When Horses Pulled the Plow
Life of a Wisconsin Farm Boy, 1910–1929
Olaf F. Larson
Narrated by Neil Reeves
Approximately 5.5 hours
Book published by University of Wisconsin Press
In 1910, when Olaf F. Larson was born to tenant livestock and tobacco farmers in Rock County, Wisconsin, the original barn still stood on the property. It was filled with artifacts of an earlier time—an ox yoke, a grain cradle, a scythe used to cut hay by hand. But Larson came of age in a brave new world of modern inventions—tractors, trucks, combines, airplanes—that would change farming and rural life forever.
When Horses Pulled the Plow is Larson’s account of that rural life in the early twentieth century. He weaves invaluable historical details—including descriptions of farm equipment, crops, and livestock—with wry tales about his family, neighbors, and the one-room schoolhouse he attended, revealing the texture of everyday life in the rural Midwest almost a century ago. This memoir, written by Larson in his ninth decade, provides a wealth of details recalled from an earlier era and an illuminating read for anyone with their own memories of growing up on a farm.
Olaf F. Larson was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Edgerton, Wisconsin, and now lives in Florida. He is professor emeritus of rural sociology at Cornell University and coauthor of Sociology in Government: The Galpin-Taylor Years in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1919–1953.
“Larson’s memory is excellent, his description is detailed––and throughout the book his love of farming is constantly being expressed.”
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