(The following was written by WIlbur Gantz, and is reprinted from “Reflections”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
With this beginning in 1830 with a new wife and the starting in 1831 of a family that was to total 14 children born by 1857, two horses and a cow, Adam Gantz managed to buy the 100 acre farm In 1832 and while clearing and cropping it–and likely portions of his father’s 200 acres–was able to build the brick home where the family grew to adulthood.
Adam and his brother John then purchased, from their father, 100 acres each for $6 per acre.
John’s letter written to Pennsylvania in 1848 indicates that he had been in Carroll County and was promised this 100-acre at ”what is right” if he would leave Carroll County and help improve the Franklin County Land. John had stayed home helping his father until 1831. The three years’ labor that he worked on the Franklin County land seemed in vain because he had to pay to get what he was promised. The letter is reproduced in the story of John Gantz and must be read to get this true feeling of his. John sold his 100 acres to Adam in 1844 for $1,308.
The history of Ohio agriculture to 1880 by Robert L. Jones indicates that in the period from 1830 to 1840 Franklin County became one of the top 10 counties in Ohio in the production of corn and wheat. The farm work in this decade was done by oxen or horses plowing the clear ground or between the trees that have been killed by girdling. The plough and the harrow were the main farm implements other than the hand tools: the hoe, rake, fork, scythe, and cycle.
The canals were built during this decade, creating a price increase for farm produce by an easier route to market. Hog production increased until Franklin County was the top hog producing county in Ohio by 1850. “Loads of pumpkins and corn are brought out twice a day and the hogs are amply fed till fat enough to go to the market, and it is amusing enough for a stranger to be present at the scene. In wheels to the hog pasture a great heavy Dutch Wagon with four strong horses, the driver astride the near hind one, casually whistling some air and keeping time with the flourishing of his whip in loud pistol cracks, while another genius standing on top of the load commences pitching it to the right and the left, stopping and standing up now and then to give the long-drawn roll call at the top of his voice, of whoo-oo-ho. Or perhaps more poetically from a horn slung by his side, he drives fourth a clear tremulous blast that raises the whole grunting field from their recumbent position and sets them on the move.”
Sheep had increased by 1840, making Ohio the No. 2 state for sheep production. Many were brought to Ohio from Pennsylvania, and the increase became the source of supply for the herds being built in the western states.
Hand labor for farm help was plentiful, due to the rapid increase of settlers coming into Ohio. This remained the situation after the canals were complete until the building of the railroads and highways made farm help more expensive before and during the Civil War.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)