Did Farming Pay in 1879?

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farmee

Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Life on a farm in the 1800s was not easy. Farming tools were mostly simple, hand held iron devices. Some examples include the Scythe (a sharp curved blade at the end of a pole used to harvest grain), a cultivator (a horse-drawn plow with six blades that digs furrows where seeds can be planted), and a flail (a tool to separate the seeds from the other particles of the grain). Around the middle part of the 1800s, most farmers in the Midwest lived in single room log cabins.

Injuries were very common while farming with these tools. Though these injuries occurred, at least the soil was very rich and full of nutrients. One major development is the use of horse-drawn tools like the Combine (a tool that can cut and thresh a field of grain at the same time). Above all other technological developments in farming was the invention of the steel plow. This new tool had sharper blades that cut through the thick prairie roots found throughout the Midwest. Another important tool that defined this period farming was the reaper, a device that could cut grain better than the scythe.In the early 1800s, most farmers worked an average of fifty acres which by the early 1900s had tripled to 150 acres.

turkeyday*Luella Mains in 1945 on the Mains farm, 6th Line of Beckwith–Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

Does Farming Pay?  From the Almonte Gazette 1880

This question has been asked many times, and I wish to give you my answer.

And here is the account from my ledger for 1879:

$17—To man ploughing
$28—To boy riding horse, cultivating until Oct. 2

$19—To implements bought, rollers,

$9 Feb. 11—Tore-shoes in bob-sleighs
$5- 10 bushels Western corn feed
$5 -14 bushels seed barley
3 bushels mangolds/chard bought
for feed…………………………$ 75
halter for borse……………….. $1. 50

timothy seed for seeding down 2.50
clover……… 3.00
corn for horse and pig feed… 3.05
7 bushels of corn for feed….. 4.20
service of boar pig……………. 1.00
carrots and mangolds bought 200
To corn for feed…………………….. 2.10
repairing wagon……………… 4.75
corn for feed…………………… 3 .70
To man hoeing, $1, boy riding 1. 25
To man hoeing corn & mangolds 4. 80
harvesting and threshing…. 50.00
To man pulling mustard……….. 1.10
two days threshing…………… 18.00
To taxes for 1879…… ……………. 28.35
To man harvesting…………….. 1.50
To rent of 50 acres at $6 per acre 300.00
man’s wages for the year … 150.00
pasture for cow……. ………… 7.00
pig sold………………………….. 14.00

The stock is improving,and is really worth more. Mr. Editor, I am so determined.
Up to this point I have not yet told the whole story of my farming for 1879. Consider that I have a family of six persons and for this purpose have kept large lots of produce unsold
as follows:

oats on hand at 35c………… ……
carrots on band at 10c…………..
700 bushels of mangolds on band at 8c…………
200 bushels corn on band at 25c……………….. so oo
10 tons of hay on band, at 5 per ton…… 50 00
Wheat for grists for bread, at $135

snowaaaa*Howard Mains used his tractor to clear the barnyard of his Beckwith farm in January 1946–Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

historicalnotes

Read the Almonte Gazette 1880

More information about Luella Featherston Mains

Bill’s interest in genealogy started with two cardboard boxes of photos and family memorabilia which he acquired following the death of his grandmother, Luella (Featherston) Mains.  Among other things, the box contained May  Bradley’s 1965 history of the Seabrook family and a family tree of the John Mains family, written by Jean (Mrs. Alton) Mains.
As well as his Mains ancestors he traces his roots in the Featherston, Morton, Seabrook, Cathcart and McCaffrey families, all of whom were among the early settlers of Goulbourn Township.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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