In the early part of the 20th-century, fathers still taught sons how to run the farm, and few women worked outside the home. On Christmas Day in 1925, Ethel Turlington's husband died, leaving her a young widow with an infant daughter and the family farm in Johnston County. Pittard recounts the story of this determined woman who set an example for her daughter on how to survive and beat the odds. A self-taught farmer, Turlington used resourcefulness and frugality to provide for herself and her daughter, Hortense. She also worked as a bookkeeper for local businesses in Benson. As Hortense grew older, she entered into the farm routine, and at age 21, inherited two-thirds of the farm.