"Memory Plow"

This small reproduction of a "Bull Tongue Plow" is a replica of an original "Memory" or "Remembering" plow from the Civil War. The original came from the Hurst family who lived in Bell County of Southern Kentucky and Claiborne County in Northern Tennessee, and is shown below. The story is told that the original plows, and other items, were whittled and pieced together by lonely, homesick soldiers as they sat around the campfires during the evening lulls on the battlefields. The small plows and other replicas of tools were fashioned (sometimes rather crudely) from whatever materials the soldier had available. Very often the "farm boy" soldier could not read or write and had no way of communicating with family members. These plows were sent back home as a reminder to his family that though far away, lonely and scared, the proud soldier had not forgotten where he had come from. And when the fighting was over, he would return to work the land and be close to the family he loved and now dearly missed. These small plows were held very dear to the hearts of the families that received them, since many times the soldier that had fashioned the small replica with his own hands, did not return.......................

I have only seen one other original of these plows. It is located in the Museum of Appalachia at Norris, Tennessee. If anyone has or knows of other original versions of these plows, or has pictures or stories relating to these or other replicas made by soldiers of either the North or South during the Civil War, I would surely like to hear from you.


  Original "Memory Plow"

Believed to have been fashioned by J. B. Hurst




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©D. E. Blair 1998-1999