Ancestors in Hard Times

Prices have changed a lot over the years.  Years ago, I found an old expense book that was recorded by Robert Nicholas Bennett, Charles Harrison Drew and his wife Elizabeth Bennett Drew. Their income in cash was severely limited. They survived because they lived on a farm and grew most of the food they ate.

Here is a sampling of some entries in the account book:

Cash taken in on farm 1918 (Fort Canyon, Alpine, Utah)

  • April 1st 500 Strawberry plants, Everbearing @1.00 per $5.00
  • April 12th 100 Marshalls @ .30 per 100 .30
  • June 14th 3 Cases Berries @ 1.50 5 cases @ 1.25 10.75
  • June 14th 3 Cups of Berries .30
  • July 10th 5 Cases Currants @ $1.25 6.25
  • July 19th 1 Black Currants @ 1.75 1.75
  • July 19th 3 Strawberries @ 2.50 1@ 2.25 7.25
  • Aug 12th 10 Apples 19.95
  • Sept 2nd 4 Plums 1.60
  • Sept 2nd 2 Pears @ 1.10 2.20
  • Apr 8th 4 Doz Eggs @ .30 1.20

Bennett Robert Nicholas on farmLabor for the Month of May

  • Si Bennett 21 « days @ 3.50 75.20
  • CH Drew 5 days@ 4.50 22.50

Other Expenses

  • 13238 ft Timber @ 3.50 per 46.20
  • Bolts 5.25
  • 75 # Powder 35% 7/8* 17.25
  • 100 No. 6 Caps* 2.10
  • 150 ft Pacific Fuse* 1.20
  • *pd to Tintic Lumber
  • 2# Coffee .70
  • 1/5th of Flowers for Rosa Clara Logie Bennett’s Funeral 2.00
  • June Flour 100# Coal 200# Powder 250# 2.75

Income from 1913 while Charles Harrison & Elizabeth Bennett Drew lived in Mammoth, Utah.

Mammoth is located about 10 miles south of Eureka, Utah in the Tintic Mining District.

Charles was a teamster and had his own horse team and wagon servicing that area.

  • Work for Bert Bird    Jan 10th Team 2.50

Drew Charles Elizabeth ElwoodApparently Charles charged 2.50 per day for hauling. There are a number of entries during the months for many entities such as Mammoth Supply, George Parsons, Jack Bush, Okey Smith, Ed Montague, Joseph Weeks, Lyn Haws, B. Harper, Mammoth City, Stella Harding and many more.

The listings for income aren’t listed as daily occurrences, and expenses for feed was .75 a day. A couple of interesting entries were $2.00 to Mammoth City for the Team at a fire on 6 October,$1.50 for a saddle horse to Mammoth City on 10 October. Two passengers to Eureka on 18

October for $2.00 (he wasn’t paid until 10 Nov. but it was in cash then).

Apparently the prices changed during the winter months. There are a number of entries for Mr. Sam Cohn involving trips to Eureka during November and December for $1.00 each.

In 1917, Charles and Elizabeth had moved to Salt Lake City.  Charles was still a teamster and his main loads were coal.  A few entries from that year are as follows:

  • Feb. 14th 1000 # to 349 So. 900 East 1.15
  • Feb 15th 2000# to 834 East 300 So. 2.50
  • Feb 19th 2000# to L.E. Hall 78 East 1st North 2.50

log_book2The House Account for February 1917 consumed all of the earnings. The total expenditures were $94.05. Rent was $12.00, meat cost $3.00. Honey and bacon was .35.

Life has changed since then.  Few of us have farms to supply food during tough economic times.  Prices have changed dramatically, but they are relative to the date.  Movies, dinner, electronics and other ‘stuff’ are notably missing from their list of expenditures.  Who had time and energy for the time and energy to be involved in those activities anyway?   Not folks who were barely surviving in a hard scrabble life.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2011-03-31 01:42:00
The URL for this post is:

About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.