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The many questions of a Bulloch Co. farmer in 1914
Bulloch History
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Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the origins and growth of the agriculture industry in Southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.


In the Bulloch Times of Nov. 26, 1914, an unidentified farmer known only as “B.W.D.” asked: “Every-body is giving the farmers advice, but will they take it and stick together and not be hoodwinked by politicians and speculators? “

He continued, “If we are to judge the future by the past, there is reason to doubt they will do this. Many years ago, the farmers of this country organized themselves into what they called the 'Grange.'”

“Unfortunately, they admitted anyone who had a patch planted in his backyard and he was called a farmer. In a few years the politicians and speculators got ahold of it and the thing ran into the ground.”

“A few years later the farmers organized what they called the “Farmers Alliance,” excluding all farmers and speculators. This proved a power in the land by opening the eyes of the farmers.”

They “stuck together well for several years. But, Oh, what abuse they suffered at the hands of the politicians and speculators! Many of its members became weak-kneed and afraid of the opposition.”

“Others began to want office, and the consequence was the Farmers Alliance “busted.” And now comes the “Farmers Union,” a splendid thing for the agricultural class, and it, too, has done good work.”

“It seems on the down grade and many have seemed to lose interest in it—to their own hurt. A very few years ago, the Farmers Union of this county seat met in Statesboro and resolved to curtail their cotton crop.”

They “requested and urged every farmer to do the same. I saw this published in the papers. During that year my business called me over most of Bulloch County. I saw more cotton growing than I ever saw growing.”

“In the spring of that year I saw a man plowing in his field and I asked him what he was going to plant there. “Cotton” was his reply, as he said he learned others were going to plant no more of it.

He said, it “was his time to plant it, as he thought it would bring a good price. And, so it goes. It seems hard to convince farmers to stick together like men of other avocations.”

“We are now facing a problem that is hard to solve. Some say a law should be enacted to compel farmers to curtail their cotton crop to a certain acreage, but it is doubtful if that would accomplish anything.”

“Suppose I had planted 15 acres and said I had planted only 10, who would dispute it, or who would undertake to measure the land to prove whether I had told the truth or not?”

If growing cotton was “curtailed throughout the cotton belt, it certainly would be the right thing to do, but for Georgia alone to take such a step would be but a drop in the bucket.”


Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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