ELIZABETHTOWN, Ill. (Aug. 23, 1957) — "I'm proud of these times." Such is
the observation of Asa Reynolds, life long Democrat resident of Hardin
County who is 90 years old today.
"Young folks today don't know the first shovel of hard times. They are in clover up to their knees," he explained "Things may be high now, but folks have the money to buy them."
Reynolds is observing his birthday quietly at his home in Elizabethtown which he moved from his farm in Rock Creek precinct 29 years ago next November.
He lived within two and one half miles of where he was born until he rented his farm and moved to town. At one time he owned 474 acres of farm land in Hardin County. Three years ago, he sold 314 acres for $15,000 to Thurston Patton.
Mr. Reynolds had been born on August 23, 1861 on a farm at Rock Creek, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bud Reynolds. After his father's death, his mother married William Hobbs on her son's second birthday.
He recalls working when 16 or 17 years old, clearing ground and shocking corn for 40 cents a day. "I couldn't object to wages then" Mr. Reynolds said, I knew if I didn't like it they'd get some one to take my place." He was working then on the land he later bought from Isaac Oxford.
Mr. Reynolds remembers when dollars was big as wagon wheels. His last sale of wheat, 30 years ago, was 850 bushels for 45 cents a bushel, hauled to the mill. That was back when the county's main main crop was wheat--before all the top soil of most farms of the county had been carried off by erosion.
Some times he got 75 cents a bushel for the potatoes he raised. That was back when potatoes made the crop for which Hardin County was famous. The last potatoes Mr. Reynolds sold was to Col. Ferrell, who owned the store where W.T. Henry is now located. Mr. Reynolds sold those last potatoes for 25 cents a bushel and he could take it out in trade or get a due bill.
Mr. Reynolds remembers his step-father killing hogs, dressing them one day and bringing them to market to Elizabethtown the same day.
When he got on his own, he did his farming the hard way; with a double shovel plow, drawn by horses or mulce. He remembers when a sack of flour cost 35 cents or 40 cents with no money to pay for it. "Now there's money to buy it if flour does cost more," he said.
As a youth he took corn from the farm at Rock Creek to Wolrab's water mill for grinding-making the trip in a two wheel cart, drawn by oxen. He also recollects of making the 24 mile trip to Elizabethtown and back in a four wheel cart, drawn by oxen. He said he made a few such trips, even after he was married.
After moving to town almost 30 years ago, having rented his farm, Mr. Reynolds was elected to the village board twice. He had charge of men working to clean out the park on the river front. He saved the trees, small then which provide shade now.
As to the weather which is considered so hot this summer by those who go swimming off the river bank of Elizabethtown's park, Mr. Reynolds said back when he was farming wheat "Summers then were so hot it seemed as though the sun was hung on a limb and wouldn't get down." Mr. Reynolds was married to Annie Miller born February 1881. She died in February 9 years ago.
His daughter, Janie Love lives in Elizabethtown. He has three granddaughters, Ima Lacey of Rosiclare, now a patient in a tuberculosis sanitarium; Audrey Trovillion, Pope County, and Wilma Johnston, Stone Church.
His half brothers Dan Hobbs lives at Mt. Zion and Marion Hobbs at Mounds; his half sisters Lydia Ralph lives in Detroit and Ruthie Davis in Danville, Illinois. It was so cool this morning that Mr. Reynolds wore his sweater, in his walk outside in the sun at 8:30. He said that this is the first time he ever recollects his birthday being cold enough to wear a sweater.
Thanks to Wanda H. Reed for contributing this article to the Hardin County ILGenWeb site. The Hardin County Independent first published this article on August 23, 1957. Webmaster's note:
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