Sunday School was Awfully Hot and Stuffy

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

Sunday, June 28, 1914:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. It was held in the Town Hall as the church is not fixed up yet. It seemed like an awful stuffy place and as hot as there was any use in being.

Recent photo of McEwensville Community Hall (Town Hall)

Recent photo of McEwensville Community Hall (Town Hall)

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

The McEwensville Town Hall (or the Community Hall as it is now called) has been around for a long time—and I picture it looking very similar a hundred years ago to how it looks now.

In my imagination I can see clearly see a sweaty Grandma sitting in a folding chair fanning herself with a  church bulletin while barely listening to the a very boring Sunday School lesson.DSC04338

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Inside of Community Hall

What was being done to remodel the McEwensville Baptist Church? The previous Monday Grandma wrote:

Had quite a time at rubbing and washing today, and it wasn’t here at home either. We are going to have the church fixed over, and it was necessary to wash off the walls. . .

 

Detained at Home to Help with Work

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

Saturday, June 27, 1914:  Was going to town this afternoon, but then was detained at home to help with the work.

Photo Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913)

Photo Source: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1913)

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

Oh dear, Grandma, I’m so sorry. You’ve worked so hard for the last two weeks or so—first picking strawberries for wages and then helping harvest hay. A 19-year-old deserves to get Saturday afternoon off so that she can spend a little time with friends in town.

I write this while knowing in my heart that wasn’t the way farms operated. I have very clear memories of working long days when we were making hay when I was a child. Saturday often was an especially busy day, and I’m sure that it was the same when Grandma was young.

The next day was Sunday.  People didn’t work on Sunday’s back then— and there also weren’t accurate weather forecasts a hundred year ago. Grandma’s father was probably very worried that it would rain before Monday.

The old saying “make hay while the sun shines” is literally true for farmers. Farm work is very time and weather sensitive. Hay needs to be dried and brought in from the fields while the weather is good. A thunderstorm can nearly destroy a cut hay crop.

Had to Carry Hay Rope

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

Friday, June 26, 1914:  Oh, I had to carry the hay rope, while Ruthie led the horse.

Hay,Pulley.crop

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

There is a seasonal ebb and flow to the diary—and generally I really enjoy looking at similar diary entries that were written in different years from a different angle each year. But, I hope that you’ll bear with me because I’m going to repost a post for the third time since it so aptly explains what Grandma was describing in this diary entry.

Hay Pulleys and Ropes

(Previously Posted on June 24, 2011 and November 23, 2013)

A hundred years ago hay was not baled. Instead dried loose hay was brought into the barn on a wagon and then hoisted into the mow using a rope and pulley system.

I called my father to get help figuring out what “carry the hay rope” meant. My father guesses that Grandma was half carrying and half dragging the hay rope to keep the horse from inadvertently stepping on it. Let me explain how they used to get hay from the wagon into the haymows.

(Some of you probably know much more about how hay was made in the old days—and please feel free to jump in if I’m not explaining it quite right.)

Dad said that when he was young there were pulleys on a track that ran down the center of the inside of the barn roof. Depending upon where the farmer wanted to pile the hay the pulleys would be moved along the track. A young man with excellent balance would climb up onto a beam in the barn rafters and move the pulleys along the track as needed.

One end of the rope was attached to a large clamp (hay hook) that was used to pick up a large bunch of loose hay from the wagon.

The rope went then went through the pulley system—and the other end of the rope was attached to a horse. On command the horse walked forward and the pulleys lifted the hay into the mow.

The hay was then released and the rope went limp and a portion of it would fall to the barn floor. The horse would then be walked back to the original position and the process would be repeated.

My father says that when he was a child, the adult men did the heavy work, and the children did the easier jobs. His older sister Marjorie would lead the horse as it pulled the hay upward—and then circle it back to the original position after the hay was released.

And my father would pick up the rope when it fell to the floor after the hay was released and keep it away from the horse’s feet. Dad says that if a horse stepped on the rope it would damage it by breaking some of the strands. Then there would be the risk of the damaged rope breaking, which might result in a dangerous accident if it broke while the hay was being lifted.

Making Hay

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

Thursday, June 25, 1914: Let me see, I leaded some hay for today and Daddy growled at the result. We went over to Stout’s this evening to fill up on black cherries (we haven’t any of our own). Nary a one did we get.

This picture is from a different time period. It was taken in the late 1950s, but it’s one of my favorite photos and I thought that maybe it would work as an illustration for this post. It’s a photo of my father and me on top of a wagon load of hay. I think that the hay baler broke that summer, so my father decided to make some hay the “old-fashioned” way.

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

Whew, it sounds like one hot summer job (picking strawberries) must be winding down, and another hot summer job (making hay) gearing up. Will the work ever end?

I think that Grandma was leading a horse that was either pulling a wagon through the hayfield while others piled the hay onto the wagon, or (and I think this is the more likely option) she was leading a horse that was operating a pulley system that was used to unload the hay in the barn.

Warmed Up Stuff

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

Wednesday, June 24, 1914:  Haven’t got nothing, but warmed up stuff today. So there.

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

Hmm. . . What does this diary entry mean?

. . . heated up left –over food? . . . just sitting around and warming up a seat? . . . had a disagreement with someone? . . weather was very hot? . . .

Hundred-Year-Old Ways to Prevent and Treat Sunstroke

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

Tuesday, June 23, 1914:   I Boiled, Baked, and Stewed in the hot sun. Please forgive all the capitals, but I want it to stand out from this page in blaring headlines. It wasn’t a very comfortable feeling to be cooked in so many different ways.

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

Grandma—

Are you still picking strawberries for wages? Take care— You’re young and healthy, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to get a sunstroke.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Sunstroke

The object is to reduce the temperature of the body. Generally, the causes of sunstroke are fatigue and sun heat, therefore, keep the head cool as possible and work in moderation while in the hot sun, and if any unusual dizziness is felt, cold water should be applied to the neck and head.

If the person falls unconscious he should at once be taken to a cool, airy place, and the bystanders should keep away so that the patient can get all the pure air possible. Sunstroke may be known by the respiration and pulse becoming slow and the face pale; give stimulants gradually, but do not use cold water too freely. Place the person on his back, the head being raised about two inches and a little ammonia water [smelling salts] given.

The Compendium of Every Day Wants (1908) by Luther Minter

1914 O-Cedar Mop Advertisement

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

Monday, June 22, 1914:  Had quite a time at rubbing and washing today, and it wasn’t here at home either. We are going to have the church fixed over, and it was necessary to wash off the walls. One girl upset her bucket of water off a step ladder. Had to laugh. I was up near the ceiling, and my laughing made me dizzy. Came down off that ladder and staid down. Didn’t want a fate like the bucket.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1914)

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

What fun. . . and what a mess! Did they use an O-Cedar Mop to clean it up?

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