The Company Pasture and the Cow Stalls
Many of the folks that came to work in the
early 1900’s came from a farm background. The Mill
Company made an effort to allow families to keep part of this life style.
They provided a very large cow pasture and cow barns or cow stalls at two
different locations for people to use. As late as the 1940’s this was still
being done. By then, not every family kept a cow for milk and butter but
The large pasture and one set of cow stalls was on the western edge of
the village just off of Cleveland Street. The gate to the pasture and the
cow stalls were located just beyond where Cook Drive ends today.
My great aunt, Pearl Baker, lived on Cleveland Street and kept a cow in
the pasture. Sometimes, I got to go with her to do the milking. Keeping a
cow required that you go to milk it early in the morning and again late in
the afternoon. Aunt Pearl made the quarter mile round trip twice a day to
take care of her cow and do the milking. No matter the weather or temperature,
the milking had to be done. The milking was not the end of it. She had to
bring the milk home, strain it and put it in an icebox or refrigerator.
Some of it she put up to “clabber” and then had to churn that into butter
in a hand churn. She then had to salt and press the butter into a decorative
mold. In the “olden days” there was much more to getting a glass of milk
than stopping by the corner store.
Most of the folks that kept cows also made their own butter and buttermilk.
This was an art in itself.
The other set of cow stalls and a small pasture was located just to the
right of where Moore street joins Highway 150 on the north end of the village.
My Uncle Otis and Aunt Nettie Teaster lived on Moore Street and kept a cow
in this pasture. Sometimes, I got to go with my cousins when they milked
The Mill Company provided a large, fenced tract of land for the
use of the people that kept cows in the cow stalls. It was bordered on the
south and west by the Pacolet River and
was quite large, probably from 50 to 75 acres.
Though it was intended for cows, the pasture served many boys as a combination
park, hunting preserve and jungle. Probably, most boys that grew up or lived
in Pacolet Mills on the north side of the river have fond memories of the
pasture. They hiked, played cowboys and Indians, shot their BB guns, swam
in the river, played baseball, flew kites, had cow pie fights and did a
thousand other things.
In the late 1950’s a very large gully in the pasture was turned into a
trash dump for the town. This was in the years before the use of covered
landfills. The dump drew a large colony of big rats. The rats, in turn,
drew teenaged boys armed with their .22 rifles. Though never featured in
Field and Stream magazine or shown on today’s Wildlife and Hunting cable
channels, trash dump rat shooting was fine sport.
The Hog Pens
There was a special area set aside in the large pasture for hog pens. Families
could keep one or more pigs in their own pen. One set of these pens was
downhill from the cow stalls toward the river. Families saved their table
scraps and collected them from their neighbors to feed to their pigs. Recycling
was done before it was fashionable. Reusing the table scraps for pig feed
made sense and saved money. Probably, most families did not have to spend
an extra penny to feed the pigs until they were ready to slaughter.
Hog Killing Time
The slaughtering of the grown hogs was a big event. The owners tried to
pick a time when the weather was very cold and expected to stay cold for a
period of time. In the time before the widespread availability of refrigerators
it had to be cold so that meat would not spoil before it could be processed.
People banded together to help each other kill and dress the hogs. It was
very hard work.
Children especially liked the lard making process. Pieces of meat with
lots of fat were cut up into small pieces and put into a large cast iron
pot. This pot was put over an open fire and cooked for a long time. This
rendered the lard which meant separating the fat from any remnants of lean
meat that had been in the small pieces. This produced a large quantity of
lard, or almost pure fat, in the bottom of the pot. Any pieces of lean meat
or skin eventually was cooked and floated on top of the lard. These “cracklings”
as they were known, were delicious and much sought after by the children.
However, these cracklings were still very rich in fat. When a child ate too
many, which was almost always, they could have a terrible stomach ache. I
remember this all too well.
This web site has
been started as a public service to share the story
of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about
putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.
Contact me at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. My
regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485