AGRICULTURE

FARMING NEWS IN 1880


Gordon Lord gathered a number of articles from old newspapers and these were printed the Calais Advertiser in 2002. Here are some exerpts from those quotes. Thanks, Gordon, for sharing your work to give us a better understanding of agriculture in 1880.

From the Machias Union: About 56000 bushels of the 1880 crop of potatoes have been shipped from Calais and St. Stephen…. The price paid farmers has been between 45 cents and $1.05 a bushel. Only one day the dealers clashed somewhat and a dollar or more was paid. The average price is not less than 65 cents per bushel, which would give Washington County farmers an aggregate of $36,000 for potatoes.

From The Machias Republican: In consequence of the ravages of bears at Wesley on the sheep folds in the fields of that place, some of the farmers are selling off all of their sheep. Daniel Rollins and Sewell Quimby sold nearly 100 each the other day.

From the Calais Times: Drovers are buying all the cattle and sheep in this section that farmers will dispose of and dealers in potatoes have agents visiting every farm. It will not be surprising if the community is compelled to look to Boston for its potatoes as it does now for much of its beef.

From the Machias Union: The rule in Washington County is now prevailing of unfenced farms or fields and fenced pastures. (Before then, gardens and dooryards were fenced to keep livestock out and live stock ran loose.) The neat appearance of the fields where this is done is noticeable. The gain as to nature and products is satisfactory, as the land by the road is rich in fertilizing properties floated from the road. (Manure from horses!)

From the Machias Union: Within a few years Mr. F. H. Wiswell of East Machias has built up quite a trade in farm produce. For the year ending December 31, 1880 he shipped 16,278 dozen eggs and 11,763 bushels potatoes. (Wiswell was a merchant and shipper. Many coastal towns in Maine shipped eggs to the Boston market.)

From the Machias Union: Nathan and Fred Vining, sons of Nathan Vining of Cooper have bought the farm of William Creamer, the latter having sold out in Cooper and moved to Baring.

From the Machias Union: Wesley farmers are to commence haying about July 12. Grass on old fields is light but on new laid down fields it never looked better.

From the Machias Union: S. D. Frost of Alexander raised over 500 bushels of potatoes in 1880. John Perkins raised 65 bushels of wheat. Simon Bailey killed a last spring’s pig weighing 355 pounds and Jefferson Spearin a hog about 600 pounds. Steven Spaulding’s rows were filled with well-developed corn. Between the rows of corn was well-developed wheat. The previous year wheat was grown close by. B. W. Tyler had a hen that laid several eggs last season that had 3 separate yolks. He also had a hen that hatched a chicken with four legs, two necks and one eye, all well developed.

From Seattle, Washington Territory, June 24, 1881: Blueberries canned at Columbia Falls, Maine have made their appearance in this market. Last week the East Machias folks residing here gobbled up the blueberries and your humble servant was not able to procure a can: price 25 cents per can.