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

Chapter V: Difficulties of early farming,   pp. 114-120 PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 114

                         CHAPTER V.
   The struggles and hardships coincident with pioneer life are
 familiar topics, yet each new country has its own peculiar diffi-
 culties. In Dane county the first formidable drawbacks were
 those of markets and prices.  Even the most ingenious and
 economical pioneer had to depend to a considerable extend on east-
 ern supplies. Flour and pork were the standard articles of food,
 and as they had to be brought up the Mississippi river or from
 New York or Ohio, the prices were exorbitant. The first demand
 fcr any considerable amount of provisions in southern Wisconsin
 was for supplying the needs of the lead miners, and they paid
 dearly for their living; one man speaks of giving four thousand
 pounds of mineral for a barrel of flour.5
 In the spring of i837 a party of land prospectors paid to Mrs.
 Masters of Jefferson one dollar per peck for oats; at the same
 time pork was reported to be worth twenty-one dollars per barrel,
 and flour forty-one dollars; a cow was worth forty dollars, and a
 yoke of oxen one hundred fifty dollars.60
 In Milwaukee, corn was quoted at two and a half dollars per
 bushel, eggs as high as one and a half dollars a dozen, and butter
 at forty-five and fifty cents per pound.6" This certainly was a
 rare chance for a limited number of farmers to grow rich rapidly;
 but few farmers were here at all and they for the most part were
 slow in getting any produce on the market. Such lines as the
 following must, however, have had a stimulating effect on all who
were getting their farming operations under way: "Hundreds
'Wta. Heat. Coll., 11, 335.
"-Ibid., X, 425.
MlwIaukee Advertiser, February 25, 1837.

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