Thursday, November 22, 2007

Life in the Early 1900's

I will start by telling you about how it was in the early 1900. My mom and dad lived in Charlotte and worked in the cotton mills. Mom went to work when she was twelve years old. My Dad was in the army and fought in the Spanish-American War. When he was discharged from the army he became a supervisor in the same mill as my mother which is the way they met.

My dad was a big fisherman and never missed a time to go fishing. It was Paw love for fishing that took him and our family to Long Island, NC. It was on the banks of the Catawba River where he stayed most of the time when he was not working. I guess I would have had more brothers and sisters if he had not died when I was fifteen month's old. I do not remember ever having a dad. After his death, Mom had a hard time since there was no income to feed our large family of ten children.

I was born or I maybe I was just found in an old holler stump or something like that. You did not hear much about storks bringing babies back then. Since you would not believe the stump story for one moment, I will just have to tell it like it really was the day I was born.

It was early one spring day, May 21st 1928, to be exact. Mom woke up and told Paw that he was going to have another mouth to feed before the day was over and sure enough that is the way it happened and my life got started. Paw sent one of his older sons over the ridge to a neighbor's house to call the doctor. Doc came out to the country and got there just in time to see me and make sure I was in good working order. He got a chicken and a country ham for his trouble.

I was the last of nine boys and two girls to be born into this family. After I grew up a little, it was clear to me that Paw was not looking for another mouth to feed but another field hand to help feed him and the rest of the family.

Mom could always take care of herself! She did all the cooking and washed the clothes in three tin tubs after she boiled them in an old black wash pot over a fire in the yard. She did all the cleaning of the house as well as all of the gardening.

Mom rented the Propst Farm, a small one horse farm nine miles east of Statesville, NC. She paid the rent for it on the share cropper’s deal which meant that we had to give the first one third of what the farm was expected to yield to the landlord and we were able to keep the rest. My two older sister and some of the older brothers left the farm to work at public businesses as far back as I can remember. Two of my brothers joined the marines, others went to work in the cotton mill, and some stayed home to attend school. One sister and two brothers finished high school. Four joined the navy at the beginning of World War II, so I just had to join the navy which ended up being at the end of the big war.

I was the littlest one but you can bet your bottom dollar that I was not spoiled! All of the older ones had "been there and done that" and they knew just how to work little ol' me so I got it from everyone. Mom did try to protect me but it was one against ten. Of course, when she meant business, it only took one of her for my protection!

I will be going into more detail about my life through this blog. I plan to just start telling my story from the beginning and see where it goes. This will be a joint project with my son, Glenn.


Mike said...

I like your story, bettca could tell us a thing or too about being raised up without cell phones, cable and computers.

Betsy Mauney said...

Hey Paw-Paw, it's Steven. As you can tell, I'm slow in reading all your posts. I do have a question regarding this one. Did your brothers make it home from the war?

CatherineDickens said...

Hello, Uncle Glenn, I heard about your blog so I logged on to read the history of the Gurley family from your perspective.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,
My son and I were doing some research and found your blog. What you experienced is not something he understands especially in this ever changing day and age, but maybe someday. I am 46 yrs old and when I tell him that I had no computer, a home phone line called a party line that was shared with entire neighborhood and that my only gaming system was pong (which he didn't even know what that was)We were both impressed with the fact that you embrace technology and are so open and willing to share your life, and seem like a very genuine sweet man.
Thank you,

mark said...

I have an obsession to find out what life was like in a much simpler time. I recently had a conversation with a 96 yr. old that was better than any history class ever offered. I would love to hear and read more of those early years.

Linda McCall said...

I've sat here for two hours consumed with reading your blog. It is sooo interesting. Thank you for sharing your life and the times of the past. I'm looking forward to reading more.Bless you!

annabelle said...

Hello, I loved the idea of the times you've written about. I have a question for you as well as everyone who reads this blog- why do you think people are so interested, fascinated and most importantly nostalgic about 20th century Britain? Is it the clothes? The "simple life"? The idea that men were superior than women? Anyone seen the 1900 house on PBS?

I'd love to hear what you guys think. Cheers!


Anonymous said...

we are in our midtwenties and drawn to the simple life in the 1900s...

we are moving to a small town named Cobalt in Ontario, Canada. Its one of the most historic towns in the country, founded in 1903 and famous around the world for its rich silver ores. the sight of the old ragged buildings and bridges bring much nostalgia to us... wondering if youre familar with it and if there are any other journals from the 1900s anywhere on the web.

tolikins said...

cool story i hadn't ever thought about posting my own story on but i guess i might as well since yours got so many reveiws. here goes:
I was born alone. thats all i remember:darkness. Loneliness. Thats all i've grown up knowing. It's all i care to know. Ilive in an orphanage and since i have moved there my life has got better. I have got friends and over time earned trust. i will be sad when i have to leave that home but all though i haven't always lived in a house, as i used to live in the streets, this time when i move away it will be for the better.

somebody that is none of your bussiness to know7 said...

does anybody know anything about cottage life in 1910. i am doing a school project on it working closley to Dickens and Martha's life from the secret garden. Please help me because all i have got so far is a dreawing. It is due in in a week so i will be grateful for an suggestions.Thank you.