Here are just a few of our farming and gardening ancestors that I was thinking of as I worked with the soil and plants on the land we own, and that we can pass on to our descendants, just like our ancestors did:
Frederick Asbury “F.A.” McMurray (1850-1929) worked on the family farm as a child, with his occupation listed as “works on farm” on the 1870 US Federal Census when he was 19; he was living in the household of his parents, Henderson McMurray and Mary Ann Horn McMurray. Of their 11 children, the boys apparently stayed in school until 14 or 15, though they probably took time off – or school was closed- for planting and harvest. The four oldest boys worked on the farm full-time, and the family boarded a 20 yr old woman who also helped with the housework- a lot of hungry mouths to feed after that hard farm labor, and a lot of dirty laundry.
F. A. married and in 1880 was listed as a farmer in the census. He became an auctioneer about 1880; he cried over 128 sales in 1902 (‘cried’ is a term for what an auctioneer does as he offers lots for sale), with the very large average of $2,100 per sale making him an auctioneer in demand- he was very good at getting the prices up for his sellers. (Since he probably took a percentage of the sales, there was good incentive to describe the goods in an enticing way, then encourage more bidders to make a higher offer.) By the 1885 Iowa State Census F. A. was listed as having a Second Hand Store- a good spin-off for an auctioneer, and a lot less physical work than being a farmer. (McMurray Family Ancestor– click for family tree)
Gerard William Helbling loved roses, and had a flower garden he loved. (He never seemed the sort…) He grew some veggies, such as tomatoes, too. (Helbling Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)
William “Bill” Aiken supposedly had a pecan farm in Tylertown, Walthall County, Mississippi in the 1930s. (Lee Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)
Samuel T. Beerbower showed livestock at the county fair, so likely grew some of his own hay for grazing. (Helbling/Beerbower Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Frederick A. McMurray, auctioneer article from the Daily Herald, Newton, Iowa, 01 Jan 1903, page 9.
2) Samuel T. Beerbower article as cited above.
3) Family treasure chest of photos.
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