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The Autobiography of William Jessie McMullan


Chapter 1: "William Jessie McMullan"

Chapter 2: "School Days"

Chapter 3: "Church Activities"

Chapter 4: "An Organized Farmer"

Chapter 5: "Girl Associates"

Chapter 6: "Sarah Jackson Freeman"

Chapter 7: "Sallie Freeman"

Chapter 8: "Letters from Sallie"

Chapter 9: "Golden Wedding"


Version 1, Chapter 4:  “An Organized Farmer”

(ed. this chapter does not exist in Version 2)

                In September 22nd 1882, I was initiated in the Grange (Patrons of Husbandry) of Pine Forest.  Initiation given by Dr J B Bailey.  Dr J S Parker was master of the local Pine Forest Grange.  The election of annual offi­cers was held on the regular meeting day Friday before the fourth Sunday in December, at which time all officers were elected for the ensuing year of 1883, and at this 1882 election I was elected clerk, and served for two years.  I was then elected and hired to work as assistant clerk in the Bethel Cooperative Store.  This store was owned and operated by Bethel and Pine Forest Local Granges.  I worked first year 1884 under J A Lake, an ex merchant, served as Secretary of the Cooperative Association for awhile.  Went to school at Conehata awhile in 1885.  Worked second year under A J Rainer manager.  In 1886 worked as assistant to A J Rainer.  In 1887 worked a crop at home, and worked for Buckley and Tim Vessy (ed. name is not clear; possible readings include “Jim Perry”) in store, a regular retail business.  The Grange had gone down in this section of the state, and the Farm Alliance made its appearance in 1887.  Was or­ganized in the county.  I was president of Midway local one year, the first county meeting after organization.  I was elected county secretary.  Held that office while the organization in the county lasted.

                When the Farmers Union was organized in the county at the first county meeting I was elected secretary, and served as county secretary while the organization lasted in Newton county.  Attended several state conventions, and attended the cotton convention 1885 in New Orleans.  Met and heard Tom E Watson address the convention.  This was a great get togather meeting.  After the Farmers Union failed in the county it was fourteen years.  There was not any farmers organization in the state. 

                Later the Truck growers association of Newton was organised.  I had a small acreage the first year of on­ions and cabbage.  This association lasted for several years.  Price for cabbage raised from 25 cent to $3.50 per hundred pound crate.  The last year that the association operated one shipment had to pay the freight bill to get rid of the shipment.  Then for two years I hauled yam potatoes to the canning factory at Laurell Miss, paid $15.00 a truck load to get them hauled.  Would take two days to make the trip and return.  Prior to this Laurel deal there was a caning factory at Newton.  I sold cabbage, potatoes, beans, to this plant for several years.  When this plant burned, we went back to cotton growing.  For several years I grew wheet to supply home use.  No mill near to grind wheet.  Had to carry it to Nights mill in Neshoba county.  The only mill in reach that had a bolting chest to seper­ate the flour from the shorts and bran.  I grew as much as 18 bushels to the acre.  Quit growing wheet because could grow cotton that would by mour (ed. buy more) flour than the wheet would make to the acre.  I grew 2 bales of cotton on 1 acre once, and 75 bushels of corn on one acre, often growing a crop of cabbage of 100 crates of 100 pounds to the crate on the same acre all in one year.  One year the 100 crates of cabbage was worth 3.00 per crate= $300.00.  Then had planted corn between the cabbage roes the 1st week in June, taken cabbage off in June then worked to corn and planted peas in corn middles.  The last year we planted cabbage extensively.  The market failed.  I plowed several acres under.  Did not cut a cabbage from it.  It was Drumhead late cabbage.  I had rather grow cabbage than to grow cotton.  Less work to grow, and less work to gather.  Besides could grow a good crop of corn, and peas after cabbage came off, and the land was improving after growing the crops cabbage, corn and peas.

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