Tough Times on the Marceline Farm
Four years after Elias and Flora moved to Marceline, they sold their farm. The date was November 28, 1910.
Elias and his older sons had struggled to make the farm work, but the going was tough. Early on, Herb and Ray had chafed at their father’s demands and were fed up with the constant work and little or no spending money. One night in fall 1906, they ran away.
In 1909, the Disney household was faced with another crisis. Elias was diagnosed with typhoid fever, a disease that killed millions of men and women around the world when Walt was a boy. Luckily, Elias recovered, but the sickness left him exhausted and weak. With his health still in question and his older sons gone, he knew that the Disneys’s farming days were over.
It may have been frustrating to Elias that he was going to have to sell the farm for only $6,000 -- exactly what he had bought it for. But at the same time, the money provided him with the opportunity to invest. Six thousand dollars was an awful lot of money in 1910 -- equal to about $140,000 today. He could now turn to other ventures that he hoped would work out better.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t only the farm that had to be sold -- Elias had to auction off all the stock and tools. “It was in the cold of the winter,” said Walt, “and I remember Roy and myself going out and going around to the different little towns and places, tacking up these posters of the auction. And I remember my mother heating these bricks in the oven. We put the bricks in the floor of the buggy and a robe over us, and we went around, all around, tacking up these posters, you know.”