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Re: [TexasCzechs] Cotton Harvesting in South Texas

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  • J.D. Kotrla-Chipps
    Hardest work I ve ever done in my life, and the most rewarding! I wouldn t have missed it for the world. Not just hot, but bending over, pulling a 100# sack
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 1, 2002
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      Hardest work I've ever done in my life, and the most rewarding! I
      wouldn't have missed it for the world.

      Not just hot, but bending over, pulling a 100# sack along with you till
      it filled up, weigh it, empty it, and start all over again.

      When I first started, my grandmother would have to get me out of bed,
      because I couldn't stand up by myself, my back hurt so bad. But she
      would rub some of this "special ointment" on my back, and 1/2 hour or so
      later I could stand up, and even walk around a little. Then, before the
      sun was even up, and it was getting light, I'd be starting down my first
      row for the day.

      I remember we would have ot knock off between 12-2 pm, because it was
      too hot to pick, then we'd start all over again till it was too dark to see.

      Like I say, hardest work I've ever done in my life, and I'm so grateful
      for having had the opportunity to do something that is now a part of
      history.

      God Bless all Cotton-pickers!!

      Ray J. Bacak wrote:

      >I was a city slicker (edge of Flatonia, if that's "city") but cotton picking
      >used to put a new shirt or two in the closet for school. Hot work.
      >Shoulder still hurts thinking about tugging those pick sacks.
      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: "J.D. Kotrla-Chipps" <jdkc@...>
      >To: <TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 3:28 PM
      >Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Cotton Harvesting in South Texas
      >
      >
      >>Hey,....watch it! I resemble that remark.
      >>
      >>I picked cotton in Taylor for Mr Possman, out on old Hwy 95, by the KTAE
      >>radio tower.
      >>
      >>Picked for $3.00/hundred, pulled for $1.75. Cotton was graded in
      >>staples. We usually had staple 7 from picking, and staple 5 from
      >>pulling, because of the damage to the fibers in ginning the bolls, and
      >>leaves out. Now-a-days they are lucky to get staple 3 cotton, and
      >>because of the chemicals the strands are only half as strong as they
      >>used to be too. That's one of the reasons your Levi's don't last like
      >>they used to.
      >>
      >>Second picking wasn't as good as the first, and pulling was after the
      >>second picking. Some of the more "progressive" farmers of the day used
      >>geese, instead of chopping cotton. Seems geese don't like cotton, and
      >>will eat everything except cotton, which saves a lot of chopping.
      >> Yupper, did a lot of that too, and I don't want to hear you
      >>whippersnappers making wisecracks about it. Kept most of you fed and
      >>educated, especially here in Williamson county.
      >>
      >>We had 210 acres, and seems like a 12 acre cotton allotment, which we
      >>sold to the bigger farmers like Possman. Wasn't hardly worth doing 12
      >>acres. First bale was always a big deal, and worth a lot of money.
      >> Sometimes school started late because the kids were still picking, but
      >>I do have to admit, that was before my time even. Dad told me about it,
      >>he said it happened to him a couple of times, Granger, and Taylor would
      >>sometimes have to wait till the season was over before school started.
      >> I imagine some other places too.
      >>
      >>Used to rotate crops back in those days, cotton one year, peanuts the
      >>next to put the nitrogen back in the soil. Never harvested the peanuts,
      >>just plowed them under, and next year, ready to go with the cash crop,
      >>cotton. Williamson county was the cotton center of Texas in those days.
      >> Produced more, and better cotton than anywhere else in the state.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>Joe Janecka wrote:
      >>
      >>>On Wed, 31 Jul 2002 19:30:08 -0500, you wrote:
      >>>
      >>>>Do they really just pick the cotton only one time? I thought that they
      >>>>picked at least twice.
      >>>>
      >>>I'm one of the old codgers that remembers picking cotton before the
      >>>advent of all the machinery. Yes, when cotton was picked by hand it
      >>>was usually picked twice. The cotton was not defoliated as it is now,
      >>>so it allowed some of the smaller bolls to mature before picking.
      >>>Most of the Czech farmers, who are usually quite frugal, even went out
      >>>the third time and pulled the remaining bolls. The hand picked cotton
      >>>was usually a very high grade and brought top dollar. The cotton from
      >>>the bolls was very low grade.
      >>>
      >>>Of course, back then 100 acres was considered a large farm. I've
      >>>known folks who sharecropped 60 acres and still were able to send
      >>>their sons to college. (Czechs, of course!)
      >>>
      >>>Susan has a great site, doesn't she?
      >>>
      >>>>Thanks for a great article. Haven't looked at the pictures yet, but am
      >>>>quite confident that they are great as well.
      >>>>
      >>>Cheers,
      >>>Joe
      >>>http://www.geocities.com/goodolejoe
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      >>>texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >>
      >>
      >>To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      >>texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >>
      >>
      >
      >
      >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      >texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      >
      >
      >
      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Ray J. Bacak
      But working for the Czech farmers, the food at the frequent breaks was great, right? ... From: J.D. Kotrla-Chipps To:
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 1, 2002
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        But working for the Czech farmers, the food at the frequent breaks was
        great, right?
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "J.D. Kotrla-Chipps" <jdkc@...>
        To: <TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 5:24 PM
        Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Cotton Harvesting in South Texas


        > Hardest work I've ever done in my life, and the most rewarding! I
        > wouldn't have missed it for the world.
        >
        > Not just hot, but bending over, pulling a 100# sack along with you till
        > it filled up, weigh it, empty it, and start all over again.
        >
        > When I first started, my grandmother would have to get me out of bed,
        > because I couldn't stand up by myself, my back hurt so bad. But she
        > would rub some of this "special ointment" on my back, and 1/2 hour or so
        > later I could stand up, and even walk around a little. Then, before the
        > sun was even up, and it was getting light, I'd be starting down my first
        > row for the day.
        >
        > I remember we would have ot knock off between 12-2 pm, because it was
        > too hot to pick, then we'd start all over again till it was too dark to
        see.
        >
        > Like I say, hardest work I've ever done in my life, and I'm so grateful
        > for having had the opportunity to do something that is now a part of
        > history.
        >
        > God Bless all Cotton-pickers!!
        >
        > Ray J. Bacak wrote:
        >
        > >I was a city slicker (edge of Flatonia, if that's "city") but cotton
        picking
        > >used to put a new shirt or two in the closet for school. Hot work.
        > >Shoulder still hurts thinking about tugging those pick sacks.
        > >----- Original Message -----
        > >From: "J.D. Kotrla-Chipps" <jdkc@...>
        > >To: <TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com>
        > >Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 3:28 PM
        > >Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Cotton Harvesting in South Texas
        > >
        > >
        > >>Hey,....watch it! I resemble that remark.
        > >>
        > >>I picked cotton in Taylor for Mr Possman, out on old Hwy 95, by the KTAE
        > >>radio tower.
        > >>
        > >>Picked for $3.00/hundred, pulled for $1.75. Cotton was graded in
        > >>staples. We usually had staple 7 from picking, and staple 5 from
        > >>pulling, because of the damage to the fibers in ginning the bolls, and
        > >>leaves out. Now-a-days they are lucky to get staple 3 cotton, and
        > >>because of the chemicals the strands are only half as strong as they
        > >>used to be too. That's one of the reasons your Levi's don't last like
        > >>they used to.
        > >>
        > >>Second picking wasn't as good as the first, and pulling was after the
        > >>second picking. Some of the more "progressive" farmers of the day used
        > >>geese, instead of chopping cotton. Seems geese don't like cotton, and
        > >>will eat everything except cotton, which saves a lot of chopping.
        > >> Yupper, did a lot of that too, and I don't want to hear you
        > >>whippersnappers making wisecracks about it. Kept most of you fed and
        > >>educated, especially here in Williamson county.
        > >>
        > >>We had 210 acres, and seems like a 12 acre cotton allotment, which we
        > >>sold to the bigger farmers like Possman. Wasn't hardly worth doing 12
        > >>acres. First bale was always a big deal, and worth a lot of money.
        > >> Sometimes school started late because the kids were still picking, but
        > >>I do have to admit, that was before my time even. Dad told me about it,
        > >>he said it happened to him a couple of times, Granger, and Taylor would
        > >>sometimes have to wait till the season was over before school started.
        > >> I imagine some other places too.
        > >>
        > >>Used to rotate crops back in those days, cotton one year, peanuts the
        > >>next to put the nitrogen back in the soil. Never harvested the peanuts,
        > >>just plowed them under, and next year, ready to go with the cash crop,
        > >>cotton. Williamson county was the cotton center of Texas in those days.
        > >> Produced more, and better cotton than anywhere else in the state.
        > >>
        > >>
        > >>
        > >>Joe Janecka wrote:
        > >>
        > >>>On Wed, 31 Jul 2002 19:30:08 -0500, you wrote:
        > >>>
        > >>>>Do they really just pick the cotton only one time? I thought that
        they
        > >>>>picked at least twice.
        > >>>>
        > >>>I'm one of the old codgers that remembers picking cotton before the
        > >>>advent of all the machinery. Yes, when cotton was picked by hand it
        > >>>was usually picked twice. The cotton was not defoliated as it is now,
        > >>>so it allowed some of the smaller bolls to mature before picking.
        > >>>Most of the Czech farmers, who are usually quite frugal, even went out
        > >>>the third time and pulled the remaining bolls. The hand picked cotton
        > >>>was usually a very high grade and brought top dollar. The cotton from
        > >>>the bolls was very low grade.
        > >>>
        > >>>Of course, back then 100 acres was considered a large farm. I've
        > >>>known folks who sharecropped 60 acres and still were able to send
        > >>>their sons to college. (Czechs, of course!)
        > >>>
        > >>>Susan has a great site, doesn't she?
        > >>>
        > >>>>Thanks for a great article. Haven't looked at the pictures yet, but
        am
        > >>>>quite confident that they are great as well.
        > >>>>
        > >>>Cheers,
        > >>>Joe
        > >>>http://www.geocities.com/goodolejoe
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > >>>texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>
        > >>
        > >>To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > >>texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        > >>
        > >>
        > >>
        > >>Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        > >>
        > >>
        > >
        > >
        > >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > >texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Joe Janecka
        ... It was called svacina with a hacek over the c . Pronounced Sva-chin-ah. Didn t always get kolaces though, sometimes only fritters, (Bread dough, rolled
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 2, 2002
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          On Thu, 1 Aug 2002 22:28:29 -0500, you wrote:

          >But working for the Czech farmers, the food at the frequent breaks was
          >great, right?

          It was called "svacina" with a hacek over the "c". Pronounced
          Sva-chin-ah. Didn't always get kolaces though, sometimes only
          fritters, (Bread dough, rolled flat, cut triangular and deep fried in
          lard), and melas.
          Cheers,
          Joe
          http://www.geocities.com/goodolejoe
        • J.D. Kotrla-Chipps
          You guys were lucky. I worked for a german, and he didn t feed us anything. Fortunately, Grandmother and Grandfather lived close by.
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 2, 2002
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            You guys were lucky. I worked for a german, and he didn't feed us
            anything.

            Fortunately, Grandmother and Grandfather lived close by.



            Joe Janecka wrote:

            >On Thu, 1 Aug 2002 22:28:29 -0500, you wrote:
            >
            >>But working for the Czech farmers, the food at the frequent breaks was
            >>great, right?
            >>
            >
            >It was called "svacina" with a hacek over the "c". Pronounced
            >Sva-chin-ah. Didn't always get kolaces though, sometimes only
            >fritters, (Bread dough, rolled flat, cut triangular and deep fried in
            >lard), and melas.
            >Cheers,
            >Joe
            >http://www.geocities.com/goodolejoe
            >
            >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            >texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Gene Hirschman
            ... Your right on target. I went to school in Granger and actually school would start a bit later because of cotton harvest but the farm kids, like me, didn t
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 4, 2002
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              "J.D. Kotrla-Chipps" wrote:

              > Hey,....watch it! I resemble that remark.
              >
              > I picked cotton in Taylor for Mr Possman, out on old Hwy 95, by the
              > KTAE
              > radio tower.
              > SNIP

              > First bale was always a big deal, and worth a lot of money.
              > Sometimes school started late because the kids were still picking, but
              >
              > I do have to admit, that was before my time even. Dad told me about
              > it,
              > he said it happened to him a couple of times, Granger, and Taylor
              > would
              > sometimes have to wait till the season was over before school started.
              >
              > I imagine some other places too.

              Your right on target. I went to school in Granger and actually school
              would start a bit later because of cotton harvest but the farm kids,
              like me, didn't start on the first day even then, we would not actually
              start school until harvest was over or nearly over, as I recall, about 2
              weeks. I don't know about the public schools in Granger during that
              time, I went to SS Cyril & Methodious.

              First bale in Taylor, Bartlett, Granger and Holland was a big deal, it
              sold for quite a nice premium.....The first showing of the new car back
              then was a big deal too, but thats another story.

              Hershey - Albuquerque, NM I Whistle While I Work;-)
              Badges of the World - http://www.spinn.net/~hershey/badges.htm
              Stupid Referee Tricks - http://www.spinn.net/~hershey/referees.htm
            • J.D. Kotrla-Chipps
              ... My father started school there at Granger abt 1918. I know he was eight years old, so they started him in the third grade. Not sure why he didn t start
              Message 6 of 14 , Aug 4, 2002
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                Gene Hirschman wrote:

                >
                >Your right on target. I went to school in Granger and actually school
                >would start a bit later because of cotton harvest but the farm kids,
                >like me, didn't start on the first day even then, we would not actually
                >start school until harvest was over or nearly over, as I recall, about 2
                >weeks. I don't know about the public schools in Granger during that
                >time, I went to SS Cyril & Methodious.
                >
                >First bale in Taylor, Bartlett, Granger and Holland was a big deal, it
                >sold for quite a nice premium.....The first showing of the new car back
                >then was a big deal too, but thats another story.
                >

                My father started school there at Granger abt 1918. I know he was eight
                years old, so they started him in the third grade. Not sure why he
                didn't start when he turned six, but he didn't, and they didn't know he
                had never been to school, so they started him in the third grade. His
                teacher used to punish him, because he wouldn't mind her. She said he
                was stubborn, and wouldn't mind when she told him to do something. It
                wasn't till several months later that she learned he didn't understand
                english, he only spoke czech.

                Years later he returned to Granger as the principal, and head football
                coach, and that same lady was still teaching the third grade. I told my
                father that I would have given her her instructions in czech, and kept
                her after school till she complied.

                But my father came back, without hesitation, and replied, "No son,
                that's why she is still teaching third grade, and I'm the principal".

                Not sure of the date on this photograph, but it's around that time. Who
                knows, my father may be in the picture.

                I started first grade there in 1944. And I'm pretty sure that there is
                still only one public school there, 1-12 grades. I didn't even know
                they had catholic schools there when I went. We never heard from those
                kids. They were from the "├Âther side of the tracks".

                >
              • Janet Tucker
                Message 7 of 14 , Aug 5, 2002
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                  I enjoyed your story about the school teacher and your father.
                  Unfortunately, I couldn't open the picture. Did anyone else have a problem?
                  thanks,
                  Jan
                • J.D. Kotrla-Chipps
                  You can view the originals here: http://www.texasescapes.com/TOWNS/Granger_Texas/Granger.htm
                  Message 8 of 14 , Aug 5, 2002
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                    You can view the originals here:

                    http://www.texasescapes.com/TOWNS/Granger_Texas/Granger.htm



                    Janet Tucker wrote:

                    >I enjoyed your story about the school teacher and your father.
                    >Unfortunately, I couldn't open the picture. Did anyone else have a problem?
                    >thanks,
                    >Jan
                    >
                    >
                    >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    >texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
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