Privies, Charivaris and Bedbugs or Life on the Farm in the Olden Days, 1924-1996  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Bramblet, James
Privies, Charivaris and Bedbugs or Life on the Farm in the Olden Days
1924-1996 (inclusive)
1 File (1 folder)
Collection Number
OPVSIEmss_24 (collection)
Autobiography of James Bramblet titled "Privies, Charivaris and Bedbugs or Life on the Farm in the Olden Days." James Bramblet was born on Big Bear Ridge and the story covers his life on the family farm in the 1920's and 1930's.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
Access Restrictions

The manuscript is available for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James Bramblet was born on Big Bear Ridge just above Kendrick, Idaho, on 2 March 1924. His parents were Jewell Mathew Bramblet (1884-1954) and Effie Lillian Kittrell (1891-1942). He had an older brother, Everett Eldon, who became a preacher. His second brother, Jewell Lyle, was born in 1917 in Montana and also became a pastor. One sister, Mildred Fern, was born in 1921 in Morrowtown, Idaho. The other sister, Mary, was born in 1930 on Camas Prairie. The family farm had a large barn built by his grandfather, a granary, a chicken house, a woodshed, smokehouse, an underground cellar, and an outhouse. There was no running water in the houses James grew up in, so carrying water was a daily chore. They milked the cows and fed the animals twice a day.

At the age of twelve his parents sold the farm and they moved to Texas Ridge, near Deary, Idaho. James started public school at age six in 1930 in a one-room school house. There were about twenty students in all eight grades taught by one teacher. He remembers playing games at recess such as “gray wolf,” “kick the can,” and basketball among others. In order to continue on to high school, every student had to pass a state achievement test.

Work on the farm consisted of many chores. They had to feed the animals, milk the cows, separate the cream from the milk, make butter, scoop and haul manure, split and haul wood, plow the fields, shock grain, hoe the fields, pick up potatoes, butcher animals, cook meals, wash clothes, etc. Selling cream was the source of ongoing income for the family while they waited for wheat harvest, which was the main source of income. The price for selling goods began to decrease, but they always had plenty of food from the farm. Besides as work, there was also entertainment on the farm. They had free time in the winter and they always took the Forth of July off, usually to fish and camp. They attended the June Picnic in Craigmont, Idaho. At Christmas they ordered presents through the Motgomery Ward or Sears and Roebuck catalogues and cut a tree and decorated it in the living room. They also rode horses for fun and fished or hunted squirrels.

Another form of recreation was a community meeting called “The Literary” where everyone would meet at the auditorium in Morrowtown and anyone who wanted to perform could. There were also parties at the schoolhouse. Baseball was another community activity for the men and teenagers. James was usually the catcher. At home they entertained themselves with games such as chess and checkers and board and card games. James’s father would also read aloud to the family in the winter. When there was snow they would sled, ski, or ice skate. The community also performed “charivari” for newlyweds.

Throughout the years James lived on the farm many inventions changed the way he and others lived. Methods of harvesting changed. Lifestyles changed, as well, with the advent of the radio, electricity, telephones, automobiles, and tractors. Medical aid when James was living on the farm consisted of traveling, usually only in extreme emergencies, about 30 miles to Moscow, Idaho, to see a doctor. Accidents as well as diseases afflicted the family. Usually they had to try and cure themselves without the help of a doctor. James’s mother was sick often after Mary’s birth. She had problems with her kidneys and died at age fifty-one. James’s family was Christian. He attended Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. There was a religious revival movement in the community and many were saved and baptized. James writes about his decision to be saved and about the influence of the Christian revival on his family. James grew up to become a Christian schoolteacher and administrator. He married Vivian Eacker and they had four children.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of a manuscript covering James Bramblet’s life on his family farm in the 1920s and 1930s. This manuscript is divided into chapters discussing where he lived, when there was no running water, his one-room country school, work done on the farm, entertainment on the farm, animals on the farm, how inventions changed the farm, medical problems on the farm, and religion on the farm. There are also photocopied pictures of the family and their homes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Archives and Special Collections Department at Pacific Lutheran University. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish or quote from (the collection) must be submitted to the University Archivist. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

James Bramblet autobiography, OPVSIEmss_24, Archives and Special Collections, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98447

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Constitutional amendments--United States.
  • Milking
  • Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery
  • Shivaree
  • Slaughtering and slaughter-houses
  • Teachers colleges
  • Cisterns
  • Cream-separators
  • Education
  • Elections--United States--1932
  • Evangelists
  • Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho
  • Outhouses
  • Plowing
  • Whitman Massacre, 1847
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Personal Names :
  • Bramblet, Effie Lillian Kittrell
  • Bramblet, Jewell Mathew
  • Bramblet, James--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • University of Idaho
  • American Sunday-School Union
  • Montgomery Ward--Catalogs
  • Sears, Roebuck and Company--Catalogs.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Colfax (Wash.)
  • Portland (Or.)
  • Camas Prairie (Idaho)
  • Craigmont (Idaho)
  • Deary (Idaho)
  • Kendrick (Idaho)
  • Lewiston (Idaho)
  • Maxville (Mont.)
  • Morrowtown (Idaho)
  • Moscow (Idaho)
  • Phoenix (Ariz.)
  • Tacoma (Wash.)
  • Texas Ridge (Idaho)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Family history
  • Occupations :
  • Teaching
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Privies, charivaris and bedbugs or life on the farm in the olden days