17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, December 16, 1912: Our dearest Ruth left for Sunbury this morning and my heart is rather sad. We killed some pigs and I took a slice off the end of my thumb. Oh sad the day, for I don’t care anything about having a sore thumb.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Butchering hogs is a lot of work. A hundred years ago today, the yard between the house and barn on the Muffly farm was probably filled with scalding troughs and large wooden tripods with hog carcasses hanging from them.
I wonder how bad Grandma’s cut was. A “slice off the end” of her thumb doesn’t sound good. (Click here to read a previous post on how they treated cuts and wounds a hundred years ago.)
Did Grandma miss her sister Ruth or was she being sarcastic? (Personally I might be annoyed if I had a sister who didn’t have to help with the butchering.)
I think that Ruth went to a teachers’ institute. She was a teacher at a one-room school-house near McEwensville. Winter break for the schools began the previous Friday, and I think that teacher institutes were held over the breaks to provide professional development and training for the rural school teachers.
Sunbury is the county seat of Northumberland County and is about twenty miles from McEwensville.