Once visitors stepped onto the grounds of Hunter's Home in Park Hill Friday, they left behind the tools used by modern society and took up trades of the 19th century.
The Antique Agricultural Festival at Hunter's Home is being held over the weekend, revealing what life was like 120 to 220 years ago. Surrounding what was once the home of George M. Murrell, who married the niece of former Cherokee Nation Chief John Ross, farm hands worked the field and demonstrated 19th century trades and crafts on the first day of the event.
Woodworking was a valuable skill during the 1800s, and members of the Oklahoma Historical Society were on hand to show what tools were used for shaping the lumber. John Davis served as the cooper, using various equipment to create casks and barrels.
"He would also sometimes repair a wagon wheel, but that was not his trade," said Davis. "The cooper basically dealt with barrels, buckets and boxes. He was a military tradesman, basically. Everything you touched that had food in it or that was shipped was mostly in some type of barrel."
People of THE 1880s didn't have the gas-powered lawn mowers with which today's generation is familiar. The primary tool for hacking hay was the scythe. According to Jerry Brandon, who helped Michael Brown cut the field Friday, men in good shape would use a scythe to cut about three acres of grass per day.
"That's the only method they had of cutting it," said Brandon. "It wasn't until the 1840s that the horse-drawn sickle mower was patented, and it wasn't until the 1860s that it became cheap to mass-produce."
Those who took wood shop in school might remember the lathe, a machine that rotates a piece of wood to cut or sand. However, the lathe Preston Ware used did not spin automatically. As he pumped a wooden lever with his foot, the short branch fastened to the lathe twirled as he created different objects, like a spurtle, a Scottish stirring stick; a dibbler, which is used for planting seeds; and a muddler.
A number of animals were on the farm, including a turkey, sheep and chickens. A pair of Clydesdales were also brought to the agricultural festival. David Fowler, Hunter's Home site director, and Kevin Webb, from Pawnee Bill Ranch, used the horses to demonstrate how field were plowed.
"Clydesdales are big, so they would have been used for your heavy pulling," said Webb. "You wouldn't have hitched these guys up just to ride a wagon into town. They were slow, but they can pull a heavy load. They would have used them more on the grain wagons or doing farm work."
One group that traveled to participate in the event brought wheat for processing. As stalks were piled onto a cloth sheet, workers used flails to thresh, separating the wheat seeds from the chaff.
"This is winter wheat," said Cody Joliff. "We plant this in October and it goes all the way until June for June harvest. This was grown in Nash Farm in Grapevine, Texas, at a historic site kind of like this. This is turkey red winter wheat, and it's a soft wheat. This is better for pastries and things such as that."
Recipes from 1835 were also used at Antique Agricultural Festival, as women dressed in 19th century clothing and whipped up pear pudding, soup, and hoecakes. For the rest of the weekend, they plan to make apple butter, beef and barley soup, and biscuits.
The event largely serves as an education tool, so those who visit the festival will be able to learn a thing or two while at Hunter's Home.
"There will be agricultural talks under the tent," said Fowler. "About once an hour, we'll have somebody talk about some form of agriculture in the 19th century, so we'll talk about wheat or corn, or sheep or horses, and all other kinds of stuff."
The Antique Agricultural Festival at Hunter's Home continues Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's located at 19479 E. Murrell Home Rd. For more infor, call 918-456-2751.