Stories from the past on a farm are rich in history and humor. So, I thought I would share a few.
One told to me by a couple now on the farm was about the making of wreaths. First, men often sold whole trees, but they needed to be cleared of dead wood and felled. The wife traced the shape of the wreath using a string. Then, she fashioned the wreath. It was a long and involved process. First, she traced the outline of the wreath using a string. Then she traced the outline of the wreath using more strings. Finally, she baked the wreath and decorated it.
Another story: Christmas morning, 1726, seems to have been a typical start to what was to become one of the biggest businesses in the history of Kentucky. Barbara and John Bridal started Remploys, Inc. from a modest 1850 home. They discovered that tents could be sold for as little as $200, not enough to rent 10 for the winter, but enough to buy a few sacks of flour and a few deliveries of eggs, which were delivered every morning by a policeman on his special route through the neighborhood.
When the new company tried to sell the tents, it was rejected by the local vendors. Then Patrick Henry and some of his friends arrived from Virginia, using the tent to make a tent revival. They attempted to sell the tents, and were surprised when they were accepted. A stroke of good fortune from friends landed them a spot on the Shenandoah National Farm’s market day. After three successful years, they decided to move to public display.
When they arrived in August, 1726, they advertised by burning their modified Tocobiegoches on a log outside thesmith shop. A rod of iron, wooden frames to hold it all together, 18 inches wide, 18 inches long. It was a fitting ad for this first-rate company. In spite of the bitter cold, the January sun was warming up, and the wooden structure seemed to be working.
Every day leading up to the holiday, people would drive by the new home and then make arrangements to start building the long-discussed wreath. It was a spectacular sight when the long day of wreath building came to an end. All day long, the craftsmen had been working on the project. Some carried large logs dressed with hand-drawn pictures of spirits and local scene. Others carved or drew on wood, using red-opal paste. The most imaginative driver of the craft would sketch one-inch figures, one-foot-high Zeus’s, or one-foot-high standard mascots.
This was the Age of Invention, when everything had to be invented, and therefore frequently people did not have enough time to devote to the details of wreath building. Wreath building was also a social event. Men decomposed the wooden structure into strips to make the wreath’s base, then clothed it with rugs, reeds, and small branches. The women fashioned the laurel leaves.
Carey and Paterwalli settled in Jasper, and in 1752 Carey built his own Field Gatehouse, a three-story building framed in two and a half acres of neatly mowed grounds, since part of the property had been owned by Carey since 1760. When Carey died in 1798 his helper George, Doctor of Culinary Arts, did his best to carry on the work begun by Carey. The house possessed a “jacksonite” kitchen, the original furnishings, and a marble fireplace.
After Carey’s death, John Logan started working for the government. In 1807 Logan was appointed Major at the United States Military Academy, and in 1818 he was appointed as postmaster of the town. However, in 1824 he was appointed supervisor of books at recreational and selected a private library to be constructed at Farmington. Carey’s library was also named the John Logan Postmaster General’s State Library-Postmaster General’s State Library in 1846. The library was free to the citizens and was open Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The library was used for all kinds of information and service.
The Carey Library was used for local and regional circulation of geological, astronomical, literary, and popular magazines and books. The issue prices were four cents for ordinary issues and five cents for sights, maps, and journals.
The bullets were two cents for all model guns, and one and five cents for painted guns. Also the Saturday issue of Scientific American and American Rifle were fifteen cents each. A three-cent commemorative stamp was added to all magazines that contained competitive shooting, and a one-cent commemorative stamp to all books of drill and drill manuals.