A Farmer From the Past: Harvey DeVoe

Devoe's GraveWho was Harvey DeVoe?

Harvey DeVoe was born in Richland County, Ohio in 1828. His family moved to Knox County in the 1850's where they farmed a sixty acre plot. In 1858 DeVoe married Martha Hanastafiel and in 1861 they moved on to a farm of their own. Like many other farmers who could not afford to buy land, the DeVoe's rented a farm. Harvey DeVoe joined the army as a volunteer for one-hundred days in 1864. A few years later DeVoe and his wife moved to Indiana and later to Illinois. In 1867 DeVoe's wife died and in 1877 he married a woman named Eliza Gibson. Harvey and Eliza had two children, Carrie and Fannie. In the 1880's DeVoe moved back to Knox County where he farmed a fifty-five acre plot. DeVoe died in 1914 and was buried in Forest Cemetery in Fredericktown, Ohio.

Photo by Margana Dane
1861 Harvey DeVoe keeps a diary describing a year in his life

How did Harvey DeVoe farm in 1861?

Harvey DeVoe relied mainly on horse power to farm. Along with horses, DeVoe's farm had pigs and sheep. He had a general farm. His main crops were corn for feed, wheat, clover, and beans. He also had a garden where he grew potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips, and cabbage. DeVoe also collected nuts, made sugar, and gathered berries. Harvey DeVoe had jobs off the farm to earn extra money in order to buy products from the town store. DeVoe spent some of his time making maple syrup. He also worked at a sawmill, made and sold shingles, and hauled gravel. Harvey DeVoe was not isolated from the rest of Ohio. He did not always stay on the farm. He made many trips to nearby towns, visiting friends and relatives.

Read some of Harvey DeVoe's diary!

1861 May.
Monday 6 Cloudy with appearance of rain. geared up and went plowing corn. raining so I was oblige to quit. rained all day long.
Tuesday 7 Clear and pleasant this morning. high winds. clouded up and rained some. quite cool for the time of year. I and father butchered a calf.
Wednesday 8 Pleasant day drying winds. went to D. Wilits sawmill. Shot four squirls on the road home. went to mill in Ankneytown. quite cold this eavening.

Harvey DeVoe, 1861

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