Grandfather planned to
drive his wonderful team of black horses, taking William with him and send the
women ahead on the train, with Little Frank. He planned to have them transfer to
a steamboat on the Minnesota, and send what furniture they could this way. Then
Uncle Hiram would meet them in St. Peter with his ox team and take them 13 miles
into the "big woods" where the homestead was located. Grandmother and the girls
said if they were going to go in a covered wagon, they would go with him.
They left ohio the fist of June and
arrived at the homestead june 19th [sic], 1861. Grandfather wouldn't drive the
horses only 20 miles a day. hey all walked a great deal, as they could walk as
fast as the horses could. [For a trip of approximately 750 miles, travelling an
average of 25 miles a day would take 30 days; therefore the more correct measure
of time by date would be June 1st to june 29th]. Grandfather would not drive
them off a walk. this was the first horse team ever driven into Le Sueur County.
hey made a hotel or the home of friends every night but one, and that time Grandfather
and uncle William slept under the wagon, and the women and Little Frank slept in the
Uncle Hiram had built a log house
on the homestead. the furniture was all made of poles and bark ad the bed ticks
filled with cornshucks; seats made of a section of log cut to a convenient height,
and hollowed out in the top to sit on. Aunt Sarah looked about and said, "I thought it
would be bad but not as bad as this."
Mother often told of the wonderful
times they had as pioneers. Everybody helped each other, and when a house or barn
was to be raised, everybody for miles around would pack a "boiler" full of food and
go to help. Then somewhere there would be a fiddler and he would play, and they
would dance and come home in the early morning hours. She said there was no lack of
food. They often shot wild ducks, turkeys, prairie chickens, quail and rabbits.
there was plenty of fish to be had in nearby lakes. They had plenty of corn, potatoes,
and other vegetables, blackberries big as my thumb, red and black raspberries, and
strawberries grew abundantly. There were plenty of wild plums, but the wild apples
were bitter. They had plenty of butter and cream. They had plenty of maple sugar, as
they all had "sugar bushes." Loaf sugar was obtained from St. Paul for tea. the bread
was made of corn ground in a hand mill at home. In about 1870 flour mills were built at
Le Sueur and St. Peter, and they had "white flour" not like our white flour now.