Marshall Historical Society

200 Years of Farming on One Place
By John R. McConnell, October 16, 2003

History can be kinda confusing. Every time you have your ducks in a row and all of your dates in order, you learn things that upset everything. My Great Grandfather's diary tells of building the hop house in 1877, but the 1870 Census says they sold 1500 pound of hops that year. So how they processed them , I do not know unless they did it at a neighbors.

Apparently they were raising hops before they built the hop house.

The hop house stood down from the cemetery on the opposite side of the road. There is an electric light pole now about where the hop house was.

The hops were a whole new ball game. With hops you need hop pickers and people to work in the hop yards. My wife and I have different ideas on this and I guess we are both right. She read in my Great Grandfather's diary, where my grandfather and his brother when to Utica with a team and wagon. They were gone all day and came home with a load of hop pickers. I was always told that hobos had a lot to do with it, too. They would always show up at hop picking time.

Upstairs over the woodshed and carriage house was a room maybe 20 foot long by 12-14 foot wide, finished with lath and plaster and whitewashed. This was the bunk room where the hop pickers slept, with men, women and children there. I'm not sure how they managed that.

We don't know too much about the hobos, but one left his mark literally. His name was Harry Yervane or Henry Yervane. He was an artist who had studied in Paris, France. Drink got the best of him and he was on the road. He must have spent a lot of time at our house, because we have quite a bit of his works. We bought an oil painting of Turkey Falls, also a huge jungle scene and the frescoes on the ceiling in what was the parlor. Also my Great Grandmother's autograph book. The lion is dated 11-20-1878 and Grandma's autograph book 10-16-1887.

Another was Jim McCarthy. I was born in February and he was here in January. About the end of January or the first of February he took a bath and washed his long underwear, put it on wet, got dressed, packed his things and went up the road never to be seen again. Later the family heard that a doctor had disappeared and they always figured that he was a doctor and with my mother about to give birth, feared he might be called on to help and couldn't face it.

Another name we know is Ed Spaulding. He wasn't a hobo, but a teamster on the canal. We don't know if it was the Erie or Chenango, but in summer he drove them on the canal and in the winter he stayed here and cut wood for his room and board.

If our old house could talk, I'm sure there are many stories of the people that lived here.


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