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  #31  
Old 19 Nov 11, 10:04
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Rural Telephone Service

Rural telephone service began in the US in the 1890s. It soon became important, but by the 1920s the many local systems tended to be failing due to a lack of maintenance, capital, etc. The percent of rural families with phones went down. It increased again in the 1930s when federal agencies got involved in promoting universal service.

Below is a link to an article about this.

http://www.ntca.org/index.php?view=a...ent&Itemid=279


Does anyone have any first hand (or probably second or third hand) knowledge of this - in other words when did you or your families get their phones "on the farm"?

I can remember in Vermont in North Hero they still had "party lines" up until the early to mid 70s as I remember.

Last edited by lakechampainer; 19 Nov 11 at 10:20..
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Old 08 Dec 11, 05:45
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I remember the town switchboard in the county seat. One of the cousins worked there as the switchboard operator. She would get a call from somewhere outside of the system and then ďmake the connectionĒ with a plug-in and then ring the person to whom the call was being made. She had a switchboard with a lot of holes in it for the plugs. Each hole was for a person who had a phone at home. She could have several people connected at the same time as I recall. The phone owner could make calls within the system by ringing up people on their party line. But if you wanted to call someone off of the party line you had to ring the operator and she would connect within the system. A long distance call could take a long time to accomplish.

The phones hung on the wall. They were wooden with two bells on the front. They had a crank on the side. You could lift the receiver and turn the crank to get the operator. Or you could ring others on the party line by cranking out their signal. The phone rang not only for you but for everyone on the party line. So your ring might be two longs and a short and the neighborís might be two shorts and a long. There were generally 8 to 10 people on a party line and most people knew whose ring was which. So if you knew that the Smithís were expecting a call about something that you were interested in and you heard their ring you could quietly lift the receiver and listen in. Some people just listened to be nosy. So you always were careful what you said on the phone, because you never knew who was listening and was willing to spread gossip. Some ladies would get two or three others on the party line and have a good talk session, so there must have been a general call signal on the party line.

I donít remember my fatherís parents having a phone while they lived on the farm. I do remember going into town with them a time or two to make a call at the switchboard office which is why I remember some details about it. Momís parents being some better off had a phone and that Grandma was prone to listen to othersí phone calls. She was really nosy.

I married in 1960 and my in-laws being still on the farm had the old phone system back then. When they moved into town they got a regular phone. That would have been in the late 60s.
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Old 08 Dec 11, 06:34
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Iíve been thinking about Christmas on the farm when I was a child and some of the ways that we celebrated.

We would always go off with Dad and his trusty axe and chop down a cedar tree, it being the Ozarks and cedars being the most common evergreen tree. The smell of freshly cut cedar is very evocative of Christmas to me, not pine. We did have electricity when we lived on the old place that had belonged to Momís parents. So we put up some very simple electric lights, and we did have some sort of bubbling lights. They were filled with colored water and would bubble when they were turned on. Mom was always afraid of fire so they were never on unless someone was present. I do not recall ever decorating the outside of the house at all.

Daddy loved to eat popcorn so it was a fun time to pop a big batch of popcorn (quite often homegrown) and string some of it with a needle and thread to put on the tree. The way Mom popped it was to put it in a big covered saucepan with a little lard and then shake and shake by hand until it stopped popping. Then she would have some melted real butter on hand to pour on it and shake a little Mortonís salt on it. Of course we strung plain popcorn, so we generally had two bowls of it.

We would also cut strips of colored paper and glue them into paper chains, the longer the better and wind them around the tree as well. Gobs of silver tinfoil were liberally thrown on the tree. We always had to take lessons on how to put it on string by string but the little sisters loved to throw it on by the handsful. We made our own treetop star as well. We would cut out a cardboard star and then wrap it tin foil and set it on the tree. Dad loved peppermint candy canes, so at Christmas time he would get a box of them and they would go on the tree also, to be plucked off when anyone wanted one to eat. As long as he lived, he loved to get a big candy cane at Christmas.

Black walnuts was one of the favorite foods that we used at Christmas time. They would be gathered in the fall of the year and hulled. One of the ways that I remember they hulled them was to lay them in the driveway and let cars run over them. After a time they would go out and pick them up and lay them back until mom got ready to use them. Then she would crack them with a hammer out on the concrete back stoop and we would all pick the meat out. If she had to finish taking the hulls off, they would turn her hands black and icky. Black walnuts would go in cakes, cookies and best of all home-made candy.

Mom loved to make white divinity candy generously mixed with black walnuts as one of her Christmas specialties. Candy making time was fun for everyone. She would set the candy up in one of the cold rooms to cool. She also made chocolate fudge and some sort of molasses candy that we had to check to see if it was hot enough by how the syrup fell off of the spoon. It was very suspenseful to see how long that took. Our mouths would just water waiting for all the candies to set up. We did not get a lot of sweets in those days so Christmas candy was a big treat.

We generally only had two warm rooms as we had a wood stove set up in the living room. The kitchen was a little cooler but received enough warmth as the chimney backed up to the kitchen. Mom cooked on a kerosene stove if I remember correctly.

My dad was a hunter, so one time he brought home a Canada goose to mom to cook up. This was sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mom was not an adventurous cook but she dug out a recipe and gave it try. Suffice it to say, that I have never had a hankering for goose as a traditional holiday meal, since. Ham has always been the meat of choice for our family at Christmas. Back in the day, it was home butchered and home cured.

We were always told that the animals talked at midnight on Christmas Eve. We children would always want to go out to the barn and stay until midnight to see if we could hear them, but somehow we just never made it much past 9:00. Plus we had to get down in time so that if Santa came early we would not scare him off.

I was just asking hubbie what he remembered about Christmas when he was a kid. He said not much. They had a tree and a few toys and that was it. It was not a major production. After his siblings and he left home, they would come home for Christmas and then it became a big do, with special dishes and fun and games, more for the grandchildren than what was done for the children. That is how I remember it also. It was a much simpler celebration than now, but that may be the effect of WWII on the times.

Neither of us remember much about our churches doing much at Christmas other than decorating with poinsettias. It seems to me that things were sort of puritanical regarding Christmas. It was mainly the schools that did big productions with Santa Claus, singing carols and doing recitations, etc.
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  #34  
Old 27 Dec 11, 11:38
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I now wonder if my great-great-grandfather, Desire Dubuque I, came directly from Canada to join the army in Plattsburgh, NY in 1865? I wonder also if this permitted him to become a citizen and/or receive a bonus which set him up to eventually buy his farm. This makes some sense, given the confusion over his last name as mentioned on the previous posts, where he was inducted as Debuke but mustered out as Dubuque.

Does anyone know what "paperwork" if any, was involved in emigrating from Canada to the US circa 1865? Were bonuses given by individual states or by the federal gov't?

On a perhaps strange odd note, I was watching the Wizard of Oz for the umpteenth time the other night, and I noticed the "farmhouse" in the movie and also the outbuildings looked quite similar to the house in North Hero. This must have been a prototypical style. I have a better picture of the house, which I was unable to post, as it had too many bits. I understand of course why data space is limited, but it is kind of a shame that what makes something a good picture (detail, shadows, etc.) makes a picture have too much data to post.

Last edited by lakechampainer; 27 Dec 11 at 11:44..
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Old 27 Dec 11, 12:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakechampainer View Post
I now wonder if my great-great-grandfather, Desire Dubuque I, came directly from Canada to join the army in Plattsburgh, NY in 1865? I wonder also if this permitted him to become a citizen and/or receive a bonus which set him up to eventually buy his farm. This makes some sense, given the confusion over his last name as mentioned on the previous posts, where he was inducted as Debuke but mustered out as Dubuque.

Does anyone know what "paperwork" if any, was involved in emigrating from Canada to the US circa 1865? Were bonuses given by individual states or by the federal gov't?

On a perhaps strange odd note, I was watching the Wizard of Oz for the umpteenth time the other night, and I noticed the "farmhouse" in the movie and also the outbuildings looked quite similar to the house in North Hero. This must have been a prototypical style. I have a better picture of the house, which I was unable to post, as it had too many bits. I understand of course why data space is limited, but it is kind of a shame that what makes something a good picture (detail, shadows, etc.) makes a picture have too much data to post.
The paper work back then was what was stuffed into a shoe to fill the hole in the sole after a long walk. Ya all here. Sign on the line. Welcome to the US.
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Old 27 Dec 11, 12:41
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Old 28 Dec 11, 16:33
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I did some more general research on the NYS 192nd infantry regiment, the ethnic make-up of the union army, bounties paid for enlistments, etc. - I posted the results in a somewhat rambling (sorry) post on the What did your ancestors do in the Civil War thread.

Everything I found is consistent with the hypothesis that my great-grand-grandfather left Quebec to join the army in the US.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...77#post2130777
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Old 07 Jan 12, 10:06
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I'm reading the book "Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England" by William Cronon. One of many interesting things discussed was the use of Stone Walls on New England Farms as property borders. I was surprised to learn these were not used in early settlements for several reasons:

1. Wood was so plentiful, it was used for fences
2. Initially much of the land was held "in common" so that people did not own individual plots of land per se - although this varied from location to location, even from town to town, based upon where in England the settlers came from.

Of course, the use of stone walls also provided a place to put the stones which were the most easily harvested products on most New England land.

I found this interesting because the house I grew in Woburn, MA had a stone wall. The house was built in 1957 - before that or recently before that West Woburn had piggeries in it. The stone wall was about 160 feet long in my yard - it was probably close to a quarter-mile in total length. The house on the other side was in a development built a few years earlier. In recent years in the exurbs "artificial" stone walls have been built.

The book also mentioned wild berries as growing in these "edge lands", but that they don't easily reproduce themselves after the "edge" condition no longer exists. We had some berries right near the wall when I was young, then they were gone. The book also mentioned cedar trees as growing on edges, we had two of them (they must have been from near the early part of the 20th century.)

My question to any suburbanites is - do you see or did you see any residue of agricultural use on your land.? Are there any farmers with stone walls?

Last edited by lakechampainer; 07 Jan 12 at 19:00..
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Old 13 Jan 12, 09:26
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Link to Sturbridge Village Website - 1830s New England Recreation

Below is a link to the website for Sturbridge Village, which is a re-creation of an 1830s New England village. The website has some interesting information. Sturbridge is located in central Massachusetts.

The second link is about the "Freeman Farm" part of the village.

Whenever I went there in the past - which probably hasn't been for 8 or ten years - I found the interpreters knowledgeable and helpful.

I remember that I especially enjoyed The Milling Area - with a carding mill, a sawmill, and a gristmill.

http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/village_tour.html

http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/vil...ur.html?S=L-19

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Old 14 Jan 12, 00:32
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Thanks for the great post man. I too grew up on a farm myself (before moving into San Juan.) A sugarcane farm to be precise- my uncle worked for the company.

Quite an experience, wouldn't you say?
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Old 13 Feb 12, 17:11
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Below is a link to a 2007 USA Today article called " New England Fights for its Stone Walls"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ne-walls_N.htm
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Old 14 Feb 12, 14:42
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Below are some pictures from a website of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program, which attempts to chronicle the changing Vermont Landscape. I found some of them interesting. The site has over 47,000 pictures. I got over a hundred hits on North Hero.


The picture below from 1909 is looking West towards New York State from somewhere on the Western Shore of North Hero. Must be within a mile and a half or so either north of south of my family's farm.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...8aea3c&AddRel=


The picture below is of the North Hero Courthouse in the early 20th century. I found the architecture interesting.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...8aea3c&AddRel=

The picture below shows sturgeon nets used for fishing.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...8aea3c&AddRel=

The picture below shows "The Post exchange at the Ethan Allen Training Camp in 1909". First I heard of this - don't know if it had anything to do with Fort Ethan Allen (which was in Burlington - land now owned by University of Vermont)
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...8aea3c&AddRel=

Ice Fishing shanties on the lake.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...0a5ff4&AddRel=


man ice fishing below.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...0a5ff4&AddRel=

In the picture below from about 1930 are 8 model A Fords. Can almost read license plate with zoom.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...8aea3c&AddRel=

The picture below is from a search on horse-drawn equipment. It shows a farmer with three horses harvesting oats. Can be compared with the first picture on post six, with my great-grandfather's two horse team.

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...2513dc&AddRel=

Below is a picture of a two-horse "sulky" plow.

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...2513dc&AddRel=

Below is a picture from 1916 which shows "The Island Flyer", which went from Burlington to Rouses Pt, NY, crossing from the mainland to South Hero, on the causeway to the islands. with the zoom feature can see train very well.

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...79c832&AddRel=

Picture from 1900 of a McCormick Reaper, being pulled by a three-horse team.
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...75f7f5&AddRel=

Last edited by lakechampainer; 15 Feb 12 at 08:51..
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Old 14 Feb 12, 21:47
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Some UVM Landscape Change pictures I found interesting after searching "barns"

a picture showing some wooden barns but more interestingly a family and their clothing
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...baa7b0&AddRel=

a farm picture from Barnet, VT 1880 - 1950, that shows the farm buildings well. I've seen some pictures that refer to a cow barn and a horse barn.

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...baa7b0&AddRel=

Another shot of farm buildings
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...baa7b0&AddRel=

A picture from 1935-1942 entitled "a bear chained in the countryside" How did that come to pass?
http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...1ae5d8&AddRel=
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Old 15 Feb 12, 14:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmgunner View Post
I live in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. One of our favorite end of summer journeys take us to the Worlds Fair in Tunbridge, Vermont.

http://www.tunbridgeworldsfair.com

We've been going as a family for a good many years. The fair organizers have managed to keep the fair's historic image and agricultural heritage intact. It's just a wonderful country fair that time seems to have forgotten. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the old county fairs in a spectacular setting.
Below are pictures from UVM that were taken at the Tunbridge Worlds Fair - 1890 and 1920 and 1935 and 2008

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...d821ee&AddRel=

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...d821ee&AddRel=

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...d821ee&AddRel=

http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/search/...d821ee&AddRel=
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Old 09 Mar 12, 12:14
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An American Farm Wife in 1900 writes about her life

An American Farm wife in 1900 writes about her life. From Eyewitnesstohistory.com. Not an easy life. She had wanted to be a teacher.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/farmwife.htm

Below is a link to "Women's Roles in the late 19th Century" from ConnerPrairie interactive history park.

http://www.connerprairie.org/Learn-A...-Of-Women.aspx

Link to a Master's thesis at the University of Pennsylania in 2009, by Caitlin Douglas Laskey. It was entitled: Recreating an early 20th century kitchen: a case study in preservation and green design

http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/view...h%20century%22

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