Junie's Place: Farm Life of the Past: 'Being Rented Out'

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Farm Life of the Past: 'Being Rented Out'

Photo from this time period
Brothers: Gene, Charles, Jack, Odell

( another story of ( Charles) my husband's memories of growing up in Alabama...in his own words.)
Mud Bottom Farm Story-1942

‘Being Rented Out!’

There were two ways of renting a farm in those days.

One way was Sharecropping:
The owner of the farm would furnish everything it took to make the crop, including the farm implements, seeds and fertilizers. The Sharecropper family would furnish all the labor, in planting and harvesting the crops; and of course the sharecroppers were furnished the farm home to live in. The total harvest proceeds would be split in half, between the sharecropper family and the landowner.

The second way was Straight Renters:
Renters of farms would furnish everything, themselves, in putting in and harvesting the crops. At harvest time the renters would keep 2/3 of proceeds from the harvest and the landowner would get 1/3; this being the rent for the home and farmland.

It was common in those days, if a landowner had the opportunity to rent his farm out to a more productive family, he would not hesitate to do just that; since it would mean more money in his pocket at the end of harvest.

A family by the name of Teeples lived on and worked one of the farms in The Bottom. Mr. and Mrs.Teeple had a family of two teenage boys and one teenage girl and two little girls to work the land.

Alas, the family was struck with tragedy as the head of the household, Mr. Teeples, died. This left the mother and children to try and make it on their own - a tall order for a woman and children.

The family knew they were now on the ‘Hit List’ of a Mr. Maples, the overseer of the Mud Bottom properties. As was expected, in a short time, Mr. Maples had the opportunity to rent their portion of the land to another family by the name of Carter, so he ‘rented them out!’ (as this was called in those days)

Mrs.Teeples did not take kindly to being ’rented out’ of her home. On the farm there was an excellent orchard of apple, pear and peach trees. Mrs. Teeples had enjoyed the farm and especially the orchard for several years.

In her fury of being turned out of her home, Mrs. Teeples decided to exact some revenge! So…she dug trenches around every fruit tree in the orchard, and filled it with salt from the meat-curing box, covering over with soil. In time, the trees went from green, to yellow, to brown - to DEAD!

The exact cause of the death of the fruit trees was not discovered until she had moved out. Digging around the trees exposed the salt residue, so all was explained; at least, the How, if not totally, the Why!

The Teeples family moved to another farm, not far from this property. This farmhouse was near the elementary school, which we all attended.

In time, the depth of Mrs. Teeples' desperation in the turn of her life would become known to all in the community. She joined what was known at that time as the 'Lonely Heart’s Club’ and advertised in that publication that she was looking for a husband.

One day, one of the Teeples children announced at school that a man was coming for them from Missouri. The very next day we watched from the school as a big covered truck came and the Teeples family all loaded up and drove away. Apparently, Mrs.Teeple’s advertising had paid off!

We never saw or heard from the Teeples family again.

After living in Mud Bottom, and farming the land for over 11 years, and after four of my older brothers and sisters were grown and moved out, our family suffered the same indignity.

We, too, were ‘Rented Out!’

Charles Kellum



At 10:37 PM , Blogger mreddie said...

Some interesting community and personal history there. It was hard times back then. Dad moved us off the farm and into town because he just couldn't make it as a farmer. ec

At 10:50 PM , Blogger JunieRose said...

Thanks, ec, for reading and your comments!

Yes, times were hard back then.
Charles and I both grew up in poor families, but it some ways I think going through hard times can be a help in forming a strong, resourceful, person!
:) It worked for my husband - Thank goodness, because I've needed someone strong! :)

... having so little , growing up, I think we both appreciate what we have now, more than we might have, otherwise!

..Just some thoughts...


At 11:19 PM , Blogger Granny said...

It was so hard back then.

Thanks for your comment. I should know more by tomorrow.

At 11:21 PM , Blogger JunieRose said...

Thanks, Ann,

...and I'll be thinking of you and your family!


At 9:07 AM , Anonymous momma said...

A fascinating account of Charles' early life. I was born and raised in Michigan so our circumstances were somewhat different. Thank you for sharing!

At 9:31 AM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Thanks for visiting .

Most of the early farm stories I have posted have a little funny side to them. :)

This remembrance is sadder to me!

I can feel for the lady left to raise a family alone in those circumstances.

At 9:58 AM , Blogger Peter said...

Hi June, "Mud Bottom" conjures up some pictures all on it's own, I have friends in WA who farm a piece of land they call "Muddlethru Farm" but times are not as tough now so they survive.

At 10:13 AM , Blogger JunieRose said...

Thanks for visiting, Peter.

I hope my Farm stories don't depress people too much!

Times were hard in those days, especially hard in the south USA...
but there were fun times too- as some of the stories have shown! :)

Farming-even in the best of circumstances- is not easy
...and these Alabama farm stories definitely were NOT the best circumstances!


At 6:31 AM , Blogger Jacqui said...

Hi Junie,
I'm back from my few days away, just love having nothing that "has" to be done.

Your stories about Charles are great reading, even if things were tough, if family members stuck together and made their own fun, it was better than most of today's, manufactured "fun".

Hope you had a good ride. I have a good story about advertising for a husband, I'll post it someday.
hugs jacqui

At 8:57 AM , Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

Hi Jacqui,

...And welcome back. I hope your time away was a fun time.

Thanks for reading the farm stories. They 're stories I have heard throughout all the years with Charles and his family so I just decided they might make interesting reading!

Things have changed a lot in the last half century...so much so that young people of today, mostly, cannot imagine how life was for their grandparents-and on back!


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