What Every Farmer's Child Should Know

Old-fashioned Children


Rate this Article: 

Average: 4.3 (37 votes)

Judging from these tips from 1867, the expectations of children between then and now have certainly changed quite a bit!

​What Every Farmer's Boy Should Know

  • To dress himself, black his own shoes, cut his brother's hair, wind a watch, sew on a button, make a bed, and keep all his clothes in perfect order and neatly in place
  • To harness a horse, grease a wagon, and drive a team
  • To milk cows, shear sheep, and dress veal or mutton
  • To reckon money and keep accounts accurately and according to good bookkeeping rules
  • To write a neat, appropriate, briefly expressed business letter, in a good hand, and fold and superscribe it properly, and to write contracts
  • To plow, sow grain and grass seed, drive a mowing machine, swing a scythe, build a neat stack, and pitch hay
  • To put up a package, build a fire, whitewash a wall, mend broken tools, and regulate a clock

​What Every Farmer's Girl Should Know

  • To sew and knit
  • To mend clothes neatly
  • To dress her own hair
  • To wash dishes and sweep carpets
  • To trim lamps
  • To make good bread and perform all plain cooking
  • To keep her room, closets, and drawers neatly in order
  • To make good butter and cheese
  • To keep accounts and calculate interest
  • To write, fold, and superscribe letters properly
  • To nurse the sick efficiently and not faint at the sight of a drop of blood
  • To be ready to render efficient aid and comfort to those in trouble, in an unostentatious way
  • To receive and entertain visitors when her mother is sick or absent


The Best of The Old Farmer's Almanac: The First 200 Years

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

How old are the children who

How old are the children who are supposed to do all this? I can understand by the age of 8 they should have been able to milk a cow feed chickens and collect eggs and gather fire wood. Girls should have known how to make beds, wash dishes sweep floors and do simple sewing. But using sharp tools making fires and other hazardous jobs shouldn't have been done by any child under the age of 10. I know children had to grow up fast back then but hopefully within reason.

Ah, the good ole days!

Ah, the good ole days!

My daughter is pregnant with

My daughter is pregnant with first child due date September 9/2012 tomorrow is August 31 2012 and will be a full moon could she deliver

Free Beginners Garden Guide

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners!
Your complete guide on how to grow a vegetable garden—from scratch!


You will also be subscribed to our Almanac Companion Newsletter