Sold Calf

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, November 20, 1913: My Mollie’s calf over which I have been rejoicing for the past week or two on account of his bigness was sold this afternoon. He weighed 164 pounds. I had figured out a week or so ago that he would just have to weigh at least 145 pounds. Haven’t I something to be thankful for?

Source: Kimball's Dairy Farmer Magazine (February 1, 1913)

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (February 1, 1913)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Mollie was Grandma’s cow. I think that her parents gave each child a cow. When the cow had a male calf, the child got the money from the sale; when it was a female, their personal herd grew.  (See previous post on teaching farm kids the value of money.)

This was the third year in a row that Mollie had a male calf. On December 27, 1912, Grandma wrote:

Sold Mollie’s calf today. It wasn’t a very big one and I rather feared my fortune would be pretty small, but after all it weighed one hundred and forty-four lbs. Received a neat sum of $11.56. I am real proud over what my purse that Ruth gave me contains. Over fourteen dollars.

And, on September 25, 1911 she wrote:

 . . .Sold Mollie’s calf today. Weighed 145 lbs. Came to $10.87. Quite a vast sum to get all at once. Guess I’ll save it and get a watch or something as useful.


I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Mollie has a female calf in 1914. Grandma sounds pleased with the money—but it it’s about time for a girl!

17 Responses

  1. I love her pride in her calf-rearing.

  2. wow wonder how much she got for the 164 pounder!

    • When I divided it out, she got about 7 1/2 cents a pound in 1911 and 8 cents a pound in 1912. Since this calf was bigger, she probably got $12 or $13.

  3. She must have really been pleased at the weight on this one!

  4. On the market today, a feeder calf will bring over $160.

    • Thanks for the info. Calves definitely sell for more today than they did a hundred years ago–though there may not be much difference after adjusting for inflation.

  5. What a great way to teach how to be a farmer, i.e. business!

  6. “Haven’t I something to be grateful for?”…. delightful use of language Miss Muffly xxx

  7. Love this! Also love how she wants to spend it (earlier post) on something useful.

    • She does sound very level-headed and practical when she says that she wants to buy something useful. I wonder if she was ever tempted to buy items that she would have considered frivolous.

  8. She does sound excited about it.

  9. It must have been a huge amount of money back in those days. Lucky Helena! :)

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