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The speaker is an 83-year-old White man with a grade school education from Lancaster, Wisconsin; he was recorded in 1968.
32:20-34:15


County: Grant
State: WI

Commentary:
Among early settlers in southwestern Wisconsin, "taming" the prairies and making them suitable for agriculture was an essential part of homesteading. The speaker tells of some of the difficulties of breaking ground with rudimentary kinds of equipment.
Inf: Well, of course lots of it was uh, the prairie uh, uh, th-this uh, this uh, hadn't been broken up, near where the oaken ground was. And uh, they, they,they broke that with horses and-and oxen, some oxen, and uh, then of course they -

FW: With a plow?

Inf: Yes, with the bracing plows. And uh, they, well, all I uh, when they first started farming out there, I've heard 'em tell about uh, they-they'd sow corn by hand and uh, then -

FW: Broadca- or no?

Inf: And broadcast it you know, by hand. And uh, they were, they used to uh, they'd go and cut a sapling down out in the woods and they'd drag that, hitch oxen onto that, and drag that around over the ground to cover up the corn. They didn't have a harrow at that time.

FW: Yeah, yeah. Apparently not. Yeah, yeah.

Inf: Then after awhile of course they began getting harrows, and the, the, the grain had to be cut and bound. Of course them days the reapers didn't bind, didn't tie it. They'd have to go along, well when they first come out, the reaper first come out, why they had the fellow follow along there to rake it off. And then they got so's they had those rakes. They had those rakes there that went around 'n round and moved that off the end of the platform and then they'd come along binding that, tie it by hands, you know. And then they'd, they'd stack it and thrash it.

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