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Farmington: Franklin County's Shiretown

WWI Impact on Farmington's Agriculture

As many local men left town to fight, the government created a “Deferred Classification” designation for men who had necessary roles in local agriculture and were supplying food and goods. Farmington men who received the Deferred Classification designation included: Warren Ames, Leroy Butterfield, Walter Cahoon, Arthur Corbett, George Currier, Vance Doyen, Ernest Eaton, Gideon Fronk, Harvey Gilbert, Percy Gould, Thurlow Hall, Vern Hardy, Mertland Hillman, Hiram Hiscock, Tyler Hutchinson, Carroll Jones, Dana Knowlton, Edward Lowell, Roland Lowell, Wendall Lowell, Almon Luce, Fred Mason, Clyde McCulley, Burton Moore, Fred Morrill, Frank Norton, Roy Norton, Edward Paine, Artemus Partridge, Albert Richards, Clinton Sawyer, Wm. Schrumpf, Hanley Scribner, Frank Stanley, Fred Stevens, Harry Stevens, George Watson, Henry Waugh, Harold Welch, Algie Whitney Frank Whitney, Fred Whittier and Norman Worthley.

Also in March of 1918, Sumner P. Mills, a local lawyer and political figure was placed in charge of the “Women on Farms” venture. This program was created by the U.S. Dept. of Labor and Dept. of Agriculture. “Women will go to farms where farmers are willing and ready to use their labor.”

Calls from the government came:
• “Plant an Acre”
• “Cut a Cord”
• “Raise More Wheat and More Animals”

Unfortunately, the winter of 1917-18 was a difficult one which wiped out a large portion of bee hives. There was “almost no honey in Maine.” The apple crop was largely affected by the lack of bees.

Burnham Morrill Corn Factory, Farmington, ca. 1930
Burnham Morrill Corn Factory, Farmington, ca. 1930

Item Contributed by
Farmington Historical Society

Several crops were bountiful, including beans and corn and were a boon for the canneries, who described business as “booming.” The J. Wesley Pratt cannery put up over 7,000 cases of string beans in 1918 and Burnham and Morrill who owned corn canneries, offered 5 cents per pound, a bonus of 1 cent per pound to stimulate local corn production. They also offered fertilizer and seed in any quantity.

Clarence Titcomb was awarded a $75 scholarship in 1918 by “the Maine Canner’s Association for cutting 1,597 pounds of corn from a quarter acre at a profit of $40.04.” (Note: Brenda Voter York (and Herbert "Bussy" York) of Sandy River Farms, won the 2008 National Corn Growers' Assoc. Corn Yield Contest in Maine. She grew 175 bushels per acre of a hybrid corn. Comparing her yield with Clarence Titcomb's, she grew 2,450 lbs. per quarter acre).