Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Nellie Joslin Weston was a "no nonsense" farm wife who described her life plainly and honestly. Her story appeared in a magazine article published in December 1931. In part the article reads:
Mrs. Joseph (Nellie) Weston

The little shack where the Westons started so modestly has given place to a modern bungalow with hardwood floors and all the coveted conveniences. And responsibility finds time for hobbies,--tea roses, etchings, friends.
"I don't want to paint country life too rosy," Mrs. Weston said. "It isn't all roses...No, not even in Missouri. The most I can say is you can make a living if you're willing to work hard enough.
Mrs. Weston's Home, "Spring Branch"

"A good crop from my orchard would be 35,000 bushels (a bushel of apples is approximately 48 pounds or 22 kg.) But I do not average that by any means. Something always happens. That's where the catch comes in; something is always happening on the farm. Anybody who goes to the country thinking he is going to have a snap, is bound to be disappointed...
Of course, there are pleasant surroundings in the country. But I can't say that I am any happier here than I would be in the city. In fact--I'm lonely--desperately lonely."
"I think," she added slowly, weighing her words, "I think that wherever we go, Life is Life."

Margaret Ellis Shellenberger and her mother gave up life in the city to go back home and save the farm--a stretch of rich acres in a cuplike valley high up in the Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania. The house is a colonial mansion of red brick, one hundred years old.
A Young Margaret Ellis
"Grandpa and Grandma simply couldn't think of leaving the old home at their age," said Mrs. Shellenberger to her visitor from The Farmer's Wife in February 1926, "so there was nothing for it but for Mother and me to come home and keep things going. Mother was very frail and I was only eleven. There were no conveniences in the house--not even running water. From the beginning I helped with whatever Mother did. The summer I was seventeen, I built every stack on the place. My brother, Edgar, was home for vacation and he and I took a turnabout in barn and field. We two cut and hauled ninety acres. The first year that Edgar went to college he ploughed fifteen acres for wheat before he left. I harrowed it alone and a neighbor helped to drill it. It was the best yield per acre of any farm around here--and we were proud!

"At first we were exiled up here in the mountains without even mail. Mother and I drove around and secured the signatures necessary for rural free delivery and telephone service. Our worst problem was roads or rather the lack of them. I had read about a road drag that was used through Missouri so talked to the road supervisor about it and he said, 'Well, if you want it done, go ahead and build a drag and supervise it.' I suppose he thought I'd never do it, but I did improve a few miles of road. After that, the same supervisor wanted me to have some hauling done. So I hired four or five teams and managed that job. I also put in a small plank bridge. I continued in the road work for a year."