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Narrator: John Bennett, 66, of Hamilton, Missouri

In the days before Farmers possessed automobiles, going to town was quite an event. Such trips were usually on Saturday so the children could go too. The old farm wagon was the usual vehicle, although some people had a two-seated spring wagon which seated six if needed. Mr. Bennett's folks began with a lumber wagon and finally the father bought the spring wagon. In a wagon, the parents sat on the seat, the children might sit on a board laid across the wagon or on an additional wagon seat or in the wagon bed itself which was filled with straw covered over with old quilts. Mr. Bennett's mother hardly ever went to town on account of the numerous youngsters, so one of the older girls sat up with the father Thomas Bennett.

When the family went to town, they took their lunch and ate in the shade of some big tree, feeding the horses at the same time. The water was carried in one of their own buckets from some public well in Hamilton. Their father disliked to have his horses drink out of the trough by public wells lest they catch some disease. There used to be a public well and trough just south to the Orville Parker grocery store and another was located south of the old Houston, Spratt and Menefee Bank (which has recently been restored to its old usefulness in the 1934 drought).

Some town folks did not like to have country folks eat under their front trees because it called flies, but some country people have recalled that there were some town people who even brought out fresh water to them and would invite the country women into the house till time to go.

If the men went by themselves they were apt to buy crackers and cheese and eat in the store, sitting on a cracker barrel. Or they might drop into a restaurant for a bite. At Fourth of July celebrations and the old Hamilton Fair, the family went as a whole, excepting Mrs. Bennett. They started to the fair early so the father could see the stock in the morning. At noon they laid their dinner out on the ground on a table cloth and were always proud of the dinner prepared by Mrs. Bennett and the Bennett girls. Such dinners were a matter of family pride.

Interviewed August 15, 1934.


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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998