Life in Pioneer Times, page 3
Johnny-cake and pones were served up
at dinner, while mush and milk made the favorite dish for supper. In the
fire-place hung the crane, and the Dutch oven was used in baking. The streams
abounded in fishes, which formed a healthful article of food. Many kinds of
greens, such as dock and poke, were eaten. The "truck-patch" furnished roasting
ears, pumpkins, beans, squashes and potatoes, and these were used by all. For
reaping-bees, log-rollings and house-raisings, the standard dish was pot-pie.
Coffee and tea were used sparingly, as they were very dear, and the hardy
pioneer thought them fit only for women and children. They said they would not
"stick to the ribs." Maple sugar was much used and honey was only five cents a
pound. Butter was the same price, while eggs were only three cents a dozen. The
utmost good feeling prevailed. If one killed hogs, all shared. Chickens were to
be seen in great numbers around every doorway, and the gobble of the turkey and
the quack of the duck were heard in the land. Nature contributed of her fruits.
Wild grapes and plums were to he found in their season along the streams. The
women manufactured nearly all the clothing worn by the family. In cool weather,
gowns made of "linsey-woolsey" were worn by the ladies. The chain was of cotton
and the filling of wool. The fabric was usually plaid or striped, and the
different colors were blended according to the taste of the fair maker. Colors
were blue, copperas, turkey red, light blue, etc. Every house contained a
card-loom and spinning wheel, which were considered by the women as necessary
for them, as a rifle was for the men. Several different kinds of cloth were
made. Cloth was woven from cotton. The rolls were bought and spun on little and
big wheels into two kinds of thread, one the "chain," and the other the
"filling." The more experienced only spun the chain, the younger the filling.
Two kinds of looms were in use. The most primitive in construction was called
the side loom. The frame of it consisted of two pieces of scantling running
obliquely from the floor to the wall. Later the frame loom, which was a great
improvement over the other, came in use. The men and boys wore jeans and
linsey-woolsey hunting shirts. The jeans was colored either light blue or
butternut. Many times, when the men gathered to a log-rolling or a barn-raising,
the women would assemble, bringing their spinning wheels with them. In this way,
sometimes as many as ten or twelve would gather in one room, and the pleasant
voices of the fair spinners would mingle with the low hum of the spinning
wheels. Oh! golden early days!
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