He that maketh two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to
grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before deserves
better of mankind and does more essential service to his country
than the whole race of politicians put together.” Dean Swift
Researching your family history leads you down many interesting rabbit holes. I recently found a few receipts for fertilizer. I guess there were a couple of reasons why it got my attention.
First, the dates of the receipts are 8 July 1890 and 25 July 1890 how do we still have this little paper. Second, it is signed by my great-great grandfather, George Wiley Whitehead. Lastly, the name of the fertilizer was Davy Crockett. How fun is that!
So, I did a little digging. While I did not find the publication for 1890, I did find a publication for Commercial Fertilizers and Chemicals for Season 1909-1910 for the State of Georgia. Essentially, there were laws “to regulate the registration, sale, inspection and analysis of commercial fertilizer (Georgia,1910, p3).”
So, as I hopped down the trail, I learned that my great-grandfather purchased his Davy Crockett Fertilizer from Smithonia Oil Mills, Smithsonia, Georgia. James Smith was one of the largest land owners in Oglethorpe County. He had over 20,000 acres. The locals all know about Smithonia.
George Wiley Whitehead bought several acres of land after he returned from the war. According to the Georgia Property Tax Digest from 1878-1882 George’s acreage varied from as little as 163 to 1254 acres (Georgia, Property Tax, 2011). Unfortunately the document does not make it easy to determine what year each record is from.
Fast Forward to 1946, when George’s son Walter received the Selective Service Medal, Hubert Tiller, a local farmer, friend and customer added his own byline to the picture that was in the newspaper. He said, “Mr. Whitehead is asking President Truman, ‘Have you bought your fertilizer for this year, Mr. President?’”
See, Fertilizer of all things.
Ancestry.com. Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
State of Georgia, Commercial Fertilizers and Chemicals, 1910, p3