The community I grew up in, located on the prairies of Saskatchewan, is celebrating their 100th anniversary next summer and it was my job as keeper of the family history and pictures to summarize each family for the inclusion in a community history book. I remember the last one was published 25 years ago and I still enjoy paging through the old pictures and stories. I am amazed at how tough our ancestors and pioneer families had it back at the turn of the century.
I was just mailing the family stories Saturday when I ran across an old Farmer's Almanac by Robert Thomas published 100 years ago. He proudly announced that it was the new and improved plan for 1904 and this was his 112th issue. As a youngster I remember my mother talking about the Farmer's Almanac and telling us what kind of a winter we were going to have based on it's predictions.
He predicted two eclipses in 1904, both eclipses of the sun, set for March and September. I chuckled at his "Farmer's Calendar," which stated for January "the farmer of today, if he would succeed, must be tireless in devotion to his work, and farm the year around. To be sure hand-work slackens somewhat now, but head-work need not; hence he finds midwinter a good time for mental exercise, for study, reading, and for conference with others, a good time to determine his summer's campaign."
From the stories that I wrote about my families, all my ancestors, both on my fathers' and mothers' sides homesteaded the prairies of southern Canada between 1912 and 1918. So it was about this time, in 1904 when this almanac was written that they were in their early teen years.
In February the almanac says, "Are you spreading the manure on the snow this winter? It is the best way to do on many pieces where the snow is not too deep. More plant food is apt to be lost by heating and leaching at the barn than when it is thus spread."
Theodore Roosevelt of New York was president and made $50,000 a year and the vice presidency was vacant, because Roosevelt succeeded to the presidency following President McKinley's death.
I found his comments titled, "Wealth of Recent Creations," interesting. He pointed out that, "without examining the figures one can hardly realize the magnitude of wealth prediction due to recent inventions and discoveries. There are today a constant enlargements of property from sources which had no existence a few years ago. By comparing the dates derived from, the Untied States censuses we may gain a comprehensive view of the immense development of values of this kind."
"Leaving out of account the expansion of old industries through new inventions, the following table, condenses from the census reports shows the progressive enlargement of product in the more important entirely new industries, that is, industries directly created by inventions and discoveries since 1850." some of the items in this category include bicycles, electroplating, explosives, glucose, motor vehicles, photographs, cash registers, sewing machines, and typewriters.
I can at least remember what these new inventions looked like back in the 1950's when I was a child, but my children probably have never seen a typewriter or can't remember their great-grandmothers' sewing machines.
Advance this picture 100 years and we talk about our digital cameras, plasma televisions, DVD players, text messaging from our cellular phones, global tracking devices and updating our phone lists on our new palm pilots.
I don't think my grandpa had any idea what this world was coming too when he forged the Snake River back in 1912 with his six little children coming from England to begin a new life.