Union County, Kentucky native Charles Henry Omer (1865-1937) was a substitute teacher, postmaster, merchant, Mason, and elder at the Morganfield Christian Church. He and his wife Susan were the parents of 13 children, including two sets of twins. Somehow, they found time not only for their primary pursuit of farming, but for the maintenance of a journal that recorded the family’s daily activities from 1904-1932. Common topics over its hundreds of pages were, as one would expect, the weather, income and expenses, with the prices of food, timber, farm supplies and labor faithfully noted. But other details add color to this chronicle of agricultural life, for example:
May 23, 1904: It rained a little this morning. . . . went to Morganfield to see the Bloomer Girls play Baseball in the afternoon Expenses 70c Light-Bread 10 Sausages Bananas 10 Peanuts 5 crackers 5 steak 20 Ice cream soda 10 = 1.30
May 3, 1905: I took my crosscut saw out to Tom Berry’s and got him to sharpen it and I took his place rolling logs while he was fixing it.
July 9, 1913: I let Uncle John Berry go down to Sister Mollie’s and got a horse collar to work on Lizzie so he could plow my patch of corn he plowed all day and never got done.
Feb. 27, 1923: I hung 4 hams my 2nd killing today & cleaned the hog feet to my last killing & put them to soak to cook tomorrow.
Oct. 26, 1930: I got up at 4:30 and went to the c[hristian] church and fired up the furnace and back at 7:30 and eat breakfast and then killed 2 chickens to bake.
May 31, 1932: Mrs. Omer & I have been married 33 years today. I took about a qt. of pumpkin seed to both Wilhelm and Miller to plant.
The Omer family farm journal is part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections. Click here to access a finding aid. To explore other collections relating to agriculture (the 2014 focus of Kentucky Archives Month), search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.