Observations of life on a farm in 1946

1895: Rachel Josephine (left) and Lydia Johanna Venn – daughters of Jens & Randi Venn. Copyright has long since expired. Photo courtesy of Sonia Strand Pooch.

Life was hard after my grandfather passed from this vale of tears. Any way you look at the income and expenses it is obvious life was hard. Must have been really difficult for my dear paternal grandmother to raise the four kids still at home.

The narratives from my aunts and uncles make that very obvious and the dollar transactions prove it.

Farm was essentially self-contained

It is amazing how self-contained the farm was.

Continue reading “Observations of life on a farm in 1946”

Guess at value of 1946 estate expressed in 2019 dollars

 

The values assigned to my grandfather’s estate when it was probated are listed here.

My determination of a adjustment factor of 13 to bring 1946 prices forward to today is shown here.

The extended string of assumptions I’ve made shows a rough guess of the estate:

  • 1946-  worth $8,085 gross, with $7,785 after the administratrix fee due to my grandmother.
  • 2019 – worth about $105,000 gross and about $100,000 after the only listed liability.

Detail of the assets are:

Continue reading “Guess at value of 1946 estate expressed in 2019 dollars”

Consumer price index from 1940 through 2019

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For an indicator of the changes in prices from the World War 2 era through today I pulled CPI information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This info will roll into my comments on the probate document for my grandfather’s estate.

It is also useful for general information.

The furthest into the table I can link is here: https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?cu

The data is the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) from 1940 through 2019 from Series Id: CUUR0000SA0.

Select data:

Continue reading “Consumer price index from 1940 through 2019”

Military pay rates during World War Two compared to 2019

WWII reenactors at 2012 Chino Air Show (plus one participant from the audience). Photo by James Ulvog.

What were the pay rates during World War Two in contrast to pay rates in the U.S. military today? What is the ratio of today’s pay compared to WWII?

The Navy CyberSpace website provides 2019 U.S. Military Basic Pay Charts.

That same web site also helpfully provides 1942-1946 U.S. Military Pay Charts.

Both pay scales list the rate of pay for all officer and enlisted ranks, ranging from starting to over 30 years experience.

Continue reading “Military pay rates during World War Two compared to 2019”

Pay rate for privates in each of America’s wars

Portrait of a squad of uniformed World War 2 American combat soldiers. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Pay for American soldiers during each major war is provided by We Are the Mighty.

Their article, This is how much troops were paid in every major American war, provides the pay for a private in the major wars fought by the U.S. The then-current pay is also adjusted to an equivalent amount of money in 2016. Don’t know how they made the conversion to 2016 dollars. I usually want to look at the conversion rates, but won’t dive deeper for this post.

This info does provide some way of comparing pay rates across time.

Here is the great info they provide:

Continue reading “Pay rate for privates in each of America’s wars”

Another guess on amount of silver looted from France and England by the Vikings

Means by which all that wealth was transferred back to Scandinavia. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Been listening again to The Vikings by Professor Kenneth Harl. Audio lectures are from The Great Courses,

The author makes a wild guess on the amount of silver carried out of the Carolingian Empire and away from England.

Based upon written accounts in the 9th century he estimates between 40,000 and 45,000 pounds of silver was extracted from the Carolingian empire as Danegeld payments.

He says most historians would estimate this was between 1/2 and 1/3 of the total silver hauled off. That means there would have been somewhere in the range of 80,000 or 90,000 pounds up to 120,000 or 135,000 pounds in addition. I will smooth that estimate out to somewhere between 80,000 and 125,000 pounds.

Over in England, king Ethelred paid out an estimated 180,000 pounds of silver.

Continue reading “Another guess on amount of silver looted from France and England by the Vikings”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 4

Black soldiers in Union army. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Second post: term slave, status of children

Third post: sales prices, hire out

This post finishes the series.

Rewards for capture

In September 1849, Harriet and her two brothers, Ben and Henry, ran away. Eliza Brodess posted a notice dated “Oct 3rd, 1849” offering $300 for the return of the three. The brothers changed their mind and went back to their master, dragging Harriet with them.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 4”

Organization of Roman legion in the Maniple and Cohort structures

Testudo formation demonstrated by reenactors. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Best description of the maniple and cohort structure for a Roman legion that I’ve read can be found in Roman Soldier Operations Manual: Daily Life * Fighting Tactics * Weapons * Equipment * Kit by Simon Forty.

This post will sketch out what the organization looks like in both structures.

The building block units of a legion will be shown, with the number of soldiers in each unit illustrated.

 

Maniple

Book says the maniple structure was used from the 4th century B.C. until about 107 to 101 B.C. at the time of the Marian reforms.

There were three lines in a maniple. The front line of least experienced troops were the hastati.  Middle line were the principe. Back row was the older and most experienced soldiers, the triari.

The basic building block was the contuberium, or squad, which consisted of 6 soldiers who shared a tent and cooked their meals together.

A contuberium would look like this, with the soldier count listed and total for the unit:

Continue reading “Organization of Roman legion in the Maniple and Cohort structures”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 3

Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Harlem, New York. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Second post: term slave, status of children

Prices

For context, a house and barn were built on the Brodess farm in 1820. Edward Brodess owned Tubman. Upon his death, his wife, Eliza took ownership of the slaves and bore the responsibility of running the small family farm.

The house was described in court documents (I won’t go into background on the messy issue) as

“a single story 32 by 20 ft two rooms below with two plank floors and brick chimney, and also a barn of good material.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 3”