Changes to the Farming Life

Record for the Carpenter Family in the 1880 U.S. Agricultural Census:

Page from the 1880 U.S. Agrigultural Census listing the farm production statistics for the Carpenter family.

View Full Page

U.S. Census Office Nonpopulation Census Schedule 2. Grandview Township, Lyon County, Minnesota, 1880.

Minnesota Historical Society Library Collection, Microfilm Roll 6A, Frame 341.

NAME: Carpenter, George W.

TENURE: Owner

ACRES OF LAND.

FARM VALUES (in dollars)

FENCES

LABOR

GRASS LANDS

NEAT CATTLE AND THEIR PRODUCTS

ON HAND JUNE 1, 1880

MOVEMENT, 1879.

Butter made on the farm in 1879: 80 lbs

Cheese made on the farm in 1879: 0

SHEEP ON HAND JUNE 1, 1879: 0

SWINE ON HAND JUNE 1, 1879: 3

POULTRY ON HAND JUNE 1, 1879, EXCLUSIVE OF SPRING HATCHING

EGGS PRODUCED IN 1879: 80

CEREALS 1879

PULSE: 0

FIBER: 0

SUGAR:

BROOM CORN 1879: 3 acres, 1500 Lbs.

HOPS, 1879: 0

POTATOES, (Irish) 1879: 2 acres, 150 bushels

POTATOES, (Sweet) 1879: 0

TOBACCO, 1879: 0

ORCHARDS, 1879: 0

NURSERIES 1879: 0

MARKET GARDENS: 0

BEES 1879: 0

FOREST PRODUCTS: 0

The Carpenter Farm: What They Have, What They Produce

Photo of shocks of wheat in a Minnesota field.

Wheat in shocks near Fort Snelling.

Minnesota Historical Society Photograph Collection, Location no. SA4.52 p29

Until wheat became king in the 1870s, Minnesota farmers didn't generally expect to become rich off their crops. They grew food for their own family, feed for their livestock, and a few acres for cash. More often than not, the more traditionally women's products (such as butter and eggs) brought in the most money.

Once Minnesota's spring wheat came into demand with the boom of the flour milling industry in Minneapolis, farmers saw the chance to make more money than they had ever imagined. They shifted their fields to wheat for sale, with only small gardens for themselves, and began buying things they had always made themselves or never needed.