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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 64-65
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Land settlement -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township --History

Log cabins -- Michigan -- Bloomfield Township -- History

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


THE LOG HOUSE The first thing the settler had to do was build shelter for his family. This meant felling trees and piling them up at right angles, sealing the cracks with mud or some lime com- pound if it were at hand, and raising a roof with enough pitch to it to allow the water to run off. The wooden fire- place occupied the entire back wall and the precious copper pans were placed by it. As we saw in the case of the Hunter family, it took about ten days to build such a log house. The words "log house" occur constantly in early histories, and the words "log cabin" rarely if ever. The settlers did not consider them- selves untutored hillbillies, but educated people out to carve a new life for themselves. They didn't live in log cabins, they lived in log houses, albeit both had the same materials and the same dimensions. The floor was earthen at first, and later hand hewn logs made the base more livable. The main room was on the ground floor, and the children slept in the loft, entering it from an outside crude ladder and waking on winter mornings to find a drift of snow across their homespun quilts. An early history tells that boys and girls went barefoot until a shoemaker came along. On those cold winter mornings, barefoot boys raced from the log house to the edge of the woods, where the cows bedded over- night, and stood where the cows had laid until their feet were warm enough to drive the cows to the barn for milking. Each house had its bible and its box of tea, brewed only on Sundays as it cost $2.00 a pound, equal to perhaps one third the family's store of cash. Sugar and salt were expensive luxuries. The basic shelter provided for, the entire family turned to hacking away at the trees to allow the sun to reach the little garden. Bark was cut from other trees above the roots, preventing the sap from rising so the foliage would die and let in more sun. The race against time for the first crop of potatoes and corn meant survival, as did shooting game in the forest such as wild turkeys and passenger pigeons whose breasts could be dried and stored in the cracks of the house against winter .

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 64-65 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 64-65 part 2

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