Eleanor M. Rockwell Bennett

Farm Hints from Eleanor Rockwell Bennett

Eleanor M. Rockwell Bennett was the wife of Hiram H. Bennett, son of Oliver Roby Bennett and Betsey Ford. These farm hints from Eleanor's journal offer a look at how farmers in the late nineteenth century handled some common problems. These are presented here for historical purposes only and not as suggestions for contemporary use. Following the hints I've added some notes to explain some of the terms used by Eleanor. I've placed a question mark following terms I don't recognize. I've left the original spelling intact.


Take two oz1 of ammoniac2 to one pint of vinegar and apply warm. Rub the bag thoroughly twice a day. Keep the cow from fresh feed.


1/2 Pt. linseed oil, 6 oz oil of tar3, 4 oz oil of organum4, 4 oz turpentine.


Give from 4 to 8 fluid drachms5 of this mixture: 1 oz powdered catechu6, 1/2 oz ginger, 1 drachm opium, 1 pint peppermint water.


Give them a dry stable and feed dry food then give once a day in feed 2 oz sulphate of iron, 2 oz ginger and 2 oz Anise Seed.


Mix 1/2 lb Barbdoes(?), 1 drachm Jalap8, 2 oz cream tartar, 1/2 oz ginger. Twenty-four hours after this, give this drench9: Mix 2 oz cornstarch, 1/2 oz prepared chalk, 1 oz laudanum10, 1/2 oz ginger, 1 pint of malt and 1 oz gentian root11 steeped in 6 quarts of water as a drink. When cold, feed bran mashes. Keep the animal apart from others as this disease is infectious.


Mix well 2 oz oil of spike12,, 2 oz aqua ammonia13, 2 oz oil turpentine14, 1/2 oz sweet oil15, 1/2 oz umler(?), 1 oz oil organum for sprains, cuts, bruises, etc.


Halter him and then take the warts from the leg, dry and powder them blow it up his nose, then take the oil of oridium(?), drop a few drops on your hand and rub it over his nose. This will make him follow you and you can do anything with him you wish. This is Perry Princher's recipe for the Arabian horse tamer.


  1. Oz is an abbreviation for "ounces".
  2. Ammoniac is the aromatic gum of the Persian herb Dorema ammoniacum, a member of the carrot family. The gum is used as a stimulant and expectorant.
  3. Oil of tar is an impure turpentine produced by destructive distillation of the roots of pine trees, particularly Pinus sylvestis. Oil of tar is used by veterinarians for its antiseptic, stimulant, diuretic, and diaphoretic (perspiration-inducing) properties. It is given to horses suffering from chronic cough. It is used internally and externally as a dermal stimulant and antiseptic for treating eczema.
  4. Organum or Organy can refer to a number of different flowers, including the English Penny Royal and the wild and common Marjorams. I don't know which is referred to here.
  5. Drachm is an old-fashioned spelling for dram, an amount of liquid equal to 1/8 of a fluid ounce.
  6. Catechu probably refers to the extract of the heartwood of the East Indian Acacia tree (Acacia catechu). It is used as an astringent.
  7. Murrain can refer to any one of a number of different diseases afflicting domestic animals.
  8. Jalap is a powered drug prepared from the dried purgative root of the Mexican plant Exgonium purga, a member of the Morning Glory family.
  9. A drench is a large dose of a medicinal drink put down the throat of an animal.
  10. Laudanum refers to a preparation containing opium such as tincture of opium.
  11. Gentian root refers to the rhizome and roots of Gentiana lutea, a yellow-flowered gentian of southern Europe used as a tonic and stimulant for the stomach.
  12. Oil of spike is extracted from the Spike Lavender (Lavandula spica) or a related Lavender species. Spike oil has long been used in combination with turpentine for curing old sprains and stiff joints. Spike oil also kills lice and other external parasites on animals.
  13. Aqua ammonia is a water solution of ammonia.
  14. Oil of turpentine is derived from the resin of pine trees. Oil of turpentine is administered internally in cattle and horses to destroy parasitic worms and externally as a stimulant for rheumatic swellings. Oil of turpentine is also used to treat sprains and bruises, and as an antiseptic and vesicant.
  15. Sweet oil is usually either olive oil or almond oil. I don't know which is meant here.

Eleanor Rockwell's farm hints courtesy Paul Lowrey.

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Last modified by pib on April 17, 2005.