“Hog Killing Days”
 Memories of Martha Hipp Dickson

Martha Hipp Dickson was born in 1927 in Calhoun County, Mississippi.
She was the daughter of Dwight & Virgie (Yancy) Hipp
Here in are many of her memories of growing up in rural Calhoun County.

[More memories of Martha]

We always killed hogs in the winter time where it would be cold on the meat and would not ruin.  We sewed a sack up for the sausage to go in and would fill it, then hang it in the smoke house.  You needed several folks to help so one would get the neighbors to help.  Then there were some that just could do a better job to the help in doing certain things about killing the hogs. 

 First you would heat this large barrel of water or heat several wash pots of water and get it real hot.  Then you would kill the hog, bring it up to the house and slosh it up and down in the barrel where the hair would be easy to scrape off.  After scraping the hair off they would wash it down real good and then hang it up by its feet.   You would then split it down the center.   You really had to know how to do this so you would not cut the intestines & such in the process.  You had a man there standing with a tin tub to catch the intestines and other organs.   These were carried to a table, spread out where they could trim the fat off & cook the lard.   You had to be very careful in trimming the fat in order to not cut into the intestines.  If you did then you would have to tie that part off and continue on.

After cleaning the intestines of fat then you would clean them out by washing them inside real well and these you cooked for chitlings.  Fried real crisp they were good (have not eaten any in years).  They, then would cut up the hog for hams, shoulders, and middlings (this was used for bacon & cooking in your vegetables).   You would lay this out and rub it down with a sugar / salt cure and let is lay there for several days to cure out before hanging it in the smoke house.   We always had fresh meat and usually fried liver the day we killed the hogs for lunch as we had to feed the crew.

 We had good colored help that really knew how to help in killing the hogs and we would give them some fresh meat, plus the lights, kidneys and such they wanted.   The feet would be cleaned real well, then pickled.  First you would singe all the hair off, then scrape the skin, then do the pickling.   This was the only meat we had to eat. We did have some chicken but we had to eat it that day it was killed as we did not have any cooling system.  You usually cooked the hogs head and made souse meat, let it set and then slice. It was very good.  Big Mama (Grace Arnold Dickson) would cook her hogs head real good then mash it up and can it for making stuffed peppers (very good).  Do not know how mother cooked the tongue.  It was solid lean meat and we would eat it but think she boiled it.  Then they would cut up the trimmings of the hams, shoulders, middlings, then put it into wash pot over his fire and cook that out.

 Uncle Howard Yancey was the best for that job in our area and he was a brother in law to Dad.    After cooking the lard out, you would strain it and save the skins ("cracklings") then make cracklin corn bread (this a treat, now days).  Hog killing time was an all day job.   Uncle Toab & Aunt Lindy always helped my family (colored help).  Bertha & King Harwell always helped the Dicksons.  Usually the Dickson family & Hipp family helped each other on Hog Killing Days.

 Daddy would hunt squirrels and rabbits and we ate that meat.   Daddy & mother raised white rabbits for the market when I was small child.  Both squirrels & rabbits were real good meat.

 Some ate possums (I never did eat that).  I have eaten coon, though.   There were times that Daddy and others would get together and hunt turtles, find a large one, kill it and would divide the meat.   We also ate a lot of fish.  Daddy never did fish with a pole.  He and others grabbed & caught large ones.  To my knowledge they never did get snake bit either.

hog killing

hog killing

hog killing 

hog killing

hog killing

hog killing


Holiday Memories

 Martha:  Thanksgiving we always had turkey [because we] had them on the farm.  At Christmas time we always got fruit bought and nuts which we did not have at other times of the year. Daddy always got a large stick of peppermint candy for us at this time, usually Christmas hard candy which was the only time for that.  We got one small toy but my brother James made his own truck wagons and they were really nice.

 Christmas time we went to Gramps Yancy (“Bill”) & Daddy would go on to his parents (Will & Maud Hipp).  We went in a wagon for [lack of a] car. All our Yancy family would gather together and always have a feast.  Men ate first, then the women and children last and by that time was not much left of the chicken but we always  had plenty to eat.  Gramps Yancy always bought his flour in a barrel but Daddy got ours in flowered sacks, then we would try and match that next time so we would have enough for a dress.  Auntie could make the best tea cakes, using lard I know, always every Christmas we had a mince meat pie and an amalgamation cake (never a fruit cake as is common these days) – which was so good and this was the only time they ever had that. Most of the food was eaten in one day for no way to hold it over.  You fed the scraps to the hogs so that is why pork didn’t bother you – the hogs ate what you did and no preservatives or anything.

 A bucket of water sat on a stand and everyone drank from a gourd or dipper (think of all the germs getting passed around with this)


School Memories

We rode a wagon to school.  It had a top on it like the ole time covered wagons.  It was so cold in the winter times (the men would heat this rock, put in a tin tub and that was our heat).  We lived about three miles from school.  In later years they had school busses, but not in my time.  I loved math, reading and geography but took civics, algebra in later years and had 4-H  - I enjoyed that. In my day we played basketball on dirt courts as others did also.  My last years 1944-1945 they had a gym that also served as our lunch room.  I finished the 12th grade and 8 students graduated in my class.

Daddy went to the 8th grade, then to Derma, Mississippi for added education.  Then he went to Draugns Business College in Memphis.  My Dad could write a beautiful hand writing.  Mother went to the 8th grade and then took a test at Pittsboro, passed it and was licensed to teach school for a number of years.  She taught at Lantrip, Box Schools. My brother and sister (James & Opal) were so smart. James could really draw good in biology.  Opal was so smart she skipped the sixth grade and graduated at 15 and went to college that summer at taught school at Sarepta (where she graduated from) at the age of 16 years.  I guess I really enjoyed typing and book-keeping more than the other major subjects. We did take penmanship I grammar school also. I liked all my teachers.  They were very good and was interested that we got a good education.  We never had Home-economics but learned to do hand work and sew in 4-H.  In later years I sewed and made my girl’s clothes, coats and such.  Enjoyed that.


Growing up on a Farm

 [We had] cows. [We milked them] and put it in a separator which separated the milk from the cream.  Then churned the cream for butter.  We sold the milk to a place n Pontotoc, Miss. 

Hogs:  Raised them, killed them in the winter time.  Daddy cured it out and then hung the hams and the middlings (this was the bacon we used for seasoning the vegetables).

 Chickens: They would order the little chicks and then raise them and sell them.  Also we would hatch our own chicks.
 Crops: Cotton, corn, soybeans, sorghum (made molasses from that), broom corn (made our brooms from this), hay (would bale it in the square bales and put in the loft of the barn for feed. Also saved the corn and shelled it on a corn sheller for the chickens.  All kind of vegetables, canned them and kept them in a cellar beneath the house for use later.

 Meat: We sewed sausage sacks and put the sausage meat to hang in the smoke house for later use.

 Gardens: Daddy was a good gardener and always had a good one and plenty to eat.  We would dry fruit for use in pies and things in winter time.  Sliced it very thin and laid it on tin in the sun for several days so it would dry. (I am sure there were plenty of germs in that dried fruit, after days outside in the sun)

We always put up blackberry jelly, apple, plum ,grape, muskedines, and good ole pear preserves.  We always had these trees on the farm – also crab apple jelly was so good.

 hog killing

Making Lard and Soap and doing the wash.

“Cooking out lard you had to be very careful – keeping it stirred often for it to be really good lard.  This was our means of “shortening” all year long.  You would put it in 5 gallon cans.

You would always use the ashes from your fires for making lye soap (mixing it with lard) and lye too and would use the ashes in making your own hominy (very good).

We did our washing in the wash pots put lye soap in and let the white clothes boil (after scrubbing the on a wash board).  After boiling you would put them in a tub to rinse them and in the last rinsing water you would sprinkle some “bluing” (from a tube)  This would make them whiter.  You also boiled the overalls and pants after scrubbing them on a washboard.

 THANK THE LORD – for modern conveniences.

 hog killing

Race Relations

We had colored help living on the farm helping out.  One couple really good all through the years was King & Bertha Harwell. Bertha died in 2012. “Big Daddy” gave them 2 acres for them and a home on the place.  They were really good and growing up we all got along together. Nothing like today. My parents (Dwight Hipp & Virgie Yancy) always had “Uncle Tobe” and “Aunt Lindy” (colored) to help them.  My family & Dicks family lived in the same area and were farmers.  All the farmers helped one another back then, not like today. We heard very few stories back then of any problems. Only some that had workers at their saw mills cutting timber and if they did not do as the white man said they would whip them with chains.  I know I and my family just did not think this was right. My family or Dicks and most others did not do things like that. We always had good relations with them.  I still have some very good friends that I would call on if I needed them (that grew up with Dick and played with him). They lived near me. In fact that is the nearest neighbors that I have so our relationship is good.  When Walter (the man) died Dick cooked chicken and took it to their house.  Then we also attended the funeral,  also their 50th anniversary which was at Pontotoc. So as I said our relationship is good with the families we grew up with.