Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Often people in the 1800s and even earlier had some darn good ideas. Some I wish we’d implement today. The people were mostly poor folks so how did they make do and survive when they had no money?

One really great idea was starting a seed library. When someone got ready to plant a garden, they needed seeds. They’d go to a place or person who stored them, according to the corresponding plants, and check some out. When their garden died out at the end of the season, they’d take five seeds of each kind of plant back to the library. I always thought this was a great idea and no one went hungry.



I’m not sure why we don’t have these today. But I guess there’s not need. People don’t grow gardens anymore. Not like they used to. They just run to Walmart.

Another thing they did involved the schools. Back then, as in the schools today, they had little money to operate with. Everything went for a building and a teacher with none left over for buying schoolbooks and supplies. The children would bring one egg each day for the teacher. She’d collect and sell them and use that money for what she needed.

Also, often the school board didn’t even have a place for the teacher to live so she took turns staying in people’s houses. I don’t think I’d have liked that very much.

old schoolhouse

People back then found ways around every obstacle. Delta Dandridge in Texas Mail Order Bride used these things to help the town of Battle Creek, Texas. She also founded a women’s society that she called Women of Vision. The women all pitched in and restored the run-down town. They rebuilt buildings that were falling down, painted and gussied everything up and that attracted new businesses and settlers.

Another practice that was not in the book was snow homes. In the winter when school children couldn’t get home because of the snow or rain, they went to the neighbor’s house that had been designated. Often they stayed overnight and then just trudged back to school the next day. Snow homes were a place of safety where you were warm and fed. You were always welcome. I love this practice.

Kids today sometimes don’t have a safe place to go. They’re just left on their own to figure things out as best they can. But that’s a topic I don’t want to get into.

What do you think of these? Did your mother or grandmother ever tell you about other practices they had back then?


Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way — 4 Comments

  1. Linda- in Ulysses, KS where I work, their library has a seed library in it and I browse through it this past spring. I planted some tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, & squash. It’s the 1st one I had ever seen. I think it’s a great idea and will take some seeds back this fall to replenish the library. You have a great week and don’t work too hard.

    • Hi Tonya…….Wow! I didn’t know seed libraries existed anymore. I’m glad to know they still thrive and people have a need for them. I hope your garden is doing well and producing bumper crops of everything. I may just drive up and raid your garden while you’re at work. Ha!

      Love you, sister friend!

  2. Necessity is the mother of invention for sure! I remember stories about how quilts were made and that always fascinated me. Nothing was wasted. Great blog, sister!

    • Hi Jan…….Glad you came. I love quilts and really am sad that all of Mama’s wore out before she handed them down to us. Those quilts sure kept us warm. Nope, nothing was wasted back then. Even old, worn out clothes were made into quilts or rag rugs or used at cleaning cloths. Everything could be reused as something. I’m really bad about throwing things away. But I simply can’t save everything.

      Love you, sister!