On a Highway of Usefulness

Recently, I have come to fully accept my lifelong role as temporary custodian of our family treasures from the past.  Whether they be tattered and torn photographs or yellowed documents with an ancestor’s handwriting, this inward pull to document and preserve exits.  Just as I have been given the privilege to personally handle such cherished possessions, I now am compelled to preserve them for those to follow.

“Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.  “Be still” they say.  Watch and listen.  You are the result of the love of thousands.” (author unknown)

Consequently, Corinthrose is taking an indefinite break.  I am yielding to this lofty aspiration of preserving life on whatever path it takes me, both past and present.

I have been blessed beyond measure by your virtual presence, and I pray in some small way you have also.  Thank you to those who have encouraged and supported me these past three years of blogging.  You know who you are!

Now this doesn’t mean my photography will go by the wayside…oh no!  So take a look at www.corinthrose.com every now and then.

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

IMG_5994 copy

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Christmas in the north Georgia Mountains

Where:  Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge, Georgia
                  Heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest
                  90 minutes from downtown Atlanta
When:  December 24-26, 2012
Why:  Home away from home getaway
What:  720-foot tall Amicalola Falls is the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi
               Appalachian Trail Approach Trail leads to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail
Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (1)

There’s just something about walking in shadowy, grey winter woodlands, an allure towards the unknown.  An ethereal setting where you’re the intruder, and ghostly tall sticks are the forest guardians.  Unclear as to what is around the next bend, the leafless trees mingle into obscurity.

Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (22a)Unable to see mountain tops, ravines, underbrush, or even your hiking partner, the misty blanket of fog warns to veer not from the marked trail lest you become as mysterious as the surroundings. 

Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (25) Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (23)Our annual Christmas Day hike in the woods enjoyable despite the weather conditions.  A bit dicey with photography, though.

Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (5)Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (42)Christmas at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia (18)

“In the beginning was the Word (Christ Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”  John 1:1, 14

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior (Christ Jesus), who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year

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Emminga Sale is Big Event on Saturday

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
April 29, 1937
Note:  you might want to re-read the previous post, Emminga Goods Draw Crowds (written prior to estate sale) for a better understanding of the following briefer 1937 newspaper article, written after.   



All-Day Event is Held on Local Main Street; Goods Bring Good Prices

EMMINGA, Harm H. homeGolden was thronged by hundreds of curious last Saturday when the household effects of the Emminga estate—many of them accumulated by the late Margaret Emminga, who couldn’t resist a bargain—were sold at public auction.  The crowd was so large that State Highway Patrolmen John Jasper and George Meyer and Deputy Sheriffs, Jack Soebbing and Harvey Smith were called to direct traffic and keep order.

One block of the main street in the business section was roped off for the sale, and during the afternoon enough furniture and other household articles were sold to furnish several moderate sized houses.

Visitors and prospective buyers arrived early in the morning for the sale, which was scheduled to start at noon, and local restaurants and a booth conducted by the King’s Daughters of the Methodist Church, did a great business in selling short orders.  The sale was started promptly and continued until the last piece of furniture went under the auctioneer’s hammer.

The articles to be sold were placed in a row down the center of the street and a large flat bed truck was driven along the line.  On the truck were two auctioneers, the clerk and helpers, and the goods were auctioned from the truck.  As soon as the articles within reaching distance were sold, the truck was driven on a few feet, and the selling continued.

The auctioneers took turns at selling and E. R. Gronewold, one of the executors of the estate and also the clerk of the sale, was kept busy listing the buyers.  His brother, John L. Gronewold, acted as cashier.  The auctioneers were George Post and George Bartell.

It is estimated that 2,000 persons attended the sale.  Several hundred persons would be crowded around the truck at times, many of them just spectators, but many others bidding.  Hundreds of other persons thronged the street and took part in the bidding only when some article in which they were interested was reached.

Cars were parked for blocks each way from the business section.  Practically every section within a fifty-mile radius of Golden was represented at the sale.

Although most of the things sold were the Emminga household effects, several of the new tables and other articles were among the things Miss Emminga, daughter of Harm H. Emminga, had purchased because they were bargains.  Some of the tables had their original wrappings which were not removed until the day of the sale.  (end of write-up)

EMMINGA, Margaret (Meta)Note:  Margaret (Meta) EMMINGA was not married as far as I can grasp from the book, “When the Wind Blows” by Anna Wienke.  Reading between the lines, Meta seemed to have lived a life of somewhat isolation as an adult, trying to fill her empty soul with material things.  Meta’s obituary (see link below headstone photo) states “as a small child, she lost her hearing through sickness, which handicapped her very much through life.”

Although educated in Germany and later at St. Mary’s Academy in Quincy and surely to have met other learned individuals, Meta’s indulgences hint at something far deeper than education or possessions could provide.

EMMINGA, Ettje Mary, Harm, & Margaret (Trinity)EMMINGA, Margaret-Meta Obituaries

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Reel to Reel Life

Recently, I’ve been anchored to my chair and consumed—fanatical—about transferring VHS video tapes to Windows Media Player files, or at least a format compatible with most computers.   It’s a small piece of my unquenchable quest to de-clutter our home while preserving for our family.  I’ve laughed hysterically, cried and grieved over loved ones, witnessed grandchildren sprout before my eyes, and even listened to unbelievable rhetoric and bantering between family members.  Observing reel to reel life as a spectator, watching yesterdays pass by with an occasional snowy interlude.

IMG_3237 copyA preservation project like this demands diligence, determination, and fortitude not found in the majority—a grinding test of character.  Trust me!  It requires vision beyond the immediate and meticulous detail, both which will probably go unnoticed by the recipients.

Hours and hours viewing 15-20 year-old home videos.  Tedious beyond words.  Over and over I’ve asked the Lord, “Is this really worth it?”  The repeated answer “yes,” so I persevere and trust the Lord to work out the future details of it all.  To date over 100 video clips transferred to external drives, waiting for further editing.

IMG_3308 copyEven though you might have thought by now, I’d expound upon the transfer or editing processes, your speculations mistaken.  Joseph Parker’s (1830-1902) quote below captured my attention during one morning’s devotional reading.  An English nonconformist Congregational minister and prolific published writer, his writings seem to be a no nonsense, lay it all on the line style of writing.

If you carefully read Parker’s insights concerning detail, time, and relying upon the Lord, maybe you’ll understand why I keep asking the Lord, “You really want me to continue to capture bits and pieces of reel to reel life for our family?”

IMG_3258 copy“We cut up our time into days and years, little spaces and periods, and we magnify them exceedingly by trifling incidents which occur within them.

How much we lose by frittering away our time by a frivolous divisions into parts, and minor parts, and major parts.  Thus we are vexed by detail, exceedingly torments, and our minds are clouded, and the horizon is shut out, and we are victims of little views and small conceptions and narrow prejudices.  Why do we live in the valley when we might live on the hilltop?  The higher we ascend the more distant is the view.  There is poetry in distance, there is music in the horizon; but who can find anything in smoke and cloud and fog but depression and fear, and loss of those high enthusiasms that ought to rule life. 

Arise, awake!

Climb any hill that you can get your feet upon; it is good to be much in the upper air.  It is when we have been most in heaven that we can most effectually and successfully handle the affairs of time.  All depends upon the point of approach; if we approach the work from below it will be all uphill toil.  If we descend upon it from communion with God, we shall bring the whole stress of our strength to bear upon it, and a touch will have in it the force of a battering-ram. 

Why all this toiling, and upheaval, and struggling, and strenuous endeavor, when life might be made a joy; when life might be made to grow the flower of peace and the fruit of plenty, and the whole action might be a movement of triumph

I pray to know the Lord more clearly, to follow Him more steadfastly, to serve Him more obediently.  This is the Lord’s prayer, one of unselfishness.  I pray this prayer, as all others, that are true and honest, at the Cross, the great altar, the blessed mercy seat.  It is here prayer is its own answer and is turned to praise.  The intercession of Christ magnifies our requests and assures their fulfillment according to the wisdom and tenderness of Jehovah God. 

To see the invisible is to live; to lay hold of the eternal is to be safe for evermore.”

Without Christ, this reel to reel endeavor futile.  Without Him, I’ve cut up my parts of time without purpose.  Without living in the upper air, I would suffocate with the detail below.

As time seems to have lengthened these past few days, I’ve seen joys—treasured joys and blessings—pass by these blurry eyes.  So I’ll just keep re-winding and fast forwarding that magnetic tape, reelin’ and lurchin’ my way to Christ’s movement of triumph for our family’s real history of yesterdays.

Oh the sweet embrace of yesterdays, and the blessed hope of tomorrows.

IMG_3311 copyNote:  if you have VHS home video tapes, now isn’t too soon to preserve them for your family.  Take it from someone deeply entangled in video tape.

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Emminga Goods Draw Crowds by Evelyn Austin

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois                           
April, 22, 1937
Note: if you are an Antique’s Road Show or Pickers fan, you will love reading the following 1937 newspaper write-up.  Margaret (Meta) Emminga was the granddaughter of Henrich (Henry) Reemts Emminga, the German immigrant you read about in Windmill is of Interest and History of the Old Windmill.


EMMINGA, Harm, Marie, John, & MargaretGreat interest the last few weeks has been centered upon the possessions of Miss Margaret Emminga, who passed away last month, March 10.  It has for some years been known that Miss Emminga, daughter of Harm and Mary (Gembler) Emminga, had quite a penchant for collecting numerous household articles, most of which she purchased in large quantities.  These items, most of which were bought in the “boom” years when the family was enormously wealthy, have been accumulated from year to year, and as the possessions increased in number, likewise has the curiosity of townspeople increased.

Now that the estate is being settled, these articles have been unpacked by relatives, and for once we are able to say that “gossip has not exaggerated the quantity of goods on hand.”  Articles, both in the necessity and luxury class, were packed in every nook and cranny of the large twelve-room house, formerly owned by the Emminga family, and which was purchased five years ago by Jake Zimmerman, a nephew.  It took weeks to unpack, sort, and list the possessions, which were moved, one truckload after another, to the Windmill and Steam Mill nearby, and were arranged for sale.  Two big rooms in the Steam Mill were required for the stock, which is piled to the ceiling in each room, with just enough space for passage ways.  The furniture and larger articles are stored in the Windmill and are to be offered for sale at public auction this coming Saturday.

Miss Emminga’s mother, Mrs. Ettje Mary Emminga is still living, being eighty-three years of age.  Ehme R. Gronewold has been appointed by the court as conservator of her affairs, and Menhard J. Buss is administrator of the daughter’s estate.  These two men are in charge of the disposal of the property.

They were greatly surprised when they learned the extent of her collection, unusual because everything was bought at retail, was never used, and complete enough to stock a general store.  It is estimated she spent $10,000 on her purchases.

For the past two weeks dealers have been inspecting such merchandise as hardware, yard goods, canned goods, china, glassware, silverware, wearing apparel, fancy work, antiques, furniture, rugs, pottery, etc.  In many cases the goods were sold in bulk lots to such men.  While we were touring the place Thursday afternoon of last week, a Quincy merchant was present, and we were told he had offered $500 for the bolts of new material which were on display.  This offer was refused, however, and a deal was finally consummated, in which the man purchased the goods at a certain price per yard.  Two days were required to measure and tag the goods.  Most of which were whole bolts from which no cloth had ever been taken.  Most of the prints were of obsolete patterns indicating Miss Emminga had secured them many years before.

Illustrated by A. Bruce Loeschen

Illustrated by A. Bruce Loeschen

Several Quincy and Macomb dealers were on hand looking and purchasing desired wares.  In the collection are several pieces of lovely furniture and pottery, which were purchased by Mr. Emminga, while he was in Jerusalem on his tour of the Orient in 1910.

In this group is a Jerusalem writing desk, the top being of beautiful light and dark wood inlay, together with several small matching chests, a revolving top table, etc.  One of those in charge informed us they had been offered $600 for the desk alone, but the offer was refused.  A similar but larger desk was taken by Mrs. John Emminga (Meta’s sister-in-law) to California, following the death of her husband in 1934, and we are told that she has written back saying she had taken the desk to a collector, who told her it was a genuine article and undoubtedly worth $10,000.  He said it was made in some monastery and had taken several men a lifetime to complete.  He also added that its value would be greatly increased if a complete history could be secured of when and by whom it was made.  (Gee, sounds to me like an Antiques Road Show appraiser.)

People interested in antique china and glassware have certainly found a Utopia for their search, as we noted in the collection a set of German Blue and White China, a set of Brown and White Cloverleaf Lustre Ware, a set of Haviland China, a set of Green Pattern China, and hundreds of pieces of cut glass and miscellaneous dish ware.  Each of the above sets consisted of several hundred pieces, many of which were duplicated.

A large chest of silverware was also found, including a 300-piece set of Rogers 1846 silver in the Berkshire pattern; two sets of Rogers 1847 in a plain pattern; a set of sterling silver; besides several hundred extra tea spoons, table spoons, and odd pieces.

EMMINGA, Margaret (Meta)-Box after box of lovely handwork is daily being unpacked, needlepoint, cut work, bead work, tapestries, linens by the hundreds, hand embroidered towels, perhaps a hundred linen towels, dozens of pillow cases and sheets, some initialed; yard after yard of linen table tubing, linen table and luncheon cloths and napkins, lace pieces, embroidered doilies and hand crocheted pieces, more than a dozen bedspreads, several crocheted; dozens of blankets, 48 new comforters, and a number of mattresses.

In another group we find several dozen new rag throw rugs, yards of carpeting, grass rugs, large floor rugs, portieres, draperies, curtains, etc.  A large cupboard six-foot high is filled entirely with ladies aprons, never unpacked.  One box was opened which contained three suits of women’s silk and wool underwear.  It still had the sales slip which showed that it had been purchased at the Kespohl Mohrensecher Store at Quincy on May 2, 1918, and that the three suits had cost $15.75.  There were similar slips on other articles.  Many of the boxes had prices tags on the outside.

In another section there is enough hardware to stock an ordinary store.

We counted 15 alarm clocks, several parlor clocks, 10 lanterns, trunks, many hundred new kettles, pots and pans, several dozen new brooms, 25 pieces of Pyrex baking glassware, dozens of tin and enamel buckets, whisk brooms, shoe brushes, vegetable brushes, etc., several new ironing boards, six recipe files, a box with 12 new nut crackers and an equal number of boxes of nut picks, knives and other kitchen implements, perhaps a dozen spittoons, crocks, wash tubs, several wash machines, tea kettles, wash pans, dish pans, dust mops, etc.

In another group we find children’s things; several boxes filled with new children’s toys, all alike; blocks and cut-out books, a box of rubber teething rings and rattles, toy soldiers, boxes of celluloid dolls, several cartons of baby talcum, and other baby toilet accessories, a number of complete layettes, etc.

EMMINGA, Margaret (Meta)There is also an assortment of wearing apparel, perhaps 50 pairs of shoes and bedroom slippers, all size, kid gloves, costume jewelry, handkerchiefs and hats.

Mi-lady may find everything for her toilet, numerous dresser sets, some with painted china inlay, others with gold and silver back, perhaps 50 new combs, all sizes and colors and never before unpacked, perfume and atomizers, compacts, powder and puffs.

Perhaps there are a dozen ten-gallon cans filled with lard and cocoa, large boxes of soaps, scouring powders, canned vegetables and fruits, a box containing several hundred new mouse traps, 100 lbs. of coffee, 60 lbs. of tea.

There are perhaps a few thousand other miscellaneous articles.  In fact, we can think of no article of which there is not a goodly supply.  If you don’t see what you want, “ask” is the motto.

We understand the items of furniture are as numerous.  Dozens of chairs, tables, and several complete outfits for each room, will be offered for sale.  There is also a lovely Grandfather’s Clock.

We were escorted through the Emminga library by Mrs. Zimmerman.  Not being an authority on books and works of literature, it is hard to estimate the value of such a collection.  There are perhaps some 5,000 volumes, we are told, including several 15-volume sets of Britannica Encyclopedias, German books, and rare old editions collected by Mr. Emminga during his foreign travels.  Such a collection would prove of inestimable value to the library of some college.  The most important book in the group is a German Bible 407 years old.  It has wooden covers and was brought from Germany.  Mr. Emminga was something of a writer.  He wrote quite a lengthy account of his travels in foreign countries, in a series of more than 100 articles, which were published in newspaper in this country and Germany.  His ancestors went by the name of Emmins.  Ubbo Emmins, who lived from 1547 to 1625, was a celebrated historian, whose works are considered as authority in the history of East Freesia, Germany.

In the Emminga library we noted a statue of Martin Luther, several feet high.  We understand Miss Emminga at one time promised this statue to the Trinity Lutheran Church of Golden as a gift.  If so, it would certainly be placed in an appropriate setting.

A public sale will soon be held, at which time the remaining merchandise will be sold.  (next post describes this public sale)  It is certain the amount invested ran into thousands of dollars.  No single item of any article was purchased, everything being bought in quantity lots.  Miss Emminga was able to indulge in this fanaticism, for during the years that she made the  bulk of these purchases, her father was president of the Exchange State Bank of Golden and was the wealthiest man in this section of the country.

Anything she wished for, in a material way, she was able to buy.  She was quite a learned woman, having studied both in Germany and this country and was a student of music and business matters.

When her father died in December 1915, he provided by will, that all of his real estate which the family occupied at a homestead, and everything on these premises at the time of his death, including his library, should go to his widow and daughter.  Everything else which he possessed, both real and personal property, was willed to the son, John Emminga, who was required to pay his mother and sister the sum of $1,000 per year in quarterly payments.  The son was not requested to furnish security on his bond of $200,000.  The will was dated October 7, 1915.

Thus was Miss Emminga enabled to continue with her unusual hobby, until in more recent years.  Due to the Depression and bank failures, her income was more limited, and she was forced to curtail her expenditures somewhat.  However, what she purchased was first quality good, as may be seen by the price tag which remains on many of the articles, and has withstood the effects of age exceptionally well.  Although it is not expected that the goods can be sold for anywhere near the original purchasing price, it is certain to realize, even at this late date, several thousand dollars.  No one knows what she intended to do with her large stock nor the number of years spent in collecting it.  It seems that if she saw something that struck her fancy, she would purchase enough to last her the rest of her days.

No monument has been erected for members of the family today.  However, those in charge of the estate hope to be able to do this after paying all the expenses.

EMMINGA, Harm H.EMMINGA, Ettje Marie (Gembler)Perhaps no monument is needed.  We note that in the obituary of Harm H. Emminga, published in 1915, it is said “he needs no monument to perpetuate his memory with hundreds of people, businessmen and farmers, whom he assisted when they were in need and helped them to help themselves.  In every movement for good in Golden and vicinity, he was always found among the leaders, regardless of creed or political faith.  And that is not all—dozens of acts of charity, philanthropy and benevolence in all parts of the world, he was the author of.  He was a man who had traveled much and thought much and was not narrow in his views.  He did not make a show of his gifts but wished nothing mentioned of his act and many of these the world will never be known.”

His memory will be a silent inspiration to those who knew him in this way.

EMMINGA, Meta (Trinity LC Cemetery, Golden, IL2013 BLOG (Harm H. EMMINGA)

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History of the Old Windmill by Evelyn Cassens

06151312 copyGolden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, December 12, 1929


Evelyn Cassens

A Dutch windmill, fifty-seven years old, the only one of its kind is located in this town, the only one in this section of the United States.  It is a little over thirty miles from Quincy.

The mill, the last of three built at Golden, has grown to be such a curiosity, that people come great distances to see it.

It is located between the C. B. & Q. and Wabash railroads, and is one of the first structures a person sees when entering Golden from the south on either of these roads.  It is operated by F. Franzen an expert miller.

Great interest centers about the windmill, as it is built of materials obtained in Adams and Brown counties, and it has withstood half a century of wear.  Its wooden parts are hand hewn.  Its timbers are from the heavily wooded sections, that at one time, were numerous in the vicinity of Golden.

EMMINGA, Henrich ReemtsThe first Holland windmill built in the Golden vicinity was located east of the village and is now only a landmark.  It was called the Custom Mill and was built by Henry R. Emminga, who came to Golden from Germany in 1852.  An expert mechanic and millwright, he invaded the splendid forests of oak, hickory, and maple, and obtained materials with which to build the mill.  He completed the structure in twenty-eight months.  The mill was sold to John H. Franzen, Sr. in 1863, and later transferred to Peter Osterman, who took charge in 1870 and sold it in 1875 to Cobus Franzen.  Mr. Franzen made his son, Fred a business partner and in March 1904, Fred Franzen  became the sole owner.  The mill is now (1929) out of operation.

Windmill Built in 1872 

The windmill now standing was built in 1872.  It is still used in the manufacture of buckwheat flour, rye and graham flour, corn meal, and ordinary mill feeds.  It is built on the tower idea and is ninety-two feet high.  The four fans are seventy-one feet long, from tip to tip, and eight feet wide.  A strong wind will produce 75 horse power.  With its three sets of lava burrs (millstones), it has a capacity of 500 bushels of grain a day.

Prairie Mills Windmill, Golden, IllinoisThe mill was passed from one generation to another—from its builder, H. R. Emminga to his son, the late H. H. Emminga and then to the present owner, Miss Margaret Emminga.

The mill is built on a site purchased on June 26, 1872 by H. R. Emminga.  He bought thirty-three acres of land adjoining the south line of Keokuk Junction, now known as Golden, from Col. Wm. Hanna.  By July 3, 1872 the material for the first story and octagonal center was on the ground, ready to be erected.  Thirty-five loads of rock were hauled from a creek some seven miles distant by farmers of the community.  The large elm, oak, and hard maple timbers were sawed by a Mr. Buss near Mt. Sterling.  The lumber from which the bolting machines and other machinery were made was also sawed there.

Work Started in 1872

On August 11, 1872 carpenters, under the direction of H. R. Emminga, began work and the first story was completed September 2, 1872.  The following winter and spring Mr. Emminga made most of the wooden machinery used in the mill.  The main drive wheel, or master wheel, of the cam and sprocket type, is twelve feet in diameter, made entirely of hard maple.  It required almost eight months to finish it.  In the fifty-two years of continuous service, this wheel has hardly shown wear.  The main shaft on which the wheel as well as the four fans are fastened is made of cast iron and weighs 4,700 pounds.  The bearing in which it rests weighs 340 pounds.  These were made special order of the City Foundry in Quincy.  The smaller iron parts were made in Camp Point.  Mr. Emminga drew all the plans and even made the patterns for the castings.

On April 5, 1873 the upper stories and the tower of the mill were erected, and on April 15 the main shaft was put in place.  Due to the weight and the great lift of 62 feet that was the most difficult part of the work.

There were two sets of lava burrs (millstones) ready for use on September 1, 1873, and the grinding of buckwheat, rye, and corn was begun.  Under the firm name of H. R. Emminga & Son, the first shipment of buckwheat flour was made to Carthage on November 8, 1873.  On March 9 wheat.  The delay was occasioned by difficulty in obtaining bolting machinery.  On August 15, 1874, the third set of burrs was placed.  This burr is five feet in diameter and weighs 5,000 pounds, and its installation completed the mill.

01090902Flour Won Prize

In September 1874, H. R. Emminga & Son sent samples of wheat flour ground in the mill to St. Louis, Missouri, where it was awarded first prize for the best flour on the market.

In the fall of 1878, H. H. Emminga bought his father’s interest in the mill and remained sole owner and proprietor until his death December 9, 1915.   After Mr. Emminga’s death, the mill was operated by the Golden Elevator and Mill Company until March 1, 1922, when it was taken over by the Consolidated Cereal Company.  J. J. Emminga and F. B. Franzen consolidated the two windmills at that time.  Mr. Franzen has been operating the old windmill described in the first part of this story in the country two miles east of Golden.  F. B. Franzen became the sole owner of the plant on March 1, 1923.

In the early eighties, the making of wheat flour was discontinued because of the roller process.  Efforts in other lines were increased and these are still in demand.  Buckwheat, graham and cornmeal ground on the large burrs are desired by a large trade.  The present operator, F. B. Franzen sends large shipments from the Golden windmill to many parts of the country.

A strong wind tore off two of the four fans on the old windmill on February 9, 1924.  Mr. Franzen was not handicapped by this.  In August 1924, he installed a 30 horse-power gasoline engine assisted by his son, Ralph, and son-in-law, Walter Reynolds, to be used till the fans could be repaired.

H. R. Emminga built two other windmills of the same type, the first, two miles east of Golden in 1854, and then one in Germany in 1863.  The mill built in 1854 is no longer being used, but the one built in Germany is still running.

Felde Windmill, Ostfriesland, Germany

Felde Windmill, Ostfriesland, Germany

Hinnerk EmmingaThe third windmill of the group located in the Golden vicinity was built by William Gronewold on his farm north of golden.  This mill was smaller, having a sweep of twenty feet and was used exclusively for grinding feed for stock.  It has been torn down.

Practically all of the flours and feedstuffs now ground in the windmill by Fred Franzen are manufactured from raw stuffs obtained from the Golden countryside.


We see the old mill standing,
As we daily pass along,
And it never makes a motion,
Though the wind is blowing strong.
Did you ever stop and ponder,
And in solemn moments feel,
That the hands that hewed the timbers,
Never again will guide the wheel?
Let us then like all good people,
While we still are young and gay
Do our part to keep it turning
As a mark to Emminga.

A note of interest: 

In 1880 the people of Keokuk Junction asked the Secretary of State to change the Village name to Golden, Illinois.  The village was known by four different names to the people.  It was Keokuk Junction to the people; by the state and the United States T.W.A.W Junction; by the C.B.&Q.R.R. Corporation Wabash Junction; and by the Wabash Corporation La Buda.  The four names were very confusing to the area and with the permission of the Secretary of State, the people voted to change the name to Golden. 

Golden, Illlinois illustration by A. Bruce Loeschen

The book, “When the Wind Blows” by Anna Wienke is a valuable resource for learning about the Prairie Mills Windmill.  She is the great granddaughter of Henrich Reemts Emminga, and her book can be purchased through the Golden Historical Society, Golden, Illinois.

A hearty thanks to those who shared photos for the two Prairie Mills Windmill posts.   (Illustrations by A. Bruce Loeschen)

Learn more about Margaret-Meta Emminga in the next two posts.  Quite an interesting lady for her time!

Read more about H. R. Emminga at Hinrich (Henry) Reemts Emminga

Two excellent websites of interest on this subject:  Golden Windmill and Illinois Windmills

And if you haven’t read the previous post, Windmill is of Interest, click here


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Windmill is of Interest…a 1929 letter to the editor

06151313Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, December 5, 1929

Windmill is of Interest

Mr. Graham of Galesburg Writes Letter

Galesburg, Ill.
November 23, 1929

Editor of Golden New Era:

Of late there has been a great deal said concerning the condition of the old windmill at Golden.  I am a conductor running between Galesburg and Quincy, and there is scarcely a time we make during the day time but someone will ask to be shown the windmill when we get to Golden.  Just today a lady with her children was on the train enroute from California.  On leaving Quincy she said, “Will you please show us the windmill when we get to Golden?  My father has told us so much about it and how he used to ride on the wings when he was a boy.”  When they saw it they expressed great pleasure but regretted very much to see it passing away and asked if anything was being done to save it, as it was a pity to see an old landmark like that pass out.

Henrich (Henry) Reemts EMMINGA

Henrich (Henry) Reemts EMMINGA

Just recently a very distinguished looking old gentleman was on the train enroute to California and about the first thing he asked me was “is the windmill at Golden yet?”  I told him it was still there but regretted to have to tell him he would find it in a very bad condition.  He told about when he was a boy and of seeing Mr. Emminga hewing the timbers to build the first windmill and the hardships he had in doing it.  He told how Mr. Emminga started out with only $6 and about the man that let him have the timber to build it with and pay him when he got the money from the earnings of the mill.  He told about his boyhood days near Golden and about the first blacksmith shop and how the blacksmith made everything they had to use in those days.  His eyes just sparkled as he told about how they went to the windmill to have their milling done and of the many games and sports they had while they waited their turn to get their meal and flour.  He said there were horse races and turkey shooting.  Then he laughed and said, “And often a good fist fight too.”  He said there were roads leading from all directions to the mill as it was all prairie and the prairie grass was so high you could not see a team of horses going through it.  All you could see was the man’s head as he sat on the load.

Someone asked him if they raised much stock in those days and he said, “Stock.  Why no.  The wolves were too thick you could not raise anything.”  As the train neared Golden he pointed out where the first windmill was built and where the old blacksmith shop stood and how the people came from miles about to it.

Golden Windmill (Emminga)He said, “There was where we got the news them days.”  He said, “Boys, I have not been back in this place for years.  It all looks strange to me.”  Pointing his finger he said, “I used to have a girl right over there, and she was a real girl too.  Not like the ones we have now.”  At that he showed signs of sadness.  He told about when the war broke out and how he ran away and enlisted in the Army and never saw her again.  As he passed the old mill, he just beamed at it and watched it until it was out of sight.  His eyes filled with tears as he said, “The old mill brings back fond memories to me.”  More than once he expressed regrets of seeing it in that condition.  “See most every day where the people throughout the country are building memorials to some old settler or great man, then, why should the people of Golden stand by and let an old landmark like that, a landmark that is known almost the nationwide, pass from them.”

I have talked with a great many people about the old mill and all have expressed regret at seeing it in such a condition and expressed a wish, as I do, that a fund be raised and have the old mill raised and put back as it was and keep it as a monument to Mr. Emminga and the old settlers that endured such hardships in the early days to put the country in the condition it is today.

I am sure you will have no trouble in getting the people interested in a drive to keep the old landmark.  Don’t let it go.  Keep Golden on the map.  Following are a few verses I have composed from the conversation of the old gentleman.

P. W. Graham


The old mill once charming scene,
But it sure looks bad today,
Those wings that once so proudly stood,
Now are yielding to decay.
The places show a lack of care,
Things seem all gone to seed,
When recently I passed there,
The place looked bad indeed.
Golden once a busy place,
Where business used to glow,
At the station where the railroads cross,
With the old mill just below.
The old mill was busy then,
The main stay of the town,
The people came from miles about,
To have their milling done.
In Golden once beside a gate,
A blue-eyed maiden stood,
The boy for whom she used to wait,
Had visions that were good.
The rose bud fastened in her hair,
Was not more sweet than she,
In those days the old mill town,
Seemed a charming place to be.
The lovely charms that Golden had,
Are vanishing from the town,
The place is going to the bad,
And things are all run down.
The maiden no longer waits,
For the boy now is old and gray,
With memories of the days long gone,
When he first met Emminga

Want to know more about Henrich (Henry) Reemts EMMINGA?  Click here… Hinrich (Henry) Reemts Emminga

Two excellent websites of interest on this subject: Golden Windmill and Illinois Windmills 

The book, “When the Wind Blows” by Anna Wienke is a valuable resource for learning about the Prairie Mills Windmill.  She is the great granddaughter of Henrich Reemts Emminga, and her book can be purchased through the Golden Historical Society, Golden, Illinois.

Prairie Mills Windmill, Golden, Illinois (2001)

Prairie Mills Windmill, Golden, Illinois (2001)

Restoration and ongoing Fundraising Project

Signature Brick Patio, Golden, Illinois

Photo Courtesy of the Golden Historical Society  (2008)

Photo Courtesy of the Golden Historical Society (2008)

The Prairie Mills Windmill, grinding again since 2002, is the only operating windmill in Illinois with patent sails and has all of its original grinding stones.

Next post in two weeks:  History of the Old Windmill by Evelyn Cassens

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Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln…in 1934

Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, February 8, 1934
Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln…in 1934

(Gleaned from here and there—by J. F. Hunziker—)

In Lincoln City, Indiana one will find a simple little granite stone in Nancy Hanks Park with the inscription “Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln, died October 5, 1818, aged 35 years.”

The family had come from Kentucky to make their home here, where land was to be had for the settling.  For ten miles north from the Ohio River the soil is black and very fertile.  Then you reach the hills, or what the early settlers called “the barrens.” Here the soil is yellow, the land rolling.  It is beautiful beyond compare.  It is a country of timber and toil.  Oak, walnut, ash, hickory, and other valuable hardwoods abound;  springs flow from the hillsides; flowers are plentiful; song birds fill the woods, but the soil is stony and stubborn.  You may tickle it with a hoe as much as you will, it will not laugh a harvest.  Here the Lincoln family settled.  There was the father, Thomas Lincoln, his wife, Nancy Hanks Lincoln; Sarah Lincoln, aged ten; and little Abe Lincoln, aged eight.

The family had four horses, old and lame.  In the wagon were a few household goods, two sacks of cornmeal, a side of bacon.  They built a shack from logs, closed on three sides open to the south.  The reason the south side was left open was because there was no chimney, and the fire they built was half in the home and half outside.

Here the family lived the first dreary winter.  To Sarah and Abe it was only fun.  But to the mother, who was delicate, illy clothed, underfed, and who had known better things in her Kentucky home, it was hardship.

Long years afterward, Abe Lincoln wrote:  “My mother worked steadily and without complaining.  She cooked, made clothing, planted a little garden.  She coughed at times and often would have to lie down for a little while.  She was worn, yellow and sad.”  One day when she was lying down she motioned to little Abe to come to her.  She put her arm around Abe and pointed to his sister, Sarah and said, “Be good to her Abe!”  She closed her tired eyes, and it was several hours before Abe and Sarah knew she was dead.

The next day Thomas Lincoln made a rough coffin of split boards.  The body of the dead woman was placed in the rude coffin.  Four men carried the coffin up to the top of a little hill nearby, and it was lowered into a grave.  A mound of rocks was piled on top to protect the grave from wild animals.  For the next year, little Sarah was the “little other mother.”  She cooked, washed, patched the clothing, and looked after the household.

Then one day Thomas Lincoln went away and left the two children alone.  When he came back, he brought the two children a stepmother—Sally Bush Johnson, a widow with three children of her own, but enough love for two more.  Her heart went out to little Abe, and the lonely heart responded.  J. F. Hunziker

Abraham Lincoln (1)Even though many Abraham Lincoln memorials and statues have been erected and a plethora of information gathered since J. F. Henziker’s 1934 gleanings, the article nonetheless extremely interesting.  Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois definitely worth the time and effort involved.

Don’t forget to drive out to Lincoln’s Tomb State Historic Site at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Abraham Lincoln (5)“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right; as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”  Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (3)Abraham Lincoln (4)Abraham Lincoln (2)

Abraham Lincoln (1)Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb has been designated a registered National Historic Landmark under the provision of the historic sites act of August 31, 1955.  This site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States.  U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service.  1964

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Shook Hands with Lincoln

06151311 copy
Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, March 1, 1928

Shook Hands with Lincoln

03050901 copyIt is given to few people, perhaps, to play as continuous and important a part in the history of a village as that enacted by our old friend and fellow citizen, H. E. Selby.  His history is just about the history of Golden and vicinity.  The old Selby homestead was to the west of Golden a few miles.

Mr. Selby is naturally full of historical facts and reminiscences.  He is perhaps, in this section, the only survivor of the vast army of men who could once boast of having shaken hands with Abraham Lincoln.  He enjoyed that privilege in Quincy in 1858 at the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate.  Always admiring Lincoln as a great man, his admiration was increased by hearing the big debate.  Mr. Selby thinks the rock in Washington park to mark the location of the historic incident is not correctly placed, and he is borne out in this opinion by others who were present.  An odd feature, in a physical sense, of the contest, was the tallness of Mr. Lincoln and the shortness of Mr. Douglas.  (The black/white images below were captured at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Homestead National Monument, Beatrice, Nebraska on June 20, 2009)

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (4)Lincoln-Douglas Debate (1)Mr. Selby was a Union soldier in the Civil War and was left for dead on the battlefield of Chickamauga, having been struck squarely in the temple by a rebel bullet.  That he was not instantly killed was due to a circumstance which was at once fortunate and odd.  His cap being large, he had folded up a Quincy Whig (newspaper) and placed it inside the cap around the band to take up the slack.  It did even better as it checked the bullet so that it did not penetrate the brain.

Shiloh National Military Battlefield, TennesseeAt the close of the war, Mr. Selby took up school teaching for a few years, being granted a certificate without an examination, a favor extended to some of the soldiers.  Later he entered business in Golden and spent his active life here.  He is now 85 and active in mind and body for a person of that age.

When the Wind Blows…by Anna Wienke

Harlow E. Selby, first public school teacher and early business man of the village, was a Civil War Veteran.  He was born on October 24, 1842 in Ohio, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Selby.  Mr. Selby came to Illinois with his parents at the age of 14.

After being honorably discharged from the Army in June of 1865, he continued teaching through two winters.  In the spring of 1867, he embarked into merchandising, with the purchase of an established business in partnership with S. Selby.  About two months later, they began dealing in grain in connection with commercial pursuits.  They conducted this store with success until 1891, when the building was destroyed by fire.  They continued in the grain business, with elevators at Golden, Chatton, and Bowen.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (5)The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate.  At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislature; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature.  The debates previewed the issues Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election.  The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.

In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois.  Because both had already spoken in two—Springfield and Chicago—within a day of each other, they decided that their joint appearances would be held only in the remaining seven districts.

The debates were held in seven towns in the sate of Illinois:  Ottawa on August 21, Freeport on August 27, Jonesboro on September 15, Charleston on September 18, Galesburg on October 7, Quincy on October 13, and Alton on October 15.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (3)The debates in Freeport, Quincy, and Alton drew especially large numbers of people from neighboring states, as the issue of slavery was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation.  Newspaper coverage of the debates was intense.  Major papers from Chicago sent stenographers to create complete texts of each debate, which newspapers across the United States reprinted in full, with some partisan edits.  Newspapers that supported Douglas edited his speeches to remove any errors made by the stenographers and to correct grammatical errors, while they left Lincoln’s speeches in the rough form in which they had been transcribed.  In the same way pro-Lincoln papers edited Lincoln’s speeches but left the Douglas texts as reported.

After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book.  The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln’s nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (2)The format for each debate was:  one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute “rejoinder.”  The candidates alternated speaking first.  As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.

012909F4=The Golden New Era
Golden, Illinois
Thursday, February 9, 1938

Abraham Lincoln by James Whitcomb Riley

A peaceful life—just toil and rest—
All his desire;
To read the books he likes the best
Beside the cabin fire—
God’s word and man’s—to peer sometimes
Above the page in smouldering gleams,
And catch, like far heroic rhymes,
The one march of his dreams.
A peaceful life—to hear the low
Of pastured herds
Or woodman’s axe that, blow on blow,
Fell sweet as rhythmic words.
And yet there stirred within his breast
A fateful pulse that like a roll
Of drums, made high above his rest
A tumult in his soul.
A peaceful life!  They hailed him even
As one was hailed
Whose open palms were nailed toward heaven
When prayers nor aught availed.
And lo, he paid the self shame price
To lull a nation’s awful strife,
And will us, through sacrifice
Of self, his peaceful life.
Thanks always for stopping by. 
Next post:  Little Known Facts Concerning Lincoln (1934)
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Farmers were Independent…Early History

Golden New Era (Thursday, March 1, 1928)
Golden, Illinois
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers
Farmers Were Independent

In the evenings of the short winter days down on the farm, when the cider sparkled in the glass and the hickory nuts were at hand, we listened to the stories told us by the older folk, of the real old days, when the country was new and the settlers hustled for a foothold.

Man may moan of his troubles and hardships, but if he has been successful, he loves in later life to retread in memory the old hard road that led to ease and comfort.  He is a creative atom and finds his chief joy in constructive achievement.

Economy always has been a prominent factor of successful farm life.  Those pioneers certainly practiced it.  When a new couple arrived in the settlement, the neighbors gathered and with their axes had a fine home built by nightfall.

Rock Creek Station Historical Park, Jefferson County, NebraskaMethods of farming were crude and simple.  Oxen pulled the plows that broke out the prairie and the cleared timber land.  Timber land, when first cultivated is so full of leaf mold as to be very light and mellow.  No clods to bother with.  The trouble with our land now is that it is deficient in the natural mold what formerly made it so friable and lively.  Loose soil favors drainage and other conditions necessary to plant growth.

The early settlers did not let a dearth of equipment dismay them.  Having broken the virgin soil with a walking plow, they often harrowed it with brush, planted the corn by hand in a furrow and covered it with a flat rock, which they dragged along the row or with a jumper, a depth which the operator alternately raised and lowered.

Grain was cut with a cradle and bound by hand.  The first separators were horse power concerns.  But the old timers raised some real wheat crops, something we now seem unable to do.  Thirty or forty years ago the shipments of wheat from this section were heavy, bringing a lot of hard cash home to us.  Of late years wheat shipments have fallen to a mere trifle.

A study of farm life during the period of its existence in Illinois will reveal the gradual decline in independence of the farmer.  He formerly provided for about all of his own needs, even raising the wool and with the aid of the wife, weaving the cloth and making his own clothes.  The farm supplied about all the necessities in the way of food, meat, eggs, flour, milk, butter, cream, hominy, and fruit of all kinds.

Here memory wanders into the old orchard which my grandfather planted and a real orchard it was, with such sterling varieties of apples as Rambo Belle Flower and Summer Pearmain.  Without exception, the Pearmain was the best eating apple I had ever tasted.  Those apple trees seemed to my youthful eyes to reach almost to the sky, and certainly the apples I found underneath the trees in the tall, damp grass, were good enough to be a gift from high heaven.  And perhaps they were.  Editor

Gage County, Nebraska (4)Gage County, Nebraska (12)

Golden New Era (Thursday, September 5, 1929)
Golden, Illinois
Groves & Mockmore, Publishers

012909EOEarly History by H. H. Franzen

When speaking of farming I might say that the very first plows had a wooden mold board which was soon replaced by an all iron or steel plow.  In those days they had no machinery of any kind.  Harrows were made of wood in a V-shape with wooden teeth.  When a piece of ground was ready for corn planting it had to be marked both ways in order to make square rows and the grain was dropped by hand and covered with the hoe. Later the hand planter was invented, which is still known today and father has made quite a lot of them.  Father invented a three-row horse planter, but we used it but one year then he made a two-row planter which was a complete success, and we have never used a factory made planter.

The first grain cutting machine was made by McCormick and it had a platform for the grain to drop on but had to be raked off by hand.  The man that raked the grain off in bunches had to ride backwards.  It took 6 to 7 men to tie the bundles with straw.  Next came the machine that dropped them in bunches.  Then came the Harvester that elevated the grain to one side and into a trough.  The two men who rode the machine did the binding with straw.  Then came the wire binder.  In 1876 at the World’s Fair at Philadelphia I saw the first twine binder.  I also saw a corn planter that imitated father’s ideas.  It stood on a satin covered floor and had lots of silver plated parts.  The check rower was next.

I was at the World’s Fair a whole month trying to find a man who could make me a false part of my face.  Yes, dear people, I had a hard and sad time of my life but am still on top.  Even in my affliction I have seen lots of the world.  I have been to three World’s Fairs, have visited the principal cities of the U. S. and several cities in foreign countries.  I have visited Panama and the Panama Canal and have visited and inspected that most wonderful work of the world and have crawled through the whole works from one end to the other as it was then under construction while my brother John and I were there in 1912.  We had the best chance in the world to see it all.  As we returned from Panama, we went by way of Kingston, Jamaica and landed at the east end of Cuba.  From Santiago we traveled all the way to Havana, Cuba, and we finally reached the U. S. at Key West, Florida and from there we crossed a large part of southern United States.

Oxen plowing prairieMaybe I am a little to hasty as I notice that I have jumped at least 60 to 70 years in space, so I will tell you a little about breaking up this never-before-touched wild prairie sod.  The plow was hung to an axle with two wheels and could be controlled by a lever.  Then they hitched 3 or 4 or even as high as 6 or 7 yoke of oxen to it.  They were all hitched to one long chain reaching from the plow to the front yoke of oxen.  The front yoke were trained to obey the driver’s command, and he used a big and long whip which he used unmercifully.  When he cracked it over their heads, it made a report like a shot gun.  The young and inexperienced animals were compelled to go whether they wanted to or not, or they were drug along by the yoke.  Oh, it was inhuman.

The main part of the yoke consisting of a strong piece of wood reaching from the neck of one ox to the other.  It laid right back of the horns on the top of the neck and held to the oxen by two wooden hickory bows put around their necks and shoved through holes that block and held by two wooden pins.  Now just imagine such a sight.  The words of the commander were about like the sound of a steam boiler, so here goes with foot on low, “Git up, git up, Dick and Molly, Tom and Jerry, Jim and Johnny, John and Milkey,” and so on down.  “Come on, come you lazy booger, you good-for-nothing, you old fool, come on you, git up” and so on, just the most shameful language and accusing the lowest and meanest acts, and if the poor brutes had any feeling of honor it would have made them shed tears.

H. H. Franzen  (I was thrilled when I found another Franzen writeup)

Have a bucket list?  Consider including the Homestead National Monument in southeast Nebraska.  You’ll learn firsthand about breaking sod and pioneer life.

Homestead National Monument (Beatrice, Gage County) (8)

02160901 (2)My uncle atop the heap of suffocating hay and H. H. Franzen would be amazed to view a field of crops from inside my cousin’s cool, monstrous combine.

Harvest Time in Gage County, Beatrice, Nebraska (2)Harvest Time in Gage County, Beatrice, Nebraska (4)

When time permits, you might like to read an excerpt from El Comancho’s “The Old Timer’s Tale.”  Fascinating!  The Old Timer’s Tale

As an aside…hog butchering wasn’t mentioned in these Golden New Era  write-ups, but nonetheless a part of farming life.  If interested, you might like to take a look at this survival technique at www.corinthrose.com, under This N’ That. (and I do mean technique) Even though these images were taken in Tennessee not the Midwest, it really doesn’t matter where one butchers a hog.  Hog butchering is hog butchering!

At the suggestion of a friend, we visited the yearly heritage festival at Ames Plantation near Grand Junction, Tennessee in 2012.  More than interesting, the whole event was down right fascinating, well organized, and educational.  As a little girl of seven or eight, I remember the monstrous hog dangling from the old dilapidated garage door…waiting.  Inquisitive…yes.  Scared…absolutely. Was I prepared for what happened next…no.  I hid and watched.

However, 55 years later, my fascination with hog butchering peaked again soon after arriving at Ames Plantation last October.  This time I hid behind my camera as I captured image after image of men “just doing their job.”  Don’t know if I would have been so enthralled if the hog hadn’t been bled beforehand, though.


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