Recently, while looking through occupations in the local 1910 censuses, I noticed that some farmers were Truck Farmers.
Truck farms and trucks farmer are familiar terms to me. When I think of a truck farm, I visualize a small agricultural enterprise that produces vegetables, fruits, dairy, and other edibles that are sold or traded locally. I visualize the farmer taking his produce to market on a truck.
I thought the term truck farm was associated with the transportation vehicle, the truck.
But when I saw that term used in the 1910 census I wondered about the type of transportation they were using at that time. Were they really using trucks to transport their goods in 1910?
Trucks and cars were very new inventions in the early 1900s. Trucks were invented and produced in the late 1890s and it is hard to believe that they were that widespread here in rural Ohio in the early 1900s. A wagon pulled by a horse or mule was the norm here for several more years, if not a couple more decades.
So, I looked up the term truck farm and learned that it does not mean at all what I thought. The term has nothing to do with motor transportation.
The word truck, as used in the context of truck farm, actually means to barter.
The word truck comes from the Old French word troquer, meaning to exchange or barter. It originally meant any commodity for sale, and that included garden produce for sale at the market. In the late 1700s, truck meant garden vegetables intended for sale in the market. Many truck farmers traded their produce at the town market.
Truck farms were sometimes known as market gardens, and their bounty fed both the family and as well as the local community and truck came to be synonymous with fresh fruit and vegetables.
I looked through the 1910 censuses for Willshire, Black Creek, and Liberty townships, looking specifically for truck farmers. Most farmers’ occupation was listed as general farm. However, Willshire Township specifically mentioned a few truck farms.
Below are some local farmers that are specifically listed as a truck farmer in the 1910 census in Willshire Township:
Gertrude Roehm, 44, truck farm
Minnie Schumm, 50, truck & fruit
Jacob Seaman, 64, fruit & truck
Andrew Medaugh, 64, poultry & truck
Calvin Morehead, 71, truck
David Miller, 42, truck
E. W. Philbe, 78, truck & poultry
So interesting to learn the origins of some words and terms.
And lastly, a shout-out to a reader and budding young genealogist Isaac, who is working to earn his Boy Scout Genealogy Badge and who enjoys researching his family history at the same time. It is always wonderful to hear about young people who are interested in their family history and enjoy the challenge of the research. Keep up the good work, Isaac. Isaac also shared a website, Genealogy for Kids: Building a Family Tree. This link is also on Karen’s Chatt Links page.