Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:19 PM
The life in the pioneer days was a lot different than it is today. This report includes facts about pioneer life, as well as personal information based on individual people's lives. Two pioneer women are Nellie Strohm and Rovene Allen.
Clothing was homemade such as jeans and tow-linen. Make-up was not worn at this time. Shoes and slippers with heels were not worn either. When the people would first buy their shoes, they would be very careful with them. They would walk barefoot until they were 100 yards away from their destination. Then they would put on their shoes so they would not wear out the bottom of the shoes. Men wore leggings that covered their legs. They wore homemade shoes or moccasins. Men would wear hats made of raccoon. Some of the men dressed in full suits of buckskin.
Most of the people relied on farming. The main crop was corn. The closest trading points from Marshall were Fort Harrison and Vincennes. The excess materials were shipped to New Orleans. This usually took a three-month journey. On the way home men traveled by foot, passing through three or four Indian tribes in the western part of the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Bread was baked in Dutch ovens on boards or in the ashes. Tea, coffee, and sugar were rarely used except on the visit of the preacher. The food was plain but healthy. Salt was brought from Cincinnati to Vincennes, or floated down on the Ohio and up the Wabash. The wealthy men would buy excess salt and sell it for a profit.
Cattle and hogs were often turned loose in the spring and were not usually seen again until winter. During the day, sheep were kept in an enclosed area and at night in high corrals. This prevented them from being killed by wolves. The penalty of trying to steal cattle was a public whipping, not exceeding 100 lashes on the bare back, imprisonment not exceeding two years, and a fine not less than one-half the value of the animal.
The wildlife of the area consisted of deer, turkey, rabbits, squirrels, fox, otters, muskrats, possums, and a few bear. There were also panthers, catamounts, wolves, wildcats, weasels, minks, skunks, polecats, porcupines, owls, hawks, and a few herds of wild horses. Some of the fish were catfish, muskellunge, bass, perch, sturgeon, spoonbills, shad, and eels. The list of birds consisted of geese, ducks, brant, prairie chickens, grouse, and partridges.
The life of a pioneer was very monotonous. Pioneers had no general system of schools or religious teachings. The Sabbath was a day of rest for the young and old. People looked forward to barn raisings, log rollings, or quilted frolics. The men held shooting matches. The winner would get beef, turkeys, whiskey, and sometimes wagers of money.
The eulogy to Nellie Strohm was very interesting. She was born December 15, 1880, as Nellie Ethel Davidson in a farm home near Marshall, Illinois. She was the daughter of John and Calista Davidson. On January 21, 1906, she married Charles Strohm. They had five children together. Nellie had 22 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and one great great grandchild. She also had 15 in-laws, 20 nieces and nephews, and countless neighbors and friends.
In many ways, she was typical of those pioneer women who helped make this country what it is today. Nellie's typical day consisted of cooking over a wood stove, pumping water, and carrying it into the house for cooking, bathing, and washing. She also made most of their clothes, scrubbed them clean on a washboard, using soap she had made in an old butchering kettle, dried the clothes in the sun, and ironed them with a heavy iron heated on the stove. Nellie would hang her milk in the well to cool, put straw under the carpet for more wear and more warmth, and filled the straw tick mattresses twice a year with clean straw. She gave birth to five children by lamplight in the drafty house and nursed them all on castor oil and prayer.
Nellie Strohm cooked for a large family. During the summer, she had to cook for the family and two hired men. Nellie made a garden, canned vegetables, and stored potatoes and turnips in the root cellar. She also chopped cabbage and chopped it until the juice ran to make sauerkraut.
Always skeptical of doctors, she took medicine only when she thought she needed it. The first time that she went to the hospital was when she was 85. She had an emergency appendectomy years earlier on the kitchen table. When Nellie had a fever of 106 for three days, the doctor said that she would not make it unless he cut off her leg. She told him "Now doctor, I know you can do something to save me and my leg." The doctor listened and performed an operation on the dining room table.
In 1913, she learned how to drive an overland auto, but she did not know how to put it in reverse. On her first trip to West Union, she had to drive around a four-mile square to get the car going in the right direction.
Nellie hated the fact that her sons sold their milk cows and got rid of the chickens, because it was easier to buy milk and eggs in town. She went to town and bought some chickens and drove out to her son's farm and turned them loose. Nellie thought that he needed those chickens whether he thought so or not.
She was a regular Indian. She had developed her senses to a high level. Nellie could smell a boy who had been smoking behind the barn before he got within 50 feet of her kitchen. She could also see to thread a needle when she was 80. As far as hearing goes, no son of hers ever tiptoed into the house late at night, shoes in his hand, without Mom calling out, "Is that you?" and calling him by his name.
When she was a child, Nellie and her family went to the Methodist, Christian, Brick, and Baptist churches. Nellie was Baptist, but believed that Christianity was the important way to live. She knew that everyone had the same God and should worship the same God. This is only a glimpse of the real Nellie Strohm. She was a hard-working and remarkable person. If we all made use of our talents like she did, the world would be a better place.
On washday, the wash boiler would be brought into the kitchen. Then Rovene would carry the water into the house in large buckets full. It probably would hold six buckets. Each bucket would hold eight or ten gallons. Then she would have to "break" the water when it was almost boiling. She would put about three tablespoons of Lewis lye in it, and the lye would bring iron rust to the top. It had to be skimmed off, and the wash water would be clear, soft, and clean. She would then put more than half of the water in the washtub and with a washboard and a bar of P&G soap, the wash would begin. For a family of four children, plus Poppy and Mommy, this was a big laundry.
Rovene would have to rub the clothes on the washboard, wring this soapy and dirty water out of the clothes, sheets, towels, blankets, and overalls by hand.
She would boil the dish "rags" and by adding more lye and soap, the grease and dirty water would come out. By five or six o'clock, she would maybe be finished with the washing. Then the water would have to be carried out in buckets full and poured on the flowers or in the pigpen. Some rinse water would be kept to mop the kitchen floor. Sometimes in the hot summer, Mommy would set the tub in the yard, and the kids could cool off by playing in and out of the tub of cool rinse water. Sometimes mom would use the sudsy lye water to clean and scrub the brooder house. This was not the only day that she would do this. It would be done two days a week.
Mom had to carry all of the water in and out of the house that was used for washing, cooking, or bathing. She had a washstand in the kitchen and a washpan. For a bath, mom had a large washtub, and she would get in this and wash by the cookstove in the kitchen, or in the front room by the heating stove. You never forgot and bent over with your bottom next to the stove!
The lamps had to be filled with coal oil and the chimney cleaned every day if she expected to piece quilts or get lessons. Then when the gasoline lamps became popular, they were so nice. Mom could see what she was doing.
On ironing day, Mommy would build the fire good in the coal stove and set the "sad irons" on the front of the stove. She had a rag folded many times to hold the handle. The ironing board was just that. Poppy or grandpa had tapered the end of it just, like they are now. Next, they would lay it over the back of two chairs. Everything was starched on washday. They used about two tablespoons of flour mixed with cold water to make a smooth paste.
Later on, irons were made with a cover and handle to clip on the heavy part. Later, they were replaced with a gasoline iron. They needed air pumped into the bowl with the gas.
As you can see, life in the pioneer days is a lot different from today. Most of the clothing in the pioneer days was homemade. Nellie Strohm and Rovene Allen were only two of the many pioneer women that lived in this area. Their lives are an example of most women in the pioneer days. They would stay at home and do hard physical labor, while now most women have jobs outside of the home.
Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:37 PM
And such an amazing good writer your DD is!!
After reading this, I just know in my heart that I was meant to be a pioneer woman. Hard work, yes, but a rewarding, simplistic and pure lifestyle really appeals to me. Keeping family close and being self-sufficient never goes out of style in my book.
When we are too busy to sharpen the axe, we are [simply] too busy. --Vance Havner
Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:52 PM
My daughter did not write this... It was one of her sources listed on her report which was 5 pages long... Teacher had to set limits on the page count because of her older sister who once gave this teacher a 29 page report on Faith and what it meant LOL... Everyone else turned in a page or two
Posted 28 June 2008 - 10:19 AM
When we are too busy to sharpen the axe, we are [simply] too busy. --Vance Havner
Posted 08 August 2008 - 04:57 PM
It includes riveting excerpts from diaries written in the mid-1800s by more than a few women who personify the word "survival"! It is also rich in pics, too.
Those people who crossed the continent between 1840-1870 really knew the idea of "bugging out" to the extreme. It was the stuff of daily struggle...
Good read, lotsa good ideas and lessons...
By the time I finished reading it, I wanted to slap the dust out of my skirts, and reach behind me to get the lantern down off the hook...
Love, laugh, live...Joie de vivre!
October 29, 2009: I just discovered that my email accounts have been hijacked by a virus...
If anyone gets any emails from me, please delete them. Do not open them. (They will not have been sent by me.)
If my email is hijacked, then possibly my forum accounts and my blog may be also... I am not sure oif this but to be safe, I thought I'd notify everyone of this possibility. If you visit my site, make sure you are running a good antivirus program that is uptodate. I am currently working with blogspot, etc. etc. on this.
pssst... Norton sucks a bag of lemons.
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Some days I can get into trouble all by myself.
Posted 16 August 2008 - 11:03 AM
For most of our married life (almost 46 years) we've lived some semblance of the pioneer/settler life. We've livd without electric and running water, without HOT water (yuk), we've been over 80% food self-sufficient (at various times), we've had animals that most people wouldn't begin to be near (27 year veteran wild life rehabber), had various and sundry livestock, butchered, salted, canned, froze, smoked, and generally "did it".
The one thing I've learned is it's a lot harder to do it all the older you get. It's almost impossible to do when your health is deteriorating and disabilities get in the way. Still, I love the lifestyle and though we've had years we lived in a mobile home park in town and times we've taken a year or two off, we always seem to be drawn back to a way of life that seems to help us live lighter on the earth and on the paycheck.
Many years back, when I realized that I was unable to do a lot of the things I used to I began to adapt. I've found that I CAN adapt and still live the life I love, the pioneer lifestyle, EVEN IN TOWN. Even without raising all our own meat and other foods, I can still live it.
I know you are wondering how I can live that life when in town. But living the pioneer lifestyle is as much attitude and perception as it is physical abilities. Take milk for example. When I can't raise and milk cows, I raise and milk goats. (Okay, so I often used to do both at the same time.) When I can't raise and milk goats I buy milk from a local dairy direct from the farm. When I can't do that, I look for the best buy for my money at the store. In all instances,I use that milk in the same way the pioneer did. Depending on it's cost, I make yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheese, sour cream and etc just as if I were milking that animal myself.
Now lets take those products a step deeper. If I needed to, I know how to care for the animal, keep it healthy, doctor it naturally in most instances, milk the animal,and handle and store the milk properly with or with out refrigeration.
I can make yogurt in a variety of ways from the crock set near the open fire as the pioneers sometimes did (I say sometimes because only those people from certain contries even knew about yogurt then), I can make it in a jar wrapped in towels, in a wide mouth thermos, in jars placed in hot water in a modern cooler, in a gas or electric or wood heated oven, in an insulated cooker, in an insulated commercial yogurt maker, AND in an electric yogurt maker. Adaptability.
I can make cottage cheese using the old fashioned method of just letting it clabber naturally (Raw milk that is), with a culture and rennet or nettle tea (both of which I can make/find), and by boiling the milk and adding vinegar (which I also know how to make from apples and etc). I can make hard cheeses the same way.
I can use crocks, bowls, enamel ware, or pottery, plastic or stainless steel. I do it with or without a thermometer. I do it with fresh from the animal or processed from the store. Adaptability!
The pioneer lifestyle can encompass so much more than just moving into a log cabin and doing everything the hard way. The key here is to know how the pioneer did it, at the most basic level, and then adapting it to your level.
Pioneer lifestyle does not mean you have to heat your home with a smokey fire that you have cut the logs for with an axe and haul it a mile by hand. It can mean using a "modern" wood stove adapted to give the most BTU's possible with the smallest amount of wood. It can mean using a super chain saw that buzzes though the wood in no time and loading it on the back of a pick up truck. (Still have to haul it in by hand though and the ashes out to the garden). It might mean relying on modern heating sources such as gas or electric but also using modern OR ancient ways to insulate your home against the weather or turning down the thermostats. It might mean wearing more clothing, like the pioneer did or utilizing one room and lowering the heat in others. It might mean going to bed earlier and getting up earlier to conserve energy. I'm not saying be cold (or hot), I'm saying think outside the box, be aware, adapt.
A pioneer lifestyle in a modern world might mean looking at every facet of our lives and deciding to take back our lives, doing what we can for ourselves. If it only means you can make braided or crocheted rugs out of plastic grocery or bread bags then do it. If it means growing a pot of herbs on a windowsill, do it. If it means using a stainless steel milk bucket instead of a wooden one, then we do it. (did you ever try to clean milk out of a wooden bucket?)
The pioneer were masters at saving. They saved every piece of paper and string that their few bought products came with. They saved every can, reusing it until it rusted away. They reused their ashes, their water, their peelings, their scraps, their clothing, their bedding and a whole lot more. Life has been good to us. It's given us all manner of plastic that will last many lifetimes before it breaks down. We need to use it again and again until it is finally recycled into other uses to keep from having to use precious resources to make more. We need to rethink how we buy our food, reusing all the packaging that we can in whatever way we can.
We can BE pioneers, modern ones, no matter where we live. You only have to go into the Urban Homesteading to see hundreds of ways to live pioneer in the city.
Okay, now I'm hearing some of you saying,,,,,but I have to work eight or more hours a day. I don't have the time and energy to do all that. I NEED my modern conveniences. Yup, I agree. I no longer work outside the home but I depend on a LOT of modern conveniences but because I KNOW about the pioneer way of life, because I've practiced the skills they needed, I automatically added them to my lifestyle even when I DID work. It is not difficult but it does take a change of attitude, an adaptation.
Because of physical difficulties I now use a breadmaker (most of the time that is) to make fresh ground whole grain bread. I grind flour enough for several loaves and store it in glass jars on my cupboard near the bread maker. It takes me only minutes to throw the ingredients into the pan and turn on the machine. Yes, it DOES take energy. But because of my disabilities I can ues it and still get a wholesome healthy product WITHOUT all the packaging that comes with commercial bread. Because I buy my grain in bulk and store it in recycled buckets I save on the packaging of the flour. Because I use left over potato or other vegetable water for the liquid or milk that is slightly souring, I am using a product that would otherwise have gone down the drain in most homes and am saving on vitamin and minerals in the process. Because I often use left over bits of cereal or bread or even cookies and cakes in my bread, I am not wasting what would normally have been discarded. (yup, you can use all of those things, dried and crumbled in bread, along with purreed left over veggies and fruit, scrapings from the peanut butter jar and etc). And if you have a breadmaker with a timer on it you can set it to come on so you will be greeted with the smell of fresh made bread when you walk in the door tired from work.
I'm not telling you any of this to show how I can do things but to point out that it IS entirely possible to live a pioneer lifestyle in a modern world no matter your circumstances. But it helps to know how the pioneer DID live in order to adapt it to your own modern life. That's what this forum is about.
This thread is about Pioneer lifestyles. I'm inviting all of you to examine your life and then let us know how YOU adapt that lifestyle into your modern life. It would be fun if you could actually point out how the pioneer did it and how you do it now, keeping the pioneer attitude intact.
If your reply is a specific thing, then feel free to place it in another pioneer category or in it's own thread. With times so tough and the economy so poor we all need to step back and see where we can be pioneers in a modern life.
Posted 17 August 2008 - 12:01 PM
Thank you Mother, for the encouragement and perspective.
Maybe we need to start a "What I Did Today to Pioneer" thread!
DH and I have never been anything close to the level of self-sufficency that you have experienced, Mother, but I am heartened by the examples you provide to get us thinking about pioneering in modern life.
I'm not in a little house on the prairie, but hey, I am pioneering, too!
I have a full time job outside the home. I do use store-bought bread and the occasional frozen entree. I don't have the time (or make the time as long as I can still use my conveniences) for everything I'd like to do the old fashioned way, however:
As this moment, my laundry is hanging on the line. It was washed in cold water in an energy and water efficient front-loader. Grandma did hers in tubs. I know how to do that, too.
I consolidate loads now. Instead of washing a load of underwear, and a seperate load of towels, if they are all light-colored or white cotten, they get washed together.
My tomatoes are huge bushes loaded with green non-hybrid fruit. I started them from seed during the winter, with no special equipment, just a sunny window. When they are ripe I will preserve them in the canning jars I've accumulated a dozen or two at a time from the dollar stores. I'll save some seeds for next year. My grandma did that, too. Because she could save and grow seeds, and knew how to make something out of lard and flour that she is credited with keeping her family from starving during the depression.
On the weekends that I spend canning, it's a good bet the furniture won't get dusted and the floors won't be vacumed.
I'm calling tomorrow to have our propane tank filled. The price per gallon is high, but I'm sure it will be higher still come November-December. Thankfully, it is not our primary heat source, but our gas fireplace does work without electricity, and is our primary heat source if the power goes off.
Except for the fireplace, our home is all electric. I have been re-thinking every task to conserve energy. For example, the other day we had baked potatoes and corn on the cob with dinner. Rather than use both the oven and the stove, I wrapped the corn in a foil pouch, inclding a half cup of water, so the corn steamed in the oven while the potatoes baked.
We do not use our AC unless it's more than 80 AND very humid. When we do use the AC, the thermostat is set at 76. I close the blinds and drapes on the side of the house that gets the intense afternoon sun.
We have seen a steady decrease in our electric bill for the last 6 months. As Mother mentioned, Pioneers are thrifty folks.
Posted 17 August 2008 - 04:56 PM
I want to mention that even in pioneer days there were women who just didn't get it!!!! Usually they were the ones to suffer the most because they couldn't fathom an alternative way of life. It truly is the attitude that makes the difference. We might all want to remember that as we try to gain a bit more self sufficiency. It is NOT doing without. It is doing it better.
Waiting for more modern pioneers to respond
Posted 09 September 2008 - 05:44 PM
I live in the city. My pioneer spirit comes from the very deep held belief that 'what you cannot or will not do for yourself, you will pay dearly for someone else to do for you.' I have tried to teach my children that your survival should never be in the hands of anyone other than yourself and God.
I enjoy sips of modern convience. I am so in love with my vacuum cleaner that I rarely put iti away. I'll walk past and give it a pat sometimes. I remember the time spent sweeping and (trying to) beat my rugs clean. (My neighbors were much amused.)
I live withthe sense that I am one of billions of stewrds of this earth. I want to be one that has done a good job.
I husband my husband's income by making as much as I know how and can do from scratch. (Tried soap, the clear kind, once.)
Am now growing grapes, cherry tomatoes, carrots (fingers crossed), and lettuce on my little balcony outside my itchen door. Also been gifted by a apple tree bearing edible fruit that I bought labeled as a crabtree. (Imagine my suprise).
Am looking to do more, much more.
compared to you, I am a pioneering baby. But, my spirit is bigger than me.
So, while I'll have to measure my production in ozs instead of pounds,or inches instead of acres, I still will value any wisdom you all place here.
God bless all things you put your hands to.
Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:07 PM
Have you ever read Countryside magazine? If not please look for it on line. There are dozens of people who write in that live in a town or a city but their lifestyle is "beyond the sidewalk". That sounds like you.
Posted 01 June 2011 - 02:45 AM
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