I Remember Farming Peanuts In Texas In 1933

THRESHING CREWWhen I was three years old in 1933, we moved back to Comanche County, Texas from West Texas. Of course, this was in the height of the Great Depression, and there was no way you could sell your crops, or anything else for that matter. Farmers like Daddy broke their backs to produce and harvest those crops, and they were absolutely worthless.

We moved back in the spring of the year, and my daddy and brother Wilburn rented a place and planted a peanut crop. I don’t remember much about that but Wilburn and Geneva talked a lot about those first Crops in Comanche County.

There were no tractors, and the plowing of the land, the planting, and everything else was done by hands that were using horses.

Geneva talked a lot about the crops. The peanuts would be plowed up with a rake behind the horse to rake the peanut vines into windrows. Someone had to walk behind the horse (and this is stoop labor), reached down, picked up the peanut vines, shook the dirt from them, and stacked them so that the leaves were down on the bottom and the peanuts and roots on the top so that they could dry.

This was called shaking the peanuts.

Later these stacks would be turned by someone using a pitchfork, then thrown into the wagon and hauled over the field to where the thresher would thresh them.

There was a crew of men who traveled from farm to farm with the thresher. The women on the farm would have to cook lunch (called dinner) for these men. Geneva and Mama said that there was no money to go to town and buy somethingto cook with.

We always had lots of chickens, and Geneva and Mama would take the hens and make chicken and dressing for dinner. We always had lots of vegetables that we raised in our garden, and the ladies served these as well anything else they could think of to feed those hungry men.

Geneva said that one time they were just out of ideas for what to cook when she remembered the hogs daddy had killed in West Texas, hogs that could not be sold so Daddy cured them into bacon, hams, and shoulders.

“Mama, reckon those sausages are still good?”

We always had lots of sausage, usually put in sacks and hung in the smokehouse, but we would also cook down the sausage, put the patties in big crock jars, seal them in by covering them with the hot grease from the cooking, cover them, and put the jars in the cellar. This method kept the sausages really well.

On that threshing day, Geneva went down into the cellar and brought out a big jar of sausage. She and Mama fried those sausages, made big pans of biscuits, and cooked a lot of white gravy. You never saw men eat like those men did.

Geneva said that the men had not had any sausage and gravy since the winter before when they had killed little hogs…West Texas grew better crops and much bigger hogs! - Missy Jones

* Photo I could not find a photo of the 1930s, but this does show a threshing crew working together.

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to I Remember Farming Peanuts In Texas In 1933

  1. Andy Uhler says:

    Hello Fredda,

    My name is Andy Uhler. I’m a reporter with the public radio program, Marketplace (heard on NPR stations around the country). I’m writing because I’m working on a story about Comanche County and was hoping I might be able to sit down and chat with you about things. I’m based in California, but would be happy to travel to meet up with you, if we can figure out a time that works best.

    Thanks for your help and for posting this great article!


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