Days Gone By - stories from the past

These vintage photographs from 1939 show how busy the cooperative store and mill in Gee’s Bend were in 1939

The Pettway family held the land of Gee’s Bend until 1895 when they sold to it Adrian Sebastian Van de Graaff, an attorney from Tuscaloosa. But Van de Graaff never ran the cotton plantation there; a family relative was the overseer.


During the 1930s, Gee’s Bend saw a considerable shift in their community. A merchant who had given credit to the families of the Bend died, and his family collected on debts owed to him in a most vicious way. The families watched as all their food, animals, tools and seed were taken away. Had it not been for the Red Cross rations distributed, and the de Graaff’s not charging rent, the community might have fallen.

The de Graaff family sold their land to the Federal Government and the Farm Security Administration became involved and set up Gee’s Bend Farms, Inc.-a pilot project that was a cooperative based program to help sustain the inhabitants.

A cooperative store, cooperative gin, new school, homes and a health clinic were built. FSA sponsored photographers took pictures of the changes to the community. Below are photographs taken in 1939 by Marion Post Wolcott.

Project families have their corn ground into meal at cooperative grist mill. Gee’s Bend, Alabama

1939 Project famililes have their corn ground into meal at cooperative grist mill. Gee's Bend, Alabama

1939 Project families have their corn ground into meal at cooperative grist mill. Gee's Bend, Alabama2

Children of project families often bring the corn to cooperative grist mill for grinding into meal. Gee’s Bend, Alabama

1939 Children of project families often bring the corn to cooperative grist mill for grinding into meal. Gee's Bend, Alabama2

1939 Boy pouring his corn for grinding into meal at cooperative grist mill. Gee's Bend, Alabama

 

Bringing corn to cooperative mill. Gees Bend, Alabama

Bringing corn to cooperative mill. Gees Bend, Alabama

 Cooperative grist mill where project families bring corn to be ground. Gee’s Bend, Alabama

Gee’s Bend bringing home feed and fertilizer

Bringing home feed and fertilizer from store. Gee's Bend, Alabama, photograph by M. P. Walcott 1939

Fertilizer for Nolan Pettway, Gees Bend, Alabama

Fertilizer for Nolan Pettway, Gees Bend, Alabama

Fertilizer for Nolan Pettway2, Gees Bend, Alabama

 Inside the cooperative store

1939 inside cooperative store

1939 cooperative store

 

 

Waiting outside the cooperative store1939 outside the cooperative store

1939 outside cooperative store Saturday

Old man Moseley, was blind in 1939, Gees Bend, Alabama

Old man Moseley, now blind, Gees Bend, Alabama

Martha Mosely coming from the store. She manages and runs her own farm and made three bales of cotton last year. Gees Bend, Alabama

Martha Mosely coming from the store. She manages and runs her own farm and made three bales of cotton last year. Gees Bend, Alabama

Jorena Pettway with some of the Gees Bend livestock, Alabama 1939

Jorena Pettway with some of the Gees Bend livestock, Alabama 1939

 A washline, instead of hanging the clothes on a fence or the bushes, in Nolan Pettway’s backyard, Gees Bend, AlabamaA washline, instead of hanging the clothes on a fence or the bushes, in Nolan Pettway's backyard, Gees Bend, Alabama

More pictures of Gee’s Bend Resettlement Program

Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .
For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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