Frugal Lessons From The Past: Hillard Green

History can provide some of the best lessons to help us figure out solutions to today’s problems.

Concerning finances, thrift, frugality and simple living there are tried and true bedrock principals that we should never forget.

This post is part of a series that focuses on some of those principals by going to source materials for inspiration.

The Foxfire Magazine project started in 1966 as a gathering by Georgia high school students of the oral history and folklife of their elders living around them in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1972 the first book anthology was published, followed over the years by 11 more books. The following are a couple of couple of excerpts from the first book of an interview with local resident Hillard Green, who at that time was around eighty years old.

The first excerpt is taken from the interview while Mr. Green is preparing to can tomatoes.

“Everyone ought t’learn how to do such as this. One a’these days, times might get back hard again, and then what will they do? Nobody not knowin’ t’do nothin’. Might have t’live off the th’land again, one day. We never had nothin’ fer th’winter only what we put up. What we put up was what we had. Goin’t’be a lot of hungry people someday.”

On another occasion Mr. Green spoke about government fiscal policy. The war he speaks of is Vietnam, of course, but it sounds eerily like he could be describing America today in 2010.

“They’re sittin’ up there raisin’ their big wages. We’re livin’ here a’doin’th’best we can. They can keep that war goin’. They’re runnin’ th’ money out, y’know; goin’ down, goin’ down all th’ time. It’s goin’t’finally go plum out ‘til we don’t have nothin’ but stamps t’trade with here first thing y’know.”

Related Reading:

Frugal Lessons From The Past: Seymour On Work


  1. very interesting! my family is holding on to the family farm in the event we ever need to live off the land at some point. my grandpa always says, there's a finite amount of land on this Earth. we own a small piece of it.

  2. Has anyone done any follow ups on what ever happened to Hillard Green? Did he ever move in with his family? What happened to the place where he lived? Who lives there or owns it now? What does it look like? Does his family still own the place? Etc..

  3. As far as I know, the Green homestead is no longer around. I could not find it when I was up there last. Hillard was my great-grandpa. He lived on his own for many of years and passed away in 1984.
    Theresa Green


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