My grandparents had a multitude of stories about the past, and life prior to having electricity was certainly included. Using an ice box (not to be confused with a refrigerator), and oil lamps were included. My father (born in 1930) well remembered using coil oil lights at night.
Prior to REMC, they relied on home-generated electricity which they generated with a Delco plant. This is the term my father used, although I am not sure of what it entailed. The block of concrete it stood on outside remains on the property today. I am sure it had its limitations.
Sometime around 1939 or 1940 the REMC lines started to come down the road and cross into northeast Floyd County from western Clark County. My grandparents were very eager to participate, as this would be a source of constant power for a wringer washer, cream separator, lighting for the house, barn, etc. However, their cousins on the farm across the road were not of the same mindset. At this point there are a few variations in the story of how the details played out. I choose to rely upon the stories as told to me by my grandmother. After all, she was there.
Contention was over where the lines would run and who would or wouldn’t have electricity. The cousins were apparently not so interested, but certainly wanted to be compensated for any lines run on their property. My grandparents, on the other hand, did not have any such demands. (I guess they understood utility right-of-way.) Ultimately, they told REMC to run the lines on their side of the road. At this point, their neighbor/cousin got furious. My grandmother’s story always ended with this sentence: “So, —— stood in the post hole and gave the lineman a cussing. But she didn’t stop the electricity from coming through.”
I heard this story many times growing up and always found it amusing. I would have loved to have been present for this drama!