Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 2


The Settlers Build Homes -- Kathleen Winterbottom
The Story of Early Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 1957.

What fun a house-raising was! A house-raising was the name given to the building of new homes for the settlers. Everyone in the village helped. Let us imagine we are going to the Carter's house-raising. Perhaps this is what we would have heard and seen.

"This is a fine tree. It is so straight and tall. It will be just the right size for your cabin," called out Job Stiles.

"Just two more logs and we can begin building," remarked Lorenzo

The men had worked many days cutting down trees. The Carters started to build their log cabin near the Cuyahoga River.

"Please, Father, let us help too," begged Alonzo and Laura Carter.

"You may take off the small branches from the trees we have cut down," said Father.

This was hard work. Laura and Alonzo soon had blisters on their hands. As soon as the branches had been trimmed Mr. Carter began to take the bark off the logs.

"Why do we have to take off the bark?" asked Alonzo.

"Ants and other insects live in the bark, Alonzo," answered his father, "and the bark holds water which makes the logs rot."

"Oh, look, Father! The men are ready to lay the foundation for our cabin," shouted Laura.

The children watched the men work. The foundation was longer than it was wide and made of logs. The men began to place other logs on top of these to make the side walls. Where the ends of the logs crossed, the upper log was cut or notched to fit down over the lower one. The builders left spaces for windows and doors.

"Father, look at the cracks between the logs. Won't the wind blow through?"

"No, Alonzo. We will fill the cracks with clay and moss. When the clay dries it will keep the wind and rain from blowing in. We will be very comfortable."

"What about the windows?" asked Laura. "How will we keep out the rain and snow? Can we have glass as we did in Vermont?"

"We have no glass," said Father, "and it will take a long time before we can get it. We will have to use oiled paper over the openings. Oiled paper will help keep out rain, snow, and wind."

"Will we have only the earth for our floor?" asked Laura.

"No, Laura, the floor will be made of puncheons."

"Puncheons," laughed Alonzo, "that's a funny word. What does it mean, Father?"

"Puncheons are logs which have been split and laid with the flat side up," replied his father.

"But, Father, how can we keep our cabin warm? Will we have to cook on a fireplace as Mrs. Siles does?" asked Laura.

"The fireplace will be used for both heating and cooking, Laura," answered her father. "The men will build a very large fireplace. They will make it of stones and clay. The inside of the chimney will be lined with mud. This mud will dry and help to make the chimney fireproof."

"Oh, Father," Alonzo asked, "How long will it take to finish our cabin?"

"With everyone helping us, Alonzo, it won't be long before the double cabin is ready. Our new neighbors are very kind," said Father.

"House-raisings are such fun. When other settlers come, will we help them build their homes?" asked Alonzo.

"Of course, Alonzo. We must all work together," said Father.

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