Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 2


After a long and difficult journey to the Western Reserve, pioneer families needed to direct their attention to the construction of their home. On arrival at the site of their new home, the entire family helped in building their crude one room cabin usually 18 feet by 18 feet in size. The floor consisted of hard mud, sometimes of split logs or puncheons. The windows were often made of only oiled paper as glass was scarce. The door was constructed from split logs held together by wooden pegs. There were large spaces in the walls between the logs and on winter evenings the children and women helped stuff the cracks between the logs with mud and sticks, while the father smoothed with the adz the inside of the logs. As a rule, this primitive log house had but one room. As soon as it was possible a loft was made, and here, in summer, and sometimes in winter, the children and the hired men slept. A huge fireplace was the center of family life. The furniture, unless the pioneer was lucky enough to have room on his wagon for a few pieces from New England, consisted of crude benches, beds made of poles, with woven rope or bark between to support the mattress, rough tables made of split logs, all made from wood taken from the forest. The more fortunate families had kettles and cooking implements which they brought from New England. Most of the pioneers used quilts for blankets and filled their mattresses with straw which was hard to obtain.

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