Saturday, April 04, 2009

Evergreen Farm - Ice Pond

In late February/early March, 1886, my ancestors - Henry, Omar, Bart, and Mills Olney, cut ice on this pond. Solid blocks of ice, cut with special hand saws, hauled 4 miles by horse and wagon, and stored in an "ice house", insulated with sawdust from their own wood cutting, and from a local sawmill. Even city folk didn't have refrigeration in those days, but the stored ice would last all through the coming summer and fall. General day to day use of refrigeration was not a common practice. Milk, eggs, fruit, etc. was grown on the farm, and used on a daily basis. The ice was probably used for special cool drinks, and maybe ice cream making when they had company? Click here for more details. I was sort of disappointed with how small the pond was, but even a small pond - frozen solid - is quite a bit of ice!

I spent last Tuesday in Naples, NY area where they lived. Got some great pictures. ( although I had my camera set for smaller images all day - much to my chagrin!) Also spent time at the Naples Library, and the Atlanta Library, looking up stuff to round out my knowledge of 1886. Got lots of info, including some additional information about the businesses they traded with, and general details of life in 1886. I'll probably write more later, but was interested in one article in the local newspaper detailing efforts on the west coast in the territories of Washington, and Oregon, to get rid of the Chinese. Bands of folks evidently rounded up local farm workers of Chinese descent, and drove them out of town! Some attitudes don't change? We just switched to Mexicans - and some other groups in between.

Other things do change.... there were evidently 2 local area cigar factories - definitely 1. That means tobacco was probably a local crop in upstate NY in those days. I'll need to do some more research on that! In those horse and buggy days, it is highly unlikely that they were importing tobacco from the southern states to roll cigars in Naples and Cohocton.

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