Physicians often made house calls to care for their patients. Since many physicians traveled by horseback, these saddlebags allowed doctors to transport their medicines and equipment safely. The saddlebags are made of leather and could be put over the back of a horse or over the doctor’s shoulder.
In the early nineteenth century, turnpikes, also known as toll roads, crossed New York State. These roads were much different than modern paved highways. They were little more than dirt roads. These roads gave farmers a route to bring their goods to market. Farmers, and other travelers, had to pay a toll to travel on the roads. The term “neat cattle” refers to cows, bulls, and oxen.
Winter allowed farmers time to travel and socialize. The first stop of many village sleigh rides was often the tavern. People would fill themselves with mulled cider for warmth and eat a deliciously tasty meal.
The Fairbanks family moved to Evans, New York (Erie County), in 1832. Marshall Fairbanks was born to John and Mary Fairbanks in August of 1835. They lived in a frame house on one hundred acres of land. They grew wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, corn, potatoes, bran, and apples, as well as making maple molasses, wine, butter, and cheese on their farm. They also raised cows, swine, and sheep. Many of the goods they produced were used in their family home.
Sometime between 1861 and 1869, Marshall married Jennie, and they lived on his father’s farm. During the years 1870 to 1875, Marshall’s mother died and his father retired, leaving Marshall the farm and making him head of the household by his late thirties. By 1880’s, John had died and Marshall’s nephew, Frank, worked on the farm with him. Marshall and Jennie never had any children.
After plowing, the large clumps of dirt needed to be broken up in order to level the field. To do this, a farmer would have used a harrow like this. The harrow would have been pulled by a strong horse or a pair of oxen. This harrow is called a folding A-frame harrow because of its shape. It has a wooden frame and metal teeth. These “teeth” did the work of breaking up the clumps of soil.
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.