Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How were your rural ancestors connected with a larger world?

Most of us are from urban areas and it easy for us to view rural life, especially the rural lives of our ancestors, as being isolated. In researching my rural ancestors, however, I've come to appreciate how connected they were with the rest of the world.

For example, consider my Pierce ancestors who lived in the rural community of Wilmer, Alabama. Actually, they lived outside of Wilmer, which was not much more than a general store at a crossroads. Their farming community was known as Pierce Level.

In the photo above are (L to R) Wilson Taft "W.T." Pierce (1910-1983), representing Mobile County; George Higgenbotham, representing Jefferson County; and Joe Hardie, representing Dallas County. They represented Alabama at the National Dairy Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 10-17, 1925. The photo was taken in Indianapolis.

This photo, from the ACES (Alabama Cooperative Extension System) Records, RG 71: Photographs, 1920s-1960s, shows the kind of activities that the Pierce and other children from Wilmer could take part in. It also shows that the Pierce children weren't isolated from the larger U.S. society in their rural community.

Did your rural ancestors have activities, interests or even subscriptions to publications that show how they were connected with a larger world?

Photo Source: Auburn University Libraries. (

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