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Diary of Marshall Fairbanks – April 17, 1878
From the years 1878 until 1888, if not longer, Marshall Fairbanks kept a daily account of life on his farm in Evans (Erie County), New York, including his accounts of the weather, money coming in and out, and any other events of interest. He wrote about driving into Buffalo to sell crops and about laborers … Continue reading Diary of Marshall Fairbanks – April 17, 1878
Diary of Marshall Fairbanks – March 6, 1878
From the years 1878 until 1888, if not longer, Marshall Fairbanks kept a daily account of life on his farm in Evans (Erie County), New York, including his accounts of the weather, money coming in and out, and any other events of interest. He wrote about driving into Buffalo to sell crops and about laborers … Continue reading Diary of Marshall Fairbanks – March 6, 1878
Celebration for the Opening of the New Cow Barn (Fenimore Farm)
The grand opening of the new cow barn at Fenimore Farm included a sit-down dinner for 150 people. Guests sat at tables with white linens in the central aisle of the milking stalls on the first floor of the barn.
Clarissa Cow is modeled after a Holstein-Friesian, the most popular dairy breed in New York State. She has traveled all over New York State to promote good nutrition, agriculture, and the Empire State Carousel. She was hand carved by Bruno Speiser and painted by Jill Irving and now is a part of the Empire State Carousel.
During the nineteenth century, the woman of the household was usually responsible for making butter and cheese. She would use cream, skimmed from milk, to make butter in a butter churn.
American Cow Milker Broadside
Nineteenth century farmers often received information about new technology and equipment from printed broadsides. Broadsides were posters created for a specific purpose such as advertising, announcements, or information. This broadside advertises the American Cow Milker, a milking machine from that time period.
1875 NY Census – Wilder Family
Almanzo James Wilder, the main character in Farmer Boy, and husband of author Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the fifth child of James and Angeline Wilder. The Wilder family left the farm in Franklin County in 1875, to seek better farmland in Minnesota. The 1875 New York Census, indicates that Almanzo’s oldest brother, Royal, remained on the family farm … Continue reading 1875 NY Census – Wilder Family
This 1882 oil painting by Theodore Robinson illustrates the change in technology toward wheeled farm equipment. This riding reaper, or cutter, reduced the amount of physical labor needed to harvest crops. The horses pulled the reaper, and it cut automatically. The farmer only had to direct the horses. This painting also illustrates how women played … Continue reading Haying
Residence of Mr. and Mrs. George Ottman
Fritz G. Vogt was an itinerant artist who drew houses and properties in upstate New York. Residence of George Ottman depicts a farm with a farmhouse, three barns, farm fields, a large garden, an outhouse, chickens, cows, and even a dog, which were all typical components of a nineteenth century farm.
While dental cavities were sometimes filled with gold or silver during the early nineteenth century, decaying teeth were often removed. This item is called a tooth key and was used in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to remove molars, the large back teeth. The small, curved, metal arms at the base were set around the affected … Continue reading Tooth Key
This stethoscope is made from wood and ivory. While it looks very different from what doctors use to listen to patients’ hearts today, they function in similar ways. The ivory section of the device would be pressed against the patient’s body while the physician would listen to a heartbeat or breathing patterns through the other … Continue reading Stethoscope
Instead of writing in notebooks, students used a slate and slate pencil to do their school lessons in the mid-nineteenth century. After copying a lesson, they would study and memorize it in preparation for reciting the lesson to the teacher. The slates and slate pencils were usually purchased at the local general store.
Horseshoes were very common in a blacksmith’s shop. The blacksmith would not only make the shoes by hammering and shaping hot iron, but he would also assist farmers by putting the shoes on their horses.
Mortar and Pestle
Doctors and independent pharmacists had to mix their own medicines during the nineteenth century. Solid ingredients could be ground into powders and mixed with other ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Powders could be mixed with liquids to make liquid medicines, or rolled into pills and lozenges.
Although school children most often used slates to complete their lessons, older students sometimes used quill pens and ink. The quill pen was dipped into the inkwell, then dabbed on a blotter to remove excess ink. Quills were used to practice penmanship and spelling, which was known as orthography. The teacher also used a quill pen … Continue reading Inkwell
A cooper was someone that made or repaired wooden containers and barrels. This tool, the concave sun-plane, was used to smooth out the tops and bottoms of the staves after the container was put together.
Broadcast Seeding Bag
Planting is a very important step in the farming process. This small seeding bag spread the grain seed out onto the field. Planting could have also been done by hand, but the seeding bag made the process much easier. This seeder is operated by a crank at the bottom. The farmer would turn the crank, … Continue reading Broadcast Seeding Bag
The cooper used a croze to cut a groove into the bucket or barrel so the lid or bottom would fit securely against the wood. The cooper had to make sure the pieces of wood fit tightly together so none of the contents, such as milk or grain, would seep out.
The plow was the major farm implement of the nineteenth century. A strong plow was needed to break up the soil to prepare for planting. This plow has an iron share and moldboard. The share is the sharp edge that cuts the soil, and the moldboard is the curved, metal part of the plow that … Continue reading Plow
The tavern was often a stop on a stage coach route. It allowed the driver and the passengers to stop for a rest, a meal, or a drink. Travelers could also pay for a room and stay the night. During the mid-nineteenth century, people used many forms of transportation to travel including trains, steamboats, packet boats, various wheeled vehicles, and walking on … Continue reading Stagecoach
Blacksmiths working in specialized shops made many of the tools that farmers needed to work in their fields. The blade on this large hay knife was made by a blacksmith. After a wooden handle was added, the farmer used this tool to cut down tall grasses during harvest time.
Buckeye Mower Broadside
Many companies that manufactured agricultural equipment advertised by having broadsides printed. Broadsides are an early type of poster. This broadside advertises the Buckeye Mower and Self-Raking Reaper. Farmers could have used a catalog from the company to choose equipment and would have ordered by letter.
In 1859, W.H. Slingerland received this medal for raising and showing a “Bull Calf” named Morgan. Awarded by the New York State Agricultural Society, this medal shows Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture, on one side, and the winner’s name and accomplishment engraved on the other.
Making cheese involved several steps. First, milk was separated into liquid whey and chunky curds. The whey was drained off to leave the curds. A cheese press squeezed out the last bit of liquid, and the blocks of cheese were rubbed with lard or butter to keep out air while the cheese aged.