Old Times In Schuyler 

Pork Packing in 1859
By Howard F. Dyson, 1918

Pork packing was a big industry in Rushville before the war, and as shipments were made by boat it brought about the construction of a plank road to Frederick, which was maintained for many years.

From our file of old papers, we note that the largest hog marketed in Rushville during the winter of 1859 was delivered to Ray, Little & Co. by James Vance of McDonough county and the weight was 690 lbs.

In February, 1859, the following summary of the hog market at different points in the county was published:
 
 

No. Av. Wt. Av. Price
Ray, Little & Co. 2750 185 $
Thomas Wilson 2348 170 1/2 5.61
Wells, Burton & Co. 1600 182 5.70
Parrott & McAllister
Nelson & McCrosky 400 172
Farwell & Co., Frederick 1741 186 5.69
Randall & Blackburn, Brooklyn 450 179 5.02

We failed to obtain the figures from Parrott & McAllister's books, by reason of the absence of the member of the firm who kept the account, but putting them at 200, we make the total number of hogs packed in Schuyler county this season,--9,489--making about 1,700,000 lbs., and at the rate of $5.65 per hundred pounds, exhibiting a capital of near $100,000, distributed in and around our county this season, for pork. The average weight of hogs last year, was 206 lbs., showing a vast decrease in the quality of pork this season, while as compared with price a large increase for this season, it being last year on an average about $4 per hundred.

The following table will exhibit number and average weight of hogs packed in this county for the past few years:
 
 

No. Av. Wt.
1856 15,598 212
1857 9,650 199
1858 10,136 206
1859 9,489 179

Thus is will be seen that the season just closed, shows the least number packed, and the lightest average weight that we have had for several years past.

In regard to lard we could not obtain definite statistics, but are informed that it is fully 33 per cent below the ordinary standard. Thirteen lbs. of lard is generally computed  for every 100 lbs of pork, but this season it will not average over 9 lbs. to the hundred. We may state that large numbers of hogs have been taken from this county on foot by the Quincy & Chicago railroad and this, added to the well known scarcity of corn, will account for this year's deficiency.

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Copyright by Judi Gilker 2006