Welcome back. This is my first posting in months, but my little discovery yesterday is one I am eager to share with you.
I was at the Whitehall Public Library researching ski jumping in the winter of 1907, when, on page 1 of the January 24 Whitehall Times and Blair Banner, I read this sentence:
“Elias Borreson of Pigeon received $255.50 for tobacco he grew on 1 1/2 acres.”
This means that our Borreson family was raising tobacco one whole generation earlier than I had previously documented. I knew that it was raised on Emil and Gina’s place in the 30s and 40s, but this sentence means tobacco was a source of income for Emil’s father too, and in the greater picture, a crop for four generations of Borresons. Pretty impressive! (Use the search word “tobacco” on this site for the old articles.)
That same newspaper mentioned three additional Pigeon families caught up in this crop: Peter Estenson and O. C. Skumliem both had come to Whitehall for lumber for tobacco sheds, Peter a 36-foot addition and O. C. a new buidling. Peter Nelson sold tobacco in the amount of $1,420.26 from 8 acres – a sizeable return in those years. It appears that tobacco had become somewhat popular at the time.
Last year when I was researching tobacco raising in Wisconsin, I had made this note: In May 1901, the Winona Republican-Herald (which frequently covered heavily-Norwegian Trempealeau County) reported that in “certain parts of Vernon County, the farmer who has three or four acres is envied for his wealth, so valuable is the crop.” Several years later the same paper (Oct 1905) encouraged Trempealeau County farmers to try the crop: “A yield of $200 to $500 an acre is not an exaggeration…. A Vernon county farmer this fall just recently sold the crop of 16 acres for $4,000.” [The prices must have been lower when Elias and Peter Nelson sold their crops, a fluctuating reality farmers always faced.]