Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tobacco Workers

It looks like the Rat Race started early for some. Today's picture shows a truckload of kids being taken to a farm to pick tobacco. The children were picked up in town at 6:00 AM and were returned at 7:00 PM. That would make for a pretty hard day. The picture was taken in 1917.


  1. Very interesting photo, PJM. The young girl on the ladder looks pretty well dressed to be picking tobacco. Maybe she was cooler in a white dress? The kids do seem quite young to be working such a long day. I guess the "hard work ethic" began at a young age back then. When my mom was a girl (early teens) she would work for a farmer with other youth picking cherries, which was not easy work. Interesting tires on the truck.
    -Anne K.

  2. When I was a teenager, I hoed cotton & corn from dawn to dusk. When the cotton was ready it had to be picked. I hated it. Never was much good at picking it. Could never pick 100 pounds a day, which was expected. Only got paid 4 cents a pound.

  3. They all seem rather well dressed for farm work.

  4. Ya, I'm with the others, they are too nicely dressed to be going to work. Clothes were to hard to come by back then for them to ruin their Sunday outfits, for work.
    I'm guessing that who ever originally captioned this picture made a mistake. Looks more like school kids going somewhere to me.

  5. In 1973 I worked taking bricks out of a sugar mill. Each brick weighed 8 pounds. My brother and cousin and I would be picked up at 6 am and be dropped off at home at 8 pm. We wore out 2 pair of gloves each day and had to bring our own lunch. Made a dollar an hour. Back then grown farm hands were paid $25 per week plus some other benefits. Seasonal hires made $3 or $4 dollars a day plus lunch. After that summer it cost $1 an hour to hire us. We could make double a farm hands wage. And we showed them why we were worth it. I was 10 years old.


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