Getting scammed

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

Sometime during Dad’s growing up period, Granddad bought a forty-acre farm with Dad’s approval and assistance. Between them, they got the place paid for but Granddad’s vanity suffered — he was sure the neighbors called him a forty-acre-patch-farmer. He set his sights higher and traded the paid-for forty for an eighty. The deal might have worked out but the dealer pulled a deliberate ‘whizzer’ — he let Granddad read one contract which gave him quite a lot of time to pay off the balance and then switched papers so that the contract he signed gave him a very short deadline.

Granddad lost the place, of course, but took some pride in the fact that he beat the other guy out of the new house he had built. With the help of a neighbor, they moved the house across the road onto someone else’s land. They moved it with rollers and something called a “capstan” — a cable and pulley setup.

Afterward, Granddad accumulated enough of the world’s goods to raise a stake large enough to move out here when he decided to. He does not seem, as I have said, to have been too practical but he was not, so far as I have heard, a wastrel. That is, I have never heard of him being a heavy drinker or gambler or a chaser of women. And as for lack of energy, by the time a son is grown up, his father is almost certain to be on the physical slide downhill.



As for the girls

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

Hattie married Parker Harvey — remained in Iowa — had two daughters and died young. [Hattie’s children — Hazel, Harold and Grace. Stella still living.]

Emma married Thomas Bay — they moved out here after died after the others. She died after having two children — Mabel and Forest. Grandma and Grandpa raised them.

Ruby married Levy Long — eventually he moved to Canada and in the Twenties moved back here to the states. She had three children: Aurel, Adrian and Sylvan [Cleon S.. I don’t think he [Elias] ever succeeded in farming out other members of the family as he had Dad. The girls may have worked out some but they would not have received much more than board and a clothing allowance. John worked out but was less steady and was more disposed to spend his time and money on private hell-raising and got into at least one scrape that cost them money. Myron was still just a kid and I have gathered that he felt that he had a tough enough ‘row to hoe’ also, just staying with the family.

What do you do with the family photos that don’t fit into the story? I can’t find Helen in the text, but here she is early on. Might she be Hazel?


And then much later.

Matters of courting

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

During this period, that is, after he was old enough to own a horse and buggy, Dad kept company with a number of girls — one was a school teacher, one was a German girl named Rachel Riel. He might perhaps have married her, if he had been ready to settle down and there had not been so much opposition from her clannish German kinfolk. He came close to a shoot-out with an uncle of hers. When he brought her home one night, the uncle threatened him with a shotgun. He had his pistol drawn and the girl got between them and ordered her uncle in no uncertain terms into the house. He met the man she finally married a good many years later. He seemed convinced that Dad and Rachel had been intimate but did not seem to hold any grudge. Dad asked what made him think so, he was sure Rachel never told him anything like that.

There was another girl that he took out a few times, chiefly because she was eminently respectable — someone had spread the story that no ‘good’ girl would go out with him.

Dad was very fond of square dancing. The school teacher was the only person he ever tried “round” dancing with. [I think the teacher’s name was Jenny Reel.]

At about the time he met Mom, he had decided he would never get married. After meeting her, he suddenly changed his mind and was never quite sure why he did. It was customary in those days to ask the parents for the daughter’s hand but Dad refused to do that so they both went to her parents and simply told them. Her parents were somewhat miffed about it.

Grandfather Elias was somewhat peeved merely because he had got married and assumed the financial responsibility of a wife. I don’t know just what he [Elias] was doing during this period. He lived on farms altogether, I think, and did various moving around — renting and sharecropping. Dad thought of him as being neither too practical or too energetic but those were the days before welfare programs and he could not have raised five children and kept a wife without considerable effort on his part even with Dad’s help. The three girls — Hattie. Emma and Ruby — eventually married.

A few facts about buggies

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

The other case — Deck was a tight-fisted man though prosperous He had had to be tight, of course, in order to survive and prosper. He once told Dad that he had milked his cows on the lee side of a barbwire fence when he first settled there. Accordingly, it is understandable that he usually tried to make do with what he had. This story requires a little explaining — the old fashioned one-horse buggy had wooden shafts that went up along each side of the horse to the hames at the shoulder. The harness tugs, also fastened to the hames, were hooked to a singletree at the buggy. Well, a proper buggy harness had a specially constructed hanger or boot on each hame to support and hold the shaft ends which had metal ferrules a foot or so long with a wider metal disk at the back end of the ferrule. Deck’s buggy was an old trap to begin with and he was too tight to buy a regular buggy harness; so, when the buggy was used, an ordinary harness was cobbled up to make it work. Dad’s system was to take a long hame strap fastened around each hame and then wrapped several times around the shaft and then buckled up good and tight. The horse pulled with the singletree and held back with the shaft ends.

One day, Mrs. Andrews had some lady guests — prospers relatives from the city. The ladies decided to visit on of the neighbors and Dad was instructed to harness the horse and hitch it to the buggy — which he did in the usual way — ‘and the ladies took the buggy and made the trip to where they were going without incident. It must be remembered that though women drove horses in those days, they did not normally pay any more attention to the horses or the equipment than most modern women do to their cars. Well — having arrived without mishap. the, ladies got out and went in the house. One of the menfolk unhitched the horse and put it in the barn. Later, when the ladies were ready to leave, someone — probably someone else — re-hitched the horse and, not being familiar with the wrap-around arrangement, merely slung the shafts loosely in the straps — which would have been satisfactory so long as the horse did not go downhill or stop suddenly. The ladies got part way home all right but somewhere, having to go downhill, the heavily loaded buggy pushed the shafts through the loose sling straps and the horse, frightened by the buggy hitting him in the hindparts, ran away, busted up the buggy and dumped out the womenfolk. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but by the time Jen got home she was really stirred up. She told her husband angrily what had happened and he tried to blame it on Del (Dad). Mrs. Andrews said Dell had nothing to do with it. It was the man at the other place who didn’t know how to put together the mess of junk that she had to use. “And Dexter, there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a new buggy and harness, and what’s more you are going to get one!” For once, Deck broke down and bought some new equipment.