University of Notre Dame

Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac
Edward Sorin, CSC -- Translated by John M. Toohey, CSC, 1895
pg 77                                   5.  The Farm   

                  The farm of Notre Dame du Lac having been always considered 
             as one of the finest resources of the community, it will not be 
             uninteresting to devote a separate article to it and to enter into 
             a few details.
                  On the arrival of the first Brothers at the Lake there were 
             about ten acres under cultivation, and the soil was completely 
             worn out.  About fifty acres were broken in 1843.  The following 
             year it was resolved to open twice as much.  The ordinary cost of 
             this work is from forty to fifty francs an acre, when it is 
             ploughed and well fenced.  Hence it is easy to judge that the 
             expense for the land was considerable that year.  Most of this 
             expense was for wheat, and the rest for potatoes and some acres of 
             maize or Indian corn.
                  The farm raises pigs to the number of about 140; sheep, 85; 
             cows, 17; calves, 17; not to mention 12 or 16 oxen that have 
             been here for two years, and ten horses almost constantly at work, 
             either on the farm or for the house.
                  The following year the Brothers wished to avoid the expenses 
             of similar works.  They bought a plough for $40, fourteen or 
             sixteen oxen, and grain to feed them.  This year they did almost 
             all the work themselves, and thus they saved a considerable 
             amount.  The profits in consequence of the bad years that were 
             passed through were slight.  It was fortunate even that real 
             losses were not suffered.  Up to the present time expenses have 
             been met, and that is about all.
                  Wheat in ordinary years yields from fifteen to eighteen 
             bushels an acres;  Indian corn from twenty-five to thirty; 
             potatoes from sixty to seventy-five.  It was really only from the 
             spring of this year that the farm may be considered as established 
             on a regular basis.  From this date also we were obliged most of 
             the time to keep two workmen besides the brothers that were sent 
             there, and although everything was calculated to make our 
             Americans smile, still the profits of the farm always more than 
             covered expenses.
                  If the vus* and the flies had not destroyed a part of the 
             crops of 1845, '46, and '47, and the mildew that of 1848, the 
             profits on the farm would have been considerable each year.  On 
             the other hand, though it may not appear to be the immediate 
             product of the soil, we should place to the credit of the farm all 

‹—  Sorin's Chronicles  —›