Friday, July 16, 2010

The women in my family

Miss Jeanette Pinkerton married Joe Maxwell after his first wife, my cousin Della Stewart died in the flu epidemic of 1918. Miss Jeanette garnered a few minutes of fame in 1935 due to her prolific chickens.

Five Haskell Hens Lay 337 Eggs Over A 3-Months Period
Mrs. Joe Maxwell [Jeanette Pinkerton Maxwell] of this city believes some kind of a record in egg production has been broken by five hens which she owns. During the past three months she had received 327 eggs from the five birds, or an average of more than 64 eggs each.

The following report is made by months:

Mrs. Maxwell states that the only feed given her hens were scraps from the table.
Haskell Free Press, April 4, 1935, Courtesy of Jack Carrigan.

My cousin Mollie England Stewart wrote this letter to her parents in Mississippi, December 12, 1916.

I make a lot of butter to sell. I sell it around here and to the pedder 25 cts can get 30 cents at town.
Courtesy of Mary McAllister.

My great-grandmother, Amanda Peterson Larson, made cakes which she sold, along with butter, in town on Saturdays. I still have her butter mold.

When I was young Mr. and Mrs. Sundell would pull up to our house in their Model T truck on Saturday bringing us fresh eggs from their farm. They'd always stop and chat with my mother and me. It was a little taste of Swedish farm life that survived the new world.

This wasn't a trend or a lifestyle, or a novelty - it was just life. People made their own food, and sold it to make a living and to sustain their communities. And they enjoyed their lives. I want to go to there.

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