Random Lines from a Farmer's Notebook

In 1903 President Teddy Roosevelt reported to Congress that total government receipts were $560,396,674.  Expenditures for the same period were $506,099,007.  This left a surplus of over $54,000,000.

In 1982, the national debt was 2000 times greater than the money spent by the government in 1903!

In 1903, a man who owned one quarter of land decided to have it custom farmed for one year with the following results:


Expense Items

Harrowing and plowing $240.00
Seeding 40.00
Cutting and shocking 112.00
Seed 118.00
Twine 29.00
Threshing and marketing 202.00
Taxes 21.00



1447 bu. wheat @ .69 $1005.00
842 bu. winter rye @ .80 673.00
300 bu. oats @ .30 90.00
Total Income $1768.00
Net Income $1006.00
Return on investment excluding land - 135%  


In 1883 there were 612 farms in Griggs County.

In 1894 the average wheat yield for the county was 12 bushels per acre.

In 1895 Griggs County had a total of 81,603 acres into crop:


Wheat 50,778
Oats 3,581
Barley 5,500
Flax 7,018
Rye 3,678
Corn 618
Potatoes 430


The value of the entire grain crop in 1895 was $1,160,591.  This was an average gross return per farm of $1,896.

In 1901 a farmer reported his average wheat yield was 29 bushels per acre.  In 1891 another farmer reported a yield of 47 bushels per acre on an 8-acre field.

As far back as 1882 there were traces of rust reported in wheat fields.

One farmer reported his total cost of heating for the winter of 1899-1900 at $37.00.  In 1900-1901 the total was

The price paid to farmers for a bushel of wheat had a low of .38 on January 3, 1896 and a high of $1.42 in May of 1898. 

In 1905 interest on an installment loan was 12%.

A 1905 recipe for hair tonic:

6 oz. bay rum

drachm of methol crystals

2 oz. bottle of lavona de compose mix and add to kalon

Let stand hour.


1904 freckle remover:

2 drams oxide of zink

dram subiodide of bismuth

1 drams dextron

1 drams glycerine

Spread paste on the freckles at night before going to bed, in the morning remove what remains with powdered borax and almond oil.


1904 recipe for mince meat:

2# beef cooked by itself

1# suit

1# raisins

2# currants

1# citron peel

2# sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Juice and grated rind - 3 oranges

Juice and grated rind - 3 lemons


A 1903 advertisement

It behooves everyone to have a reliable salve handy and there is none better than Bucklin's Arnica Salve.  Burns, cuts, sores, eczema and piles disappear quickly under its soothing effect.  25 at H.H. Bateman's Drug Store.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 101

News & Events