mount calm · Patents · Uncategorized

Washing Clothes in 1884 (Mount Calm, Texas)

Mount Calm is just down the road from Hubbard, and we consider her a Sister City. The history of Mount Calm intertwines with the history of Hubbard and sharing the history of Mount Calm ties the towns together!

Imagine this… in 1884 three brothers who were living in Mount Calm and at the time decided to patent a detergent that they had invented. The instructions for washing clothes were detailed and contained highly flammable as well as harsh materials.

Jordon Davis, Epaminiondas (named after the Greek General) and David Davis, patented a new and wonderful invention for the women to use (yes it was always the women) in washing clothes. This is what you had to do:

Take 1 Gallon of Pure Water, 1 Pound of Rock Potash (I had no clue what rock potash was – Potash is an impure combination of potassium carbonate and potassium salt. The term potash has been commonly used to describe the fertilizer forms of potassium derived from these rocks by separating the salt and other minerals.) We continue… 1/4 Pound of Borax, 4 Ounces of Kerosene Oil, and 1/2 ounce of Benzine (which is a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum).

Then follow the directions for your wonderful Detergent!

This is where potash is mined:

Mosaic Shares Fall After Early Mine Closure Cuts Potash Output

Ladies, to use this washing compound you must thoroughly wet all your clothing in cold water, and then wring it all out again. Probably in a wringer or mangler like one of these!

Then, as above, to 3 gallons of soap suds, add 1/2 pint of the Davis Brothers detergent and sit there awhile. Then you dump that out and start all over again in boiling water and soap suds and detergent. Let that sit for at least a 1/2 hour or paddle around to get the stains out. Then you need to rinse in cold water, wring out again, and go hang it out on the line to dry.

Many of the other washing compounds of the day contained beef tallow, skim milk, magnesia, turpentine, alcohol and ammonia!

Patten Number 278, 409 – May 29, 1883. This is a copy.

I also found a photo of Epaminiondas Davis!

Epa, was born in Arkansas and passed away in Waco at the age of 66 and his brother Jordon, with his family (did she wash the clothes?)

Jordon Davis passed away in 1928 in Mount Calm, Texas. They had several children who remained in the Mount Calm area.

When you do laundry today with your little Tide Pods and your Downey Liquid, think about the women who had to struggle and use all those corrosive and dangerous materials just to keep their clothes clean!

Source of Patent: Portal to Texas History –


What the heck is Vetch?

#TBT September 18, 1959 – You have to be a farmer I guess to know what Vetch is.. But evidently, Vetch and honey bees go hand in hand. (Photo is of J. O. Harrison, Dawson, TX) Corsicana Semi-Weekly Light Corsicana, Texas 18 Sep 1959, Fri • Page 3

Vetch…Farmers know what Hairy Vetch can do:

Hairy vetch is a winter annual legume that offers a number of potential benefits to row-crop or livestock producers when used as a winter cover crop. Though a good stand of this winter annual legume alone can provide good cover, it also can make a good companion species to ryegrass and, in particular, small grains.

In addition to protecting land from erosion, hairy vetch can provide spring pasture for livestock. In other cases, producers plant it with winter annual grasses, especially small grains. They then harvest the forage for hay or silage.

Most common use

The most common use of hairy vetch is as a green manure crop to be turned under a nitrogen source just prior to planting a summer row crop such as corn, cotton or grain sorghum, or an annual forage crop such as pearl millet or a sorghum-sudan hybrid. There is little advantage in turning under vetch prior to planting soybeans or other legume crops, since legumes fix their own nitrogen.

About 3.5 percent of the dry matter of hairy vetch is nitrogen, so a substantial amount of nitrogen is available in forage and roots when turned under prior to planting a summer crop. The timing of turning under a vetch cover crop in such situations is important. Only a few weeks can make a great deal of difference in the amount of growth – and thus nitrogen — present in the vetch forage and roots. Even vetch that has been grazed prior to being turned under will provide nitrogen for a summer crop, although the amount will be reduced as compared to a stand that is not grazed.

Vetch is particularly well suited to being used as a winter cover on fields in which summer row crops are to be planted by no-till methods. Vetch makes heavy spring growth that chokes out summer weeds. It is easily killed by desiccants at planting time and it provides a good mulch for conserving moisture. Yet, it deteriorates quickly enough so that it does not create problems later in the growing season.

It has long been known that hairy vetch can help conserve soil and water resources and also serve as an inexpensive source of nitrogen in conservation-tillage systems. Unfortunately, common hairy vetch does not flower until late spring, after many Southern farmers have had to turn under or kill a cover crop in preparation for spring crops. In such situations, producers cannot reap the full benefits from growing this legume.

Like I said, only farmers know what vetch can do and evidently, using bee hives, makes your vetch even better!


Texas-capes Near Mount Calm

Did you know? In 1974, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) established the Family Land Heritage Program in order to honor families who have continuously operated Texas farms and ranches for at least 100 years. This one is down the way from Mount Calm and if you travel to Waco, you probably see it on your left all the time.That same year, the TDA printed the first registry of honorees and hosted the first Family Land Heritage Day, during which the families received certificates by the Agricultural Commissioner. The program still continues, with new honorees accepted to the registry every year. Applicants submit a form with information about when the land was settled and by whom, how the applicant relates to the founder, information about the crops and buildings of the farm or ranch, historical significance of the land, and a brief family history. Supplemental documentation, such as deeds or photographs, is required to prove the founding year and the family ownership of the farm or ranch.

Snow on the Mountain comes out this time of year, every year, and you know Fall is close at hand (at least you are hopeful!). We were lucky enough to catch a juvenile Sissortail (the State bird of Oklahoma by the way – Texas is the Mockingbird).