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The speaker is an 80-year-old White man with a high school education from Lebanon, New Hampshire; he was recorded in 1966.



County: Grafton
State: NH

Commentary:
Lebanon lies along the Connecticut River in the western part of the state. It was the original home to Moor???s Indian Charity School, the antecedent of Dartmouth College. In the mid-nineteenth century, a mill district developed, attracting many workers to the area. The town experienced a further economic boom after the railroad made it a hub to Boston, but declined as the mill district suffered in the 1950s and ???60s; its current population is 13,151. In this segment the speaker shares memories of bygone methods of farming.
Inf: Well I have uh, seen them using some pretty, eh, old implements. I remember watching my father and uh, uh, some hired men swinging the cradle. That???s to cut the grain, ripened grain. Eh, I never learned to do, to swing a cradle. They called the cradle ???armstrong.??? It was much heavier than a scythe, and, uh, every time they took a swipe at the grain, then they laid the grain in a straight row, eh, like, eh, a row of, uh, toothpicks, you know. And they had to rake it up and bale it by hand. Eh, that was, uh, pretty slow and pretty hard and pretty expensive.

After that they had eh, eh was when I first started farming on this place, they had the old drop reaper. And that was pulled by two horses, and it pushed the grain off of my platform in a bundle. And we had to follow behind the drop reaper, and, uh, bind it by hand. And we did it with a, a wisp of the straw. Yeah. And that was backbreaking work. And our arms and our hands got full of briars. And, uh, it was really eh, a tough job. Today, you don???t see any of those machines. Uh, they, they got a reaper and binder next, uh, which, uh, cut the grain and bound it, all by machines and kicked the bundles off behind. And then they had to be, uh, set up. And uh, and dried or weathered in the field.

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