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Farmers of Granville County, North Carolina

[ Part 2 of 2 ]

MR. NIELDING KNOTT, Oxdies, N. C., boasts of belonging to the hard knuckle aristocracy, and the results of his hard licks are told in the following statements:

To obtain pure seed winter oats, sow in spring, and thus it escapes all "filth," such as cheat, cockel, spelt and the like; the oats ripening before these "pests." (We have been told since that if seeded in the spring the filth will not appear even.)

The day was damp, and in his packing-house we found "fire pans" in full blast. These pans contained coal, and made of sheet iron, set on logs; also pots and ovens used for the same purpose. Tobacco was hung up as close as it could be forced together in this packing-house. The object being to prevent its coining in too high order and thereby endangering its color.

Cured this year ninety and nine barns of fine yellow tobacco, average weight 500 lbs. Never lost a barn by fire. Renters lost two last year. Last year's crop averaged over $40 per cwt., the highest price obtained being $90, the lowest $7.00 for dark tips. Has sold one two-horse wagon load of 1,800 lbs. for $1,226--an average of over $65,50 per cwt. Often sells loads that bring him $800, $900, and $1,000.

Has on the top of each barn three trap windows, which he keeps closed while yellowing and until yellowed; then uses them as ventilators, as needed. After the tobacco is thoroughly cured, bulks in wind-rows and weights it down, where it remains for two days, then hangs in packing-house as close as possible. Keeps most tobacco hanging--thinks it keeps better.

Three years ago sold from one acre in tobacco $600. In 1878 average sale of every acre planted was $500.

MESSRS. WM. A. & C. G. HARRIS, Oxford, N. C., live with their mother, Mrs. S. E. Harris, cured 33 barnes of yellow tobacco this fall; average weight 500 lbs; lost no barn by fire. The highest price obtained for any portion of last year's crop, was $71,50, and their entire crop averaged $30 per cwt. Use the ditch flues; prefer them to all others. Worked this year eight hands and four horses. Cultivated 120,000 tobacco hills. Two bales of cotton have been raised to the acre on the land they now produce this fine tobacco. Wages paid for men from $80 to $125 per year, and extra compensation during the season of cutting and curing, when their services are required day and night as needed. Think the crop raised on new ground better than that on lots. Stands drought better. Prepares tobacco and, first, by thorough plowing, then use sweep in cultivation. Plants in checks. Run sweep, if possible, after every rain, and scrape with hoe after first rain when planted. Raised this year in addition to tobacco crop 100 bbls. corn, 250 bushels of oats, and 60 bushels of wheat. Think tobacco should not follow wheat; prevents its yellowing. Cannot  make yellow tobacco after Irish potatoes;  will turn black in spite of all efforts to yellow.

If the average farmer in Granville possessed the energy and knew as much about farming as
MRS. MARTHA TAYLOR, Oxford, N. C., the general result would be many times augmented in the county of Granville. Worked 14 hands and 5 horses. Cured 15,000 lbs. of fine yellow tobacco. Made 218 barrels of corn, which was not over a half a crop on account of the drought. Made 460 barrels of corn on the same land 2 years ago. Sowed a small crop of wheat; harvested 80 bushels, and 400 bushels of oats. Paid out $110 for fertilizers. Prefers the "Anchor Brand" for tobacco. Her farm is tended on shares, and yet it receives her personal attention and supervision. Has had tobacco flue cured for four years. Never lost a barn by fire. The present crop is well cured and in every sense a No 1 crop of yellow tobacco. We doubt if there is a plantation in the county managed with more comfort, satisfaction and profit. All stock are fat and sleek, and receive their bountiful meals at her hands. Always has corn and bacon for sale, and neither crib nor smoke-house is ever empty. Regular work-horses are allowed 24 ears of corn per day, and are fed in the following order: 6 ears in the morning, 8 at noon, and 10 at night. Mules are allowed 15 ears of corn a day, in this order; 5, 4 and 6. Will kill over 2,000 lbs. of pork. Has paid cook and washer-woman out of smokehouse this year, and sold to other parties, and yet, like Wyman's egg-bag, there is no end to its supply--that is, the end is never reached before a new supply is on hand. The old ham we ate at her table has but "few equals and no superiors." Here is her recipe for curing them: Tablespoon full of black pepper and teaspoon full of salt-petre, to be applied before salting; put pepper under the bone and salt-petre on the thick (fleshy) part; then salt and let it remains in bulk from 4 to 5 weeks, according to size. Then make a paste of hickory ashes and apply on flesh side. Hang and smoke with hickory wood. Keep hanging and there will be no danger of bugs. Her smokehouse is ceiled and filled in to the top with earth. This keeps the house cool and excludes rats; and the floor (earth) is dug out and filled in with pounded flint rock.

To fatten a pig: Bake ash-cakes and feed it to them in buttermilk.

There are few farmers in our comity who could not learn most valuable lessons from her excellent management

FRANK J. TILLEY, Knap of Reeds, worked on home place hands and 4 horses. Cured 18 barns of  fine bright tobacco. The barns will average 550 lbs--which gives him a tobacco crop of 9,900 lbs--all nicely cured and handled. Last year's crop of tobacco was destroyed by hail. His crop of 1877 averaged him $52 per cwt. Uses stable manure broadcast; but would advise, for general use, to be applied in the hill. Drills the fertilizer. On thin land has used wheat-straw in connection with fertilizer to great advantage on tobacco crop. Used fertilizer at the rate of 75 to 80 lbs. to the thousand plants; from which he made 300 lbs to the thousand hills. 150 lbs is an average crop. Turns over green broom-sedge in the month of August; lets it "go over" one year, then makes a crop of fine tobacco. Prefers the "Oronoka' tobacco--it will cure quicker and stand heat better; runs heat to 120 degrees in ten hours, 130 degrees in twenty-four (24) hours; and when killing out the stem and stalk runs to 220 degrees, Finishes a barn in three days and three nights; 24 hours for coloring; 24 hours for curing the leaf and 24 hours for killing out stem and stalk. Has the genuine "Oronoka," and will plant entire crop of it in the future. The leaves compare in growth with the "Gooch" tobacco--there is a little difference in shape--the "Oronoka" being somewhat shorter.

Has had no experience in bulking, either before or after it, is picked--save for a few days after picking. By hanging it is sweeter and becomes more uniform in color. Raises the sweetest tobacco that is sold. There is no loss of weight by hanging.

For plant beds he digs in (deep) stable, hog pen or hen-house manure. If, after the plants are up, the land indicates looseness, from freezing or any other cause, the beds are thoroughly packed with the feet. Gives young plants frequent top dressing with Peruvian Guano before rains; this Guano acts quicker and is preferred for plant beds.

Both tips and lugs of the "Oronoka" tobacco color well. Barns are located in his grove, where they are protected against the wind. In addition to his tobacco crop, raises home supplies in abundance.

ALEX. H. BRAGG, Tally Ho,  thinks the Anchor Brand fertilizer the best he ever used on tobacco. Nothing yellows tobacco on the hill like it. Worked one man, a boy and one horse. Time mostly given to the manufacture of tobacco. Product of farm the present year was 2,000 lbs. of fine yellow tobacco. Corn crop was cut short by the drought, but he made 30 barrels. The farm upon which he lives is well suited to  the production of wheat and oats; one half of it being of a red, stiff clay.

MR. CALEB ADCOCK, Wilton, Granville County, N. C., has cured tobacco with coal and flues for twenty years and never lost a barn by fire. Works self, plow-boy and one share hand. Present crop is 4,000 lbs. of fine yellow tobacco, which, at prices he has obtained for several years past $25 round for entire crop) will bring him $1,000. Makes corn, wheat, pork, &c., for family use. Soil is a light sand--sub-soil is yellow, sand clay, and generally 5 or 6 feet before a stiff red clay is reached. Makes finest tobacco on old field land, using stable manure in drill.

MR. LEE MINOR, living on the plantation of Alex. H. Bragg, Esq., with a man and woman, and one horse cured 4,000 lbs. of fine tobacco. Made 50 barrels of corn, 40 bushels of wheat and other home supplies. Uses and prefers the Anchor Brand fertilizer.

M. C. WASHINGTON, Knap of Reeds, Granville County, N. C., worked three hands and two horses, cultivated 50,000 tobacco hills, which he has cured and handled nicely, and will weigh out 7,500 lbs. Last crop was totally ruined by hail. Thinks Gilliam's fertilizer the best he ever used on tobacco land. Besides tobacco crop made 55 bushels of wheat, (short crop,) 70 bushels of oats, and 50 bbls. corn..

ROBT. J. STEM, ESQ., Tally Ho, N. C., worked this year four hands and two horses. Cured 12 barns fine yellow tobacco; average weight of barns 450 pounds, or a total of 5,400 pounds. Last crop, highest price $101 per cwt.; lowest price $10 per cwt. for "trash." Tops at 12 to 24 leaves; latter on very rich lot land to make it fine; on thin land would top at 10 leaves. Thinks well of Gilliam's fertilizers. Drills stable manure with these. Never lost a barn by fire. Corn crop short--100 barrels; wheat 100 bushels; oats killed out by severe winter. For fine tobacco prefers corn land rested one year. Uses slab flue. Some of his neighbors use no sheet iron in the construction of their flues--only rock. Takes less wood and can keep a more uniform heat. Ventilates over furnace  and in gable ends at top. He knows what to do with a crop of fine tobacco!

MR. HENRY HAILEY, Mt. Energy, N. C., worked the past summer two hands and one horse. Result: 3,--200 pounds fine yellow tobacco, 40 barrels corn (short crop,) 50 bushels wheat and 40 bushels oats. Purchased no fertilizers. Used cotton seed composted with stable manure. The result was as satisfactory as that of any fertilizers ever used. Thinks his tobacco crop more than an average in quality, owing to the favorable fall. Used sweep altogether in cultivation of tobacco. Keeps tobacco hanging in pack-barn as tight and dark as can be made in frame house that is not ceiled. Keeps hanging, after picked, until May (if not sold before,) then bulks and lets it remain until marketed.

W. R. AVERETT, Oxford, N. C., cured 16 barns yellow tobacco this fall; average weight 500 pounds. Never lost a barn by fire. Last year's crop of tobacco averaged $25.50; highest price $96; lowest $8. Corn crop suffered from drought. Lost half his hogs with worms! Has some very fine porkers--300 pounds.

MR. JOSEPH BIRCHETT, Tally Ho, hired one hand, worked one horse and cultivated 20,000 tobacco hills; cured 2,500 lbs. fine tobacco. Made better crop of corn than he made last year. Has lived for several years past on Mr. Clement's land. Has recently purchased land.

MR. J. W. CURRIN, Oxford, N. C., never lost a barn by fire; has cured 25 barns this fall, average weight 600 lbs. Last crop averaged $22 per cwt. Present crop is superior to last. Highest price obtained for any of last crop $70; lowest (sand lugs) $8 per cwt. Uses Smith's return-heat flue. Thinks fires occur from having flues too near logs, and carelessness in firing. Wants large furnaces. Ventilates two or two and a half feet above furnace and pipe; heat escapes at top under comb. Corn crop very good; estimated at 100 barrels; wheat crop 182 bushels; 250 bushels oats; peas and potatoes for home consumption. Keeps improved stock of hogs; April pigs weigh 150 lbs. at 8 or 9 months old.

MR. JNO. F. CANNADY, Wilton, N.C., worked five hands and four horses this year. Hires colored labor by the month for the year. Have worked very well. Cured 19 barns fine yellow tobacco, averaging 500 pounds. Corn crop 100 barrels; wheat 144 bushels; oats 150 bushels. Has sold leaf tobacco as high as $285 per cwt. Raises fine crops tobacco after peas, if not followed before Spring. Sows clover more for improvement  of land than pasture. Cuts for hay orchard grass and clover sowed together. Prefers new ground and old field (broom sedge) for tobacco. Wheat land is allowed to rest two years and then put in tobacco. Keeps tobacco in bulk in dark room; hangs only enough to keep stripping when season comes. When picked hangs again on sticks and lets it remain on sticks until loaded for market. Pack house (frame buildings is 18x18 feet, 18 feet pitch, tier, poles all the way up, starting ten feet from ground floor so as to give packing room. Shed and strip room attached; 14x18 feet with light from the north. This is important, as the light from this point is more steady and uniform. When first cured should be put in bulk; if allowed to come in order will change color. Has built every house on the place since the end of the war except dwelling, which he built in 1861. Dwelling and all necessary out buildings in excellent condition. Fertility of land is being much increased under his system of fallowing peas on light, sandy land, and clover on stiff land. Has no red land. Low grounds are stiff, and here he fallows clover with marked advantage. Acres, 350; one-third of which is in original growth, some 25 acres in second growth and old field. Balance in cultivation, affording him a three-year shift. Stock of hogs are of the Berkshire breed, which weigh 150 pounds at twelve months old. His neighbors speak of him as a model farmer, and our observation confirms this encomium.

MR. THOS. R. AVERETT, Oxford, N. C., never lost a barn of tobacco by fire. Cured this year thirty-three barns yellow tobacco, averaging 500 pounds. Peruvian Guano makes pounds. No trouble to make tobacco yellow on his land. Last crop tobacco averaged $25 per cwt. Works five hands and three horses. Corn crop 'cut short' by drought; estimated at 100 barrels. Wheat 125 bushels; oats 200 bushels. Corn land is seeded in peas at last plowing of corn. As soon as the corn is gathered and his hogs have picked the peas, he sows this land in wheat. Had rather follow tobacco after corn or oats than wheat. To make fine yellow tobacco the land must be suitable. Most profitable to raise medium size tobacco, say 18 or 20 inches. Raises this on broom straw--old fields. Thinks lot land tobacco is better than new grown this year. This is not generally the case. For several years past has worked two hands and cleared $1.200 per year. His present tobacco crop, will pay better than. this. Sells other farm produce enough to pay farm (not family) expenses.

SAM'L J. CURRIN, Henderson, N. C., worked this year four hands. and two horses. Result, 13 barns fine yellow tobacco--average weight 550 pounds; 75 barrels corn, 50 bushels wheat (short crop) and 200 bushels oats. Last tobacco crop averaged $22.70. Highest price for any portion $95 per cwt.

Expenses of producing this year's crop $170, which includes labor and fertilizers. At prices obtained for last crop present crop is worth $1500. Tops tobacco at twelve leaves. Yellows better than if topped higher. Old field will stand heavier manuring than lots.

MR. DENNIS TILLEY, Knap of Reeds claims to have been the pioneer in the art of coal curing tobacco in this county. From him we learn the following facts: The first coal cured tobacco he over saw was exhibited to him by Mr. Jennings, of the firm of Smith & Jennings, some time before 1861. And without recipe or instructions as to curing, Mr. Tilley cured the same year, one barn coal cured tobacco. Sold the lugs (very few) at $10, and leaf at $30. If there had been coal cured tobacco in Granville county he had never seen a leaf or bundle. The next year he cured three barns, which he sold in Oxford to Messrs. Kingsbury & Taylor, at an average price of $25 or $30 (can't now say which.) The next year he cured five barns which he sold to Messrs. Hobgood & Reams, the finer grades at $90, and the balance at $25 "round." Next year sold eight barns with large crop red tobacco, fillers , at $20. This was before the war. During the war, raised but little. After the war discovered the value of this yellow tobacco, and since then has raised large and profitable crops. Has always led the market by about $25. Planted four acres, then new ground, expended $60 for fertilizers, coal cured it and sold $2.400 worth of tobacco from these four acres; 1,400 lbs of which averaged $1 per pound. Has sold 1,500 lbs in Richmond in the month of January, at an average of $50 per cwt. Thinks that since the war every pound of fine tobacco raised and handled under his immediate supervision, has averaged $50 per cwt or over--including lugs, tips, and trash. Another crop of 30,000 hills, say six acres, very thin land sold for $2.600.

Present crop, 39 barns, average weight 450 lbs. Is always satisfied with a fair price and never holds when he can get it. Thinks this the best plan. Has never exhibited any tobacco at any count, district or state fair that it did not take the premium.

Burns plant beds during the first good weather after Christmas. Uses stable manure freely, digging in deep. For top dressing of plants uses Peruvian Guano or "A. A." Plants stand 3 feet 2, inches each way. Cultivates with turning plow, but never throws dirt from the plants. Keeps as much hill to it as possible. If planted in hills they should be large. Tobacco stands wet and drought alike better. Thinks much of the complaint made of fertilizers of known value should be attributed to small hills. Checks and plows (old land) both ways--if position of land admits of it.

Tobacco stalks are rotted in stable with straw and composted with muck. Never puts tobacco stalks unless rotted on tobacco land. Has succeeded well in raising tobacco after wheat; does not say it is best or as good after wheat. Has succeeded well after a pea fallow, especially on field land, where it cures yellow on the hill.

Worked this year twelve hands and seven horses. In addition to tobacco crop raises provisions for home supply.

As soon after curing as the tobacco is in proper order it is taken down and put in bulks to flatten, so that it can be hung close and smooth. Here it remains for a few days. when it is hung up and remains hung until stripped. Then hangs again and, 'here it remains until marketed. To make sweet tobacco, it must be thoroughly ripe when cut.

In damp weather runs coal fires under tobacco. Large Kettles are kept for that purpose. Ventilators over furnace, between furnace and log. If the gables are cabin style, has no ventilation at top--as these are not very tight. Consumes 3 large two horse loads of wood in curing barn of 400 sticks. Although Mr. Tilley has not been able for the last few years on account of infirm health, to give his personal supervision to all the minutia of the farm, he has still directed its operations in a judicious and profitable manner, evinced in neatness and order which everywhere prevail.

MR. JOHN PHIPPS, Berea, worked 4 hands and 3 horses. Lost one barn by fire; cured fifteen, average weight 500 lbs. Land fine--well adapted to fine tobacco. Uses Peruvian Guano at rate of 50 lbs to the thousand hills; applies in drills then checks. After first plowing uses sweep; saves time and does better work. Is partial to the Farmers Friend plow. Corn crop suffered from drought; always makes corn enough and wheat to sell. Oat crop 125 bushels.

Prefers tobacco to follow corn, land to rest one year. Uses tobacco stalks to litter stables. Would not apply them on tobacco land unless thoroughly rotted. Highest price obtained for any portion of last year's tobacco crop was $130 per cwt. We risk no contradiction in setting him down as a good farmer.

MR. J. J. MEADOWS, Tally Ho, Granville county, may be set down as a "minute man," and a successful farmer. Result of this year's farming including five barns cured by rentors: Worked eight hands and five horses. Cured 38 barns fine yellow tobacco, crop somewhat damaged by flea bugs. Barns will average 500 lbs. Corn crop seriously damaged by drought--140 barrels. Wheat 280 bushels. Sowed oats on corn land, they died out and returns poor.

Spent on present crop of tobacco $105 for Peruvian Guano. 200 lbs. per acre when used alone, half this quantity when used with stable manure. Stable manure and coal dust, equal parts, single hand full to the hill, and 30 lbs. Peruvian to the thousand hills will make large yellow tobacco. Lot land, if firm and sandy soil, will make finer tobacco than new ground. Has known such land to produce fine tobacco for fifteen years in succession. Never cultivated new ground in tobacco the second year. Prefers for tobacco crop corn land rested one year. New ground should rest the second year. Should not be sowed in wheat. The third year will make finest crop. Favors high topping, 14 to 16 leaves, and high priming, if not, the ground leaves afford too good a hiding place for worms.

Hanging for curing: six to seven plants on a stick; and sticks ten inches apart in barn. Much tobacco is injured by putting too thick in barn. Takes a young man to cure successfully.

Has had but little experience with commercial fertilizers. Expects to use on next crop Peruvian guano and Gilliam's fertilizer (Anchor Brand) mixed in equal parts. On twenty and a half acres in 1877 raised 12,000 lbs fine tobacco and sold for $2440.

Sows winter oats in August or September after wheat or oats--will die out if seeded after corn, the ground being too clean--not protection enough for the young oats.

Wages and feeding of No. 1 hand will cost $150 per year. Hires only men, don't pay to hire boys. If worked with men the men will only do as much work as the boys. Boys require too much watching.

Is partial to the Fultz wheat. Two ounces blue stone to half gallon water will sprinkle two bushels wheat with same result as if soaked. To roll in wood ashes is equally as effective.

Was the first man to use the double return flue. When cured, shingles in long rows, from right to left. Would prefer to pen if he had room. When stripped, hand on stocks, bulks lapping with heads out, then weights down and lets it remain here until ready for market, In loading, lays sticks cross way in wagon and then pulls stick out. Can load wagon in an hour.

Average price of land in his neighborhood $10 per acre. Fifty years ago the same land sold for $1.50 to $2 per acre.

W. M. BLACKWELL, ESQ., Oxford, N. C., experimented in flue-curing a portion of his tobacco crop of 1878, and sold the same $24-75 "round.'This encouraged him, as it would "any other man," and he cured of last crop 4000 lbs. Thinks he "slipped up" on the Gooch Tobacco--not suited to his land (if to any) for flue-curing. It is light in weight, and disposed to "frog eye." And yet he succeeded in curing very well, and will carry to market a nice lot of bright tobacco. But he is satisfied with nothing unless it is "right all over," and will improve on next crop.--The secret of his success in life has depended upon practicing the precept that "what is worth doing, is worth well doing." There is not a farm in the country where this "well" is more strictly observed. No shoddy work about him. Will sow yellow Orenoka and Bald Face seeds for next tobacco crop.

Sows the Rust Proof oat, and would pay $10 per bushel for them if he did not have them and knew their value as well as he does now. This is a heavy oat; weighing 37 1/2 lbs. to the bushel, (a gain over the standard weight of 5 per bushel.) They are equally  as good for winter or spring seeding. From 4 bushels of the Burt oats, on 4 acres lot land, seeded the first week in March, and cut the first week in June, over 200 bushels. Prefers the Rust Proof oat. While they do not grow so high as others, they more than make up for this "short coming" of straw in weight and head.--Will make double the seed of any other he ever seeded. Thinks no more of oat straw as forage than he does of wheat straw. No crop upon which he has applied fertilizers has paid him better than the oat crop. Thinks there is no successful farming in this section without fertilizers. Experience teaches him that if judiciously applied, and the party using them does not mortgage or go in debt for them, it is a good investment.

Has 22 acres in clover and orchard grass, and an excellent stand. Seeds in the month of February on wheat, drags in; this benefits the wheat, and secures a good stand of clover. Grazes two years, then puts in oats or corn. Will not give up his red lots, will keep them for clover, and cultivate only enough to keep down the broomsedge.

Is partial to Dixon's Compound, which he prepares after this formula: Salt, Peruvian Guano, dissolved bone and plaster of equal parts. This makes a No. 1 fertilizer, cheaper and better than cotton seed for tobacco or corn, 200 lbs. to the acre. Used this in drill on tobacco, and has made 1300 to 1400 lbs. red tobacco to the acre of entire crop planted.

Thinks Alison & Adison's "Complete Wheat Manure" equal to Peruvian Guano.

On his corn crop he applied a spoonful of Peruvian Guano and dissolved bone in hill and near corn when planted, and the same quantity by the side of corn at second plowing.

Last crop of wheat, 190 bushels, was the shortest he has made since the war; was seriously damaged by freshet. Corn crop, 150 barrels, also short, from drought.

Plan of applying manure for tobacco: Run off furrow, put in stable manure, cover up with plow, let it remain several weeks, then open small plow or cultivator, put in fertilizer and bed on it. Also composts stable lot manure and scrapings for tobacco.

If the same precaution that he takes to prevent washes and gullies were exercised by the farmers of the county generally, the aspect of the country would be very different form what it is. He allows nothing of the kind on his land! We are asked, how he prevents it? We reply, by attention.

Manages to sell a horse every year by raising colts. And there are no finer horses than these to be found in this section. Thinks many horses are ruined by being starved while growing. Many horses cannot be made fat on this account without subjecting them to rheumatic opthalmia and specific opthalmia. The condition and temperament of the colt have been ruined by improper surroundings and care while growing, and they can never, afterward, be repaired.

Dark or dimly lighted stables, and especially those in which what little light enters must strike the horse directly in the eye, have an injurious effect and are predisposing and exciting causes of opthalmia. His colts, are stabled and fed regularly, as everything else is on the place. The stables are constructed with an eye to convenience and comfort, and are kept well littered with pine straw and oak leaves.

Sells pork or bacon every year. Thinks salt is as necessary for hogs as for any other stock. Has never lost a hog with cholera, because he gives them ashes and salt regularly.

Gates, fences and all buildings are kept in "apple pie order," and were we not afraid of shocking his native modesty, we would say he is in every respect one of our model farmers, and his success is the best evidence we can give to substantiate our position.


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