Heritage, 2009, Volume 3 Page: 18
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large, "but we never went to bed hungry." H. P. Brookshire's
family had everything-peas, beans, corn, cucumbers, toma-
toes, radishes, lettuce, onions, potatoes-and kept canned
vegetables in a root cellar. "Mother put up at least 300 quarts
of pinto beans every year," he relayed; "I still don't like them."
Pork was the major protein in the rural diet, and Ernest Cole
remembered that hog-killing time occurred when the first big
norther came in the fall. They half-filled a 55-gallon drum
with water and placed it atop a fire to boil. He shot the hog
with a .22 rifle and, with a large metal hook, lowered the dead
animal into scalding water. They then scraped hair from the
dead hog, and his father used big butcher knives to gut and
quarter the meat. They cooked and ate the tenderloin
fresh, but most of the meat went into a large, salt-filled
box. Hams and bacon were smoked until cured, and the
remainder ground into sausage. Farmers traded with lo-
cal general stores for staples. Andy Wolf's family traded
cedar posts, eggs, butter, cream, and corn at the Silver
City grocer in the Maple community for coffee, flour,
tobacco, and kerosene.
Most small family farms had yet to modernize, and tradi-
tional agricultural practices remained the norm. Labor was
usually human or animal, not mechanical. T. A. Wilhite drove
three mules hooked to a plow to prepare dirt for his main
row crop, corn. Norman Hall remembered, "When other
people went to tractors, Dad never worried about that. He
stayed with mules. He might have had six at one time, and
he'd work some real hard one day, and then he would change
and work the others the next day." Subsistence agriculture re-
quired raising sufficient annual feed crops to sustain the work-
ing livestock. The rest of the farmer's energies could then be
poured into row crops, like cotton, corn, and sugar cane, and
livestock raising, for cash. Murrell Thompson reflected on his
father receiving a small amount of cash for a crop. "I remem-
ber Daddy saying, 'Maybe we can make it another year."' J.
W. Shults' family annually yielded about three bales of cotton,
sold calves they raised, and sheered their goats and sheep. In
addition to farming, Margaret Hunt Carroll's father trained
and traded horses and mules.
Children and teenagers tended numerous daily chores like
gathering eggs, hand washing dishes and clothes, milking
cows, feeding livestock, weeding and hoeing, chopping and
carrying wood, and hauling water. "Me and Ocie, my oldest
sister, milked the cows all the time-early in the morning, be-
fore we went to school, and in the evening, after we got home
from school, along before night," recounted Archie Wright.
Year round, wood had to be at the ready for cooking and, in
the winter, it was the only heat source. Ernest Cole relayed,
"We'd go cut trees, and they had to be what they called
Spanish oak that made good kitchen stove wood. I had to
chop that and haul it in for Mother." William Powell and
his brother carried well water in a large bucket to their
dairy cows when the creek ran dry. "We'd have to draw that
water, and they'd drink it faster than you'd pour it in that
trough. By the time you got another bucket drawed, that
trough was dry."
A primary education for children was of utmost impor-
tance. As Kyle Hilliard put it, "Everybody back in those days
was serious about school. The hard times made it easy to
convince kids to get a good education." Children rode hors-
HERITAGE Volume 3 2009
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2009, Volume 3, periodical, 2009; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254214/m1/18/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.