Friday, June 26, 2015

GREEN ACRES FRIDAY Alvie Bennett’s Farm, Wawayanda, Orange Co., NY

   “Mr. Bennett was one of the best known farmers in that part of the county, and his uprightness of character and probity had gained for him a host of friends during his long life. He was born in the town of Wawayanda, on the same farm on which he made his home for so many years, and during all that time was looked upon as one of the best types of the solid Orange county farmer.”
     [Source Middletown Times Press, Middletown, New York, Friday, August 22, 1890 edition]

That’s just what 3rd Great Grandfather Alvah Bennett’s obituary said. A solid Orange County farmer; what’s that mean? The 1855, 1865 and 1875 New York State Agricultural Statistics gave me a few answers.

During these years Alvie farmed between 90 and 120 acres. His farm included pasture land where the livestock grazed. Hay grew in his meadow grassland. Grandfather planted winter wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, corn, potatoes and beans. Apple orchards were on the property too. The farm was home to Grandfather’s family and horses, cattle, swine, sheep and chickens.

According to the 1855 Agricultural Statistics dated June 3rd[1] Alvie worked 100 improved acres. He kept 44 acres pasture land the previous year and produced 35 tons of hay from his meadows (28 acres).

He sowed 4 acres winter wheat, devoted 4 acres to oats, 6 acres to rye, 4 acres for buckwheat, 5 acres of corn and 1 acre of potatoes.

Currier & Ives print "The Husking"

Currier & Ives Print
The Husking

His livestock included 2 horses, 3 young pigs, and 4 sheep. The role of the cattle varied. Two working cows did their share of farm chores. There was a 1 year old and 3 older than 1 year. Sixteen milking cows supplied 6,400 gallons for market. Two cattle were killed for beef.

I don’t know whether Alvie or John J. Dolson, the census marshall, determined the cash value of the Bennett farm at $4,800. Livestock was worth $750. The farm tools and implements were valued at $200.

The June 21, 1865 Agricultural Statistics[2] resembled the 1855 census but with a couple differences. Alvie farmed 90 improved acres instead of 100 acres. Fewer acres were dedicated to the pasture and meadow lands. More winter wheat and oats were planted--less rye, buckwheat and corn. The cash value of the farm remained the same but the livestock value increased to $1,100.

The 1865 census inventoried apple orchards on the property. Alvie owned 12 apple trees that year. This census noted he had chickens.

Grandfather grew older and wiser as his farm prospered. By June 8, 1875[3] the cash value of his farm reached $10,000—more than double earlier census years. His increased livestock raised their worth to $2,000. His crops remained the same.

The orchard harvest produced 75 bushels thanks to Grandfather’s 50 apple trees. He also made 2 barrels of apple cider.

The dairy cattle produced 11,000 gallons of milk to be sold at market. The chickens’ earned Alvie $1,500 for eggs.

Resolute, steadfast, fruitful, yes; Alvah Bennett, the best type of solid Orange County farmer!

If you want to know more about Alvah Bennett, look for the Labels tag at the bottom of this post; then click on ‘Alvah Bennett’. This will find 3 earlier posts about Grandfather.

My Ancestry
3rd Great Grandparents Alvah Bennett and Esther Penny
2nd Great Grandmother Fanny Jane Bennett and husband Albert Doty
Great Grandfather Lewis Penny Doty and wife Emily (Wight) Taylor
Grandfather Frank Leroy Doty and wife Viola Lillian Wilson
My Mother

[1] 1855 New York State Census, Orange Co., Town of Wawayanda, Agriculture and Domestic Manufactures, pgs. 48-52
[2] 1865 New York State Census, Orange Co., Town of Wawayanda, Agricultural Statistics, pgs. 9-12
[3] 1875 New York State Census, Orange Co., Town of Wawayanda, Agricultural Statistics, pgs. 55-58

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