The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick"

By Nat Love | Go to book overview

[Page 19] CHAPTER III
RAISING TOBACCO, OUR FIRST YEAR OF FREEDOM. MORE PRIVA-
TIONS. FATHER DIES. IT NEVER RAINS—BUT IT POURS. I BECOME
THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY AND START TO WORK AT $1.50 PER
MONTH.

As soon as the corn crop was in the ground we commenced to plant tobacco. Before the seed was sown, it was necessary to gather large piles of brush and wood and burn it to ashes on the ground to destroy the seeds of the weeds. The ground was then spaded and raked thoroughly, and the seed sown. After it had come up and got a fair start, it was transplanted in rows about three feet apart. When the plants become large enough it is necessary to pull the suckers off, also the worms off the leaves. This task fell upon Jordan and myself.

In picking the worms off the plants it is necessary to use the greatest care that the plants are not damaged, but Jordan and I were afraid to touch the worms with our fingers, so we took sticks and knocked them off, also a few leaves with each worm. This fact called forth some rather strong language from father, who said we were doing more harm than good. But our aversion to the worms was so strong that we took several thrashings before we could bring ourselves to use our fingers instead of a stick. When the tobacco was ripe there would be yellow spots on the leaves. It was then cut, let lie for one day, then hung on a scaffold to be sun cured. It was allowed to remain on the scaffold for perhaps a week, then it was hung up in the barn to be smoked, after which it was made into a big bulk and a weight placed on it to press it out, then it was stripped, and put into hands and then it was ready for the market. Our crop the first year was not large and the most of it went to pay the rent and the following winter proved a hard one, and entailed considerable [Page 21] privation and suffering among the

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