101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

86. 1894.

Old residents remember 1894 as the worst drought of all times in Iowa. That year father set maple trees along the west side of the orchard for wind breaks. I wanted to plant trees, also, so he gave me some Buckeyes which I planted and when the drought came, watered them often. Being slow growing trees, the buckeyes were soon overshadowed by the maples. But they are still there among the maples as mementos of a boy’s whim to plant something of his own. They would have been very large trees, away from others, but as it is, they are only dwarfs.

We have told of the way in which stock was driven to the North Spring on that summer. Every bit of growing crop had to be conserved most carefully for feed. Uncle Hugh and Bennie Shriver cut corn on the north forty that fall and it was a wonderful sight to see the hills all covered with the corn shocks and there were yellow pumpkins among them everywhere.

The next year, 1895, was a good crop year and father had a wonderful timothy seed crop. That year he built the barn as it now stands and had enough from his timothy seed to pay for it. Much of the material in it was native wood so that it was not an expensive structure. But it will soon be forty years old. Already we were well out of the depression of 1892-93 and for some years afterward, farm life in Iowa was fairly profitable and enjoyable.

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