An Early Missourian Farmer’s Mindset

Posted by tcmgo1 on Jun 12th, 2010

Gottfried Duden was a German immigrant farmer that homesteaded in Missouri in its early days when man and animal toiled together to farm the rich soils of God’s making to produce the very necessities of life. In the brief excerpt below he paints an amazing picture of the early American farm, one that spoke of incredibly hard work and humble trust in the Creator for success, not in debt-inducing technology and every form of insurance to back it up. Gottfried’s gutsy pioneering spirit to trust God without subsidies and other government “guarantees” is something for which the average American today would shudder even considering, let alone undertaking. In a time where Americans have foolishly traded freedom for security and productivity for entitlement, the picture he paints may serve us well as a sort of prescriptive model to get back to understanding the vital necessity of being locally productive, as it is a crucial element of the biblical model for civil and economic freedom.

This excerpt is from a report he made in the 1820’s for future German immigrants, which described his personal farming experiences in the rich river bottomlands of Missouri. Though I grant he may have embellished it so as to draw his fellow countryman here, it does, however, line up with the historic records of the “Little Dixie” region which spanned both sides of the Missouri River, which at one time was one of the most prosperous farming regions in the nation prior to the devastations of the War Between The States that ravaged much of western Missouri. It is taken from the Centennial History of Missouri, 1821-1921, by Walter Stevens. I have emboldened one sentence, which really stands out, as it testifies to an entirely different worldview than that of today’s American farmer.

A small family requires no more than four or five acres of land to begin with. Half an acre suffices for garden vegetables, another half acre for wheat, after which there left three or four acres for maize. The maize is the farmer’s main crop. One might call it the nurse of the growing population. It serves all domestic animals as food. The meal made of it, when cooked, with milk, furnishes a very nourishing, wholesome and palatable food. If it is kneaded with the boiled pulp of the pumpkin a kind of bread can be made of it which I prefer to wheat bread, especially if the dough has been made to ferment. The baking is done in covered iron pots, which are placed beside the hearth and are covered entirely with burning coals. In most of the households fresh bread is baked every day, which is not so much of a burden, since there are always supplies of burning coals on the spacious hearth. There are a great many varieties of maize here. Those with white or yellow kernels are the most common. Besides these varieties there are those of red, blue, and red and blue spotted kernels, a finally a kind whose kernels are transparent like pearls. The stalks become very high, ten, fifteen, indeed twenty feet high.

 

The garden supplies the best kitchen vegetables. Peas and beans prosper beyond expectation. Of the beans, only the finer varieties are raised. In order not to have to supply sticks for the beans and make special beds for them they are planted in the maize fields, where the high stocks of the maize furnish support for the vines. All these things thrive simultaneously, without the least fertilizer, and indeed after twenty years just as well during the first year. Cucumbers and melons are grown each year in great abundance without any special attendance being given them. The sweet potato is also a fine vegetable. When prepared by steaming, its taste resembles that of the fine chestnut.

 

During the second year, after the land is cleared, cotton can be grown; north of the Missouri, however, only for family use. It is the endeavor of the American farmer not to spend any money for food and drink, nor for clothing (finer alone excepted). For this reason he grows flax and hemp and keeps a small flock of sheep. The spinning wheel is nowhere lacking, and if the household does not own a loom, the housewife or one of the daughters goes, from time to time, to one of the neighbors who does possess one.
 

 

At one time the American farm was like a small village, having several buildings dedicated for the diverse elements of its self contained, small scale economy (once known as “home economics”), which produced a whole variety of items meant to meet the needs of the farmer’s family first, and then as production permitted to sell to the surrounding community, which created the synergy for a strong local economy. It wasn’t that long ago that forty acres of decent farmland and a good span of broke mules could do a lot towards building a prosperous “family farm” in Missouri.

When I say family farm, I am not talking about the modern mono-crop or commodity farm that is often run by families, though I intend no offense to them as I realize they work extremely hard, but the problem is that they do not work for themselves, but for corporate agribusiness as indentured servants that must perpetually consume their farming products (equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, etc.) to keep the farm going, a loosing arrangement over time, except of course, for the huge corporate farms that receive the lion’s share of hundreds of billions in federal subsidies, a form of corporate welfare paid for by the American taxpayer. The plight of the average American farmer reminds me of the joke about the farmer that was asked what he would do if he won the lottery. He answered that he would just keep farming until the money was gone.

Praise the Lord, however, that there appears to be a growing movement in the rural areas of America towards restoring the true family farm—an independent farm that produces most all of the needs of its human stewards and the inputs (fertilizers, feed, etc.) it needs to sustainably produce livestock and crops from year to year—though not in isolation, but in tandem with other neighboring farms of the same mindset. As it stands now, the locally productive family farm is a rare bird, a lost heritage, save among the Amish, and even they are fighting for their lives these days because of the debt-based system and ever encroaching governmental regulatory agencies that have them cornered, like everyone else.

Drive around the countryside here and you will see small farms abandoned everywhere with collapsed buildings and bone yards full of rusting equipment, a solemn testimony to the “consume and discard” mentality that dominates us today. An ever growing number of farmers do not produce anything on their farms for personal consumption and do their shopping at the local Wal-Mart, where they buy food produced thousands of miles away. Farms here still have lots of buildings, nice big steel ones, but they mostly house the behemoth pieces of equipment that produce the commodity crops for corporate America.

Walk through our local Wal-Mart and one will witness Americans in a very sad state of health and awareness, where grossly overweight folks fill their shopping carts to the top with pizzas, desserts, chips, pop, and other highly processed “foods,” if you can call it that, which are made from GMO products saturated with high fructose corn syrup and who knows what hormones, pesticides, and chemicals. What’s worse, many have no clue what real food is, where it comes from, or how it is produced, and sadly, many could care less, believing with entitlement faith that there will always be readily available food and the means to procure it, be it jobs, government subsidies, food stamps, and other forms of state welfare. What are they going to do when things reach the point in our nation where they will be forced to work by the sweat of their brow to actually produce the basic things they need? And if you don’t think this will ever happen, than you have no understanding how our economic system works or how incredibly vulnerable it truly is.

Folks, we have a real cultural disaster in the making and the state is not going to save anyone except itself, and that at your loss. We must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and by His grace obey His righteous commands, wherein He promises that if we seek first His kingdom and righteousness, that all the things we need for life will be added unto us by His mercy and grace. Now there is true hope for the here and now, something we can truly put our faith into that will enable us to press forward, once again, as biblical pioneers like our forefathers.  — The Rural Missourian

The Hen-Egg Revival and Peter’s Wife’s Mother

Posted by tcmgo1 on Jun 5th, 2010

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would like to get back to one of the original purposes for this blog, to mine the riches of history and declare the testimonies of those agrarian pioneers that blazed the paths by which our once free and prosperous nation thrived. This also includes truly humorous stories and events, which can help us both to understand and connect with those generations that have preceded us, especially in giving us much needed perspective about ours. Besides, a little merriment can do a lot for a dry spirit, especially in the troubles days we live in. This story is taken from the Centennial History of Missouri, 1821-1921, by Walter Stevens.

Rev. Theodoric Boulware, who became one of the most successful of pioneer Baptist preachers, attributed his own conversion to what was known as “the hen-egg revival” in Tennessee. Some one had taken an egg and inscribed on it, “The day of judgment is close at hand.” The story was given out that the inscription was on the egg when found in the nest. A revivalist produced the egg in the pulpit, read the inscription, and, while he did not claim that there was supernatural agency, he showed the egg and preached powerfully on the doctrine of salvation. Among the many converts was Mr. Boulware who came to Missouri and settled in Callaway. Mr. Boulware often told the story of the “hen-egg revival.” He has his own extraordinary experiences in the pulpit. Once he preached to a Callaway audience from the text, “And Peter’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever.” Among his most attentive listeners was a man who seemed most impressed. Years afterwards, Mr. Boulware preached in the same neighborhood from the same text. He said he was astonished to see the same man in the audience. That man, he said, came to him after the sermon and said: “For the Lord’s sake! Ain’t that old woman dead yet? How long do you think she will live? Poor old critter! What a lot she must have suffered these forty years. I’ll warrant she is needy. Really the people ought to send her something to help her along.”

 

Now, before you laugh at the absurdity of the hen-egg revival, perhaps we should consider how absurd it is that we highly educated and sophisticated Americans believe strongly in the amazing powers of paper eggs, which millions keep in their nesteggs in the hope that they will someday hatch into even greater riches by the super natural agency of interest.  It appears by the tens of billions of dollars that have been “invested” in paper eggs that Americans everywhere have attended paper-egg revivals throughout the land, believing in the gospel of the usurious, debt-based economics. Perhaps, someday, after we have recovered from the economic devastation that even now is humbling us that future generations of Americans will not be so gullible and will be able to look back and laugh at our absurd ways. —- The Rural Missourian

A Glimpse At The Past

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jun 11th, 2007

I thought I would stop and spend a little time enjoying a glimpse of the past with you, as there is so much to learn from it, especially in developing a better perspective of where we have come and where we are going. Since moving to Rayville seven years ago, I have really enjoyed and profited from learning what history I have of Missouri, especially Ray County – which was once known as the “Free State of Ray” – and of course Rayville, which is situated in the heart of a little known region called  “Little Dixie,” a major hotspot during The War of Northern Aggression. Jesse and Frank James grew up on a farm about twenty miles northwest of Rayville and Bob Ford, the scoundrel that murdered him, grew up about 2 miles east of here.

Originally, Rayville was nothing more than a loose knit, unnamed community of farmers that first settled the area around 1815, but when the St. Joseph Branch of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway was built, which passed directly through the community, it soon incorporated as the Village of Haller, Missouri, in 1871. In the late 1880’s the name was changed to Hallard after it was discovered that the name Haller was already being used by another community in Missouri, for which time hast lost.  Due to the heavy influence of the railroads, some old maps refer to Hallard as Hallard Station (see the photos below). In 1904 the name was changed one last time to Rayville. The story goes that it was named after the Rayville Post Office, a small mail platform that was situated at Foote’s landing on the tracks of the AT & SF Railroad three miles west of present day Rayville, which platform was “stolen” and relocated in the village at what was later to be the corner of Crowley and Second Streets. Though no one would know it by the looks of our tired little village today, Rayville was once one of the biggest poultry and egg producing centers in all of Missouri. During its heyday from one car to a trainload of wood, grain, livestock, and poultry was shipped daily to New York, Chicago and other cities. Young couples would walk arm in arm along the wooden boardwalks and many families would come from miles around to buy staples or see a doctor. Little is left from those more prosperous days, as the Great Depression ravaged this little village, as it did many small communities throughout the Midwest. What the Great Depression did not destroy, debt-based economics has in displacing the family farm and local community with the enormous juggernaut of global corporate farming and banking.

No, there is far more to the war the James brothers fought than we are told, but since modern Americans wholeheartedly embrace the revised history of the public school system and Hollywood, they will soon have to relearn the painful lessons of history that come upon all people that turn from God to the state as their savior and provider.

Local history has it that Jesse and Frank would visit the Crowley farm (which was situated just east of the village) at night to have their horses fed and get a little rest, only to move on before the sun rose. They had many such loyal sympathizers throughout Clay and Ray County, as the horrific memories of Union atrocities and sanctioned plundering were still fresh in their minds. This area has had more than its share of infamous outlaws or famous heroes, depending on which side of the war one sides with. William Clark Quantrill and his brave band of partisan rangers fought a noble defense in the Sni-A-Bar region of Jackson and Lafayette counties just south of here along the Missouri River. Bloody Bill Anderson died in the Battle of Albany twelve miles south of Rayville, and is buried eight miles southwest of here at Richmond, the county seat of Ray, named after the fine southern city of Richmond, Virginia.

The history is indeed rich and something that gives me a far greater appreciation for the land where the Lord was pleased to place our family and small Christian community, land where blood was shed and lives lost to defend hearth and home, but like other costly memorials to the war their blood and lives have been paved over by the “progress” of the modern corporate state. So much has changed since those difficult days that it is hard to imagine the pioneering generations that stewarded this rich country by hard toil and the sweat of their brows.

Most of the locals, including many that go back for several generations, have no clue to their regional history and, worse yet, they could care less for they, like so many Americans, have been lobotomized by the dazzling world of pagan dominion.  Even so, should one take the time to sit on the bank of the great Missouri on a hot summer night, watching the lightning bugs dance while quietly waiting for the catfish pole to double over, one can still hear the clocklike paddlewheels of steamships, the homespun love ballad on a lonesome banjo, and the loud rebel furies of brave men long dead, but not forgotten.  

As I mentioned many posts ago, I like to learn history through the various collectables I find. Some are from Rayville and the state of Missouri. Still others are from the earlier days of draft animal logging and of course my favorite is the mule, particularly the “Missouri mule.” Many will eventually adorn the walls of Missouri Wood’s office. I have found the most affordable collectables are postcards, where for a few bucks one can gleam a treasure trove of historical insight and humor.  I have included a few below that deal with Rayville and Missouri, though the last one deals with the science of weather.  I have added my observations so you get a glimpse of what I have learned through them. I hope you enjoy them and please comment, as history is something far too valuable to keep to ourselves. — The Missouri Rev

Pictures

This postcard is an advertising promo from 1889 for “Ariosa Coffee” from the Arbuckles Bros. Coffee Company of New York, whose motto is “costs more and is worth more than other brands of coffee.”  Try selling that pitch at Wal-Mart today!! On the right is a picture of river traffic and on the left a mule roundup. 

 

This postcard is postmarked August 1937 from Rockaway Beach, Missouri.  It states, “Uncle Ike,” the old postmaster at the cross roads, Notch Missouri. Uncle Ike is a character in Harold Bell Wright’s book, The Shepherd of the Hills.  The man in the picture is Levi Morrill (1837 to 1926) who actually was the postmaster at Notch, Missouri, whom Wright based his character on.  I wonder if old Levi fought in the war? 

 

Here is a picture of the mail carrier and a team of mules posing with old Levi Morrill (courtesy of the Harold Bell Wright website — hbw.addr.com.)   

On the reverse side of the postcard is found truth funnier than fiction and so typical of the humble Ozark folks. It reads, Dear Belle, Bob & Ruth . . . Going over to Shepherd of the Hills country tomorrow to see Uncle Matt’s cabin and the place on the other side of this card.  The girls and Richard are having a good time.  Fern fell down the Capitol steps at Jeff City and broke herself up.  Caught a big mess of fish at Bagnell Dam fifteen.  We’ll be home late Sunday night . . . Love & Kisses Fern & Jack.   

  

This card states, On our way to success . . . Now all together.  It is a promotional card for Limestone Valley Farms of L.M. Monsees & Son, reknown jackstock breeders of Missouri.  The woman is pulling the mammoth jack (ass) while one young man is leveraging it from behind with a pole and another is about to wack it.      

The reverse side states, Home of the largest and best herds of prize-winning registered mammoth jacks and jennets in the world.  This card is from around 1904 when telegraph and telephone stations coexisted.   

 

 

This postcard is a real gem.  It pictures “The Old Stick Chimney” and states, the Nathan Swafford house was built in pioneer days by Larkin Shelton, Sr.  It has hewed puncheon floor, clapboard roof and round logs daubed.  Although it was one of the relics of pioneer days, it is still occupied.  This house is on the farm where the legendary McElwee gold mine is supposed to be located.  I hunt on the same Swafford farm today, which is located about two miles north of Rayville in the lush valley of Rocky Fork Creek.  Though I have never found the lost mine, I have had some wonderfully rich times trouncing in the deep forests which surround it.  What the card states next tells it all as it regards the heritage of freedom this land once enjoyed, This postcard is sent as a souvenir of the “Free State of Ray” and as a reminder of the good old days of Missouri.  Should we forget the example of our forefathers and the words of wisdom and common sense that come down to us from those happier if not better days of the past?     

The reverse side gives the postmark, Vibbard, MO – Aug 19, 1908.  Five miles northwest of Rayville, Vibbard is now but a small cluster of homes.  The post office has long left. 

 

Pictured is the train station in Rayville around 1900.  If you look carefully you can see the old faded name of HALLARD under the new name of RAYVILLE.  

 

This postcard was made specially for the one pictured, which was a common practice.  The young man is posing most likely for his darling.  All spiffed up in suspenders, a tie, and a clean white shirt, he is ready to “go a courtin” in a fine buggy.  I am not sure where this was taken, but the postmark is from Rayville, MO – Aug 1908.    

The reverse side gives some clues to the man’s intentions, Hellow Flossie . . . How are you   I got your Post Card and I will answer it So By By.  It is addressed to a Miss Flossie Tarwater, Harlem, MO.  It makes you wonder what became of them.   

 

I end on a humorous note with a postcard that is postmarked June 1907, which features a classic “mule barometer,” a precision instrument which is scientifically accurate . . . when used according to the complicated directions:

Hang outside

If tail is dry..Fair

If tail is wet..Rain

If tail is swinging..Windy

If tail is wet and swinging .. Stormy

If tail is frozen..Cold

 

I have plenty more postcards to share with you.  Let me know if they have been worth it for you.

 

 

 

News Clips from the Old’n Days of the “Show Me” State

Posted by Missouri Rev on Nov 5th, 2005

I was musing about the last post I did on the various unknown names for animal groups. Though our forefathers came up with wonderful ones that befitted their culture, like an exaltation of larks or skulk of vermin, why not come up with a few that befit ours? In naming the slow, but sure progress and patience of the Lord’s faithful remnant when being run roughshod by a lightning fast, pagan culture, how about a triumph of turtles? In speaking about the majority of American Christendom that does all it can to keep up with the lightning fast heathen culture around them, how about a congregation of lemmings? Since a skulk of vermin might be too antiquated to be appreciated, why not rename it a congress of rats? I look forward to your word inventions.

Below are a number of old, long forgotten news clips from the “Show Me” state, which I find quite charming. Now there’s a word that has changed much over the years. I particularly enjoy the different vocabulary, use of words, and the witticism. You can add at least one more word to your animal vocabulary – ratulency – though it is likely you’ll only find it in the dusty archives of Missouri colloquialisms. Don’t you wish the news today was as uncomplicated and subdued? Now, it seems that for something to make the news it has to be vile, bloody, corrupt, perverted, or humanistically do-gooderistic. The culture makes the news. By no means was the American culture of the 1800’s pure and without fault, but even then it was far more simple and morally aright, especially in the agrarian rural areas where faith and hard work went hand in hand. In “tipping my hat” to the Homesteader’s young son John and his first successful coon trapping, I have included a few stories about trapping. — The Missouri Rev

Where Two or Three Houses are Gathered Together, there Stands a Missouri Village

From the Troy Lincoln County Herald, February 10, 1870 — The Village of Sweet Home, in Nodaway County, was almost totally destroyed by fire recently. Only one house was left standing. Before the fire there were two.

Trapped by Love

From the Maysville Register, January 16, 1901 — A Skunk-skin opera-clock graced the dress circle of the Tootle’s Opera-house at St. Joe the other night. It was worn by a rural belle, who was accompanied by the male companion that had slain the fragrant little animals whose hides were thus sacrificed for his beloved.

Bureau, Burro, Baffled

From the Osceola Sun, September 8, 1881 — The Missouri Pacific railroad company has an agent at Warrensburg that is entitled to a chromo. Some one in New Mexico shipped a “borro” to Warrensburg. When it arrived, the agent on examining his bills took the item to mean a bureau. After making diligent search for the furniture and not finding it, he reported to headquarters as follows: One bureau short, and one jackass over.

The Missing Tale of the Audrain County Rat

From the Paris (Mo.) Herald, March 27, 1877 –Some of our Audrain County friends along the Monroe County line were badly sold out one day last week. They were engaged in catching and untailing rats for the five cent bounty offered by the Audrain County court for rat tails. After they had about exterminated the rat tribe in the immediate neighborhood where they were slaying, they espied in the dim distance a large gentleman rat making for the Monroe County line. At once about half a dozen of Audrain’s sons of toil were on the chase, and, with the speed of an Antelope, they pursued his ratulency into Monroe, overtook and slew him, when to their amazement and disgust, they found that he was minus a tail!

Soured by Texas Cherries

From the Boonville Weekly Eagle, January 1, 1875 —
A.H. C. Koontz is rather inclined to be waggish at times, and he sometimes perpetuates jokes even at the expense of old folks. The other day an old lady and her daughter from the country were in the store, when the former seeing a barrel of cranberries setting near the door, called out:
“Mr. Koontz, what are these things here in this barrel?”
“Those are Texas cherries, madam,” remarked K., as he went on attending to his customers.
The old ladies [sic] curiosity was evidently excited and she could not resist the temptation to help herself to a few of the berries. After cracking them between her teeth, her face evidently showed signs of extreme anguish, when she called to her daughter:
“Sal, come here. These are cherries from Texas—just taste them.” Sal instantly obeyed, and a terrible scowl flew over her countenance. She turned to her confiding mother, and remarked: “If that’s the kind of fruit they raise in Texas I’m not going there to live. I shall write to Sam that he needn’t come after me. That I will.”
The twain left the store evidently thoroughly disgusted with Texas and everything it produces.

A Fishy Baptism & The Last Day Bird Machine

Posted by Missouri Rev on Oct 28th, 2005

These two old stories were taken from the Centennial History of Missouri published in 1921.

The Dry Land Baptist

A pioneer in Callaway County was Thomas Kitchen. He attended the old Baptist church at Salem, of which his wife was member. He never joined the church because, as he explained to the members, he could not tell his experience, never having had any. He went by the description of the “dry land” Baptist for years, until one day he fell from the top of a mill Captain John Baker was building on Loutre creek. Kitchen dropped into the creek, killing a big catfish by the impact but sustaining no injury. After that he argued that he had been baptized and ought not to be called a dry land member of the church. He also enlarged his name to Thomas Jonah Kitchen, because he said that like Jonah of old he was saved by a fish.

Booneville’s “Last Day”

Millerites had obtained quite a following in Missouri as early as 1844. They predicted the “last day” of the world with confident definiteness. A comet of that year was interpreted as heralding the end of the world. Captain F.M. Posegate told in the St. Joseph News-Press some years ago his recollections, as a boy in Booneville, of the deep impression made upon the people when the last day fixed by the Millerites came: One man concluded he would make an effort to forestall the flying chariot in which the elect were to ascend to the presence of the Judge by using a flying machine, or bird machine as he styled it. He worked faithfully for weeks upon the contrivance and only a few days before the all-absorbing event was expected to materialize hauled it out onto a platform on top of his barn to give it a trial. At the first flop the machine fell to the ground, resulting in a broken neck for the man. To him the end of the world had come, the consolation to his relatives and friends being that he had at least escaped any possible suffering that the flames might inflict. At last the day upon which the prophesy was expected to culminate dawned—clear, soft, beautiful—typical of a old fashioned Missouri “Indian summer” day. (We do not seem to have such days now.) ‘Old Sol’ manifested no desire to hurry matters—the hours dragged slowly—the usual activities of everyday life seemed almost paralyzed, while a nervous uneasiness involving the entire community was apparent. As the sun, seemingly a glowing, flashing ball of fire, sank below the horizon and twilight began to shadow the earth, the suspense became almost unbearable and it would be idle to say that a feeling of doubt, of uncertainty, of unspeakable awe did not pervade the whole community. The head of the comet soon made its appearance and before its fleecy tail disappeared behind the western horizon, the moon, nearly at its full, was shedding its soft, silvery, steady light, rendering all things visible for miles around. Only one hour—sixty short minutes—remained during which the prophesy must materialize, if at all. The main street of the village was thronged with humanity—the believer, the unbeliever, the doubter and the scoffer. The elect, and there were many of them, arrayed in their ascension robes, stood joyously together all in readiness to be taken up. Suddenly, from out in the direction of Gibson’s hill, a spear of light harsher than that emitted by the moon sprang up. As it grew, spread, flared, no mortal pen could have given a fair idea of the silence that prevailed. No mortal artist could have painted the various expressions shown upon the countenances of individuals. Just at the moment when hope, joy, doubt, and fear were most strongly depicted a mounted messenger came clattering down Gibson hill. As he passed the Wyan residence, hat in hand, he yelled: ‘It is only an old haystack in Gibson’s outfield that is burning.’ All along the main street, from the brick house in which Todd and Loomis afterwards taught school to the Powel residence, overlooking the Missouri river, he proclaimed the message. With its close and the exhaustion of the fire from the haystack, the suspense ended; seemingly an audible sigh of relief rose from the souls of the overstrained throng of people who had so feverishly awaited the denouement. In the shortest time possible the streets were deserted and the little city was wrapped in a silence so profound as to be almost startling. It is a satisfaction to me now that I cannot recall a single instance where some thoughtless individual twitted a Millerite with the saying, old at that time, ‘I told you so.’ Neither do I remember to have heard any Millerite express any regret at the nonfulfillment of the prophesy.

I found the first story downright funny, though typical of “Christians” who, being zealous though scripturally ignorant, claim some of the most foolish things in the name of the Lord. The second is interesting to me particularly because of the lack of regret by the Millerites when their certain prophesy of the last day did not happen. It shouldn’t surprise us, as it seems that Christians in every generation have no problem with the false prophets and prophesies they foist on all. They are so certain that they are right that the stacking scriptural evidence against them means nothing, as is the case with those who swear by their secular and Christian prophets that our debt-based, usurious economic system is blessed of God. This story is also a case of scripturally ignorant foolishness, though it’s not nearly as humorous, in my opinion, because it bears witness to the apostasy that has been overtaking our nation for many generations, which is no laughing matter. The Missouri Rev

A Delightful Musing about Sorghum

Posted by Missouri Rev on Oct 22nd, 2005

Now that you have had enough of my dreadfully long musings, I though I’d give you a real treat from Ray County Missouri’s past. This delightful story about sorghum was written by W. D. McKee, a good Scotsman and noted farmer, lecturer, and author from the 1930’s, who was the proprietor many years ago of the Alfalfa Blossom Farm northwest of Knoxville township (a few miles from where I live). Enjoy the country humor and consider what it meant to be blessed on the land as the Lord’s “poor folk” in a time not so long ago.

The other night, while enjoying the comfort of a good 1930 fireside, when the cold wind was howling without, my mind went back to my boyhood days on the farm in Knoxville township, Ray County, Missouri! In my musings (or dreams), I glimpsed of the multitude of good things we had to eat – that we old-timers thought at the time were exceedingly common food for poor people and considered by the rich (or well-to-do) as belonging to the same class or category with the husks eaten by the prodigal son while acting in the capacity of a herder of swine.

Among these old familiar faces that we had to greet three times a day was the bowl of sorghum molasses (now called “sirrup,” sometimes). This caused my memory to sneak back along the sorghum route – and, before I had traveled very far, I changed my mind as to this one article in our menu being a food for the poor and the poor only – that it was good enough for the bontonous and gothomites dwelling in brown stone mansions.

Let us from childhood’s memory page read from the list written on sheets of silver, in letters of gold, as follows:

Ginger-bread, that put pep and fire in our early school life. Molasses cookies, like mother used to make, large as a dinner plate and palatable from center to circumference—and from circumference back to center again.

“Twisters”—long rolls of sweetened dough, made into a rope and twisted—no baker, however, skilled, able to fashion a doughnut half so delicious. No hole to plague the poor pessimist. “The difference between the optimist and the pessimist is “DROLE”—the optimist sees the doughnut. The pessimist sees the “HOLE.” These palatable, melt-in-the mouth, hole-less fried twisters would have saved the poor old lady’s mind, who grieved herself blind because she could not eat the hole in the doughnut.

Buckwheat cakes, made of buckwheat sown on the stony patch or in the orchard for bee pasture. The bees gleaned (from the blossoms) nectar to be stored in the six-sided cells, to be spread by the farmer and his good wife and children—yet it is common knowledge known by all men that even this delectable viand (choicest of honey) never had a look-in as long as one golden drop of sorghum “LAS-SES” lasted.

Hot, fluffy, five and ten stories high, biscuits with home-made meadow gold butter oozing out at every pore, crying piteously for the good old home sweetening to come and join in making this wonderful tripod of good things complete and further tickle the palate.

And now, waffles with their deep grooves and checkered corrugations made to hold oodles of this incomparable saccharine fluid, drawn from the inexhaustible supply in the cellar, made the farm a place to live and enjoy life away out in the big out-of-doors. . .

Every year a local club of horse team farmers sow a field of sorghum near my home here and then in the fall, using the same teams of horses, operate the presses that squeeze out the sweet sorghum juice, which they boil down in huge stainless steel “boxes” until they produce the golden “sirrup” described by this author. It’s strong stuff and takes time to develop a taste for it. I will publish from time to time more musings from this author as he continues this great story from his agrarian days as a rural Missourian.