Fond recollections of growing up on a family farm. Written by Harold Eddleman.
The Great Depression of the 1930s was ending as my parents moved their young family to an abondoned field near Pilot Knob Hill in 1939. Great changes for America and the rest of the world were to enfold in the next twenty years. Many of those changes affected this 60 acre general farm. The philosophy of farming was about to undergo momentous change from subsistence to massive production on a business basis. I became an agricultural student at Purdue University in 1950 and visited most of the United States and Europe during 1950-58, I can chronicle those years from first-hand experience. I map is being placed at the bottom of this page.
I am writing these pages as a tribute to Claude and Bertha, my parents, and to relive those exciting years of change on our farm and in the nation. Pilot Knob Hill is on Indiana State Highway 66, five miles south of Marengo in Crawford County, Indiana, USA. I always intended to write a history of Crawford County, but I have given up on that project. These pages will be my effort to preserve some of the details of the changes in Crawford County from the great depression to post WWII.
Some people would say I grew up in proverty, in Indiana's poorest county, during The Great Depression, attending a one-room country school, and living on Zanesville soil type, one of the least fertile soils in the mid-west. While those facts are true, we were not poor in material or spirit.
None of the following pages is finished. Many of the pages are
still in outline form.
Writing some pages will be slowed by the need to determine dates and facts.
* Denotes pages which are barely started.
My ancestors from Germany to Pennsylvania (1733) under British rule, to NC(1765), to KY (1778), Indian Wars, to Indiana (1811), to Milltown. Eddleman Mill on Little Indian Creek.
My father grew up on Eddleman Bend of Blue River north of Millown on an infertile farm. It almost seems the main goal of farming in the 19th century was to get rid of the topsoil. After hearing Dad tell of that farm, I could see the need for the Land Grant Colleges organized in 1870--1890.*
My mother grew up in Harrison County and was only 10 when her mother died. She brought a wealth of competence and a desire to work hard to our family. Konrad Haub, her grandfather, came from Hessen/Darmstadt/Germany in 1850 to escape the bloody wars of European princes.
My parents lived in Milltown on Old Quarry Hill 8 years before moving to Pilot Knob: cow, gardens, wiring postoffices, repairing radios and appliances. My older half sister Dorothy lived nearby.
The Shack - where we lived in 1939 while building our house. I then served as our tool house and grainery. Fishing for chickens?*
To understand the soils of Claude's Farm, you should begin with Geology of Indiana especially the section on southern Indiana Geology. Fox City, hardpan, buckshot soil, erosion, caves.*
Learning in a one-room country school: eight grades, frozen ink, snakes to pester the girls, quail, building the toboggan run, 10 acres of trees and Pilot Knob Hill for a playground, pith airplanes.
After they closed Pilot Knob School we rode the bus to Milltown Public School.*
Building the farm: more land, horses, livestock, tractors, constructing farm buildings.*
The work and pleasures of a typical day and year on our farm. This will approximate 1948.*
The crops and yields: maize, wheat, soybean hay, clover, and erosion control. *
The poultry: market eggs, hatching eggs, broilers; turkeys, ducks, and other flying creatures.*
The orchard: apples, peaches, plums, apricot, cherries, raspberry, blackberry, and strawberries, Mrs. Ritchie's abandoned orchard, Audy Herron's peach trees, Tower's Orchards.*
The gardens: maize, cabbage, beans, onions, potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots, tomato, and more.*
The cattle: Jersey, Guernsey, Holstein, Hereford and Angus. Fescue Ky31 heals the gullies.*
The hogs: Duroc, Poland China, and motley hybrids kept in pens or an acre lot. *
We grew most of our food including flour and butchering our own hogs. We canned on a large scale and dried some fruit.*
How Mom, Margaret Ann, and Betty cooked this bounty for the table. The boys helped some and Dad built a huge popcorn popper. Some of the typical meal menus.*
4-H Clubs: a big factor in our lives. Ruth Ritchie, Roy Ewbank, James Francis, other leaders.
Some of the neighbors. Listening to Wib' Wiser and Dad spin yarns of yesteryear.*
Community work and social activities: threshing and shredder rings and meals. Shivarees and parties. The Halloween Party.*
Churches: where we learned what was right and how the neighbors crops were doing.*
The birds and wildlife. I spent lots of time roaming the woods and fields observing birds and writing stories about them and wondering if I could become a writer about wildlife. Our pet crows. *
Dreams of attending college and how it became possible. College years at Purdue; then the Army.
My travels in USA and Europe 1950 to 1957 as student, soldier, teacher, and scientist.
I hope these tales have entertained my old friends in Crawford County. These pages serve as my autobiography and include some biographical sketches of my childhood friends.
Many farmers have told me they would like to have a web page, but don't know how to get started. You are welcome to use the above for a model. Just press alt-f-a and save this page as "tempage1.htm". Then open "tempage1.htm" in Netscape 3.0 Gold, editor mode, and begin changing everything to fit your interests and save it as "index.htm" and you will have your own home page. See using Netscape.
Most people suffer bouts with modesty and never write their autobiography. However, the internet offers a great opportunity for the people of the world to share their experiences with others. I hope my story of the farm where I grew up will encourage you to write about your farm. When you publish the story of your farm on the internet, please sent me an email so that Farms Around the World can provide a link to lead others to your story. If I do a poor job here, let that inspire you to do a better job of writing about your farm and community.
Red Dot = Location of the Claude Eddleman Farm of 1938. If you click on the map you may be able to zoom in and out on the red dot or change the center of the map. Milltown is the town where we were all born and attended school. The second "L" of Milltown lies on Eddleman Bend of Blue River where Claude Eddleman grew up. Marengo was the town where we did most of our shopping. English was the county seat. Leavenworth on the enormous Oxbow Bend of the Ohio River was a beautiful place to visit. The blue streams near the red dot were the places we enjoyed visiting but it was an hour's walk to get to the permanent water locations. Two-inch minnows were the only fish present. The purple road is I-64 which runs from Louisville, KY, to St. Louis, MO.