Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features a tractor. Generations of my family walked behind plows and drove wagons pulled by oxen and horses. But after the turn of the century, most of my ancestors left the farm for careers in carpentry or with the railroad. My husband’s family, on the other hand, continued to farm, some of them even today.
As a young married couple just starting out in 1938, my in-laws Ervin and Helen worked for large farm owners.
|Ervin Mathias on some heavy-duty tractor|
For a time they lived in an old farmhouse on the Gardner farm in Bridgewater, Virginia.
|Farmhouse Bridgewater, Virginia|
where Ervin and Helen lived
Later Ervin and Helen worked on the Wampler farm in Weyers Cave, Virginia. While Ervin managed the cattle, Helen assisted Mrs. Wampler with meals, care of the Wampler children, and household chores.
|Right: Helen (just 16) with baby Donald|
Left: Mrs. Wampler, daughter, and son
|Farmhouse in Weyers Cave, Virginia|
From there they moved to Timberville and rented from the Ryans, a family that became life-long friends of the entire Mathias family. The Ryans are orchard farmers, growing both peaches and apples.
|Left: Virginia Ryan and Nancy|
Right: Helen Mathias and Linda
Eventually Ervin and Helen saved enough money to buy some land from the Will family along Little North Mountain Road in Timberville. Ervin’s skills in carpentry were put to the test in 1946 as he built the house that 8 children called home until they each moved out and established their own families.
1940s craftsman style
Ervin became a carpenter full-time and a farmer part-time. A few dairy cows supplied the family while beef cattle were raised and sold for added income. Ervin also built a chicken house for Helen who became a reluctant chicken farmer.
|Free range chickens 1940s|
(not sure which farm this was
but these are not Helen's chickens)
In her later years, Helen said she hated taking care of chickens. Ervin had wanted to give her a source of income, a little independence, as well as “something to do.” However, Helen never wanted chickens. They had 8 children; she already had plenty to do.
Perspective is a funny thing.
|Helen's chicken house in 1983|
If you think this tractor is sexy, wait ‘til you see the others at Sepia Saturday.
© 2015, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.