Before reviewing the agricultural schedules, I was well aware that most of my ancestors were farmers. However, being a city person, I had no idea exactly what these farmers actually raised.
Very small farms weren't included in the agricultural schedules, which may be why I was unable to find some of my ancestors, such as the Dudley family. On my maternal side, I was able to locate my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary E. Shaper, in Hamer Township, Highland County, Ohio on the 1850 schedule. She owned 75 acres, 20 of which were improved. She had two horses, two cows, eight sheep, and eight pigs and grew crorn.
Reviewing the agricultural schedules helped me recall the day several years ago when it dawned on me that much of the farm land we pass when we ride through the country was cleared not by farm machinery and power tools, but by human hands and real horsepower. I believe that few of us today have any idea of what hard work really is. I believe my most of my ancestors were hard workers, regardless of the size of their property, and that's why it doesn't matter to me whether or not I'm descended from royalty or someone famous. I'm proud to be descended from these hard-working farmers.