Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Workday Wednesday : Blacksmith *



Photo taken by unknown photographer to accompany an article in the Calhoun (GA) Times, Feb 4, 1970.

Years ago almost every small town had its village blacksmith. Sugar Valley, Georgia was no exception. Jud Nelson, pictured above, was a blacksmith who plied his trade and practiced his craft for many years in Gordon County, Georgia. The photo above is one of many taken through the years picturing my father-in-law at his forge.

Judge Russell Nelson, better known as Jud, was a fifth-generation blacksmith, learning the craft from his father and adding his own unique touch to things. Jud was "discovered" in January of 1970 when he was interviewed by the late Charles Kuralt at the first meeting of the Artists and Blacksmiths of North America (ABANA). His folksy humor, ready wit, and skills made him a interesting person to be around.  For many years, Jud was a featured presenter at area fairs and craft shows in Georgia.  In 1981, he was a featured part of the Smithsonian Institute's Festival of American Folklife.

Jud's blacksmithing took many forms. He made tools, kept them sharpened, and fabricated parts for wagons.  On a more creative side, he designed decorative handles, holders, and fireplace tools as well as fashioning repairs for a vandalized statue of Chief Sequoyah. Then, as now, there are few limits as to what a skilled blacksmith can create.

* This is one in a series of old photos showing our family's ancestors and relatives at work.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Workday Wednesday : At the Warehouse *

Oscar Perkinson, Sr, ca 1950s


My grandfather, Oscar Dean Perkinson, was a local businessman his entire life. After his father died, he was involved in the management of the family store, Perkinson-McAfee, in Woodstock, Georgia. Later he was an area cotton broker. In his last position, he managed the warehouse for the Jones Mercantile Company of Canton, Georgia.

Here my over six-foot-tall grandfather is standing in front of bags of seed or fertilizer, piled high in the warehouse. The warehouse was filled with a variety of things associated with farming -- bales of cotton or hay, bags of fertilizer, concrete mix, seed -- each with a distinctive smell. An interesting article on PsychologyToday.com speaks of the strength of connections between smells and pleasant memories. I've certainly found that to be true for me. Even today I can be somewhere and smell something like hay or fertilizer, and I am immediately reminded of being that little girl visiting her grandfather down at the warehouse. 

* This is one in a series of old family photos showing my ancestors and relatives at work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Workday Wednesday : Farming *

Farming on the Myren homestead in North Dakota, early 1900s

Whether the crop was wheat in North Dakota or cotton in Georgia, farming has been a part of the life of many of my ancestors and relatives.

* This is one in a series of old family photos showing my ancestors at work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Workday Wednesday : Grandma and Her Chickens *

Grandma's Chickens, 1930s


It is true today. It was true back then. Most families can use some extra money. My grandmother was the church organist as well as a piano teacher, but she also had another way to contribute to the family income - selling eggs and chickens. 

These were definitely free range chickens; no confining cages for her chicks. Through the years, she developed enough of a business that she had regular customers stopping by the house to purchase eggs or to buy a chicken, killed and dressed at the time of purchase. All of this took place just a block off the main street in her hometown. Image the city ordinances she might be breaking today!

* This is one in a series of old family photos showing my ancestors at work.