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As It Was: In the Early 1900s, Farm Fun Was Homemade and Memorable

Growing up in rural Oregon communities in the early 1900s was a combination of hard farm and ranch work, a few months of school and lots of good times.  For the Charley family in Brownsboro, chores always came first -- and there were plenty of them.

Part of the fun was driving the cattle in the spring to Climax, Ore., where the family had summer range. This was a time of singing and storytelling around campfires.

When the circus came to Medford, the family did their chores before dawn in order to reach town in time for the parade.  Sometimes they stayed overnight to take in all the excitement.  The other big holiday was the Fourth of July.  Family and neighbors gathered with flags and big picnic baskets and children played games.

When winter roads deteriorated, everyone stayed home and played music for entertainment.  Cassius Clay Charley played the violin and his wife, Emogene, the piano. Their three boys danced and sang and put on skits and recitations for each other.

Rural family fun was homemade and memorable.

Source: Edwards, Patsy C. Heritage Ranch Family--2017: The Charley Brothers; Floyd, Claus and Leland Charley. The Jackson County Stockmen's Association & The Jackson County Cattlewomen, 1917, pp.15-17.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.