A History of the Burns Family
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PART ONE: Guy's Path to the Dance

CHAPTER TEN: Farmer Boy

The Christy Farm, Windham, Ohio
1890


PART ONE Overview
1 - Wildcat Brigade
2 - Battle of Wilderness
3 - Field Hospital
4 - Orphan School
5 - Ladies' Man
6 - Mary Dinger
7 -The Masons
8 - Mary Rebecca
9 - Guy the Wanderer
10 - Farmer Boy
11 - Center of the World
12 - Birthday
13 - Fish Story
14 - Miss Fenn
15 - To the Dance

More Information

Excerpted verbatim from Guy's memoir:

 

Grain Cradle

Dad worked on a farm for a man named George Miller for a while. He then made a deal with a man by the name of Bernard Christy to farm a little farm in shares. 

We moved to the farm house and lived there a year or so. I recall that we had 4 or 5 cows, some pigs, and 2-3 horses.Memoir Scrap

Our house sat on a ridge and below us was a spring and spring house where we got our water. All the water had to be carried up the hill.

The spring house was used as a refrigerator. There was a long trough in it and the water from the spring ran down through it. Milk and the things that required a cool place were put in crocks and set in the trough.

I recall a lot of things about the farm: The days when we butchered the pigs; the days we threshed the grain; the trips to town with grain to trade for groceries and flour.

Arched bridge
An old stone bridge in Windham


Mother used to make soft soap. We had a barrel set up in the backyard on a platform in which we put all the wood ashes. Water was poured on top of the barrels which filtered down through the ashes. The result was lye which she used to put with the hog fats and other fats that were saved to make soft soap.

PigI recall that when we first went on this farm that the grain was cut by hand with a tool called a cradle and it was a back breaking job. After the grain was cut and laid down some one followed and bound up the grain in bundles. The binding was made of shoots of grain itself fashioned into a band to tie up the bundles.

Before we left this farm our next crop of grain was cut by a mower drawn by horses which went through the grain and cut it and laid it down to be bound and shocked.

In those days about all you bought at the store to eat was sugar, coffee and flour and perhaps a few other things such as spices, as you were quite self-sufficient as far as food was concerned, with corned beef, smoked ham, and bacon, sausage and all sorts of canned vegetables raised in the garden. Most of the canning was done in crockery jars with a lid and sealed with sealing wax.Sunfish

I recall we had a neighbor by the name of Reese who had 2 children about May’s and my age named Meggie and Cecil with whom we played all the time. We were inseparable as there were no other kids.

By this time I was 5 years old and had developed a desire to fish. There was a beautiful little spring stream in the woods back of us that had a lot of black chub in it. I caught a lot of them with a bent pin. It was while we lived there that dad took me fishing the first time. We went to a pond about a mile distant that contained a lot of sunfish. He sat me on a stump with a slim hickory pole. I had the time of my life pulling in four fish. That was my first fishing trip.

Mahoning River Postcard
The Mahoning River, a favorite Burns fishing destination

I recall the Christmas we had at that place. I received a set of blocks and May received a little China doll with the usual orange in our stockings. That was the only time we saw an orange. We both played with the doll and blocks.

Both mother and dad worked very hard on this farm and just when they were getting along real good the owner sold it, which meant we had to move. The experience on the farm was wonderful and it was a sad day when we had to move...and leave our friends.