Double-Outhouse on the Farm

Woman recalls the large outhouse on the family farm.

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I grew up on a farm that had a double outhouse or privy. Never saw any like it on any farm. 

Ours was a five holer, all under the same roof. The ladies' side had three holes, two large ones and a small and low one for children.

The other side for men had two holes, a wall divided the two. Each had an outside door and each a crescent near the top. This was for ventilation. Most outhouses were north of the home due to the south wind in the summertime to keep down odor.

If the hole was dug deep enough before the privy was put over it we didn't have much fly or odor.

Lime and wood ashes were put in the holes from time to time. The ladies' side had a wooden box between the seats to hold a Sears Roebuck catalog. The mens' side had a good supply of corn cobs.

Nellie Smith
Tabor, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.