• "Milking Time," 1925. Courtesy of the Hobson Community Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    Milking Time
    • Date
    • 1925-07-01
    • Creator
    • Unknown.
    • Description
    • This is a photo of homesteader Jim Stevenson and his son Jamie with their milk cows. J.R. Stevenson, better known as “Jim”, landed at Moore, Montana, in the very early spring of 1905. He had come from Missouri with a freight car full of farm anim... more
      This is a photo of homesteader Jim Stevenson and his son Jamie with their milk cows. J.R. Stevenson, better known as “Jim”, landed at Moore, Montana, in the very early spring of 1905. He had come from Missouri with a freight car full of farm animaIs, farm implements and household goods. Within a short time he filed on a homestead about five miles southeast of Hobson. He was joined in the early summer by his wife, Ida, and three children, Alta, Hester, Dewey. Jim met them at Moore in a horse drawn wagon. Jim had built a modest “homestead shack” that was to be the Stevenson home for the next five years. In 1911 the family ties in Missouri drew Jim and Ida back to their old home. The family now numbered six. They had a new baby boy to display, Van. The Stevensons withstood the “Call of the West” for five years. The year 1916 found them back in Montana and with another new baby boy, Jamie. Once again Jim and Ida Stevenson’s names were on the voters list in Fergus County. They remained there until Judith Basin County was formed. They farmed on the “flats” south of Hobson for many years. Jim worked on the railroad when it came through Hobson. In 1940 they purchased and moved to the former Rufus Adams ranch three miles southwest of Hobson. They lived there until 1945 when they moved into Hobson. less
    • Rights
    • Https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • Hobson Library

  • A settler family in front of a homestead shack, 1908. Courtesy of the Hobson Community Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    Homestead Shack
    • Date
    • 1908
    • Creator
    • Unknown.
    • Description
    • This is a photo of the Homestead shack on Gumbo Flats 8 miles south of Hobson that Jim Stevenson built for his family. The people in the photo are identified as Ida; unknown man; Jim; unknown woman; children: Dewey, to the right of window Front: Hest... more
      This is a photo of the Homestead shack on Gumbo Flats 8 miles south of Hobson that Jim Stevenson built for his family. The people in the photo are identified as Ida; unknown man; Jim; unknown woman; children: Dewey, to the right of window Front: Hester and Van (small child in chair). less
    • Rights
    • Https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • Hobson Library

  • A twelve year-old boy holding the reins of several horses and a foal, 1925. Courtesy of the Hobson Community Library via Big Sky Country Digital Network.

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    Child Holding the Reins
    • Date
    • 1925
    • Creator
    • Unknown.
    • Description
    • Jamie Robert Stevenson, age 12, is holding the reins of several horses and a foal.
    • Rights
    • Https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/.
    • Partner
    • Big Sky Country Digital Network
    • Contributing Institution
    • Hobson Library

  • The inside of a school on Mileston Plantation in the Mississippi Delta, 1939. School began very late in the year and attendance was poor until December, when children ceased picking cotton for the season. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

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    Interior of school on Mileston Plantation; School begins very late in the year and attendance is poor until December because the children pick cotton, Mileston, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi, November, 1939
    • Creator
    • Wolcott, Marion Post (1910-1990).
    • Description
    • Photographs and Prints Division, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Original negative # : 52286-D.
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • The New York Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division. The New York Public Library

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, many families lived in rural communities and farmed for their livelihood. Living off of the land required a tremendous amount of labor, especially in the raw frontier environments of the American West. Families needed every member to contribute. The demands of farm work competed with children’s availability for school and even leisure activities. By 1900, the average child was spending more time working in the fields than attending school.

Decades later, work was still a major part of life for farmers' children, for advancements in agricultural technology did not release children from their day-to-day chores. Like their parents and grandparents, children in the 1920s and 1930s were expected to help work the fields, tend to the animals, clear land, plant crops, weed, and harvest.

Children were also expected to perform domestic labor such as washing clothes, fetching water, and cooking meals. Often, there lacked a traditional division between boys’ and girls’ roles, with boys performing some domestic duties and, even more frequently, girls doing the traditional field and farm work of men.