FSA COLLECTION: Ben Shahn – “Thaxton Farmhouse Interior” (1938)

Interior scene of the Thaxton farmhouse, near Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

General caption for this series of images: Virgil Thaxton rents a 120-acre farm from Mr. Brand. This is the fourth farm he has rented within the last eight years. At each change he hopes to make enough to have a nice home for his family. Within the last eight years hogs have not brought more than ten cents on the foot. Wheat brought sixty cents per bushel this year. Mr. Thaxton is constantly agitated. He is conscious of the rundown condition of his farm. He would like to have it look as neat as Mr. Brand’s own farm. In his agitation he is constantly pulling up a weed here, a weed there, but must then break off to tend the stock. Mr. Thaxton votes for Roosevelt; had voted for Martin Davey. He will not vote for Mr. Davey this year; he will vote for Mr. Roosevelt. Mr. Thaxton loves the land. Two years ago he was offered a small political job in the city. Mr. Thaxton: “But when I thought of the young wheat coming up and that pretty green on top of the hill–and it is pretty–I just wouldn’t think of it. And then the children… I hear wheat is bringing sixty cents now. If it only brought a few cents more I could afford to fix up this place. As it is, what with giving Mr. Brand his half, we can just get by.” Mr. Brand is a retired congressman, owns 4500 acres of Ohio farmland.

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