Compared with the pioneers in the forest regions. of the East, or with those who have of late years occupied the treeless plains beyond the Missouri, the early settlers of Clinton County were exceptionally favored in their facilities for sheltering themselves. The abundant timber-belts along the numerous water-courses, referred to elsewhere, furnished material for many substantial log houses that sufficed till more commodious structures could be erected. These picturesque log houses were more numerous in the western than in the eastern part of the county, for the reason that, in the latter sections, pine lumber was much sooner and easier obtained, from the yards and mills on the river, and wrought into the earlier habitations. But much quicker than in most other sections of the United States, these primitive structures have been replaced often by stately mansions, in some cases as comfortably appointed as English manor-houses, and nearly everywhere by elegant and cheerful homes. In many cases, the old houses have been allowed to remain in mute and eloquent contrast with the new homes. To the older members of the family, those unpretending old homes are full of sacred memories and tender reminiscences. Every nook and corner about them is filled with shadows and lights of the past wherewith "all houses in which men have lived and died are haunted." Inconvenient, cramped and rugged as they were, about them rests the halo of the fireside, the family altar, the cradle, and possibly the deathbed of dear ones. In verses of equal poetic inspiration and truth has one of America's most recent and popular poets commemorated the associations that inevitably cluster about a dwelling which a passing stranger might not think as worthy of attention as a new cattle shed.
Probably there are few old settlers who did not echo the sentiments in Carleton's charming poem:

"Things looked rather new, though, when this old house was built 
and things that blossomed you would've made some women wilt; 
And every day, then, as sure as day would break, 
Our neighbor 'Ager' come this way, invitin' me to 'shake. 

Look at our old log-house, how little it now appears,
But it's never gone back on us for nineteen or twenty years
And I won't go back on it now, or go to p0km' fun;
There's such a thing as praising a thing for the good that it. has 
* * * 
Never a handsomer house was seen beneath the sun;
Kitchen and parlor and 
bedroom we had 'em all in one; 
And the fat old wooden clock, that we bought when we came West, 
Was tickin' away in the corner, and doin' its level best.

Trees was all around us, a-whisperin' cheering words,
Loud was the squirrel's chatter, and sweet the songs of birds;
And home grew sweeter and brighter, our courage began to mount,
And things looked hearty and happy then, and work appeared to
* * * * *

"Yes, a deal has happened to make the old house dear:
Christenings, funerals, weddin's—what hav'nt we had here? 
Not a log in this building but its memories has got, 
And not a nail in this old floor but touches a tender apet.

Out of the old house, Nancy, moved up into the new;
All the hurry and worry is just as good as through;
But I tell you a thing right here I ain't ashamed to say:
There's precious things in this old house we never can take awaj.

Here the old house will stand, but not as it stood before;
Winds will whistle through it, and rains will flood the floor;
And over the hearth, once blazing, the snow drifts oft will pile,
And the old thing seem to be a-mournin' all the while.

Fare you well, old house! You're naught that can feel or see,
But you seem like a human being, a dear old friend to me;
And we never will have a better home, if my opinion stands,
Until we commence a.keepin' house in 'the House not made with

To the housewife of these days, who, in her admirably equipped kitchen, re-enforced with all the helps presented to her by modern invention, and even where aided by a corps of domestics, is still "cumbered with much serving," it must always be a great marvel how the now venerable matrons of by gone days accomplished their tasks, and still live, sprightly and vivacious. It may well be a wonder to the ladies of this generation how, without cooking-ranges or refrigerators, or the multifarious conveniences few kitchens or dairies are now without, they managed not only to feed their large families, with often a large force of hired men in addition, but also to rear and assist in making clothing for goodly numbers of sturdy children. However, the lot of the first citizens of Clinton County was fortunate in comparison with many in the counties and States further westward. There was no positive suffering except of an accidental or unusual nature. Privation, except in possibly some rare and unreported cases, was unknown. The first crops were visited by neither drought, blight, or hail. Aided by the spontaneous products of the prairie, grove, and waters, even if they did not fare sumptuously every day, old and young throve apace, and waxed fat on the fruit of their own labors. For many years after the settlement of the county, such an object as a pauper was not known within its boundaries. As far as the average condition of its inhabitants, in regard to material comfort, was concerned, Clinton County, while still sparsely settled, was about as near a Utopia as the boldest social reformer would dare to hope for. It is a common remark among the older residents that they never lived better in their lives than they did in the early days of the county, before the dawn of railroad communication and the influence of travel and transient population. The river furnished a reasonably accessible market, and fish, flesh and fowl were supplied in abundance by the rivers, lakelets, prairie and timber; prairie chickens, ducks, wild turkeys and deer replenished the larder, and strengthened the frames of the pioneers for their labors. There was never any lack of wholesome, if sometimes a rude, plenty. Blackberries, wild plums and crab-apples grew in spontaneous profusion, and furnished welcome luxuries till fruit-orchards and gardens could be planted and brought to maturity. With abundance of these, many of which would now be esteemed as the rarest delicacies, supplemented by corn, milk, and home-fed pork, and appetites sharpened, digestions strengthened, and lungs expanded by the keen prairie air, it was small wonder that both elders and children were robust, families prolific, and there w much less sickness than is usual in a country where the original soil containing a mass of vegetable humus is being, after ages of repose, exposed to the decomposing influences of sunlight and air.
It is almost impossible to now comprehend the difficulty, at an early day, of procuring even the most necessary household utensils. Of course, for the first few years, fire-places were almost universally used; but, with the help of tin or brick ovens, from their capacious recesses came forth the most appetizing roasts of which epicure ever dreamed, flanked by pies, bread and cake never excelled by the most famous metropolitan caterers. A broken dish could not then be replaced within a few minutes, and, accordingly, earthen and tin ware was cared for as if it had been china or silver. Culinary skill and "elbow-grease" atoned for the lack of the elaborate appurtenances that have since become so common as to be scarcely regarded. Washing machines, clothes-wringers and sewing machines were undreamed of, and their absence was supplied by increased strength and energy on the part of the female portion of the household. Too frequently was their task rendered unnecessarily arduous by the indifference of the "men folks " to providing proper facilities for lightening domestic cares. Water frequently had to be brought from too great a distance. in some eases, considerate husbands hauled it on sleds, in hogsheads, from limpid springs at some distance. The supply of firewood was too often in unmanageable shape, and brought in from the piles exposed to the weather by the women, heated by exercise and fires during cold and raw weather, a practice that indirectly laid many a blooming maid and useful matron prematurely in their graves. The spinning-wheel and loom were for years found in many houses, and the house-hold kept warm and dry by the industry of the mothers, wives and sisters.

The labors of the settlers in procuring a food-supply did not end with the harvesting of the ripened ears. The problem was how to get them ground to flour. Though the pioneers did not have to submit to the privations and makeshifts of those in the interior counties, where they for many tedious months had to prepare grain for baking by pounding it in rude mortar-mills, they many times and oft underwent great inconvenience and labor to procure flour. The first mills were located where the streams, descended from the upper levels to the river valleys, and though they did not grind as close as the improved structures, there are few old residents who will not affirm that the flour there from made sweeter and inure wholesome bread than any new patent process whatever. Corn fixings, of course, figured largely in the domestic bill of fare, and no one thought himself poisoned by a few atoms of golden meal being mixed with wheaten flour. Many heavy boat-loads of grain were propelled by oars, handled by muscular pioneers, against the swift Mississippi current from Lyons up to Sabula, there to be ground at the custom-mill that for a long time supplied the settlers along the river margin of Clinton County.

SOURCE: Allen, L. P., History of Clinton County, Iowa, Containing A History of the County, it's Cities, Towns, Etc. and Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of it's Volunteers in the late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Iowa, Map of Clinton County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, &c, &c., Illustrated. Chicago IL; Western Historical Company, 1879




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