THE AHOSKIE ERA OF
Hertford County Herald
PAPER WORTH WHILE^*
THE AHOSKIE ERA OF
IN THE YEAR 1939
AHOSKIE, NORTH CAROLINA
SECTION C—8 PAGES
FAMM LIFE IN HEETFORD COUNTBY WORD AND PICTURE
A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF
AGRICULTURE IN HERTFORD COUNTY. N; C.
(Bij E. W. GAITHER)
H ertford county Ues in the upper Coaslal Plains area of North
Carolina and is bounded on the north by Virginia, on the east by
Gates and Chowan counties which are separated from it by the
Chowan River, on the south by Bertie County, and on the west by
Northampton County, It has a total area of 220,800 acres, or 345 square
Its elevation ranges from 10 feet to 100 feet above tide water and
its topography ranges from low swamps to rolling terrain. Natural
drainage is facilitated by numerous streams bordered by narrow to
wide swamps. None of the streams are very swift nor is the land of
suft'icient slope as to make erosion a serious problem, except for
occasional sheet erosion.
The climate is mild and the rainfall plentiful and well distributed.
The following table shows the mean, highest and lowest temperatures,
TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL
Summer 77 107 49
Fall -59.7 98
For the year 58.9 107
Latest killing frost in spring—May 11. Average, April 12.
Earliest killing frost in fall—October 10. Average, October 24
Average growing season—195 days.
Heaviest any year. 59.58 inches
Lowest any year 30,18 inches
Average .47.22 inches
The temperature, rainfall, and length of growing season make it
possible to mature fully any of the usual crops produced in the area
He is the author cf the “Brief
Hu-tcry cf Agriculture in Hertford
County, N. C.”, which features this
section of the Historical Edition.
He served Hertford County as
fcMn agent, received premetiem to
DUtTict A.gent; and is now Sub
ject Matter Anahjist cf Iht Extea-
cicn Service at State College, Ra
E. W. GAITHER
and to produce two crops a year, including small grain and winter
legumes on practically all of the land upon which corn, tobacco, cotton
and peanuts are grown, as well as the production on a com^mercial
scale of a number of other crops which may be produced.
The three main soil types are Norfolk, Coxville, and Portsmouth,
with some Ruston and Orangeburg. Norfolk soils cover an area of
81,984 acres, or 37.1 per cent of the land; Coxville covers 95,360 acres,
or 43.2 per cent; Portsmouth covers 6,720 acres, or 3 per cent; while
33,664 acres, or 15.2 per cent is swamp, and the remainder 3,072 acres,
or 1.4 per cent, is Ruston and Orangeburg.
The Coxville soils cover most of Winton, a considerable portion of
Ahoskie, lower St. Johns, eastern Maney’s Neck, northwestern and
southwestern Harrellsville, and a part of eastern Murfreesboro town;
ships. Most of the Orangeburg and Ruston soils are found in St.
The Norfolk, Orangeburg and Ruston soils are by far the best
drained and most easily cultivated solis and the best adapted to
tobacco, peanuts, and horticultural crops. They consist largely of a
light loamy surface soil, yellow to red subsurface soil and a yellow to
red sandy clay subsoil of more or less uniform color,.
The Coxville soils are not so well drained nor so easily cultivated
as are the Norfolk, Orangeburg or Ruston soils. They consist of a light
gray to brown surface soil, underlaid by a pale yellow compact fairly
friable subsurface soil about six to eight inches deep, with a subsoil of
pale yellow, plastic clay, heavily mottled with pale yellow and red.
*These soils become miry and soft when wet and upon drying out,
become hard and packed. Coxville soils produce well when properly
handled, but the quality of tobacco and peanuts produced on them is
not so good as that produced on the Norfolk soils. Coxville soils are
also best soils for the production of clovers, lespedeza, grasses and
grain crops and should be used more for livestock production. The
productivity and mechanical condition of these soils could be greatly
improved by the tile drainage and the growing and turning under of
Lunch Time For Farmer Group
On the annual tour of Hertford County farms in 1938, the midday stop was made at Menola, where
the women of that community prepared sumptuous food and served on the grounds of the community
More And Better Peanuts Come From Dusting
The peanut crop, for more than a quarter of a century providing Hertford County farmers their larg
est cash income, is receiving expert attention of both the farmer group and county, state, and federal
extension workers. This picture was taken on the day of the annual 1938 farm tour, and shows a group
of farmers examining “hills” of peanuts on a plot of land devoted to experimentation with sulphur
Dairying Js Done Here, Too
‘Old Bess" munches her green feed from a permanent pasture that
adjoins the dairy barn lot. Silo, barns, and milk room are in the
background. Several nice herds of dairy cattle are owned by farmers
in Hertford County.
A Crop Of Gold
Some of the choicest bright leaf tobacco is produced in Hertford
and Bertie counties. This is a sample of it while growing on a Bertie
farm, near the Hertford County line.
crimson clover and other winter cover crops.
All of the types of Coxwell and Norfolk soils respond well to good
treatment, very marked improvement in crop yields being obtained
when a crop of winter or summer legumes are turned under. This
practice often increases the yield of corn 50 per cent in one year and
the effects are seen on subsequnt crops. While the use of commercial
fertilizer and the usual rotation of planting cotton, peanuts, tobacco,
corn with a legume interplanted, is better than no rotation, the
practice of following these crops with cover crops of crimson clover,
vetch, Austrian peas, rye, wheat or oats would be better for the soil
and aid materially in furnishing winter grazing and moi'e feed for the
much needed livestock.
Agriculture has been the principal source of livelihood in the
county for over two hundred years. The early settlers, mostly French,
Scotch-Irish, Scotch and Irish from Europe, and English from other
colonies, occupied the better drained lands along the river banks and
produced their living by raising corn, wheat, flaxseed, rice, indigo,
pork and beef, and their cash income came largely from the export
ation of these products. From this type of agriculture the plantation
system was developed, under which was produced practically every
thing needed on the farm, including corn meal, flour, meat, milk,
butter, much of the clothing, leather, and farm implements. Through
the use of slave labor and the subsistence living on the farm, the cash
derived from the sale of surplus farm products and timber products
Plantation owners became wealthy and built mansions, maintained
race horses and, in general, lived the life of kings and lords.
All of this changed abruptly with the close of the Civil War which
disrupted the labor situation and depleted the capital. Between the*
late sixties and early seventies, cotton, being the only basis of credit^
became the principal crop. /
Subsistence farming gave way to commercial or cash crop farminjg
and the tenant system was substituted for the slave system. Betwetjjn
1865 and 1870 the production of corn dropped from 288,805 bushels, [to
189,079 bushels. Cotton increased from 270 bales to 2,686 balis.
Cotton remained the chief cash crop until about 1900. Peanuts were
introduced about 1880, but in 1889 cotton still occupied 15,059 acr^s,
while only 1,G88 acres were planted to peanuts. By 1900, peamtts
increased to 10,408 acres, while cotton dropped to 8,500 acres. Fror
1900 to 1909 corn acreage dropped from 33,343 acres to 19,293 acre!
Tobacco was introduced about 1905 and in 1909 there were 269 acre
produced. For the lack of a local market, the tobacco was shipnc
by rail to Rocky Mount -and Wilson, for sale on the warehouse flol";
In 19 the first tobacco warehouse was built at Ahoskie with a fllpr
space of square feet, which started Ahoskie on the road
becoming the tobacco center of the Roanoke-Chowan section. \
SCIENCE BEGINS TO PLAY A PART ,
By 1500 science began to be applied to agriculture through the
findings of the Experiment Stations and Agricultural Colleges, andi
Farm papers brought these findings to the farm people. Farmers’
Institutes and the press also helped in the distribution of this agricul
tural information. Feeling the need of an institution which cou]
translate scientific findings into farmer language and teach the ap
plication of these findings through demonstrations on the farm, the'
Farm Demonstration system was developed and the Extension Service
Results Of Dusting
J. Gordon Blake, former farm
agent, holds specimens of peanuts
that were grown in this county; in
his right hand, a plant that re
ceived applications of sulphur
dusting, and in the left hand, a
plant that was not dusted. Evi-'
dently, the sulphur dusting ex
periment is going to add to the
yield of this crop.
.« * L
After Peanuts Are Dug
Thousands upon thousands of similar scenes may be seen during
the months of October, November, and December, on the farms of
Hertford County—peanuts that have been plowed up, the dirt shaken
from them, and the vines with nuts attached placed in stacks to dry.
was established in the fall of 1907. Hertford County was among the
first counties in the State to employ a part-time county agent. Mr. T.
E. Browne, who at that time was County Superintendent of Education,
was appointed county agent in 1908, and served part time as county
agent and part time as superintendent of schools. In 1911, Mr. Brown
'was appointed district agent in extension work and Mr. N. B. Sewell
; appointed part-time agent. When the World War began, the
need for a full-time agent was felt and Mr. E. W. Gaither was ap
pointed as the first whole-time county agent. He served in this
capacity from October 1, 1917, until January 1, 1920, when he was
(Continued on Page 4)
Cover Crops Abound Here
Former County Agent Blake examines a field of vetch on a Hert-
Td County farm. Soil building crops have been planted in this
lunty for yearSj and such practices have been a major part of the
afctivities of every extension agent to work in the county.
A Peanut Harvest Scene
Upper: Negro and mule manipulate peanut draw cart to pull stack
from ground, preparatory to hauling it to the picker. Lower; Stacks
of peanuts, brought to picker by Negro-mule-cart outfit, are dis
mantled by workers and fed into the picker (in the background),
which is driven by tractor (in foreground). Another mule is motive
power for a hay baler (beyond tractor belt) that puts the vines into
convenient sized bales. The hay is fed to work stock, and is particu
larly good for dairy cows.
INDEX TO SECTION C
Pictorial ami written history of Hertford Goiimy agrirul-
ture. F. (iaiiher, analyst of State Gollege, is author
of the Agticuiture Hi.storv.
P.VGF. 2- ‘ _
History of Hertford yTrools~l>v J. Rohcrl
Brown. (Gontimied from Section B.)
P.A.GE 3- /
Brotvn’s History of (ueruoui co.n.'iniied
from Page 2.
Hertford Clouiity Health Department, by TIio.s. G. Fai-
.son, M. D.
Copeland Drug Company advertisement.
Farm Life in Hertford County, continued from Page 1.
Farm Extension Work in Hertford County, bv C. A. Rose.
Northeastern Oil Coinjianv adverti.sement.
Ointiiiuation. Farm Life in Ilertford County, from
Home Demon.stration Work in Hertford County, by
.Anne Pauline Smith.
Curtis Insurance Agency and \V. W. Latvrcnce k: Son
Farm Life in Hertford County, continued from Page 6.
Hertford County Health Dept., continued from Page 3.
C. S. Godwin & Son, Manhattan Cafe and Parker Bros,
Virginia Electric k Power Company advertisement.