Archie Kidd 414
Interview done by Tiffany Griffith with Archie and Nell Kidd. (Narration by Tiffany Griffith)
My name is Archie Kidd and, my farm was about a hundred and twenty-five acres all together, I’d say about 1/3 of it was farming land and pasture and the rest was mountain land. There was some timber on my land, small timber, but most of it was mining stuff. We got our water from a spring that comes out of the mountain over there, free stone water. We never had much trouble about the water freezing, this water here won’t hardly freeze, it runs, no we never did have much trouble about that. We lived in a two-story house just an old frame house with weatherboard. The foundation was sitting on rock and the timbers you know, went across it. We heated the house with an old wood fireplace, because we didn’t have electricity and no phone, and we used an outhouse.
We planted our potatoes about the first of April, we went by the moon, most of the time we planted Kenny backs. We planted our sweet corn about the first of May, we had an outside cellar, we canned all of our stuff back then, we canned garden stuff, we put our potatoes in there and such as that in them days. We had plenty of fruit trees back in them days, pears and apples and peaches. Mother used to make leather breeches, my mother did the canning, she used a wood stove.
When I was a kid we started our work at about 8:00 till about 6:00 at night or something like that when we ended. We had milk cows back in them days, we milked them by hand, and we made butter, bread butter. Kids back in them days worked mostly but for fun we used to play ball, or go swimming in the summer or something like that for fun. We played regular baseball back in them days, with a regular bat, I don’t know who made it but it was a wooden bat, and the ball was a regular ball. We didn’t have no toys back in them days.
They would just build a fire and get a scalding barrel to scald them in. We would hang them up and dress them out, then cut them up and put them in the smokehouse. We didn’t have no refrigerator, and no freezer. Then we would salt them down and make sausage. We had two workhorses, we didn’t ride them for fun very often and we really didn’t help take care of them much either. We didn’t have no tractors back then either.
I think farmers really quite farming around here cause they couldn’t make a living off a farm after so many years, we couldn’t hardly make a living off of the farm after the children all just started school and I had to get a job and live on public work. I still we had to get out and public work. My grandfather owned the mill where we sometimes worked, it was a two story building out there, you ground your wheat it went up in Upstairs and went through a volt and made flour and we ground corn, we ground a bushel of corn in about three minutes. There’s a saw mill there we used the saw mill, we’d saw about three thousand feet a day of lumber on that saw mill and everything ran by water power. We had two workers at the mill most of the time.
Kids back in them days played a lot together, that’s all we had to do back in them days, we had no where to go. We used to play horseshoes that was a good game for us. We also used to play on the merry go round. Most of the time my mother always had a big dinner on Sundays and we always had company. People don’t gather together much anymore because they can just run to the mall. She usually had two big tables full for dinner on Sunday it was always a big crowd there. It was plenty to eat too.
When we first got married we lived with Archie's parents because we didn’t have a home and we finally got enough money together to but this little house up here where James lives it was only two rooms, we raised four kids in there we had five but Archie’s grandmother raised James, well we had six our little girl died so, she just lived six days, but anyways we had it pretty rough for a while but when the kids started school, Kenneth he got after me one day with a black snake he ran down the road and I couldn’t catch him, and I hollered at him, I said all right you just wait until your daddy gets home, he laughs about that yet, It was, It was fun you know growing up like that with the kids all real close together, from 44, 45, 46, 48, 50, and 54, so they were all real close together and we had, we was piled up, up there in that little two room house, but we, we survived. Having a baby back then was nothing, according to what it is now cause we paid 25 dollars for five of them but Richard cost us 35. Now that’s the way it was back then just look what it cost you now, you reckon there worth it? I hope so anyway. Another story about my kids is one day they were playing up there and one of them, a lets see it was Richard threw something and hit Darrel in the eye with it, we had to take him to the hospital and I had to spend the night in the hospital with him, and then later he had to have surgery on… no no no they wanted to do surgery on his eye because he had, they said he had a lazy eye, that was Darrel, we never did have that done, but now that was kindly scary because we didn’t know whether he had put his eye out or not. Another time one of them threw a rock and hit the other one in the head. Had his head bleeding and, they had their ups and downs. I can’t really say that children were more well behaved back then, because sometimes they got pretty rambunxious. My kids helped on the farm some when they were younger, they helped grow corn and they helped in the garden some, and I believe one or two of them milked the cow a little bit every once in a while. Yeah they milked the cow and helped get wood in to keep the fires going, yeah they done pretty good. From what I see kids today don’t help their parents as much as they used to. We worried about our kids back then when they were playing, but back then, I mean they wasn’t quite as many animals as what they is now, you know like lions and bears and stuff to worry about. We didn’t have coyotes and stuff then, but they say there here now. Some of my kids liked to hunt deer and stuff, but some of them didn’t have any interest in it. I remember when we first got our tractor, it was several years ago but the first one they got was sort of a partnership wasn’t it? Him and his brother or him and his dad or something, I don’t know how they had it but anyway we got our own now. We’ve lived in this house since 66’ we had this one built. This is where his grandmother used to live and they tore her old house down and built this one. The old home place is right up here where the Henderson’s used to live. They tore the old house down we used to live in, and built that other house. Your land did not used to belong to us; down on below you is Otho and them just up in here and then down below Othos is that field where Mickey and Michaels got now, and then some on down towards the church. The mill was right across the road, and there used to be the old county road it would come right up through here, through Andersons and came right over the top of the hill, Old horse and buggy or horse and wagons. Most of this land was cleared when we settled here best I can remember. When they cleared off a spot that hadn’t been cleared before it was new ground. Back then you didn’t have to wait to plant corn on it, back in them days they had just a horse and the bulson plows see it was one plow pull was about that big, that’s the way they got it up when they planted corn in there. We didn’t have a lot of animals eating the corn back then not like it is now. A lot of people just quite raising a garden on account of the deer cause they couldn’t have anything. I think being able to go to the store and get your food instead of growing it has made a big change in the number of farmers around here to.