Jacob W. Fawley’s description of how he managed his farm
Jacob W. Fawley was a witness in John Fawley etc. versus Margaret J. Fawley etc. He was a grandson of the late Jacob Fawley and owned a farm about a mile from Margaret’s. The attorney was trying to determine if the elderly widow Margaret J. Fawley should have been able to support herself on her 75-acre farm. The answers by Jacob W. Fawley have a lot of description of farming in 1900.
Question—should his step-grandmother’s farm of 75 cleared acres be enough to support her?
Answer by Jacob: There are so many different ways of farming, that that’s a hard question for me to answer, but, if it was farmed as I farm my land, there could be a good deal. I will tell you how I farm mine—I have between 40 and 50 acres of farming land. I aim to farm one-third of it in corn, on third in wheat, and one third in grass to mow. That takes it all. I keep my horses in the stable till harvest, and my cows, cattle, sheep and hogs in the woods. This year I had 12 acres in wheat, and I threshed 177 bushels, and I mowed 16 acres, making 13 or 15 ton of hay, and I have 12 acres in corn, which I suppose will make 40 or 50 bushels to the acre. Take that land on an average with mine, it ought to do near the same.
Question: Farming the property as you have above indicated, about how many head of cattle, sheep & c. could be kept on it, per year?
Answer by Jacob: Well, there ought to be 25 head of cattle and cows.
Question: How many people does your farm support?
Answer by Jacob: I have seven children living, and one dead.
Question: State whether or not you have been able to support your family comfortably from your 40 acres of cleared land?
Answer by Jacob: Well, we always have enough to eat and a good place to sleep.