Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter III: Tobacco, pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)
172 BULLETIN Od SHE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN. not be fairly compared in price per acre with a dairy farm ten times its size. In the one case the selling price is half contained in the improvements, in the other the improvements make a much smaller percentage. The possibility of a large income from a few acres has induced many foreigners to pay a hundred dollars an acre for small pieces of land, thus getting a home with a small absolute indebtedness. NORWEGIANS AS TOBACCO GROWERS. Although in noMe responsible for the introduction of tobacco culture, the -Norwegians are the main growers and have been al- most from the beginning. It so happened that these people set- tled in Christiana and Albion at a very early day, and during the years of the great Norwegian immigration there were alwavs great numbers of new arrivals, with large families and no money, keenlv on the lookout for an opportunity to earn a living and get homes of their own. Here was a rare chance. They could buy a small piece of land on time, or become "sharemen"97 and plant some one else's land to tobacco, the landlord furnishing all the capital; the tenant doing all the work; and each getting half the crop when ready for the market. This was an especially good thing, in view of the fact that a large part of the labor re- quired in growing tobacco is such as can be done by women and children. The Norwegians knew nothing about tobacco culture before coming here, but the! soon became experts, and the same reasons that turned their attention in this direction at first have kept them in the business. Their standard of life was frugal; few comforts, fewer luxuries, rigid economy, and hard work have brought many of them up from poor sharemen to owners of hundreds of acres. The Americans who grow tobacco usually plant a few acres on a larger farm, while the small farms, which are the distinctive tobacco farms, are held by Scandinavians. APPEARANCE OF THE TOBACCO DISTRICT AS COMPARED WITH OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTY. In its general appearance the tobacco district is striking. It takes some persuasion to convince one who has ridden through 79This term seems to be peclliar to this locality.
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