Guest blogger G.M.C. Massey, my grandfather, grants us a great gift with these short scraps from his memoir manuscripts: the ability to look into the past and experience how his life was lived around the turn of the 20th Century in rural east Texas.
In the fall of 1900 I was in Dallas at the State Fair and saw my first automobile. There were only two automobiles in the city of Dallas and I saw both. At that time I never dreamed that I would ever own one or drive one. Now if there are as big strides in the ways and means of travel in the next 75 years as there has been in the last 75 years I would hate to have to risk a guess what we would experience or see in the way of conveyance.
On the next day after the Infair (editor: wedding-related housewarming-gathering), Carrie and I went to Winnsboro to get our housekeeping outfit. Of course my mother and Carrie’s mother had given us a few things and we took that under consideration. But we only spent $35.00 and got all that we just had to have. We were living in the country and had none of the modern equipment or conveniences. We had to move right after we got our crop gathered to my school back up to Yantis, Texas and the more we had the more we had to move. Now at this age and stage of attainments, a young couple would not think of starting out without spending at least $1,000.00 and then would be spending more and more each time they went to town.
When our first baby was born we had no hospital to go to nor did we have that kind of money and we only had to get up $10.00 for the Dr. or if we had to depend upon a mid-wife, we only had to get up $5.00. And we have had 9 children born in the home and that was the way all along till the 3 or 4 last babies that cost us from $25 to $35 and that was aplenty.
When I was living on the farm, and was trading as a sideline, buying, selling, and raising stock, and teaching as a profession I remember very well some times I would get to the place that I was a foot as far as having something to hitch up to the buggy to go somewhere is concerned. I remember one time I only had one horse and he was a colt that I had raised from a yearling colt and only had him trained to the buggy and to ride. A young man struck me just as I went into town and he wanted my horse, and he did not want to wait till I could get something that was broke to the buggy. You see I was at that time teaching school at one of our nearby schools and it was about three miles and I was driving (editor: the horse & buggy) to it.