Gilmon West, son of Daniel & Amy (Pennock) West
Journal of Sanford Porter, Pg. 60-61, residing in Vershire, Orange Co, Vermont, approx. 1808
We got our haying pretty near done and old Gilmon West came and wanted to hire help to cut his hay for he had got belated and his grass was a dying and drying up. He said he had ben all around the neighbors to git help but could not find anyone that he could hire to work for him. He wanted me to come and work for him. He said he would give me a dollar a day an pay me the money. He wanted me to work for him until he got his haying done.
I knew the reason why he could not git any men to work for him. It was because he was particular to have the grass shaved close to the ground. He wanted all saved that had grown that year and not one tuft left around the fence or around the stumps. If he seen straw standing whire it had ben mowed, he would go and snatch it up and in raking or pitching hay, thare must not be one straw left on the ground whire it had ben mowed or raked. He was far the most particular man that I ever saw on earth. I don’t believe thare ever was or ever will be one like him. He was known by the name of Penny Hold all over the country because he was so tight and (penurious?). If a man owed him one cent, he would be after him fer it every time he saw him until he paid up. He was just as careful if he owed a man, to pay him every cent. If he did not happen to have it on hand at the time, he would pay the first chance he had. Sais he, “I remember when you and I settled, thare was one cent youd ____, here it is and have it out.” Any person would think it was not possible for a man to be so strictly honest. I never new or hard of his taking the advantage of any man in buying, selling or swapping in a trade or any other way. I had worked for him before. I knew how careful he was to have all saved but I told him I’d work for him.
“Well come on early. Bring your cythe, perhaps it will want grinding. We even grind it before breakfast. Mind and bring a good whet stone with you.”
I went on the next morning after breakfast. We went out into the meadow. He told me whare he wanted to mow. He told me he wanted me to cut the grass close to the ground. “Don’t be in a hurry. I want it cut close to the ground and around the fence and stumps. I don’t want one spear of grass left standing. Don’t be in a hurry if you don’t mow over to rods square in a day.”
He took my sythe and showed me how he wanted it cut. He said he dident think thare was any stones or gravel to dull my syth. Well I went to work, he stood and looked in awhile, said he wanted it all cut smothe like a barn door. He dident want any ridges left whire I stauk in or pointed out. He went to the house. About ten oclock he come out and brought some bread and cheese and a bottle of water and some rum. He looked about and see whire I have mowed. I asked him if it suited him. Quess that would do but he saw a fiew scattering strands standing on the roots of a stump. He went and snatched them up and said he dident want one straw left that could be seen. I don’t remember how many days I worked for him, abut until he had finished haying and he paid me as he agreed to, then all write with us and I went home in a day or two.