We’re only relating this hemp story since it permits us to use a retro pop-culture reference ! Ulysses upstate New York has a hemp history. Study all about it
Our neighborhood media has been complete of discussions not too long ago about Cannabis sativa, usually recognized as the marijuana plant. The existing debate has centered on regulating the health-related application of extracts from this plant or about generating marijuana legally offered for recreational purposes. Each of these utilizes involve extracting active chemical compounds from the plant and delivering them in distinct techniques to the user’s physique, but specific strains of this plant have been grown for centuries all through the planet below the name of “hemp.” The “hemp” strains had been bred and grown to be straight, tall plants with internal, lengthy, stem fibers that could be removed and turned into thread for weaving or twisted with each other to kind a robust rope.
This rope, referred to as “cordage,” was created in quantity in Colonial America for the British Navy and the domestic industrial sail boat fleet. Locally it would have identified utilizes on farms and on the lots of boats that plied Cayuga Lake carrying agricultural solutions and raw components by means of the lake, river, and canal systems to New York City and returning with manufactured solutions for Ulysses residents. The neighborhood historical records present scant details about developing hemp in our element of the planet in the 1800s.
There is a census of companies in Trumansburg, published in the “Trumansburg Advertiser” edition of Sept. 30, 1835, that lists “1 Rope Work”.
The Village of Trumansburg insert in an 1853 wall Map of Tompkins County, element of which is enlarged and shown right here, labels a “rope walk” on the north side of Trumansburg Creek in the region of what is the NAPA parking lot right now. This would have been a lengthy, rectangular, most likely roofed region or constructing, exactly where threads or cords of hemp had been twisted with each other into lengthy lengths of “cordage”…a multi stepped and labor intensive rope generating course of action as well detailed to incorporate in this post.
On a much more basic note, a single can obtain in the memoirs of the Revolutionary War patriot and post-war land speculator Elkanah Watson this observation he produced though on a boat trip westward in 1791 from Albany to Seneca and Cayuga Lakes: “This morning we wrote property (to Albany) by a boat coming from the west (on the Seneca River) loaded with hemp, raised at the south finish of Cayuga Lake”.
The hemp plant’s virtues are extolled in the book, the “The Sensible Farmer,” published in 1842: “Hemp exhausts the soil gradually, if at all. It prepares the ground properly for compact grain and grasses. It cleanses all weeds. Hemp has couple of or no ailments.”
There are two pages of detailed directions for developing hemp plants and processing them to make raw threads for industry. In August, plants had been pulled or reduce to retain as lengthy a stem as attainable. When the stems had been dry the leaves had been knocked off and bundles of stems formed. The bundles had been stood up outdoors in “A” shaped “shocks.”
In September the stems had been “retted,” or rotted, in water to let them soften by bacterial action, or they had been laid out on the ground to “dew-rot.” In any case, retting is described as an unpleasantly smelly process!
The stems then necessary to be “dressed.” Initially, the softened outer cover of the stems had been crushed, or beaten, to loosen and get rid of it from the fibers underneath. Then the fibers had been “scutched,” or drawn more than the pointed ends of nails driven by means of a board so that the fibers would separate from every single other into lengthy strands. At this stage the hemp fiber could be marketed for additional processing, sooner or later becoming turned into cloth or rope.
A much more detailed and illustrated description of processing hemp plants for fiber and can be identified in Susan Koziel’s on line post, “The Early History of Hemp Processing.” Readers who can deliver much more historical details about developing hemp in Ulysses can make contact with the Ulysses Town Historian at (607) 387-4331 or [email protected]