Pioneers Sixty Years Ago Lived In Primitive Style - 1901
PETERMAN, HEWITT, BAILEY, ORREAR, CULVER, KEELER, BEATTY, PADDLEFORD, JONES
Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 12/29/2016 at 10:19:56
Dubuque Daily Telegraph – May 4,
IN THE FORTIES
T. J. PETERMAN, OF FAYETTE,
GIVES SOME INTERESTING
DUBUQUE WAS THE ONLY
Pioneers Sixty Years Ago Lived
In Primitive Style and Enjoyed
Life as We Do.
T. J. Peterman, a pioneer resident of Fayette County is writing a series of very interesting stories on “Fayette County in the Forties,” which are being published in a West Union paper. As Mr. Peterson goes back nearly sixty years, his stories cover a period when this whole upper Mississippi River valley was a vast wilderness. Dubuque was then a little mining camp with a few log cabins and stories, and was the only trading place in the whole region outside of Galena. The following is Mr. Peterson’s last letter, which will no doubt interest many of our pioneers:
“For some time the first settlors had but little to sell, as they were not able to get much breaking done. Any surplus of oats, corn or potatoes was disposed of at the fort, and hides, game and furs were taken to the river. There was no wheat raised for market until Hensley’s crop of 1845, and a part of this he hauled to Dubuque, a distance of about seventy-five miles, and sold for a dollar and a quarter a bushel. But prices were by no means steady, and some year’s wheat would be so cheap that it would hardly pay for hauling off and perhaps the next year it would bring over a dollar a bushel. A yoke of good oxen would ordinarily bring about seventy-five dollars, and occasionally they would run up as high as a hundred or forty or fifty, and then could go down until a good yoke of cattle could be had for forty or fifty dollars. Occasionally a farmer who lived in or near the timber would get a large drove of hogs on hand, and after these were fattened with a little corn, but mostly on mast, which they obtained by running in the woods, they would be sold and butchered wherever a market could be found. Some of the time the price would be fair and at other ridiculously low. In December, 1842, Joel Bailey and John Keeler, who were living at Bailey’s Ford about six miles below Manchester, in Delaware County, took a contract to deliver fifteen thousand pounds pork at a mission just below Fort Atkinson for the princely sum of one hundred and seventy cents a hundred. Instead of butchering the hogs they decided to make the hogs carry themselves to market, and so they drove themselves through a distance of not less than seventy or eighty miles. It took them eight days to make the trip and they camped out every night but one, and that night they put up at Beatty’s and Orrear’s, a little southwest of Fayette. It took them another week to kill and dress the hogs which they were compelled to do before they could get their money and start for home. The weather was very cold, the snow deep, to make matters worse, and the party got lost on the way home and nearly perished with hunger and cold. A full history of this trip would of itself make an interesting but long and painful story. On this trip of marketing hogs were Wm. Paddleford, who with his brother had located prior to 1840 on land about two miles north of Manchester and near where D. W. Jones built his second woolen mill. Here they opened up a farm which during all these years has been known as the Paddleford field. Not far from the banks of Honey Creek one of more of the families were buried and we presume at this place was the first death and burial of white people in Delaware County. At the time Fort Atkinson was being built John and William Paddleford traveled across Fayette County and made a trip to the fort and mission, they were looking for a new location. John located soon after down on the Volga bottoms just below the old Culver trading post, a portion of his land being in Fayette but more in Clayton County. His brother, William, lived here for some time, and was on the eve of marrying when Jo Hewitt put in an appearance and saved him the trouble and expense by marrying the girl himself.”
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