Friday, January 05, 2007

Hog Butchering

Bonnie (Brown) Neal sends these two 1961 photos of hog butchering on Flesher's Run, just over the hill from Clover Fork. These pictures, taken in 1961, show Frank Kidd, Jim Ratliff, Tommy Conrad, Solomon Brown and Ted Conrad hard at work.

David Hyre shared the following with us: "Mom told me about the family slaughtering hogs each year, hanging them from a teepee shaped tripod in the farmyard. They would skin and butcher them from that position. She spoke of large vats of boiling water as part of that and how there was a terrible stench to the process. The boiling water was used to soak skins to remove boar bristle by scraping with sharp knives. A peddler man with a wagon mounted grinding stone went farm to farm to sharpen scrapers and knives during the fall butchering time."

The photo below shows that process of soaking the skin.

Hogs were integral to farm life in this area from its very earliest settlement. The first settlers along Oil Creek and Clover Fork soon learned that sheep and cows were easy prey to the panthers and other predators that came with the land, and therefore needed to be closely watched. Hogs, on the other hand, with a tough old boar hog at the lead, fit right into the neighborhood, getting fat on the acorns and other nutritious fare that the woods provided.

As the farmers tamed the wilderness hogs became an even more intimate part of the economy and ecology of the household. The home-cured and
-canned pork was a staple all year long. Even more intimately tied to Orlando life was the bacon grease from the home cured bacon. As some cuisines use butter or olive oil, the standard fat used in Orlando was bacon drippings.

Another example of the family's intimate relationship with hogs was the slop bucket that sat next to the stove. Anything edible that we did not eat went into the bucket and every night it was a boy's chore to take it out to the hog pen and slop the hogs.

Double click on the photos to get a better look at them.


  1. Interesting to actually see barrels of boiling water ready to dip the hog into! It was to remove hoar bristle...

    Dave Hyre

  2. My uncle deck brown and aunt Lela had a store in Orlando and my brother in law
    Elwood posey was from Orlando. I was born on pleasant hill above falls mills.