Company On The Farm
Top: Marjory on the pony, Bird. Cousin Richard Elwood Miller left, is son of Amelia's brother Robert Miller. Donald on right. This is the southeast corner of the house at the farm, porch at right (circa 1923) before the road was built around the back of the house. Pictures on this page are the last until 1930 when Donald and Marjory acquired a camera and started a photo album.
Middle: Donald, Bennie, Marjory, Amelia (circa 1927).
Bottom: Jessie Patterson (white collar) and Olivia Swenson (sister of Jessie's companion, Constance Swenson), flanked by Amelia and Marjory. Olivia's mother is at left, Bennie and Donald in rear. December 5, 1930. Jessie and her companion were itinerant evangelists and lived in the east bedroom upstairs for a long time. Younger members of the household were expected to maintain 'company manners' at all times and wait on guests. Marjory especially recalled the day she refused to wear high-topped shoes to school. The battle of wills lasted half a day. She wore the low shoes to school. From that day on Amelia and Jessie, who had been setting a good example for her, stopped wearing their high-topped shoes, too!
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"When the VanCleves moved to Oregon, they wanted to sell their horse and buggy and cutter runners (to put on the buggy body in the winter) for $25. Pa was awfully broke then, just starting farming, with livestock to buy and all the new building. [13.80-5]
"Grandmother Miller was visiting us and I was trying to work Pa to buy the pony (Bird). One night, just before supper, she told me, 'I'll give you the $25.'
"I ran all the way to VanCleve's and rapped on the door. When George, the oldest son (his mother was a widow) came to the door, I said, 'Do you want to sell Bird for $25?'
"He said, 'Yes,' and I said, 'I'll take her.' I was 9 years old, and that was my first horse (or pony) on the farm." [13.80-6]
"Bird weighed about 1,100 pounds and was big enough to do some field work. She had always been half starved and was quite docile when we got her, but after she got some oats and decent horse food, she got foxier and foxier. She was completely safe for kids to be around as far as kicking, biting, or running away were concerned, and when we drove her in the field or on the road, hitched as a team with another horse, or when we rode her, she knew she was licked and didn't cut up at all. [13.81-1]
"We drove Bird to school with the buggy sometimes, but she would always 'shy' and jump around when we met a car. I suppose she knew we were only kids and didn't speak with authority." [13.81-2]
"One day Pa rode along to see how bad she was, and after that he didn't dare let us drive her again. So he hooked the big, homely gray work horse (Snyder) to the buggy and we drove him to school some. He clunked along pretty good, but he was so rawboned and homely we were ashamed to be seen with him, and we mostly settled down to walking to school." [13.81-5]