The Beginning

Ever since I was ten years old or before I knew I wanted to have my own farm. I wanted to work in the outdoors, work with animals, plow the fields, make things grow, and especially go into the chicken business. I wanted to have the security and independence farm life would bring. I wanted to emulate my grandparents' way of life by producing my own food, fuel, and healthy way of living. In high school my teachers were aghast at my decision to go a college to study agriculture. They said, "with the abilities you have you should become an engineer or doctor."

I had no liking for such jobs. I had no desire to make a lot of money. I could see myself working in the fields in the clean fresh air, and having cows, pigs, chickens, ducks and turkeys. I could see myself cutting my own firewood, and making maple syrup in our own woods. And someday having a wife and family to live the farm life with me. Would it work out that way?

Anyway, I decided to go to Morrisville College [now the State University of NY] majoring in agriculture. After graduation I worked for a couple years to make and save some money. My father had offered to match me with $1000 if I saved an equal amount. This would make a down payment on an average sized lower scale farm in those days. I worked with single-minded purpose and saved $1400, but by then my father had died.[age 48]

My mother using some of my father's insurance money honored my fathers' offer. My oldest sister, Dora, had recently graduated from Syracuse University, and my other sister, Alyce, was still in college in Rochester. Dora was living at home and working as a commercial artist at Oneida Ltd. My mother and sisters decided that when I bought a farm they would also move to the farm with me.

After much searching all over Madison County and finally finding a farm I was satisfied with and could afford, the Pages picked up and moved to the country leaving the conveniences of the City of Oneida behind.

A Mr. Clarence Knapp and his wife, Rose, wanted to retire and move to Mexico, N.Y. to live close to their son, so I was able to make a deal with them for $4200 for the farm plus "stock and tools". At age 21 I found myself to be a farm owner.

I had about 115 acres of land, six cows, six heifers, two horses with harness, some old horse drawn farm machinery consisting of a walking plow, a spring tooth drag [harrow], a wagon, a manure pung [sleigh], a side delivery rake, and an antique hay loader that did not work. I also had a mortgage of $2200.

"Charles Carrying Water from Watering Trough to Horses"

The farm was located a half mile from Butlers Corners on a dirt road [now called North Butler Road] half way up the hill over looking the Merrellsville Valley. Our neighbors on the south were Ronald and Hazel Olcott, and on the north were Bob and Marion Bartlett and Don and Neva Parmeter. We were about a half-mile from any of them.

Mr. and Mrs. Knapp required only two or three weeks to make arrangements to move to their new location. During that time I commuted from Oneida each day to do the chores and get used to the individual characters of the animals. Mrs. Knapp's brother stayed at the farm during this time to help "break me in". Then we moved in; my mother, Erma, and my sisters, Alyce and Dora. My Grandmother Lewis, who owned our Oneida house, rented it to someone else and later sold it. She stayed with us during winters and lived in Madison the rest of the years. I was in business.

My mother died quite suddenly a year or so after we moved to the farm, and my sisters continued to live there with me until I married Alberta. [See my story "Erma Jones Page"] My sisters and I had an agreement in the beginning that if either of them or I married they would move out. We all felt that newly married couples living with in-laws spelled trouble. So when Alberta and I were married, Alyce and Dora moved to the Goff farm, south of Olcott's. Alyce and I had jointly purchased that vacant farm from Lena Goff Meehan. Lena's father had died years before when a tree that he was cutting fell on him.

When Alberta and I were married, I deeded the Goff farm over to Alyce. A new life was beginning for Alberta and me, which was to continue for 59 years.

 

Charles E. Page January 2003

 

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