Skip to comments.**1910: Our Nation**
Posted on 01/11/2013 8:18:43 PM PST by virgil283
"The year is 1910, over one hundred years ago.
The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
An accountant could earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 , a veterinarian $1,500 and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2, Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas Nevada was only 30!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!
(Excerpt) Read more at americandigest.org ...
“and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.”
Well not exactly...
“The oldest printed recipes for iced tea date back to the 1870s. Two of the earliest cookbooks with iced tea recipes are the Buckeye Cookbook by Estelle Woods Wilcox, first published in 1876, and Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, first published in 1877.
Iced tea had started to appear in the USA during the 1860s. Seen as a novelty at first, during the 1870s it became quite widespread. Not only did recipes appear in print, but iced tea was offered on hotel menus, and was on sale at railroad stations. Its popularity rapidly increased after Richard Blechynden introduced it at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.”
And no Federal or state guns laws of any kind! Only local ordinances against, for instance, carrying in town.
‘Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.’
Things haven’t changed much in Detroit in the last 100 years.
There were various economic taxes on guns to restrict weapons[ie poor whites and blacks], and South Carolina banned handguns to ‘civilians’. That wasn’t overturned until later in the 60’s.
I’m glad that I got to talk to men who were born in the 1870s and 1880s.
In 1910, my grandfather was four years old. He once told me that when he was a boy in northern Mississippi, all the kids would chase any car that happened to drive through town, to get a better look. They were that rare.
It was in the early eighties when he told me that story. We lived in Los Angeles at the time, amid millions of modern vehicles, and men had already walked on the moon. He honestly felt that he had lived to see science fiction become reality.
Your grandfather was alive when Geronimo was, and in his mid 20s when Wyatt Earp died, and there you were watching John Travolta movies in LA where Madonna lives, and talking to that man.
That kind of thing makes me feel so alive, in my sense of history, Hernán Cortés was conquering the Aztec empire, only five Bob Hopes ago.
All four of my grandparents were born in the early 1880s. One died before I was born; his widow lived in our house and died when I was 13. My two other grandparents lived next door--they both were born in Sweden--one lived till I was 18, the other till I was 19. So that was quite an upbringing, being raised with folks who grew up in the 1800s!
It is freaky stuff, there are so many living, breathing connections to history in the VFW halls, the nursing homes, the family reunions, sometimes in their own homes for those of us who do service work, and get to meet the occasional 90 year old gem still living on their own and who we can get to talk to us for awhile, and get them to explain the photos and awards hanging on the wall in the hallway.
I feel so fortunate to have gone into so many homes during my work life, in my case, years of going into homes of old people on the Southern California coast, and in Texas, and other places of course, even a little in Europe.
LOL, I just caught your tag line, you know a lot of living history of your own.
I was very fortunate to have spent enough quality time with my granddad to have heard some the most interesting stories of his life. And there were many.
He loved technology, and was what we call today, a 'first adopter'. He was always the first person I knew to have any groundbreaking gadget. He was a contractor, and owned every modern tool of the building trades, but he also owned (and had used) all of the old manual tools in his day.
I believe my uncle still has all of his old carpentry tools from the 30s and 40s. Granddad taught my brothers and I how to use them all when we were kids.
He didn't have a lot of fond remembrances of his youth. Those were hardscrabble years that tested his ability to survive. He left home at 12, and rode the rails with the hobos until he got old enough to get steady work. He bootstrapped his way up in the building trades, eventually becoming a licensed contractor in California, but in the interim, he lived a whole lot of life on the edge, including a stint on a chain gang in Nevada, from which he escaped.
The man lived an amazing life, and thankfully, my dad has put most of it down in a biography that he plans on publishing.
I get a little giddy, a kind of a high, reading a post like yours.
I appreciate that, Ansel. I'm honored by that remark. I'm sure if my granddad were here today, he'd utter a "pshaw" about our admiring his exploits (which I haven't told you the half of).
He was quite a character, and helped shape who I am today. I'm a far better man for having been his grandson. He was my link to a better age of Americans.
I think that the level of excitement is that it is like being inside of a sci-fi movie, time travel.
I remember as a teen selling Charlie Chips on my route, and I was in a nice home, and asked about something, I forget if it was a photo, or a bugle, or a Pancho Villa picture, or what, but the old man (to me), sitting next to his wife, proceeded to tell me that as a teen, he had played the bugle for Pancho Villa’s group. With old people, there are many such stories.
When we are talking to someone who was there 50 or 70 years behind our own years, the connection can be powerful to those who are empathic.
I hope that you will bring the book to our attention when it is published?
Before the Eiffel Tower was built the tallest structure on earth was the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza—It had been the tallest for thousands of years!
Indeed. It's one reason that I love sitting and talking with elderly people. Their memories are priceless.
You read my mind. I'd actually forgotten to say that I'll be sure to contact you when my dad is finished with the project. In the meantime, here's another little story:
During the Second World War, men with families weren't called to duty, so men who had mechanical or technical skills were in high demand by the War Department (yes, that's what we formerly called the Defense Department!).
That was an enormous draw for men who'd just spent the last ten years fighting tooth and nail to keep their wives and kids fed and housed through the Great Depression. Well, my granddad was one of those guys. He'd taken every dirty job under the sun moon and stars to keep his wife and two boys alive, and had even moved them into a boarded up house for a few years when they were evicted from the house they rented.
The War Department put out the call for able bodied men to help build the ports, bases, and airstrips required on the west coast for the Pacific war effort, so Granddad packed the family and all of their belongings into the old Packard and headed west from Tennessee.
They didn't know a soul in California, but Granddad was nothing if not resourceful, and he didn't let that discourage him. In a day when there wasn't a national interstate system of roads, he lit out in an old jalopy on a 2,000 mile journey to a better future.
As Granddad told it, somewhere in Colorado, the rear end of the old Packard began making a horrible grinding noise. He realized that the gears were probably going, and that he had to come up with a solution, quick.
They were in the proverbial 'middle of nowhere', and it was snowing. Granddad pulled the old heap off the road, and took off on foot to seek help. Some miles up the road, he came upon a farmhouse, and walked up to it. He knocked on the door and told the farmer there about his plight.
Now, Granddad only had enough money on him to buy enough gas and food supplies to get to the west coast, so this was a dire situation. He asked the farmer what (if anything) he could do to help him. The farmer was just as (if not more) broke than he was.
Granddad realized that if he could just keep the differential from grinding itself to bits, the old Packard might just make it to California in one piece, so he asked the farmer if he could buy some hog fat from him. The farmer gave him a big tub of solid hog fat, and Granddad hit the road back to where they were stranded.
With just basic hand tools, he got the differential open, and packed it full of that hog fat. He buttoned it up, and hit the road, and that thing made it all the way to Los Angeles.
Talk about making it go right!
And one Bing Crosby before that, Columbus discovered the New World.
That life expectancy rate has always been misunderstood. Yes, the average was 47 because of the tremendously high infant and child mortality rate. But if you made it to the age of 20, you had a pretty good chance of reaching your 60s and 70s. There were also quite a few 80+ years people of both sexes in those days. I remember getting into an argument one time with two co-workers who firmly believed no one ever reached the age of 50 in those days. They quoted the life expentancy rate of 47, and I couldn’t disabuse them of their belief.
I remember talking to a guy in 1972 who was born around 1890. He couldn't understand all the discontent and complaining by some of the younger people of that time. He said life now was a heck of a lot easier than it was in the early 1900s when he came of age.
Great-great grandfather (1850-1926) writing to great-grandfather (1880-1964):
Well Jimy my son (illegible)
a few lines to (illegible) of
family I often think of
my children how good
some of them (illegible) mother
& I while some don't do
as I have done to them
Just got a letter from Lem he is well we
are all well thank the
good Lord for His kindness
to us We trust you all
are enjoying the same
blessing I am wishing
for spring to come so I can go down to see
you all for I want to
see (3.5 y.o. grandson) Unch & have a chat with him
Unch I want a pack
to put in berries so we
can buy lots of candy & cakes
we will have a good time
Unch won't we dad John
is poorly the doctor said
he was liable to go
any time I think he
had a little stroke his
lungs is bad he has the
pneumonia poor fellow
he has worked hard
in his time it was
a big snow up here
it was 12 inches deep it rained
last nite took part of it
away Well (daughter-in-law) Maim last
Sunday was my birthday
that makes me 66 years old
how good the good Lord has
been to me that I am permitted
to write to you this morning
& talk about my children
that I love will close with
love to all good bye
Corinthians 15 ch 44 verse
(illegible) 33 chap read the whole chapter
Genesis 30 chapter 30 verse
Genesis 9 ch 6 verse
Servant kings 19 ch 16 verse
Psalms 95 ch (illegible) verse
Enoch walked with God
how could Enoch walk with
God if God had no body
Deuteronomy 3 ch 10 verse
Matthew 10 ch 20 verse
Psalms 139 5 & 10 verse
Psalms 9 ch the work of the kings
Now Jimy go look it
up & see whethere God is
all spirit or whether he
has a spiritual body
these are only a few proofs
The Bible is full
of proof that we
will have a body like
His to praise Him praise
his holy name for a
a home with Him when
this life is ended
We are created in
His likeness and image
I never knew either of these men. Great-grandfather died when I was 4. Now through technology undreamed-of in his time and 86 years after his passing great-great grandfather speaks to us all.
Charlie Chips! Thanks for popping that memory back in my aging brain. Excellent. Still likely the best chips I’ve ever eaten. Only thing that comes close to the flavor, today, is Conn’s, and they still don’t have the ‘feel’ of Charlie Chips.
The thing is, that Bob Hope lived 100 years.
She got a job as a singer in British Vaudeville, a kind of sordid career in those days. Her family basically disowned her, except for her brother who went on to New York. My Scots Grandpa was somewhat of a cad and showman himself and met, fell in love and married her against the wishes of the family.
My Grandpa, now disowned by his family for marrying a Jew, had to stay behind and work in a bakery to get enough money to come over. But in August of 1914, just as he got enough, the Archduke Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo and WWI begin. He had actually bought his ticket when his regiment was called up. Instead of reporting to duty, he made the trip to New York.
Because of the massive attack of German submarines, his ship sailed to Buenos Aries rather than New York. Somewhere in the South Atlantic, his ship was boarded by the British Navy and he was arrested. The Navy turned him over to a British merchantman bound for New York and then Portsmouth, UK.
As a showman, he told jokes and put on various performances for the crew. They really liked him. He told them his story and why he fled. Everyone felt he got a raw deal. When they got to New York he told he would like nothing better than to at least have a drink with them in America before going back and facing a firing squad. They agreed, and took him to some dive in Brooklyn. While they were all drinking, he snuck out the bathroom window and walked to the Bowery where my grandma was living. He never went back to Scotland. My Dad was born to them years later; the baby of the family.
That is so great to have actual documentation from that era about your relatives!
All of my grandparents were born within a few years of 1890 in different areas of Poland (part of Russia at the time) and immigrated to the States during the 19-teens, eventually settling in Western N.Y. My paternal grandmother was the last to survive, passing away in 1979.
My oldest sister caught the genealogy bug a few years ago before taking a trip to central Europe through her choral group, where they were able to visit parts of Poland as well as Germany (the B-in-L’s ancestral home). One problem she noted in going through the various records was that Immigration and census staff tended to butcher Slavic names quite a bit making the research challenging. She did determine though that our maternal grandfather grew up in the Wadowice region, which also was once home to Pope John Paul Ii. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to locate any of our distant relatives while in that particular area, but were successful in meeting some 2nd-cousins of the Hubby in southern Germany.
“Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school. “
Today, more than two cannot read or write even though 100% of all children have access to schools. Conversely, although only 6% graduated high school, more could read and write then than now.