Farmers

The Connecticut River Valley in 1879

I've already probably said enough about my objections to the idea that New England Agriculture had fallen apart by the middle of the nineteenth century. But I ran across these old illustrations today, from Volume Two of History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. The volume was published in 1879 in Philadelphia and was one of countless books of its kind to celebrate the people of localities from New England to California. Actually, I think the fact that these books looked pretty much the same, whether they were memorializing old Yankees, Michigan farmers, or any other group tells us something about how the publishers of these books and their readers imagined themselves, their communities, and their relationship with the nation.
So here are a few illustrations of the farms of Western Massachusetts near the end of the nineteenth century. The last in the series is a farm in Enfield -- one of those places that is now underwater,
beneath the Quabbin.
1879zerismithresidence   1879orenwilliamsfarm
1879josiahfoggfarm   1879chagerfarmsdeerf
1879georgejonesfarm   1879enfieldfarm