A SERIES OF DRAMATIZATIONS OF
BETTER LAND USE.
No. 1?8 "SCOTCH FARMER" September 20, 1941
ORGAN THEME: DEEP RIVER
We took it; for granted that land was everlasting; We said ownership of the
land insured security, Tools would wear outs men would die — But the land
ORGAN: ABRUPT DISCORD
Fortunes Washed Away!
ORGAN; FLURRY AND OUT
And you really think we should go to AmericaP ISABELLE?
But Isabell! America, it is so far from bonnie Scotland.
I know, Peter, But think of the chance we1!! have - the chance to own a farm
of our own.
I haven’t done so bad, gude wife. Head foreman on the Duke of Hamilton’s
estate is something to be proud of.
Of course. And I am proud, but you deserve something better. You know what
my brothers John and Neil say in their letters.
I know -- you can easily have land of your own in America.
(PRODUCTION NOTE: Pause for about five seconds,)
SOUND: Steamship whistle*
The Statue of Liberty!
ORGAN: DEEP RIVER, fading behind...
Famed for summer resorts is the west coast of Northern Michigan, Here is the
Grand Traverse Region, sprawled out from Grand Traverse Bay, famed as
Cherryland. But general farming is also practiced in this section of the
Wolverine State, for many fine, well-managed farms dot the countryside. One
of these farms is a tribute to a Scotsman, Peter Morrison, who migrated from
Scotland to the Grand Traverse Region 58 years ago. This farm is the scene
of the 178th consecutive episode of "Fortunes Washed Away”.
ORGAN: UP AND OUT
ANNOUNCER (on cue)
His son, Neil Morrison, operates that farm, now. And Neil Morrison tells the
story... a true story...(FADE)
ORGAN: Sneak in BLUEBELLS OF SCOTLAND behind...
I wish you could have known my father, Peter Morrison. He was a small, wiry
Scotsman, the most honest and hardest working man that I ever knew. As head
foreman on the Duke of Hamilton1s estate in Scotland, not so far from
Glasgow, my father had reached what there was the pinnacle of success. There
was little opportunity for him to become a landowner. Most of the land in
Scotland is in large estates. Well, my father, mostly at the insistence of
my mother I guess, finally decided to come to America, where even the
humblest had an equal chance. My sisters and my brothers were along and...
(FADE SOUND; Train whistles
occasionally through following...
AH, Peter, it's been such a long trip!
And me still sick from that turrible boats
Look at the countryside, Peter, and you’ll forget how you feel.
That only makes it worse. Snow everywhere, and trees. What kind of land is
this for a man to farm?
Brother Neil said you can almost pick up money in the streets here in
A plague on Neil and his letters. They’re what brought us here to this
forsaken land! Oh, if we but had the money, Isabelle, we’d go right back to
We haven’t much money left have we?
Only a little. And we’d have more but for these crooks. That man who changed
our money into American money, back there in New York, he cheated me plenty,
’When you’re feeling well, Peter, I know you’ll like it better here.
But look at all those trees! And me with never an axe in my hand. The land’s
all been cleared in Scotland the farm land that is ~~ long before my time.
And how can you buy land without money?
Well, maybe we’ll have to work for awhile, and save, and wait. But we will
have a farm of our own before long, I know it!
Wish I had your confidence, my gude wife. I say, I still can’t see why you
and the children didn’t get sick on that boat
That is strange. The sea was mighty rough. But the children seemed to enjoy
it, even little Duncan. I did too, except for one thing
I know! having to give up so many of your treasures. Well, we just b
couldn't pay dooty on all that bedding, and the other things.
My good silver, though, I’m happy to have kept it.
Yes, ’tis about the only gude thing we have to start our life anew in this
strange country<, Say, shouldn’t we be nearly there?
Brother Nell said we get off the train in Traverse City -- strange name for
a town — and then go overland by stage coach to Elk Rapids,
Next stop, Traverse City!
You’d best wake the children, Isabelle
The little darlings, sleepin’ so sweetly after their lunch.
That was a gude lunch you packed, but not like the meals you cooked back
home! Well, I’d best get the baggage ready.
SOUND; Train slows down, comes to stop.
All out for Traverse City!
SOUND; Vestibule door clangs. Engine bell rings. Station noises,.,
Where’s the lunch box, Peter?
Why I thought it was all gone. I throw it out the window a few miles back.
0h Peter! My silverware was in the box
ORGAN: BLUEBELLS OF SCOTLAND, fading behind
Thus my father and his little brood came to northern Michigan that cold
December day 53 years ago. At Elk Rapids Uncle Dancan Corbett, who was a
lake boat captain, persuaded his mother-in-law to rent her Elk Lake farm to
my father. One day... SOUND: Door opens, closes...
Ach I’m tired. Two years we've been here now and all we have is a roof over
our heads and food.
That’s more than many have, Peter.
True, but it’s not enough for me. And this isn’t such a gude farm, Isabelle.
It takes hard work to make a poor livin’.
Maybe you’d like to move, Peter?
Yes. You know the Nelson Peek place, with the log house and the small barn?
Peek wants to go to California. He’ll sell for $J,000.
But Peter, we don’t even have $300.
He only asks $700 down, and an honest Scot can borrow that. What say, gude
Whatever you want to do, Peter, I’m by your side, always.
ORGAN; BLUEBELLS OF SCOTLAND, fading behind...
The Peek farm had 80 acres, a little more than half of it cleared. My father
rented an additional 160 acres nearby. We lived in the little log house 12
years, That’s where I was born. Father finally bought the 160 acres he had
rented, and built a new house, on the hill across the road overlooking the
east arm of Grand Traverse Bay. It 5s the same house I live in now, I can
still see father on the way to Elk Rapids with his one-horse wagon and a
load of vegetables or corn. And always he brought back a load of manure from
the livery stables, and spread it out on the thin spots to refresh and
enliven the land, I remember many a conversation with my father....fade....
SOUND; Axes slashing at heavy timber.etc.
Whew! That’s hard work, son. What would my old friends in Scotland think if
they saw me swingin’ an axe and me that never cut a tree before?
But you do a good job of it father.
There's few jobs that can’t be done, if you’ve a mind to.
Shall we tackle the big pine with the saw now?
Might as well, son, But I think it’s too much for us.
SOUND: Six-foot hand saw makes few cuts...
That’s enough, son, We'll have to hire some Indians to bring this one down.
Gee, that’s the biggest tree I ever saw!
Enough timber in that one for a 12-room house, Let’s rest a bit, Neil. You
know, you're a lucky boy?
That I am, father, with parents like mine, and a good home.
I’m not meanin’ that particularly. In Scotland now, you’d have to serve an
apprenticeship to be a farmer.
You mean, just like a printer has to here?
Exactly. And. then you wouldn’t have more than one chance in a million to
ever own much of a farm. The land, doesn’t change hands there, Neil. And
there’s no new land to clear, like we have here, Here you have opportunity,
the thing I came here to find — and found.
I don’t see how you’ve done so much, father.
In Scotland you'd have to be an expert before they’d even let you plow, son.
Over there they plow deeper and narrower furrows. When first I came here
they used to come for miles around to watch me plow. Must have been because
I did it so different. At that, I used to be a prize winner at the plowing
contests we had in Scotland,...fade..
My father died in 1918. He left a fifty thousand dollar estate to be divided
among nine children, 520 acres of land, all free of debt. All of this he had
wrestled from the soil of a strange land. In 1934 after the death of my
youngest brother, I came back home to run the farm. After being away for so
long, except for short visits, it was easy for me to see that many changes
had taken place. I noticed erosion had taken its toll in topsoil and
fertility. I took steps to conserve the land my father had worked so hard to
buy. One day recently...
SOUND: Car comes to stop, horn toots
Hi there, Mr. Director!
SOUND: Car door opens, closes.
Hello, Lee Rosenerans! Where do you get that director stuff?
Well sir, Neil. I have the honor to inform you that you have been elected a
director of the Grand Traverse Soil Conservation District. You led the
ticket, believe it or not.
Now a'nt that sumpin. Say, you know after I found out there’d be a lot of
work connected with that job — and no pay -- I sort of didn't care whether I
was elected (BOTH MEN LAUGH}
You know darned well that you want to see conservation farming practices
spread all over the county — just like you have it here.
You’ve got me there, Lee, I do want to see this soil of ours saved. It’s
still getting away too fast on too many farms.
You said a mouthful. Say, that strip cropping sure looks nice.
Never a day goes by that I don’t admire those strips, You’d never guess, if
you didn’t know, that those strips are three-quarters of a mile long,
Bedded waterways holding up and the sod dams in the old gullies?
Couldn’t be doing any better, Lee, Say, this new job as a director of the
soil conservation district, will it take a lot of time? You know I’m on the
county Triple +A. committee and the county land use planning committee.
That’s one of the penalties for being a successful conservation farmer,
Neil, Offhand. I'd say this new job will take some of your time but not too
much. We’ve got over 25 requests for assistance from farmers already.
Whew! Looks like the directors will be busy.
Haven’t seen the boy around this summer, Didn’t he graduate from
Northwestern in June?
Yup and he finished in the top ten in a class of 2200, too! Jim’s got a job,
Lee, a good one too.
That’s fine! Well, guess I’d better be running along.
What’s your hurry?
Have to notify the other directors who were elected.
ORGAN: Sneak in AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL...
You know> if my father were here he’d approve of all these things. He’d be a
conservation farmer, because he was long before others thought of erosion,
or keeping up fertility. Somehow I know that if he were alive he’d have the
same great curving strips around these slopes, and he’d be an active
supporter of the soil conservation district. My father would see in it a
great opportunity for farmers to work together to pool their interests, to
save this soil, to defend this land we love.
ORGAN: UP AND OUT.
That is the true story of Peter Morrison, a Scotsman who built up an
American farm that today is one of the conservation showplaces of northern
Michigan, This, the 178th consecutive episode of Fortunes Washed Away, has
been a presentation of the nation’s station in cooperation with the Soil
Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, And
now, friends, the eleventh commandment
ORGAN: Sneak in DEEP RIVER
"Thou shalt inherit the holy earth as a faithful steward, conserving its
resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shalt
safeguard thy fields from soil erosion, thy living waters from drying up,
thy forests from desolation, and protect thy hills from overgrazing by thy
herds so that thy descendants may have abundance forever. If any shall fail
in this stewardship of the land thy fruitful fields shall become sterile
stony ground and wasting gullies, and thy descendants shall decrease and
live in poverty or be destroyed from off the face of the earth."
ORGAN up and out.