Monday, November 21, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: How to Pack Bees - 1910

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
This week I transcribe a letter my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every, wrote in 1910 to the editors of Gleanings in Bee Culture.

Gleanings in Bee Culture
Volume XXXVIII (38) Number 21
November 1, 1910
Publisher: A.I. Root Co., Medina, OH
p.702 [source]

How to Pack Bees in a Car for Moving a Long Distance

I have to move 609 colonies of bees by rail, and by the route we take they will be in the cars three days. We will screen the top, and have an empty super on for the bees to cluster in. The brood-nest is full of honey, 40 or 50 lbs. Shall we leave the bottoms on and screen them, or just screen the entrance? Tell us all about shipping bees by the car-load, watering them, loading them in the car, and how you brace them to keep them from moving about. You will know what information we want. The bees are all in Root dovetailed hives complete.

Maxwell, Texas, Oct. 3. M.E. Van Every

[The answer the editors gave can be read to the left.]


1. This volume of Gleanings in Bee Culture was digitized back in March of 2011.  I have previously discovered my great grandfather mentioned in volumes from 1908 and 1909.

From these earlier appearances, I knew my great grandfather's apiary business had increased to 300 colonies by 1907.  Apparently he had doubled that by 1910. Another newspaper clipping I've found tells me that by 1914 he had over 1000 colonies. A single colony of bees contains 1 queen, several hundred drones, and 30,000-80,000 worker bees.

2) Unfortunately, he doesn't indicate where he was transporting the bees to.  They remained farming in the vicinity of Maxwell until 1917.

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