During the decade of the 70s Yellow Springs Strings was both a storefront and mail-order supplier of yarns, implements, and instructions for fiber artists in weaving, spinning, and macramé, in addition to offering lessons, fleeces from locally-grown sheep and clothing woven from the yarn derived from those fleeces.
From the original owners who established the business in Goes, Corinne Whitesell purchased it in 1975 and set it up in King’s Yard in downtown Yellow Springs, where it remained until 1979 when the mystery bookstore Mysteries from the Yard began its four-year run in that location.
There was a moment of international drama in 1977 when some yarn imported from Pakistan (also sold to other stores in the United States) was found to have been to infected with anthrax. The Health Department sought out purchasers of the yarn and burned the skeins.
All the J. Peery Miller Memoirs blog entries can be found by clicking the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above and scrolling down.
Don’t forget you’ll have a chance to hear more stories of our own artifacts and also to share your own this coming Sunday, November 17, at 2:00 pm at the Senior Center.
General Farm Equipment and My Association Therewith
During my time my father’s farm was well equipped with all the necessary wagons and carriages used at that period. A two-horse carriage and a one-horse rock-a-way were housed in a special building called the carriage house. Special carriage and buggie harness were hung up in this building as they were to be used for these purposes only, and under no condition were they to be confused with the plow ad wagon gears (harness) that were hung in the barn at the rear of the horse stalls.
One heavy four-horse wagon was termed the log-wagon because it was made with low hind wheels, only a little higher than the front wheels. The front and back bolsters were built up to the height of the wheels as that a log could be rolled on these bolsters on a level, over skids about 12 or 15 feet long. Theses skids were made the proper length from hickory or oak saplings of sufficient thickness to sustain the weight of the logs to be loaded. One end of the skids was placed on the top rim or tire of the front wheel and another in the same manner on the rear wheel of the wagon, being anchored to the wheel by resting in a half-rounded iron ring, of horse-shoe’s shape, clamped over the tire. The other end of the skids were placed on the ground under the log to be loaded by being rolled up the inclined plane thus formed. A log chain was now hooked to the coupling pole of the wagon midway between the front and rear axis, and then passed back and under the log, thence over and back to the other side of the wagon. To this end of this chain a singletree was attached to which was hitched a steady pulling horse. As the chain was pulled the log would commence to roll. Of course it would take the direction of the skids, up the incline plane and over the wheels, on top of the log bolsters.
Strong standard were placed through staples driven into the sides of the bolsters to prevent the log from going clear over the wagon, if, perchance the pull was too vigorous at the time the log reached the bolsters, its supposed stopping place.
This was the method of loading saw-logs in my time. I learned it well when a small boy as I watched my father engineer the job. Later on I went to the woods by myself with a trusty team and successfully performed this work unaided. This was an achievement of which I was very proud.
Much depended on the steadiness of the horse when rolling the log up the skids. Stops must be made at times to adjust the direction of the movement if one end of the log should be of much greater diameter than the other. Any school boy knows that the big end would gain distance over the little end in its progress up the incline, which, if not corrected by sliding it back on the skid once or twice on its upward journey, disastrous results would follow. Both ends of the log must meet the wagon bolsters at the same time, therefore it was necessary for the loader to stand behind the log in order to watch the rolling, and the horse must be driven carefully and stopped suddenly at the loader’;s call of “get up” or “whoa”.
The photograph below was found in a collection offered on eBay, and the caption gives just a taste of the remarkable life of Alice G. Carr (daughter of William Wallace Carr and Mary Jane Ladley), a history ripe for novelization or television mini-series.
What follows is her entry in Women of Greene County, and those wishing to learn more can go to several articles with ample use of photographs:
Alice G. Carr was born in Yellow Springs in 1883. Later family members include Odiorne, Harris and Pelzl names. She graduated from Antioch College in 1904. After teaching for a time, Carr trained in Cincinnati to be a beautician and then worked there and in southern Alabama until she went to the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. When the United States entered World War I in 1917 Carr joined the Johns Hopkins Unit which went to France in June 1917, under the auspices of the Red Cross, with the First Division immediately following Gen. Pershing.
In January 1919 she returned to Yellow Springs for a rest, but later in that same year re-enlisted with the American Red Cross foreign service. Arriving in Poland just as the outbreak of the Polish-Bolshevik War, strenuous service followed at the evacuation of Vilna, Poland. The Red Cross, with only four hours’ notice, succeeded in getting 800 orphan children and all hospital supplies out of the city and across Poland to a place of safety. A massacre of two thousand people followed the entrance of the Bolsheviks the next day.
Three years later Carr joined the staff
of the Near East Foundation, doing relief work, helath and welfare
work in Greece and Turkey until 1941. This work was terminated by the
invasion of Greece by Italy and Germany.
In 1923 Carr wrote from the west coast of Greece where she had gone to fight typhus, “In the last two weeks I have set up two hospitals and got them running. It is hard working with people who do not even know what a hospital is…It seems incredible that a great crowd of men and women can stand before you and not have even a piece of bread to eat, and are so weak from hunger that many are sick and dying…I am rather proud of my hospitals because they are nice, large buildings. The spacing is good…It is a great thing to get these filthy cold bundles of rags off the floor into decent beds and have some food served at regular intervals, and cleanliness enforced.”
These same buildings, and much of her life’s work, were wiped out by bombs and shells at the beginning of World War II. She felt her work was hopeless since there was no food or medicine with which to work, and declared that the situation was worse than it had been twenty years before.
On of Carr’s most conspicuous activities was the part she played in ridding Greece of malaria. For her work in their country she was decorated by the government of Greece three times, including a gold medal presented in 1933 for eleven years of continuous service in the Near East; she also was awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Phoenix in 1937 for her fight against tuberculosis. These were some of the highest honors presented by the Greek government.
During the ’30s and ’40s, she became well known internationally for her work in public health. She retired to Melbourne, FL, where she died at age eighty-five.
In one of the photos from the Howard Kahoe glass negative collection an unidentified family has stopped in front of a Towne Carlisle Lumber which once stood on the corner of Glen and Corry Streets. If you enter “Towne Carlisle” in the search box, you will get an idea of how influential a businessman he was .
In which J. Peery Miller describes sleds and sleighs used in his time…
Sleighing was a popular sport much enjoyed by the young people. Nearly every farmer had some kind of outfit on runners prepared for the snowy season. I recall three at our home. These were not all intended for sport, however. A log-sled was made from two heavy pieces of timber about five feet long and six inches thick, selected from a tree twelve or fifteen inches in diameter. Sometimes a tree could be found that had a natural bend that would serve for the front turn-up of the runners when hewed into shape with an ax. If a tree with a natural curve could not be obtained the farmer or his mechanic beveled the front end of a straight piece of timber into sled-runner shape. The two runners were held in their proper place by cross ties or bents about three and one-half or four feet in length pinned firmly into mortised out cuts in the tops of the runners. The pins were made of hickory or oak driven into inch and one half augur holes. The front was arranged to attach a tongue with double-trees to which two horses could be hitched as to a wagon. If more power was needed additional horses could be hitched to a chain with double-trees at the end of the sled pole or tongue. This bob-sled was used for sledding heavy saw-logs either directly to the sawmill or to a level place outside the woods where, at the farmer’s convenience, they could be easily loaded on a log wagon and hauled to the mill in warm weather. In loading, one end of the log was rolled on the back bent of the sled and firmly chained fast. Thus connected the log was dragged sled like to its destination. When I was too small to be of service as a helper I well remember the thrill enjoyed when I was permitted to ride astride the log when everything was ready for the start and the slipping was good.
For gaity and speedy motion something lighter and of better finish must be contrived. My brother Milton was ingenious and quite skillful in the use of tools. He fashioned the woodwork of a regular sleigh patterned after the best in use in our neighborhood in the early 50’s of the 19th century. The Donnelsville village blacksmith did the iron work, after which it was brought home to be painted and varnished in regular shop-work style. The threshing floor of the barn was swept and dusted as the best place to display artistic ability in painting. I can now say without fear of contradiction, that this vehicle, with its shiny yellow coat of paint and dashing red and white stripes, out classed every thing in the sleigh line in our neighborhood. Its lasting qualities were scarcely surpassed those of the deacon’s “One horse shay” of historic fame. I fact it was in use every winter with favorable snows from my earliest recollection until the final break-up by sale of all of our personal property after the death of my father (1863). I remember that its strength was tested in several horse run-a-way-fracases, coming out unscathed save a few minor breaks and scratches.
A hastily made run-about on runners which would be quickly constructed with little or no expense was sometimes used by men and big boys. It consisted of two runners obtained by splitting a small hickory or dogwood sapling of sufficient length to serve as both side runners and shafts for the horse. The runner section was about four or five feet long from the rear end to the front at which point the timber was shaved thin enough to permit it to be bent up to form the shaft not detached from the runner. The bed of this run-about was nothing more than a cut of a round piece of timber about eight or en inches in diameter and three or four feet long, held in place in the center of the vehicle, by four up-right standards two and one-half or three feet long anchored to the runners at the lower ends and to the center log at the other, or top ends, being pinned at the points of insertion in augur holes of sufficient size to insure strength. This arrangement served to hold the runners in their proper places and support the center log at a proper height to be used as a seat for the driver and one or two other fun desiring passengers. In case the rider’s legs were too short to reach the runners as he sat astride this log seat, his ability to stay put would depend greatly on the grip his hands could sustain. Thus it is plain to see that this style of joy riding was principally confined to men or long-legged boys.
For milling and general farm hauling a sled of suitable length to accommodate our two-horse wagon bed or box was constructed. The wagon bed, with tight floor and broad sides, made a suitable rig for the family to take long distant rides in very cold weather, if the snow was of sufficient depth and well packed. My sister, Elizabeth Hance, lived near Casetown, Miami County, O., and used to visit the old homestead in a sled of this kind in bitter cold weather. Plenty of straw or hay in the bottom of the box, warmed with well-wrapped heated stones or bricks, and warm comforts for lap robes, insured a nice comfortable ride of twenty or thirty miles in the most bitter cold. A return visit in a like vehicle was a delight to me in my early childhood.