"Do Not Mortgage The Farm"

One of the agrarian treasures we have discovered and salvaged from the old Moravia Grange hall—which we hope to be buying soon—is a tattered, yellowed, and musty songbook titled “Grange Melodies.” The book is copyrighted 1891 and was printed in 1921. We also have the next, newer volume of the Grange songbook which is also old and musty. I do not have, and have not seen, the current Grange songbook because the remaining Moravia Grangers (all 12 of them) removed the copies from the building and will continue to use them as they hold their meetings at Millstream Court, the senior citizen’s apartment building in Moravia.

The 1891 songbook has some remarkable songs, a few of which I am going to share with you in the days ahead. What is remarkable about them is that they reflect a wisdom and understanding that was once dominant in the agricultural communities of this nation, but which is, in these modern times, largely ignored, if not completely forgotton.

A perfect case in point is the song titled, Do Not Mortgage The Farm. Keep in mind as you read the words of this song that the Grangers were singing this in the 1920’s, when the economy was booming and it seemed that it always would. Then, in 1929 the stock market crashed and the Great Depression settled in. Those who mortgaged their farms and homesteads, lost them.

Do Not Mortgage The Farm
By: E. R. Latta

Fortune may sometimes forsake you,
Useless the struggle may seem;
Be not tempted to hazard
That which you may not redeem;
Do not imperil the homestead,
And bansih the thought in alarm,
Make it your strong resolution,
Never mortgage the farm.

Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm.
Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm;
For sorrow will soon overtake you
If ever you mortgage the farm.

Think of the time it has taken,
Think of the toil it has cost,
That you and your children might own it,
Now do not let it be lost;
Think of the hearts that enshrine you,
And trust you to shield them from harm,
Make it your strong resolution,
Never mortgage the farm.

Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm.
Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm;
For sorrow will soon overtake you
If ever you mortgage the farm.

If you would peacefully slumber,
Knowing no waking regret,
See that your right to the homestead,
Is not encumbered by debt;
Strictest economy practice,
And toil with a vigorous arm,
Make it your strong resolution,
Never mortgage the farm.

Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm.
Do not mortgage, not mortgage the farm;
For sorrow will soon overtake you
If ever you mortgage the farm.

1 comment:

Northern Farmer said...

To bad it wasn't written in Polish back in them days. It would have saved our family a lot grief back then. But things have a way of working out through the generations as we return to our heritage.
An afterthought, I was just over at my parents house after checking my mud bunnies, I mean calves, and they had Fox News on the TV. The story was the increasing morgage forclosings with the interest building, especially on them no priciple payment loans nowdays.They were talking that the loans that they were paying $500 a month for have jumped to 1200 to 1500 a month now. Takes a bite out of the budget, eh. I just shook my head and headed back out into the mud, the paid for mud.