traditional factors are important. Telephoning, association, affection. . .how much exchange of non-essential helping behaviors, the niceties, that show someone he’s special, are important.”

How important are common elements of a value system? When a child marries out of a family’s religion or geographical area, is there a drop in family solidarity?

“There is some thinking that families with females have closer ties than families with fewer females, that women are the kinkeepers. This is something we want to look at, too. Does distance affect family solidarity? Does education?

“It gets complex, but that’s what we want to see.”

Because they’re working through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mrs. Kivett and Learner called on the Rowan agricultural extension service for help in getting interviewers and introductions in the area. They have received a great deal of help, particularly from Louise Slade, new home extension agent, and Edith Hinshaw, who officially retires as agent the end of this month.

Family solidarity, she says, is especially important when the resources of the old are diminished, and studies such as the one beginning in Rowan, combine her interest in older people and give her a way to get involved by taking her research to the policy makers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wilma McNabb, Cherokee Homemaker, Recalls 58 Years of Extension Work, 1984

WILMA McNABB, above, recalls days of Extension Clubs back to 1916.

As published in the January-March, 1984, issue of Tar Heel Homemaker

Horse and Buggy Days Recalled

Cherokee homemaker Mrs. Wilma McNabb, 87, has lived most of her life in the area of her present home in the Bellview section of Murphy. She recalls going to club meetings with her sister, Lennie Hatchett Brackett, who was the county agent for two years, 1916-1918. Back then, she says, they traveled by horse and buggy.

Visiting with members of Martins Creek EHA in Cherokee County, Mrs. McNabb shared experiences dating back to 1915 and remembers the first county fair there in 1917.

Mrs. McNabb became a skilled weaver on the loom and last fall was featured on “Folkways” television show.

In the above picture, she looks over a display of newspaper clippings collected by Evelyn Lee, another longtime EH member, and depicting years of history of the Martins Creek EHA.

Edith Foster Is Wilkes County Club Woman of the Year, 1984

TOP LEADER--Edith Foster, left, shows off her engraved tray as Wilkes County Club Woman of the Year to agent Donna Edsel.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Treasury Official Says Charging Farmers 2,000 Percent Interest Should Be Prison Offense, 1916

National Banks Charging Farmers 30 to 2,000 Percent for Loans

The Southern Planter, February 1916 issue

The Comptroller of the Treasury has brought to the attention of a committee of the Congress the fact that many of the national banks are charging usurious rates on loans, some charging 12 to 24 per cent, others 30 to 100 per cent, and others again 1,000 to 2,000 per cent. He is constrained to suggest a drastic law making usury of national banks a prison offense.

In his testimony before the committee, the Comptroller referred to a case which is best described in his own words:

“We had a report of a farmer who borrowed $300 or $400 some years ago and continued to pay excessive rates of interest on the amount. Finally the bank foreclosed, taking everything this farm had, including his cow. With all he had gone through, this farmer tried to get a new start by cutting timber. He was poorly clothed and practically barefoot, because he had practically nothing to spend for his clothes, so he caught pneumonia. He left six children. Now, these children cannot sue the bank that ruined their father by usury, but if the law were changed, the department of justice could proceed against such an institution.”

We have no sympathy nor hold no brief for usurers; men who belong to a predatory class, that live upon the necessities of their fellow citizens, are severely to be condemned. Unfortunately, laws against usury seldom obtain their purpose; as a rule they buty add to the misery of those who are preyed upon. There are so many subterfuges, of brokerage, and commissions that can be and are resorted to, that the effect of these laws is either to deprive those in necessity of securing money at all, or cause them to pay higher rates of interest, because of the risk involved to the lender.

Far better had the Comptroller sought by dealing with the cause rather than with the condition to have improved the system under which farmers must borrow.

Had the Comptroller urged upon the Congress the inauguration of a system of rural credits, such as obtains in Germany, the Raffheisen system for short-term loans on personal property and the Landschaften system for long-term loan on land, he would have gone to the root of the evil.

With a national rural credit system in effect, the unfortunate farmer would neither have paid excessive rates of interest, nor would his mortgage have been foreclosed. The payment of a low rate of interest and a small yearly reduction of the principal of the loan, would have enabled him, with ordinary thrift, to have prospered; would have provided for his children at his death that opportunity which should be the chief end of democratic government.

Latter day reformers are too prone to address themselves to unfortunate conditions without having due regard to the effects that produce them; remedial rather than punitive measures, in such cases, best bring relief.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Little Known Crop Taking Root in North Carolina: Blueberries, 1946

“Carolina Farm Comment” By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Morning Star Feb. 11, 1946.

North Carolina has a little known industry that is proving to be extremely profitable to 40 or more farmers having a part in it. All of us know about the wild huckleberries or Sampson blues of southeastern North Carolina. Few of us know about the fine cultivated blueberries grown in that section, however, and which sold for about 50 cents a pint last season.

North Carolina is developing a blueberry industry which is expanding slowly but surely. At the present time, there are between 900 and 1,000 acres planted to these tame or cultivated blueberries and additional acres will be set as quickly as varieties resilient to disease and of high quality are developed. The 40 farmers, largely in Pender, Duplin, and Sampson counties, who are growing the berries have from 25 to 40 acres each.

The first growers came down from New Jersey and found the climate and soil suitable for the varieties of berries which had been developed in the state. Now, under the guidance of E.B. Morrow, research horticulturist of the Experiment Station, local growers are propagating their own plants and are working with Morrow in making new selections and crosses to start new and more adaptable varieties.

Mr. Morrow says the varieties largely used at the present time are the Cabot, Weymouth, Rancocas, June, Stanley, Rubel, Jersey, Scammell, Concord, and the Dixie.

The Cabot is an early variety and was one of the first planted in that section but it is largely going out now because of being subject to a disease known as the blueberry canker, Morrow says the growers have been making resistant selections from the old variety, however, and that a new resistant strain seems to be on its way. The Rancocas variety is resistant to a virus disease, which the growers call “stunt” because it stunts the growing plants. This Rancocas, therefore, is being used as a stock parent plant in almost all of the breeding work being done.

One of the interesting things happening down there is in selections which Morrow has made of wild varieties gathered in the vicinity of Grandfather’s Mountain in northwestern North Carolina. He is crossing these on a species known as “Rabbiteye,” which is grown in northern Florida and southern Georgia.

The wild variety from our western North Carolina mountains is hardy, the fruit has a good blue color, and a wonderful flavor. In fact, all the fruit grown in our western section has these desirable qualities. Apples grown up there seem to taste better than the insipid stuff that our dealers ship in to our stores from other sections of the country.

Anyway, the “Rabbiteye” variety is, as one would expect, very productive. It grows well in the poor soils of northern Florida and southern Georgia and is vigorous in its vegetative growth. Morrow wants to combine the fine color, high quality and hardiness of our mountain berries with the productivity of the South Georgia kind and get a variety with the desirable qualities of both. He says he is making progress. This new variety should be adapted to a wide range of soil and climate and perhaps more farmers will be able to grow the blueberries when he perfects this new strain.

One of the largest growers of tame blueberries in the state is Harold G. Huntington of Atkinson on the western edge of Pender County. Mr. Huntington has about 100 acres set to the plants although he is now resetting much of his old acreage due to the ravages of disease among some of the older varieties and his adoption of some of the newer varieties now being developed. Blueberry plants are set in rows eight feet wide and four feet apart on the row, making about 1,360 plants to an acre. Under ordinary conditions, the berries produce an average of 200 of the 12-pint crates per acre.

It is not unusual, however, for yields as high as 400 crates an acre to be secured. Before the war, these berries sold for 20 to 25 cents a pint. Figure, therefore, 12 pints to a crate and 400 crates to an acre on 10 acres selling for 50 cents a pint and you have some idea as to the income secured by one grower last year. But this income is not all net profit. The pint cups are wrapped in cellophane, and the berries are carefully graded, and it costs considerable money to start and manage one of the orchards.

Mr. Huntington has an irrigation system which cost him around $10 or $15,000 and this is kept only as an insurance policy against destructive drouths. In the main, however, the growers say that the water table is so near the surface in that section that they do not believe irrigation will ever be needed generally. But in other ways, also it takes lots of capital to start a blueberry farm. Once the plants are set and in production, however, the returns are very satisfactory.

Emmett Morrow is doing much of his research on the farm of Gale Harrison of Ivanhoe. Mr. Harrison is growing a number of blueberry seedlings and selections in cooperation with the fruit scientist and much valuable information is being secured. The owner has about 50 acres of berries in his commercial orchard. 

He is known as a good businessman and a successful grower. He has an up-to-date packing plant which not only gives him a superior product for chipping but also allows him to store any excess or overflow berries that cannot be shipped on the day picked. These are stored overnight and packed the next morning when the heavy dews of that section make it unwise to harvest additional berries so early in the day.


Harrison also uses his pre-cooling plant to cure meat for his neighbors. Last year, the folks in that whole section kept the plant busy curing their meat. In fact, the demand became so heavy that Harrison took a trip up to Lumberton to see J.E. Nance, pioneer freezer locker operator, so that he might learn exactly how to use these freezing plants for successful meat curing. The neighbors say he is doing a good job for them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

John W. Mitchell Dies, 1955

From the February, 1955, issue of Extension Farm-News, published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh

Noted Negro Farm Leader Dies
John W. Mitchell, a North Carolinian who became a top government man in teaching Negro farm people, has died at the age of 69.

He was one of the only three Negroes to be honored by Progressive Farmer magazine as Man of the Year in Southern agriculture.

The native of Morehead City who rose to field supervisor of Negro extension work in the South, died January 7 at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Funeral services for the graduate of Fayetteville State Teachers College were held in Fayetteville where he was reared and where in 1910 he organized Cumberland County’s first Negro rural high school. For six years after graduation, he was assistant to the president of the Fayetteville College.

In 1917 he began his government service as an extension agent, teaching farm people who they could improve their living conditions by such things as developing year-round gardens and keeping chickens, hogs, or a cow or two. He covered three counties—Bladen, Columbus, and Pasquotank—on a bicycle in good weather, on horseback in bad weather.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

D.G. Bond of Chowan County Answers Question 'Does It Pay to Raise Corn?' 1908

“Cost of Corn Production” letter to the editor in The Southern Planter, February, 1908

I look for the Southern Planter with great interest, as I get so much valuable information from it. I am a small farmer and want to answer a gentleman’s question in the November number, “Does It Pay to Raise Corn?” I will give him my experience: I rented three acres of sandy land at $3 per acre--$9. I put eight tubs (which is a kerosene barrel cut in half) of fish offal to the acre that cost 25 cents per tub--$8. The work cost $6.80. Total, $23.80. I gathered 22 barrels of corn, for which I could have gotten $3 per barrel--$66—and 3,200 pounds of good fodder, at $1 per hundred, $32. Total, $98. I made clear $74.20 in a rainy season. In a good year I would have gotten 10 barrels per acre. At this rate it surely pays to raise corn.

D.G. Bond, Chowan County, N.C.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Farm Bureau Honored Frank Jeter, N.C. State Extension Editor, 1946

Citation read with presentation of certificate of meritorious service to agriculture by North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, in Winston-Salem on Feb. 8, 1946

The robot, dream mechanical man of science, is still in the laboratories and on the drawing boards, but we have with us tonight his original human counterpart. The scientist wants of the robot, which he has not yet been able to perfect, a walking, talking, broadcasting, writing family man with a yen for public service, a man who can go on and on with never any more pushing than a little oil for his joints.

The State College Agricultural Extension Service has had such a man for 30 years. This human dynamo is by the record a whole lot of dynamo, but even more human. A native of South Carolina, born a farm boy and subsequently a graduate of Clemson College with a degree in agronomy, this man has created by ability and hard work a farm news service which is recognized as the best in agricultural circles.

Driving through war years and peace with the same unfaltering degree of alacrity has won for him a mark of merit on the scrolls of every farm organization in the South and top spot among Extension editors in the nation. So, because of his tireless effort and perpetual success in the field of information, the Farm Bureau is happy to present a certificate of commendation to Frank Hamilton Jeter, editor of the Extension Service, who with his charming wife, the former Miss Irene Albert of Atlanta, is our guest tonight.