Leslie Rathbun, November 14, 2019 (video)

Title

Leslie Rathbun, November 14, 2019 (video)

Subject

Early Twentieth Century
Food
Pig Farming
Rural New York
Slaughtering
Sustenance

Description

Mr . Rathbun's family has resided in Otsego County for several generations. Many of his ancestors made their living as dairy farmers, provided for themselves, and did not buy everything from the market. Mr. Rathbun discusses how his grandparents helped provide for the family through slaughtering.

Creator

Dillon Eggleston

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta

Date

2019-11-14

Rights

Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY

Format

movie/mpeg-4
93.3mB

Language

en-US

Type

Moving Image

Identifier

19-008b

Coverage

Upstate New York
Schenevus, NY
1931-2019

Transcription

Cooperstown Graduate Program

Oral History Project Fall 2019

LR = Leslie Rathbun

DE = Dillon Eggleston

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]

DE:

This is the November 14, 2019 video interview of Leslie Rathbun by Dillon Eggleston for the Cooperstown Graduate Program's Research and Fieldwork course recorded in Leslie's house in Schenevus, New York. Leslie, can you tell us a little about yourself?

LR:

I was born in 1931 in the town of Middlefield.

DE:

You've brought a picture for us today, right?

LR:

Yes.

DE:

Can you tell us about the picture?

LR:

The picture is of a pig that my grandfather and great-uncle slaughtered, probably in the late '20s. It's an old brood sow they slaughtered for home consumption. The pig without his head weighed, dressed over five hundred pounds. I understood that they cut the head off and they put in a bushel basket and the two of them carried it into the cellar at the house. The pig dressed weighed over five hundred without the head.

DE:

What happened to the head?

LR:

They used it. But that was one way to carry it, was to put it in a basket.

DE:

Did they only slaughter for home consumption or also commercially?

LR:

This was just for home consumption. I don't think they were ever commercially slaughtering pigs.

DE:

How often would they have slaughtered?

LR:

Probably once a year. That was a seasonal job when the weather got cold so the meat wouldn't spoil. Probably from December first on.

DE:

Can you tell me more about the process?

LR:

Pardon?

DE:

Can you tell me more about the slaughtering process?

LR:

They didn't shoot the pig, I think they probably just stuck it. Cut the jugular vein and they scalded the pig. They didn't skin it, they scalded it to scrape the hair off. They used a large wooden trough that they filled with hot water and then immersed the pig in it. Once the hair was loose, they could scrape it off so it was just pure skin.

DE:

How long would the process have taken?

LR:

Probably all afternoon. [Laughs] Probably two or three hours, all told.

DE:

How many people were involved?

LR:

Just the two people, as far as I know. Just my grandfather and great-uncle.

DE:

How many people would the pig have fed?

LR:

Probably half a dozen. There were four children in the family but I'm sure that they were grown and away from home at the time this picture was taken. It'd be shared through the family. Probably couldn't have used it all themselves. It would have been shared.

DE:

Shared among whom?

LR:

Probably the children and their families. Five hundred pounds of pork would have been a load for anyone to take care of.

DE:

Is there anything else you wanted to say about the picture?

LR:

I don't think so, I've given you all the details I know.

DE:

Thank you very much, would you just hold it up for us, the picture?

Original Format

video
mp4

Duration

3:50

Files

Rathbun_Eggleston_Pic001.jpg

Citation

Dillon Eggleston, “Leslie Rathbun, November 14, 2019 (video),” CGP Community Stories, accessed August 7, 2020, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/399.