In the early part of the twentieth century, Lenora Hammond Lapp worked with her husband on a modest farm just northwest of Chillicothe in Ross County. She had married Jacob Lapp in 1915, and together they raised geese, chickens, and other livestock. In addition to meat, the Lapps sold cream, eggs, and produce to their neighbors in the area. As the years progressed, the Lapps pursued new business ventures: beef, clover, and soybeans, to name a few. Lenora, a former schoolteacher, kept records of many of these transactions in composition notebooks she must have had on hand. Two notebooks survive to this day.
Over eighty years later, Lenora Lapp’s granddaughter works on her own family farm. Barb Bradbury and her husband operate Hurricane Run Farm near Otway, Ohio, in Scioto County--less than sixty miles south of the old Lapp Farm. With seasonal orders for dandelion jelly, rhubarb, tomatoes, kale, and other fresh organic produce, the Bradburys are kept busy with deliveries and visits to the local farmers’ market in Portsmouth. And, like Lenora Lapp decades before, the Bradburys keep records of orders using handwritten notations logged in notebooks.
When looking through her grandmother’s farm record books, Barb Bradbury was struck by how similar they seemed to her own records of sales. The lists of customers, products, and deliveries found within these books echoed the rhythms of a family-owned farm even as they revealed economic and societal change from the 1930s to today. While her grandmother chronicled sales of poultry, sausage, eggs and beef, the Bradburys’ own records include kale, lettuce, beets, granola, maple syrup, and homemade bread.