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Life on the Farm in Texas 1850 - 1950

Farming in Texas from 1850 to 1950 as pictured in archived government photographs, vintage postcards, old school yearbooks and newspapers. This was life in Texas as our parents, grandparents and ancestors saw it.

Cultivating Cotton at Juvenile Training CenterCultivating Cotton at Juvenile Training Center

In 1931 students were cultivating cotton on the state's 1,800 acre prison farm in Gatesville Texas when this photo was captured for the school yearbook. Student prisoners are working behind the plows while guards watch on horseback.

Unloading Turkeys in Brownwood in 1939Unloading Turkeys in Brownwood in 1939

Workers unload live turkeys from farmer's trailer at poultry processing plant in Brownwood Texas in 1939

Cotton Pickers from Odessa Texas in 1910Cotton Pickers from Odessa in 1910

The Spring, Temple, and Blum family was picking cotton near Odessa in 1910 when this great old photo was captured with farmer's horse-drawn wagon in the background.

Repairing Clutch on John Deere TractorRepairing Clutch on John Deere Tractor

Great photo of man repairing clutch on an early John Deere tractor in El Indio Texas captured by famous photographer Russell Lee in March 1939

Fordson Tractor Powers Thresher in 1919Fordson Tractor Powers Thresher in 1919

In 1919 J.N. Garretson used his Fordson Tractor to power his threshing machine on a farm near Clarendon Texas

Harrison's Gin in Wellington TexasHarrison's Gin in Wellington Texas

Very nice photo showing horse drawn wagons at I.N. Harrison's Gin in Wellington Texas in the early 1900s

Jerry Fuller Ready to Pick Cotton in 1940'sJerry Fuller Ready to Pick Cotton in 1940's

All suited up and holding bag she will drag behind her and fill with cotton. The cotton will be weighed and dumped into the trailer behind her. When full, the trailer will be towed to the nearest cotton gin . . . View full Size

Picking Cotton in Floyd County TexasPicking Cotton in Floyd County Texas

Sometime in the 1930s a family in Floyd County Texas posed for this great old photo of the Newberry family picking cotton. Dale Newberry provided this photo and was able to identify his Grandfather Harvey, his dad Orval, and uncles Skeet... continued

Joe Botelier plowing fields Floydada in 1905Joe Botelier plowing fields Floydada in 1905

In 1905 Joe Botelier was plowing a field with his two-horse team near Floydada Texas when someone captured this huge highly-detailed photo

Harvesting Wheat on Hutcherson FarmHarvesting Wheat on Hutcherson Farm

Amazing photo of a man working on a combine to harvest wheat on the Hutcherson farm in Castro County Texas In 1923

Corn Harvest in Hall County TexasCorn Harvest in Hall County

In 1900 Lora and Irene Hutcherson sat on a horse-drawn harvesting machine to pose with two unknown men during the corn harvest in Hall County Texas. Lora is sitting on the machine holding the reins and Irene is standing holding a shock of corn.

Harvesting Kaffir Corn Near Claude in 1910Harvesting Kaffir Corn Near Claude in 1910

In 1910 a farmer near Claude Texas stopped his 3-mule team and posed for this photo of the kaffir corn harvest

Wheat Harvest in Castro County in 1929Wheat Harvest in Castro County in 1929

Sometime around 1929 four combines were harvesting wheat on the Hutcherson farm near Hart in Castro County Texas when the event was captured on film in this huge image. S.C Hutcherson and Claude Hutcherson and three other men who were helping with the harvest appear in the photo.

Oil Pull Tractor Pulls Combine in Deaf Smith CountyOil Pull Tractor Pulls Combine in Deaf Smith County

Sometime between 1910 and 1930 this kerosene- powered Rumely Oil Pull tractor was used to harvest wheat in Deaf Smith County.

Farmer and Wife Studying FSA PlanFarmer and wife studying FSA farm and home plan

 

Farmers at FSA Meeting in Mason in 1939Farmers at FSA Meeting in Mason in 1939

FSA meeting in Mason Tx 1939FSA meeting in Mason Tx 1939

 

Supervisor helping FSA Clients Mason Tx 1939Supervisor helping FSA Clients Mason Tx 1939

 

Farm owner near Memphis Texas in 1937Farm owner near Memphis Texas in 1937

 

Farmers on street corner. Odessa, Texas in 1937

In 1937 two farmers squatted against a brick wall in Odessa Texas to talk when an unknown photographer captured this highly detailed photo.

. . . See it full size

Two Farmers in Spur Texas in 1939Two Farmers in Spur Texas in 1939

Two farmers visiting in Spur Texas. Both wearing suspenders and one with the sweat stained hat so common among hard working farmers

Farmers Relax outside Store in Spur Texas in 1939Farmers Relax outside Store in Spur Texas in 1939

. . . See full size

Dawson County Texas Farm in 1940Dawson County Texas Farm in 1940
 
Farm Scene in Armstrong County Texas 1909Farm Scene Near Claude Texas in 1909

Two horse team pulls harrow in this scene from Armstrong County in 1909

 

Horse Drawn Planter Near Gasoline Texas in 1920sHorse Drawn Planter Near Gasoline Texas in 1920s

In the 1920s Farmer W. J. Carter was planting his field near Gasoline Texas in Briscoe County with a horse drawn planter when his daughter Ethel brought him a drink of water in a pan . . . See it full size

Marketing Cotton Coleman in 1909Marketing Cotton in Coleman in 1909

In 1909 local farmers gathered in front of Farmers State Bank in Coleman to sell their cotton crop where cotton buyers would inspect the bales and make offers.

Mrs L C Hanks, Paducah in 1936Mrs L C Hanks, Paducah in 1936

In 1936 Mrs. L.C. Hanks of Paducah Texas endorsed the Electrolux Kerosene powered refrigerator as a means of bringing modern conveniences to farm families.

Gaines County Farmstead in 1942Gaines County Farmstead in 1942

 

Filling Tank w Water from Irrigation Well in 1940Filling Tank w Water from Irrigation Well in 1940

 

Dust Storm Threatens Farm in Gray County  in 1935Dust Storm Threatens Farm in Gray County in 1935

Massive dust storm approaches farm homestead near Pampa Texas in 1935 . . . View full size

Wheat Harvest Near Quanah in 1920sWheat Harvest Near Quanah in 1920s

Four men, a woman, a dog and an early steel-tired tractor were all part of the wheat harvest team near Quanah Texas in the early 1920s

Kay Shuey with her Dog Snip in 1914Kay Shuey with her Dog Snip in 1914

On December 1914 Kay Shuey and her dog, Snip, posed on top of a bale of cotton for this very nice photo in Quanah Texas

Farmer in Goodlett Tractored Out in 1937Farmer in Goodlett Tractored Out in 1937

In 1937 a farmer in Goodlett Texas posed for this photo and spoke out about how his family had been forced from the farm they rented when land owners replaced them with tractors. ""Well, I know I've got to make a move but I don't know where to. I can stay off relief until the first of the year. After that I don't know. I've eat up two cows and a pair of horses this past year ..." Read more in the article

T.C. and Dean Faver on a farm near Littlefield in 1964T.C. and Dean Faver on a farm near Littlefield in 1964

In 1964 T. C. and Dean Faver stopped to chat beside an irrigation well in Lamb County when this photo was taken for an ad promoting butane as a fuel for farm equipment.

Jim & Ben Davidson of Sudan in 1966Jim & Ben Davidson of Sudan in 1966

Jim and Ben Davidson survey their herd of cattle on their farm near Sudan Texas in 1966 for an ad in a national farm magazine.

Farmer and Wife with Horses in 1930sFarmer and Wife with Horses in 1930s

In the 1930s Melvin Collins and his wife Blanche Langford Collins posed with their horses on their farm near Earth Texas. Photograph courtesy of their great granddaughter, Tina Collins

Family Plows Field with 4-Mule Team in 1920sFamily Plows Field with 4-Mule Team in 1920s

In the 1920s a farmer in Lynn County near New Lynn Texas stopped his 4-mule team and posed with a young girl named Flossie Aycock, as her two little brothers and the family dog climbed on to the plow. Photo provided by KariLeanne Levacy-Torres. Flossie Aycock was her grandmother . . see it full size

4 Mule Team in 19374 Mule Team in 1937

In 1937 a man is using a 4 Mule Team to replant cotton near Stanton, Texas

Tractor Powered Combine in 1930s Nolan CountyTractor Powered Combine in 1930s Nolan County

 

Maize Harvest in Nolan County in 1939Maize Harvest in Nolan County Texas in 1939

 

Wheat Harvest in Nolan County in 1930sWheat Harvest in Nolan County in 1930s

 

Farmer and Tractor in Nolan County in 1930'sFarmer and Tractor in Nolan County in 1930's

 

Harvesting Wheat in Sherman County Texas in 1930Harvesting Wheat in Sherman County Texas in 1930

Photograph of a wheat harvesting crew on Dick Buckles farm 20 miles south of Stratford in Sherman County in 1930

EW Jackson's Alfalfa Farm Near Tulia Texas  in 1909EW Jackson's Alfalfa Farm Near Tulia in 1909
Horse-drawn plowing in Childress County Tx 1938Horse-drawn plowing in Childress County Tx in 1938

A four-horse team plows a field with rows that seem to reach to the horizon in Childress County Texas in 1938 . . . zoom in on this large photo

Tractor operator in Childress County, Texas in 1938Tractor operator in Childress County, Texas in 1938

Tractor operator stops his early tractor and two row planter to pause for picture in Childress County Texas in 1938 . . . zoom in on this highly detailed photo

Childress Farmers Help Sick Neighbor with Harvest in 1914Childress Farmers Help Sick Neighbor with Harvest in 1914

In 1914, D.L. Smith fell ill before he could harvest his crop. 19 of his neighbors showed up with their mules and equipment to harvest his crop for him. Mark Hanna from Childress captured the event on film. This tradition of farmers helping sick neighbors and widows with the harvest is one that is practiced today in small farming communities across Texas. . . . see this amazing composite photo full size

Horse Drawn Machine Cutting Corn in Childress CountyHorse Drawn Machine Cutting Corn in Childress County
Mike Murphy of Perryton in 1939Mike Murphy of Perryton in 1939

In 1939 Mike Murphy was a farmer near Perryton Texas when he posed for a large ad in a farm magazine.

Farmers Meeting in Huckabay Tx in 1928Erath County Farmers Meet in Huckabay Tx in 1928

In 1928 a group of 33 unnamed Erath County farmers posed for a photo at a meeting in Huckabay, Texas.

Cattle in Downtown Stephenville in 1911

Cattle belonging to A.B. Yearwood at the corner of College and Graham in Stephenville. It was common for farmers and ranchers to drive livestock through the streets at the time.

Man takes family milk cow to market in 1939Cow in Trailer Towed by Car in San Angelo 1939

Man takes family milk cow to market in low sided trailer. Many families kept kept milk cows in their back yards in 1939 often staking them them out to graze in vacant lots.

Model T Converted into Truck in 1920Old Car Converted into Truck near San Angelo Texas in 1920

In 1920 a farmer and his wife posed for a picture in their old car they converted into a truck complete with rifle mounted on side. look closer

4H boys with sheep in San Angelo Tx 19404H boys with sheep in San Angelo Tx 1940

Two teen-aged boys proudly show off their prize lamb in 1940. . . . Zoom in

Original Estacada FarmsteadQuaker Farmstead in Crosby County 1890s

The A. R. Michaels family at the original Paris Cox Farmstead in Estacado Texas

Early Tractor pulls Road Grader in Gray County TexasEarly Tractor pulls Road Grader in Gray County

One of the first road graders is pulled by an oil powered tractor in Gray County Texas . . . Zoom in

Dust Storm Threatens Farm in Gray County  in 1935Dust Storm Threatens Farm in Gray County in 1935

Massive dust storm approaches farm homestead near Pampa Texas in 1935 . . . View full size

Marketing Wheat Plainview Tex 1910Plainview Texas Wheat Market in 1910

In 1910 local farmers brought bags of wheat to market in front of the First National Bank in Plainview Texas

Plowing a field in Bailey County Texas in 1936Plowing a field in Bailey County Texas in 1936

Muleshoe Farmer plows a huge flat field in Bailey County with his two mule team in 1936 . . . View full Size

Digging an Earth Tank with horse-drawn plow in Hockley County 1936Digging a Livestock Tank with Horse-drawn plow in Hockley County 1936

Farm Near Ropesville in Hockley County Texas in 1939

Farmer and  Tractor in Anton Texas in 1949J W James With His Tractor in Anton Texas in 1949

 

Farm Family Ropesville, Hockley County Tx 1939

In 1939, a tenant farmer, his wife and their little boy posed on their porch near Ropesville Texas

Horse-drawn Plow Near Ropesville, Texas in 1936

 

Eddie Schlottman with 4-Mule Team in 1940Eddie Schlottman with 4-Mule Team

In 1940 Eddie Schlottman showcased a 4-Mule team he had trained on a farm near Pep Texas in this huge highly-detailed image courtesy of his granddaughter Corinna Robinson

German POWs in Muleshoe Cotton FieldGerman POWs in Muleshoe Cotton Field

World War 2 German POWs tend cotton crop near Muleshoe Texas. With nearly seventy prisoner of war camps, Texas had approximately twice as many as any other state . . . read more and see photo full size

Bailey County Farmer with Mule in 1915Bailey County Farmer with Mule Team in 1915

In 1915 a farmer in Bailey County Texas paused his mule team before plowing across a cow trail on the open plains to make his homestead ready to farm . . . see this huge photo full size

Dr Taylor's Dairy Schleicher County Tx 1939Dr Taylor's Dairy Farm in 1939

Daniel's Gin in Wolfforth TX 1930s

Daniel's Gin in Wolfforth Texas in the 1930s

Woman walks along highway past Daniels Gin and Model T pulling cotton trailer in Wolfforth in 1930's. Smoke fills the air in background from burning cotton burrs and trash.

Cotton Gin in Slaton Texas in 1930sCotton Gin in Slaton Texas in 1930s

Workers pose beside their trucks at a cotton gin in Slaton Texas in the 1930s. Fuzzy cotton seed is piled two-stories high in the background. The gin was owned by Hiram Wesley (Bo) Stotts . . . read more

Scratch Hill Farm Worker bound for Lubbock TexasScratch Hill Farmer Going West to Lubbock in 1938

In June 1938 famous photographer Dorothea Lange captured this photo of an unnamed man living on "Scratch Hill" outside Atoka, Oklahoma. "I'm going west because this country's through, there isn't anything here for anyone. I'm going west to Lubbock . . .

Pig Farm near Shallowater in 1940sPig Farm near Shallowater in 1940s

In the 1940s the Williams family raised hogs on their farm for family consumption and for the market. Their well-known rock house can be seen in the background

Farmers talking Downtown Glen Rose,Tx in 1939Farmers Talking in Downtown Glen Rose in 1939

Farmers chat over cotton seed sacks in Glen Rose in 1939. One of the farmers is wearing something unusual on his cap. A passer-by appears to be trying to figure out what it is . . . look closer

Hale County Farm Scene 1940sHale County Farm Scene 1940s

Landowner Joe Phillips, Mr. T.A. Knight and son Marvin whose family lived on the 360 acre half-section of land near Plainview, Texas for over 30 years.

PB Snyder Strawberry Farm Plainview Tx in 1910sPB Snyder Strawberry Farm Plainview Tx in 1910

Picking strawberries on the P B Snyder farm six miles south of Plainview in 1910.

Irrigation in the 1950sIrrigation in the 1950s

Did you ever pump an aluminum tube to siphon water from an open ditch? Here's how it was done in Hale County Texas in the 1950s. Some farmers were so good at it they could set a tube with one hand and from the far side of the ditch ... See full size

Steam Engine Powers Silo Near Plainview Texas in 1912Steam Powered Silo in Hale County in 1912

Steam Engine powers a silo on a farm near Plainview Texas in 1912 as men on horseback and farmer's wife look on . . . take a closer look

Joe Phillips on His Farmall Tractor in 1950sJoe Phillips on His Farmall Tractor in 1950s

Very nice image of Joe Phillips on his Farmall Tractor in Hale County Texas in 1950s

Farm Family Near Plainview Texas in 1930sFarm Family Near Plainview in 1930s

 

Farm House in Hale County 1937Farm House in Hale County 1937

 

Steam Powered Tractor Vega Texas 1910Steam Powered Tractor Vega Texas 1910

In 1910 a tractor salesman demonstrated a steam powered tractor on a farm near Vega Texas . . .  see full size image

Grain Elevator Potter County Tx 1942Grain elevator in small town in Potter County, Tx 1939

Almost every small town in the panhandle had a grain elevator dominating the skyline. This one is in a small town in Potter County shows trucks lined up to unload freshly harvested wheat in 1939. The elevator would lift the entire truck . . . continued

Steam Tractor Plowing Farm Near Amarillo Tx around 1910

A. M. Archambault & Company developed the first farm steam engine in 1849. The steam engine was later expanded into the steam traction engine with powered wheels and steering capabilities . . . view full size

Windmill and Farm Implements for sale Dallam County Tx 1939Windmill and Farm Implements for sale Dallam County Tx 1939

Farm implements for sale in front of Dalhart store offering Cocacola and local newspaper.

Advertising for Wife in Dallam County Texas in 1800sPostcard Advertisement for a Wife

Sometime in the late 1800's a lonely farmer had a photograph taken of himself on his homestead on the Texas Panhandle. Then he turned it into a postcard and advertised for a wife to join him on his farm near Texline Texas . . . view it full size

Swenson Land Co and Farm Workers in Bovina in 1909Swenson Land Co and Farm Workers in Bovina in 1909
Terra Blanca Dairy Farms in Randall County in 1936Terra Blanca Dairy Farms in Randall County in 1936

In 1936 the cows at the Terra Blanca Dairy farm near Canyon Texas were content and covered from the cold blasts of arctic air that sometimes blasts the Texas Panhandle

Farmer's Elevator in Canyon Tx in 1940sFarmer's Elevator in Canyon Tx in 1940s

 

Tractor driver on farm near Memphis Texas 1937Tractor driver on farm near Memphis Texas 1937

 

Sharecropper in Hall County Tx 1939Sharecropper in Hall County Tx 1939

 

Farmer and Son on Horse Drawn Planter c1930sFarmer and Son on Horse Drawn Planter 1930s

Sometime in the 1930s a father and son stopped their work in Hall County Texas to pose for this photo by famed photographer Dorothea Lange with their horse-drawn planter . . . see it full size

Jim Bob Wills and Cousin Picking Cotton in Mid-1920sJim Bob Wills and Cousin Picking Cotton in Mid-1920s

Very rare photo of famous musician Bob Wills picking cotton with his cousin in the mid 1920s

Jim Harper with his prize JackJim Harper with his prize Jack

Sometime in the 1890s, Jim Harper proudly posed with his prize Jack for this wonderful old photo of early life in Hall County Texas

Washing clothes on farm at El Indio, Tx 1939Washing clothes on farm at El Indio, Tx 1939

On a farm near El Indio Texas in 1939 a woman runs her clothes through the ringer as her children play and hundreds of chickens fee nearby.

Pump house on farm in Maverick County Tx 1939Pump house on farm in Maverick County Tx 1939

At a pump house on a farm in Maverick County a Model T bus is parked near clothes drying on the line and a young boy plays with his dog in 1939

 

Flax Harvester in 1939 in Maverick CountyFlax Harvester in 1939 in Maverick County

 

Maverick County Farm Scene in 1939Maverick County Farm Scene in 1939

In 1939 a Maverick County farmer works to fix a flat on his old car while his chickens rest in the shade under the car and his son relaxes nearby

John Deere Tractor Breaking Ground in 1939

An early John Deere tractor pulls a one-way in Maverick County Texas in 1939 in this rare birds-eye view

 

John Deere Tractor Front View

The photographer must have been perched on a windmill when he took this amazing birds-eye view of an early John Deere tractor coming at him in 1939

Building irrigation ditch. El Indio, Tx 1939

Digging a ditch on a farm near El Indio Texas in 1939 required a tractor and two men
 

Farmer near El Indio Tx in 1939

 

Horse Drawn Cotton Harvestor Lockney Texas 1930'sHorse Drawn Cotton Harvester Lockney Texas 1930's
HT Coleman Shovels Wheat Floydada TX 1947H. T. Coleman Shovels Wheat Floydada TX 1947

 

C. W. Thagard's Oat Farm Early 1900's

Photo from early 1900's picture postcard depicts C.W. Thagard's Oat Farm near Floydada Texas.

T. H. Chatham in 1954 AdT.  H. Chatham in 1954 Ad

In 1954 T.H. Chatham, well known Floyd County Farmer from Lockney appeared in a national ad

Milo Harvest Near Lockney in 1954Milo Harvest Near Lockney in 1954

Combine unloading milo grain in to a GMC on a farm near Lockney Texas in 1954. The photo was part of an ad for a two-speed truck axle.

J D Woody and CalfJ D Woody and Calf

In this wonderful old photo from 1945, eleven month old J D Woody pets a calf on his grandparents farm in Dougherty Texas 20 miles west of Matador 17 miles east of Floydada. Debbie Brauneck provided this photo of her father from her mother's collection

1928 Model E Cotton Picker Near Ralls1928 Model E Cotton Picker Near Ralls

In 1928 a salesman demonstrated his Model E Cotton Stripper on a farm near Ralls Texas in Crosby County

Boy Drinks from Burlap Covered Jug

Drinking water from jar covered in wet burlap on farm near Ralls, Texas in 1939

Rapping a glass jug in wet burlap would keep the contents slightly cooler than if it was left uncovered . . .

 

Thirsty Farmer Drinks from Canvas Bag

Thirsty Farmer Drinks from Canvas Bag

On a hot summer morning on a farm near Ralls Texas in 1939, a farmer pauses for a cold drink of water from a canvas bag. Hung from tractor fenders, car hood ornaments and side view mirrors, military vehicles or from a cowboy's saddle horn . . . read more and view large image

Making the Final Adjustments to Planter in 1939Setting Up a Four Row Lister / Planter in 1939

Farmer in Crosby County Texas changes plow points and makes final adjustments to his 4-row lister planter in 1939.

 

Sitting on Dad's tractor 1939Sitting on Dad's Tractor Near Ralls, Texas in 1939

 

Changing plow points 1939Changing plow points on four-row planter Crosby County Tx 1939

 

Laundry Day in 1939Laundry Day on the farm in Crosby County Texas in 1939

Farmer's wife hangs laundry on clothes line to dry on farm near Ralls Texas in 1939.

Crosby County Farmer 1939Crosby County Farmer 1939

Farmer sits on his new tractor in 1939 on a farm near Ralls Texas.

1939 Allis-Chalmers Tractor

Allis-Chalmers Tractor with planter and go-devil attached Ralls Tx 1939

The "Go Devil" was a popular attachment for tractors in the 1930's through the 1960's.

 

Farmer and His Farmall Tractor 1936Farmer and His Farmall Tractor 1936
Farmall Tractor with Lister in 1936Farmall Tractor with Lister in 1936

 

Farm Implement Show Carson County Tx 1936

 

Resources:

West Texas History & Memories

Early Life in Texas County by County

Books about Texas People and Places

Amazing People from Texas County by County

Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

Texas History by Category and Event

 

What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County

 

Mysterious TexasTrue Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texcas
 Loneliest, Least Populated Counties in Texas
Famous Actors from West TexasBooks about Texas People County by County

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