NEWSLETTER of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
Vol. XXVII, No. 4, November 2010


North Manchester Historical Society Sets

New Membership Levels and Benefits


The North Manchester Historical Society and the Center for History are growing and changing.  The Center for History has greatly increased its permanent exhibits in the past two years.  In order to meet our operation costs, we will now charge a small admissions cost of $3.00 per person, effective January 1, 2011.


As is the case with most other museums, unlimited free admission is extended to Historical Society members.  Memberships are valid for the calendar year.  Membership cards will be issued so that members can show them to receive free admission and other benefits. 


Revised Membership Levels


In the past, we had a Couples Membership equal in cost to an Individual Membership.  We did so because the main membership benefit (besides supporting a very worthy organization!) was receiving the newsletter; only one copy was sent to couples, just as to singles.  Now that the benefits of membership have increased, with free admission to the NMCH and benefits from reciprocal institutions, the membership level for Couples has been separated from the Individual Membership level.  It’s still a great deal considering all the benefits couples receive!


In addition we are instituting two new membership levels, Family Membership and Grandparents Membership.  The Family Membership includes two parents and all children under 19 in the same household.  The Grandparents Membership includes two senior citizens and all grandchildren under 19.


New Membership Benefits


We’ve also been working hard to increase the value of a membership in the NM Historical Society.  We have established reciprocal membership benefits with a number of local, state and national museums.  Benefits include free or reduced admission, gift shop discounts, etc.  For details of participating institutions and the reciprocal benefits offered by, see our web site 


We are very happy to announce that we are now members of the Time Travelers Program.  This program includes 270 locations in 41 states.  Details appear on the Time Travelers website as of January 1, 2011.    Current Indiana participants are:


v Northern Indiana Center for History, South Bend

Free admission and gift shop discount

v Conner Prairie History Park, Fishers

Discounted admission, gift shop discount, restaurant discount

v Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis

Discounted admission

v Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis

Free admission, gift shop discount

v Laporte County Historical Society and Museum, LaPorte

Free admission

v The History Center, Fort Wayne

Free admission, gift shop discount


In addition, we have contacted area museums to set up similar reciprocal benefits.  So far the following institutions are on board.  We are adding more all the time.  Additions will appear on our website. 


v Wabash County Museum, Wabash

v Dr. James Ford Historic Home, Wabash

v Grissom Air Museum, Peru

v Howard County Historical Society (Seiberling Mansion), Kokomo

v Huntington County Museum, Huntington


The following do not charge admission, but would be happy for our members to visit:


v Fulton County Museum, Rochester

v Whitley County Museum (Thomas Marshall), Columbia City


As you can see, membership in the North Manchester Historical Society is a greater value than ever.  PLUS you support our organization and help us serve our community.  THANK YOU!




North Manchester Historical Society

Membership Levels

Memberships are valid from January 1 through December 31


All membership levels except the Newsletter Subscription Only include membership in the national Time Travelers Network, providing benefits (like discounted admission and/or gift shop discounts) in 270 institutions nationwide.


All membership levels  except the Newsletter Subscription Only include reciprocal benefits like discounted admission and gift shop discounts in a network of participating area institutions.  See Website for details:


Individual Membership                                                    $30                        

                Free admission for one year to North Manchester Center for History

                10% discount in Gift Shop

                Quarterly NMHS Newsletter

Couples Membership                                                        $50

Includes two adults in the same household

               Free admission for one year to North Manchester Center for History

                10% discount in Gift Shop

                Quarterly NMHS Newsletter

Family Membership                                                          $60

Includes parents and all children under 19 in the same household

Free admission for one year to North Manchester Center for History

                10% discount in Gift Shop

                Quarterly NMHS Newsletter

Grandparents Membership                                             $60

Includes two senior citizens and all grandchildren under 19

Free admission for one year to North Manchester Center for History

                10% discount in Gift Shop

                Quarterly NMHS Newsletter

Sustaining Membership                                                    $75

All Family Membership Benefits

Special Recognition in Newsletter

Supporting Membership                                                  $100

Includes All Sustaining Membership Benefits, plus free admission for grandchildren

Up to 4 back issues of Newsletter per member choice


Newsletter Subscription Only                                         $20

Please remit payment to--
North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
PO Box 361
N. Manchester, IN 46962



By Robert A. Weimer


“What’s in a name?” asked William Shakespeare.  A lot, as I found out when I finally considered the subject.  Over the years I had occasionally wondered about my own name but I had never given the names of other family members much thought until recently after a remark by my wife’s niece when, in a conversation, I mentioned my cousins by name.


“You all sound like a bunch of southerners” she said.  Since she’s from Minnesota, I thought she had some peculiar speech patterns of her own.  I guess it’s all a matter of where you are from and what you are used to.


We had been talking about Uncle Al’s son, James Richard Weimer, always called Jimmy Dick as a youth and for a much longer time within the family, and Aunt Mabel’s son, John Eugene Paul, always called Johnny Gene. The use of double names like Jimmy Dick and Johnny Gene still seems natural to me.


The use of double names was not uncommon in the 1930s and 1940s in my hometown of North Manchester, Indiana.  In my high school class alone there were Mary Alice Bagwell, Mary Jane Ballenger, Mary Lou Hettler, and Mary Phyllis Smith.  They all used double names and are so shown in our high school yearbook.  Other classes included Jimmy Dick Weimer, Nancy Lee West, Sandra Lee Ambridge, Shirley Ann Hathaway, Lucy Marie Baublit, and Larry Lee Bolinger.  One of Central High School’s basketball stars who graduated shortly before me was John Robert Stauffer, always called Johnny Bob, even in the News-Journal, our local newspaper.  And not just school children used double names.  For example, there was Mom’s friend Mary Louise Little, the daughter of Ivan Little, who helped her father run the local Ace Hardware Store. 


As a boy, the only name I gave much thought to was my own.  I often wondered how I came to be named Robert Allan Weimer, usually when I had just been the object of teasing involving my initials, RAW.  I did make sure that the initials of my children’s names did not spell any known word.  For reasons unknown, I never asked Mom why I was given my name.  There is no Robert in the family trees of either Mom or Dad.  Apparently they merely liked the name as did many others at the time of my birth in 1930.  Robert was the most popular name for boys during the 1930s and 1940s, edging out John which had been the most popular boy’s name for several decades.  John came back to rank first in popularity in the 1950s while Robert fell to second place, then to third place in the 1960s and continued to slowly fall in popularity thereafter.  By the year 2000 Robert was the 33rd most popular boy’s name in the U.S,


I never got a reason for the name Allan either.  I only remember Mom saying once that she liked the Scots spelling with the double l.  She did have Scots ancestry on her mother’s side of the family but again I know of no Allan, however spelt, in the family tree.  But Mom certainly liked the double l spelling.  My sister is Carollyn whose name has been the subject of misspelling as frequently as my middle name.  In fact, Carollyn’s birth certificate has her name recorded as Carolyn.


The popularity of my name did create problems in the school room.  Dad taught at Bridgewater College in Virginia for four years before a position opened up at Manchester College.  We moved back to North Manchester in 1938 and I entered Miss Lucile Wright’s third grade class at Thomas R. Marshall Elementary School or Tommy R as we kids knew it.  Robert Neher, another college professor’s son, was in that class as was still another Robert.  But Miss Wright easily solved the identity problem.  I was always addressed as Bob, my friend Bob Neher was Robert and the third boy was Bobby.  And so we were known in classes for the next four years at Tommy R and so I have been known throughout my life.


Mom’s mother was Laura Jackson but we grandkids always called her Grandma Jack.  She often called me Robin as did Mom when I was a youngster.  Grandma Weimer, on the other hand, and her sisters, my great aunts, always called me Bobbie when I was small.  But I don’t recall Dad, Grandpa Weimer or my great uncles ever calling me other than Bob except for an occasional Robert in a stern voice when they wanted to be sure they had my attention.


My brother, Charles Raymond, was two years younger than me.  Mom said on several occasions that she had not wanted to use the name Charles but that Dad had insisted.  According to Mom, Grandma Weimer wanted that name, perhaps because her grandfather was Charles Hill.  And so Charles my brother was throughout our childhood.  His middle name of Raymond came from Dad’s middle name and that was the name my Grandma Jack always used.  Grandma and Grandpa Jack (Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jackson) were divorced in 1934 and Grandma Jack refused to use the name Charles when referring to my brother, always calling him Raymond.


Except for Grandma Jack, my brother was always called Charles by the rest of the family and by his teachers and classmates through his elementary and high school days A few years ago in the middle of a phone conversation with me, Charles laughed and said, “You know, I can always tell it’s you or someone else in the family calling when you ask for Charles.”  He then explained how upon entering Manchester College he took the opportunity when making new friends to start calling himself Chuck and so he has always been known outside of North Manchester.  Since that conversation I have tried to call him Chuck but more often than not Charles comes out of my mouth.  Old habits certainly die hard.


Uncle Al and Aunt Shirley lived with their two children on West Main Street just five houses east from my grandparents’ home and had their own name problem.  Jimmy Dick was two years younger than my brother Charles and Miriam was the same age as my sister Carollyn.  Miriam’s middle name was Kay and at birth she was called Kay by her parents.  Aunt Shirley had a good friend named Kay who was the source for that name.   But within a year of Kay’s birth, Aunt Shirley and her friend had a violent disagreement and from then on my cousin was always called Miriam.


Robert has been a popular name in the extended Weimer family.  My cousin Bob (Robert J. Weimer) lives in Colorado and we are in frequent contact.  He always signs as Bob Weimer-Colorado and I, in turn, sign as Bob Weimer-Maryland.  I have a son, Robert Kent Weimer, known as Rob, and Cousin Bob has a son, Robert Thomas Weimer, known as Tom.  Normally, we can keep everyone straight using the above scheme.  But a few years ago there was some confusion when I flew west to attend my Great Aunt Helen’s 100th birthday party.  Cousins Bob and Tom met me at the Denver airport and we drove to the small town in Wyoming where Aunt Helen lived. As we checked in at the local motel, the desk clerk remarked how glad she was to see that there were three of us.  With reservations for three Robert Weimers on the same night from only two different addresses, she was concerned that they had duplicate reservations and had needlessly refused a room to others wanting it.  Jokingly, I told her that I had a son, Robert Weimer, who had almost made a reservation as well.  She looked at me, shook her head and said, “That would have been just too many of you!”

I now sign my name as Robert Weimer or Robert A. Weimer except in the most casual of circumstances.  But as I look back I realize that various stages of my life can be identified by the name others use to address me and the name used often identifies the user as well. Robin finds me a baby or toddler addressed by the maternal side of my family. Bobbie is from the paternal side of the family, again referring to me as a baby or toddler. Bob identifies me as a school boy, a family member or a close friend. And Robert identifies me as an adult in a business relationship or as a stranger.


Shakespeare had it right. I have found that by any other name I am still me.



(Updated May 21, 2010)

By Michael R. Hayes


Bryant Fannin Sr. was born Oct 28, 1791 in Tazewell County, VA. It was originally part of Wythe County, but later divided and part of it named Tazewell. Little is known of Bryant’s early life. He migrated to David Fannin’s home in Floyd County, in southern Indiana, about 1818. David had moved to Floyd County prior to 1810 and left his family in Virginia. The earliest known Fannin was Thomas Amis Fannin of Tipperary County, Ireland. His son was Laughlin Fannin born about 1660 in Ireland but he emigrated to the US and Bryan was his son. Bryant’s great grandfather was Bryan Fannin, his grandfather was Ackerless Fannin Sr. and his father was either David Fannin, born Aug 3, 1759, died 1833, or Ackerless Fannin Jr. born 1757, died 1833.


Bryant married Rachel Pierson of Back Creek, Randolph County, North Carolina, on Sep 24, 1819 in Floyd County, IN. Rachel was born in 1800. They moved to near Cambridge City in Wayne County (Richmond). They purchased the west half of the northeast corner of Section 5 in Township 16, Range 8. It was purchased on May 8, 1822, from the Federal Land Office in Cincinnati, OH but was registered in the Brookville and Indianapolis Land Entries Office. The land was in Jackson Township. Bryant and his family then moved to Madison County as he purchased the property on April 9, 1830. It was 160 acres, 80 of which were located in Township 18, Adams Township, Northeast corner of township. They also owned 80 acres in Township 19. This land was in the southeast corner of Madison County, just a short distance from Middletown in the northwest corner of Henry County.


Migration into Indiana and the frontier was extremely heavy during this period. It was common for settlers to build up a homestead; then if times were tough, they would sell to the incoming settlers who had cash, and they would move further into the frontier.


The nickname for Ackerless or Achilles was Jesse. Bryant and Rachel’s first son was Jesse. He was born in Wayne County on Nov 9, 1820. Deborah was born March 6, 1825 in Wayne County. Washington was born in 1828 in Wayne County. He married Phebe Cowgill on Dec 23, 1854. She was born in Ohio. In the 1860 census Washington was listed as a laborer. They had Charles, age 4 and Hannah, age 3 and an infant, apparently born April 4, 1860. After 1860 there is no record of Washington. Some believe he moved to Iowa and may have died in 1865.


Rachel was born Mar 9, 1830. She was born one month before Bryant purchased the Madison County land so it is unknown whether she was born in Wayne or Madison County. David Fannin was born Feb 20, 1833 (near Middletown, according to his obituary). David’s death certificate said he was born in Wabash County but that is wrong.


Another son, John, was born in 1836. Nothing is known of him except he was listed in the 1850 census. One family source believes that a daughter named Polly died in infancy on Christmas Eve in 1839 when Rachel died. My mother was named Pauline.


On June 5, 1845, Bryant’s daughter Deborah married Noah Linsey. They had seven children including Rachel, Edward, David, Martha. Deborah died Nov 23, 1893. Her children, William H., Mary E. and Joanna are buried with Noah and Deborah. Noah died July 28, 1893. On July 16, 1848, Bryant’s daughter Rachel married John Woods. She died Sep 23, 1869, and is buried with her husband at Krisher Cemetery. On April 3, 1856, son David married Hannah Smith of Lagro (born in Ohio). They had five children. Hannah died July 2, 1871.


David then married Elizabeth Hippensteel on Nov 16, 1871, and they had eight children. Elizabeth had been married to Jesse Misner, and she had a daughter, Martha. The 1850 census showed a Matilda Hager, age 14, living at the Bryant Fannin home. The 1870 census showed Sophia Ball as the only child still living at Bryant’s home.


Bryant purchased the first piece of land in Chester Township, Wabash County, on Oct 1, 1833. He bought that portion of Section 32, Township 30, Range 7, lying on the south side of Eel River. That tract is immediately east of the old Second Street Bridge and on the north side of the road. The river changed course since Bryant owned the property. In earlier times it is believed that the course of the river was considerably west of where it is now, so that the land was triangular, the south side being probably less than a hundred feet wide. The original deed was for .36 acre. Even the old timers did not remember what Bryant used this piece of land for, but he later bought other tracts south of town.


History books say that Bryant Fannin preached the first sermon in North Manchester at Peter Ogan’s cabin on a fall morning in 1835. Bryant was a member of the Newlight Denomination but it was very similar to the Christian Church. In 1841 Bryant and his neighbor, John Spenser, formed an organization of Christians, or Disciples of Christ. They met at the Fannin Cabin, then later at the Walters Schoolhouse on Gospel Hill, or at the southwest corner of the intersection of the present Singer Road and County Road 1100N. The group then moved to a building on the west side of Main Street in New Madison (now Servia), just north of the former village store. The building was later moved across the street and formed the main part of Luella Felabom’s house (1940 History of Wabash County).


Bryant’s home was described in one source as on the northeast side of angling road leading from the covered bridge. It was not far from the Bonewitz cement factory. Another source says Bryant lived on Light Harness Pike (I believe this is old 113). An 1875 map places Bryant’s homestead, just east of the Krisher Cemetery on County Road 1100N, along Pony Creek and just west of Singer Road. Bryant walked to Fort Wayne to get the deed to his first property along Eel River. The deed was signed by Andrew Jackson, dated Sep 2, 1834. Bryant was listed as from Madison County, Indiana. The original deed is in the possession of the descendants of Shirley Brant Fanning.


An old family story says that when Bryant was traveling to Wabash County to purchase the property, he was accompanied by another man. They stopped for the night and while sleeping, Bryant awoke to find the man going through his belongings. Bryant asked him what he was doing and he replied that he was making sure the money was safe. Bryant said “it is right here under my pillow.” When he awoke in the morning his companion was gone.


Bryant Fanning Sr. was a preacher for over 40 years, going wherever needed. He never asked for money for his services, which included funerals held sometimes long after the person had been buried. Wabash County records show Bryant performed at least 26 marriages through 1874.


Bryant was an ardent abolitionist and was one of the conductors on the Underground Railway, which helped runaway slaves escape to Canada. Isaac Place was another conductor, as was George Abbott. Wayne County had a strong anti-slavery sentiment and may account for Bryant becoming a conductor. He may have developed his strong anti-slavery ideas in Virginia, too, where some Fannings had slaves. Isaac Place would go to Marion because of his freight business and he would hide runaway slaves in the false bottom of his Conestoga wagon. Then one of the others would hide them and feed them until being sent north to Goshen, then to Michigan and Canada. There was strong sentiment against the people in the Underground Railway at that time in Wabash County. The railway had begun as early as the 1830s but it moved most of the people during the 1850s when the Fugitive Slave Act was still the law.


Bryant Fanning Sr. died Jan 8, 1881. He told his friends that when he crossed the River Jordan, his right arm would rise in the casket. Funeral services were held in the morning. The mourners went to dinner and when they returned his right arm was raised in the casket. Bryant was buried at the Krisher Cemetery. His second wife Harriet [Nichols] died in Jan 1886 at age 74 and was buried with Bryant. Rachel was buried at another place but was reinterred with Bryant and Harriet. Their stones are along the south side of the cemetery along 1100N. There may be three graves in the northwest corner of the cemetery of unknown black people. Dr. Bunker who was the town historian told me that her parents told her about it, but the story was not widely told because of the strong anti-black feeling of some people. Jesse Fanning and his wife Dimey [Harriet’s daughter] are also buried at Krisher Cemetery. Willie Bryant and Inna May, grandson and granddaughter of Jesse are also buried there along with John and Rachel Woods.



 Hay Making at the Gamble Farm

 By Robert A. Weimer


During the 1930s and early 1940s, I often visited the Gamble farm, home of Grandma Weimer’s half-sisters and half brother, Lulu, Rosie and Orrie Gamble.  Visiting that farm was like traveling to some far away, exotic locale even though it was only seven miles northwest of North Manchester.   Like much of rural, north-central Indiana, electricity had not yet come to the Gamble farm.  My great aunts and great uncle lived a life there unchanged in many ways since their grandfather, Thomas Gamble, had purchased the land comprising his farm from the federal government in 1836.


Yes, they now could get news and entertainment from their battery-powered radio and keep in touch with Grandma Weimer using their wall mounted, wood box enclosed, hand cranked, party- line telephone.  And Uncle Orrie had retired Dandy, the family’s carriage horse, in favor of a 1937 Chevy.  But farming at the Gamble’s was still done with horses as it was on most farms in the area. 


It must have been in late June of 1939 when my brother Charles and I spent a week at the Gamble farm that coincided with hay making.  Through the mid 1900s hay making, before the use of hay balers, was a major event in farm life that involved many neighboring farmers.  Because Uncle Orrie was unable to do much farm work due to a lame foot, a neighbor, Charles ‘Charley’ Lynch, farmed the Gamble soil and shared the resulting harvest.  The decision to start hay making required all of a farmer’s experience and skill.  He had to weigh many factors including the maturity of the plants, the probability of fair weather for several days and the availability of helpers.  Uncle Orrie and Charley decided on Sunday that conditions were right for the week to come.


Charley started cutting the large field of knee high alfalfa on Monday, a warm, sunny morning with good weather predicted for the week.  Using his team of horses to pull the mower, he sat on the seat atop the main frame between the two wheels from which power was transmitted via differential gears to the reciprocating, triangular blades of the cutter bar attached to the right side of the mower.  He lowered the bar until it was only a couple of inches above the ground and the triangular blades cut a five foot swath of alfalfa as the horses pulled the mower around the field, leaving a continuous sheet of cut grass behind.  Cutting was complete by late afternoon and the top of the alfalfa that had been first cut that morning was already beginning to dry in the sun.


Tuesday morning was clear and sunny, ideal weather for turning the alfalfa into dried hay that could be stored to feed animals over the winter.  The alfalfa that was 80 - 90 percent water at time of cutting had to dry to 12 - 20 percent moisture content before being put into the barn.  Hay in a mow with more than 25 percent moisture content could heat up, become moldy making it unfit for feed, and even burst into flame due to spontaneous combustion.  Hay that was too dry would lose most of its leaves and its nutritional value.   Judging the readiness of the hay to be brought into the haymow was a valued skill of an experienced farmer.


By 9 a. m. the dew was gone, the cut alfalfa was drying nicely on top and Charley decided that a single raking would be enough to cure the hay.  This eliminated the extra job of ‘tedding’—turning and fluffing the cut hay to allow air and sun to contact the under-surfaces to promote drying.


Charley was soon back, this time riding atop his dump rake pulled by his team of horses.  The rake consisted of an eight-foot-long  framework on two wheels carrying a large number of long, slightly curved teeth on a bar parallel to its axle, with a pawl and ratchet mechanism for tripping the rake, worked by a foot pedal.  As the horses moved across the field, the teeth slid along the ground gathering up the loose hay.  Whenever the teeth were full, Charley would press the pedal and dump the load of gathered hay.  At the far side of the field, he turned around and started back, being careful now to trip each load end-to-end to the previous loads.  By late afternoon the hay field was covered with long, parallel ‘windrows’ of loosely gathered hay.


The good weather held and on Wednesday morning the hay was green, sweet smelling and nearly dry enough to move into the barn.  Uncle Orrie and Charley decided that the hay could be brought into the barn on Thursday.  They immediately notified the waiting group of men whose help would be required to bring in the hay.  This included Dad and Grandpa Weimer back in North Manchester, several nearby neighbors and Uncle Ross Gamble.  Uncle Ross had inherited the eastern portion of the original Gamble farm and lived just half a mile down the road from his brother and sisters.  He farmed with two huge, gray horses named Ned and Bill.  He would use them on the morrow to pull his hay wagon.  This was a large wagon, open on the sides, with high racks at the front and back.


Work started early on Thursday as the men arrived with their teams, wagons and pitchforks.  There was a lot to be done before any hay could be brought in.  The Gamble barn, like several in the area, was a two-level “bank barn,” so called because it was built into the side of a hill or bank.  At the top of the small hill, the ground was level with the floor of the barn’s upper level on its west side, and at the bottom of the hill, the ground was level with the lower floor on the east side of the barn.  The haymow or hayloft took up the northern third of the upper level, the center was open for storage of wagons, and grain bins and the stairs to the lower level occupied the southern third of that upper level.


To prepare the barn to receive hay, large sliding doors in the center of the west side were opened to allow entry to the upper level and to the haymow.  Above and to the right, just below the roof line, was another door which, when opened, exposed a steel track that ran the length of the haymow just below the roof rafters and could extend outside about four feet beyond the side of the barn. Inside, hanging from a set of wheels that ran along the track, was a big hay fork with two ropes attached.  These ropes were tossed through the large opening to men on the ground outside who pulled on them, bringing the hay fork outside to the end of the track.  By now, Dad and Grandpa Weimer had arrived and the ropes were given to Grandpa’s care while Dad went with a farmer to bring Dandy from the pasture.  The farmer put a horse collar and harness on Dandy while Dad held his halter.


Meanwhile, Uncle Ross had driven his hay wagon to the field followed by another farmer with a second wagon and several men with pitchforks.  Uncle Ross drove slowly between the two outermost windrows with a man on either side forking hay from the ground onto the wagon bed, being careful to place the hay in an even layer across the wagon before starting another layer.  As Uncle Ross drove up and down the field between windrows, the wagon’s mound of hay rose until the men on the ground could no longer fork the hay evenly onto the wagon.  At that point, a third man got up on the load and used his fork to spread the hay that continued to be tossed up.  Finally, the mound of hay was as high as the end racks, too high for the men on the ground to reach.  It was time for Uncle Ross to drive his load to the barn while the second hay wagon was filled.


Uncle Ross drove his team of horses into the barnyard and up the hillside, stopping his wagon beneath the hay fork.   A rope from the fork was attached to Dandy’s harness, and Dad led Dandy away from the barn until the wheels stopped at the end of the track, releasing a latch that allowed the fork to descend as Dandy was backed up.  The hay fork consisted of two sets of curved prongs which could open and shut.  A man on top of the load spread wide the fork’s prongs and forced them deep into the hay.  When done and out of the way, he signaled Dad who again led Dandy away, pulling on the rope which this time closed and latched the prongs and lifted a large ‘grab’ of hay to the track above.  Here the hay fork reattached to the wheels and was pulled back into the mow.  When the load of hay had gone far enough, the men inside the hay mow signaled Dad to stop Dandy’s pulling.  Now Grandpa would pull on the trip rope that he had been minding all this time, releasing the prongs and dropping the load of hay into the mow where the men with pitch forks would spread it around.


As soon as his wagon was emptied, Uncle Ross drove back to the hay field where the second hay wagon was nearly filled and was soon on its way to the barn.  The morning passed quickly, and soon it was time for lunch.  Aunts Lulu and Rosie, with help from Grandma and a couple of neighboring farm wives, had lunch waiting on tables set in the yard next to the house.  After eating quickly, the men returned to the barn and hay field.  By late afternoon the last of the hay was in the barn, the barn doors were closed, and the men were on their way home after congratulating each other on a job well done.  There now was enough hay in the barn to feed the cows for another year.


I had been at the Gamble farm before and would be again for various parts of the haying process, but this was the only time I was there from beginning to end.  When Charles Lynch purchased a tractor and a hay baler in the late 1940s, hay making became faster and less labor intensive as it has become ever more so over time.  But somehow, hay making today does not stir my imagination the way it did some seventy years go with horses and wagons going to and fro, men tossing hay with pitch forks, and great loads of hay rising in the air and disappearing into the mow.

NMHS NEWSLETTER EDITOR - John R. Knarr,assisted by Bea Knarr