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

Chapter V: The size of farms and estates,   pp. 185-191 PDF (1.4 MB)

Page 190

cans usually scorned such little patches. Running over the dif-
ferent groups for the year i870, one can draw no particular infer-
ence respecting the different types of towns. It appears that
the same kind of farming had resulted in farms of approximately
the same size, and the variations that do occur seem to be the
result of social forces, or mere chance. It is noticeable that
in the tobacco towns the number of estates below forty acres
increased from eighteen in I870 to two hundred four in i899;
a very large increase; while in the case of estates of one hundred
sixty to three hundred twenty acres the decrease is more than
fifty per cent. and estates over three hundred twenty acres
-have all but disappeared. In dairy towns estates below forty
acres show a decided falling off; the next larger group increases
up to i89o and then takes a considerable drop; in the remaining
groups the increase in number is definite and almost uniform,
though not very great. Thus the tendencies in the dairy district
seem almost the exact counterpart of those in the tobacco district,
the latter showing a movement toward small estates, the former
-toward those comparatively large. In the three towns character-
ized as mixed farming areas we find but few estates below forty
acres and they seem to be disappearing since i890. The medium-
sized estates show a slight increase in number, while those which
may be called large, that is above one hundred sixty acres, have
declined in numbers in every instance. Dane remains, and here
we have a paradox. The number of estates in each group, with
the single exception of the one comprising those above three
hundred twenty acres, decreased between i890 and I899.89  When
the plat of the town is seen this peculiar result is at once ex-
plained: there has been a general increase of size within each
group, but it so happens that the larger share of the farms have
their boundaries enlarged by the addition of a twenty or forty,
and still stayed within the group, yet thirty-two estates disap-
peared altogether. The exception to the decrease seen in the
largest sized estates is of no significance as the additional one is
not extremely large.
   It may be noticed further that in the town of Christiana the
   "The first of the two groups Is here omitted on account of the difficulty
 of distinguishing estates from wood-lots belonging to someone a few mile.
 distant. often In another town or even another county, but there are few
 estates In the town and the result could not thus be seriously changed.

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