CHAPTER 11 – One’s Work in 1850: by Jim Surkamp.

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With support from American Public University System ( The sentiments expressed do not in any way reflect modern-day policies of APUS, and are intended to encourage fact-based exchange for a better understanding of our nation’s foundational values.

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Starry Night by Jean-François Millet – circa 1850-1865

A Year’s Work in 1850:

JANUARY – Hauling Firewood

1850 Poor Richard’s Almanac – ; Horse Drawn Carts in Winter by Fritz Thaulow –

JANUARY – Cooking

Strother, David H., Harper’s (Dec., 1854) p. 7; 1850 Poor Richard’s Almanac –

JANUARY – Making shoes and boots

A conservative philosopher (boot man) by Strother, David H., Harper’s (Jan., 1856) p. 178 ; Mr. Jones’s legacy (worn out pair of boots) by A Virginian. Harper’s, December, 1853 p. 31; Shining Shoes by Thomas Waterman Wood ; slave shoes – Charles F. Gunther Collection, 1920.1734ab Collection: Chicago History Museum

FEBRUARY – Hauling Fodder

Peasant with Wheelbarrow by Jean-François Millet –;

FEBRUARY – Hauling Water

Uncle Ned at home by Winslow Homer

MARCH – Mockingbird

Ryan Hagerty from the National Digital Library of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

APRIL – Plowing corn ground

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated newspaper Plowing in South Carolina From a Sketch by Jas E. Taylor. Illus. in: Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper, v. 23, no. 577 (1866 October 20).

MAY – Planting corn

The Iowa Agriculturalist for the Farm, Garden & Household –

MAY – Washing Sheep & Shearing Sheep

Washing and Shearing Sheep in the Country sketches by Edwin Forbes July 18, Harper’s Weekly 1868, p. 461

JUNE – Altering Lambs

The Keeper of the Herd by Jean-François Millet – The Art Institute of Chicago –

JUNE – Hoeing Corn

A Southern Cornfield, Nashville, Tennessee Thomas Waterman Wood – 1861 –

JULY – Cutting and Cradling Hay

Cradle scythe used for harvesting grain – Mississippi History Timeline ; The Iowa Agriculturalist for the Farm, Garden & Household

JULY – Nooning

Farmers Nooning by William Sidney Mount – 1836
Long Island Museum (United States – Stony Brook, Long Island, New York)

AUGUST – Hauling & stacking wheat

Culpepper [i.e., Culpeper], Va.–Stacking wheat by Edwin Forbes –

AUGUST – Shucking Corn

Corn Husking by Eastman Johnson – 1860 Everson Museum of Art – Syracuse, NY –


Charleston Vegetable Woman by William Aiken Walker – Date unknown –

SEPTEMBER – Cutting & Collecting Wood

Currier_Ives_chopping_wood_Matte_detail – Louis Maurer, Preparing for Market, 1856. Hand-colored lithograph, (22 5/8 x 31 1/8 in). Published by N. Currier, New York. ; Strother, David H., Harper’s July, 1866 p. 139

OCTOBER – Sowing Red Clover

The Sower by Jean-François Millet – 1850 Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA

OCTOBER – Apples

Cider_Colonial-Press_Retouched ; campfire – ; apple in black man’s palm –

NOVEMBER – Hog butchering

Strother, David Hunter; Catching Hogs (W1995.030.004) – 1872
West Virginia and Regional History Collection; Smoked Ham at the Bonnie Crest Inn, North Carolina by William Aiken Walker – 1886 –

DECEMBER – Making warm clothes from linsey-woolsey

“JENNY . . .A GOOD SPINSTER” – ; Strother, David H., Harper’s (Aug., 1856) – p. 309 ; Strother, David Hunter; Lock’s Old Stephen. 1845. Martinsburg Va. (W1995.030.391pg19) West Virginia and Regional History Collection


Aglionby, Charles. “The Day Book Kept By Charles Aglionby at Mount Pleasant, Charles Town, Jefferson County, Virginia.” 6 March, 1861 to 1 January, 1866.” Transcribed by Francis John Aglionby (1932-2002). With permission from Julia Aglionby. (Available at the Jefferson County Museum, Charles Town, WV). Print.