University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter III: Tobacco,   pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 172

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.
  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.
                    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.

Go up to Top of Page