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Everything but the kitchen sink (they must have already had one)

When you ask senior citizens about differences from their childhood to life in America in 2018, many will mention the increased government role in our day-to-day lives.

And it doesn’t matter who’s in control of the White House or Congress. The needle continues to point upward.

We are watched and tracked every day. While conservatives advocate that less government is better government, what’s happening in America seems in direct conflict to that belief. And if you think government control of our lives is something new, it’s not.

Recently, a reader gave the Franklin Free Press a copy of a Crop and Chattel Mortgage, issued in 1939 by the United States Department of Agriculture. The mortgage was issued to secure a $231 loan used by a couple in Spruce Pine to plant their annual crops.

Of course, the government mortgage covered the land and the crops located on their Spruce Pine farm, but in an effort to protect its $231, the federal government went a step farther. The couple also had to pledge “any other land owned or leased” in their name.

Did we mention this was a $231 loan?

And to provide additional protection, Uncle Sam took it to the next step. The mortgage also included “one mare mule, black in color, named ‘Bird,’ six years old and weighing 750 pounds, and one Jersey milch cow, blue in color, named ‘Reed,’ three years in age and weighing 550 pounds.”

So surely the government’s $231 was protected with a mortgage that covered this couple’s land, crops, mule and cow. Apparently not, though, as the United States Department of Agriculture took it to another level to protect its loan. The mortgage also covered “one one-horse turn plow, good condition, two one-horse scratchers, good condition, one one-horse Ga. Stock, good condition and one Cole one-horse planter, good condition.”

Okay, so now the couple, having pledged all its land, crops, mule, milch cow and four pieces of farming equipment, certainly would have put up sufficient security to satisfy the federal government.

Well, not quite.

The final piece of property pledged as security for this $231 loan was “one 21-quart National brand pressure cooker, good condition.”

With that final piece of collateral, the loan went through. Land, crops, a mule, a milch cow, four pieces of farming equipment and one pressure cooker, all for a $231 farming loan. And after a $2 recording fee was paid, the mortgage was on file at the Franklin County Probate Judge’s office.

Apparently, no additional collateral had to be pledged for the recording fee....

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