Jermina, who married Price Streetor, and died in the West ;
Freeman, born October 19, 1810, married Miss Nancy J., daughter of Burr Ridgeway, and is a highly respected citizen of the township. For a number of years he engaged in lumbering, but has devoted the last part of his life to farming. Beginning in the world as he expressed it, without a dollar, through industry, economy, and the favor of good luck, earned a handsome fortune and was thus enabled to assist his children in starting in life ; a duty which he proudly performed "Uncle Freeman," as he is commonly called, has always enjoyed the confidence of the people, and has not unfrequently been called to offices of trust, in which he has always demonstrated ability and integrity. Inheriting his father's strength, in his younger days he never met his match in a lift, or in a wrestle. With the kindness of a noble mother's heart, it has always been a pleasure for him to assist his fellow men, and he lives honored and respected by all. Of his family of eight children, but two sons survive, he having also lost a wife July 6, 1875. His elder son, Dallis J., the present Sheriff of Bradford County, was born November 3, 1843, and remained upon his father's farm, until eighteen years of age, when he gave his services to his country and entered the 141st Regiment, P. V., as a private. Although only a boy he rose to the rank of Sergeant, before the close of the war. In 1868 he engaged in the mercantile business at Monroeton, which he has persued ever since. In 1870 he was appointed Postmaster, and held the office till Jan 1885, when he resigned.
In August 1884, he was nominated by the Republican County Convention
as a candidate for Sheriff. His candidacy proved very popular, and he was
elected by a vote of 8,426, the greatest ever cast for Sheriff in the county,
against 4,096 for his opponent. Mr. Sweet lives in retirement, with his
son, Theron, upon his farm at South Branch.
Lovina married E. C. Kellogg ;
Hiram married Mary Terwilliger and resides in Monroe ;
Ransom married Mary Jacoba, and moved to New Jersey, where he died.
Jane married Geo. Irvine, of Monroe ;
Elizabeth married Lyman Hollon, of Monroe ;
Amy, wife of Elizer Sweet, who is remembered as a most endearing lady, was born Aug 7, 1785 ; died Jan 8, 1867.
Henry Bassett Myer, born near Ashbury, Sussex county, N. J., September 9, 1805, removed with his father, Jacob Myer and family to Forty Fort, Pa., in 1812 ; then a year later to Mehoopany, and finally to Bradford county in 1824. After about two years in Franklin township, he purchased a farm in Monroe---the same as now occupied by Clay Rockwell, erected a mill on the place, and engaged in lumbering till 1844, since which time he has given attention to droving, butchering, etc.
In 1840 he was united in marriage with Sarah Gaskill, widow of the late Job Gaskill, of Rochester, N. J., and daughter of Martin and Esther Wallace Young, formerly of Geneva, N. Y. She was a sister of Edward F. Young, the foundry man.
The fruits of this union were---
George V., of Towanda, agent for pensions and patents, and well known
to the county as an engineer and ex-county surveyor. He was a gallant soldier
and rose to the rank of Captain in Company K, of the 50th Regiment, P.
Berlin F., of the firm of Sweet & Co., Monroeton ;
Esther, the wife of Eli Griggs, of Grundy, Iowa ;
Ella A., the wife of D. J. Sweet ;
Charles M., engaged in the butchering business at Towanda.
Ann M., the wife of Will J. Devoe, of Greenwood.
Mr. and Mrs. Myer are yet living together as man and wife, ( she born Jan 12, 1806 ), and give promise of a much greater longevity. Mr. Meyer was one of the original trustees of the Baptist Church at Monroeton.
In 1825 the following were also assessed in Monroe : Adam Beam, Samuel Campbell, Marcus Campbell, Sherman Havens and William Cox ; in 1826, William Black, clothier and spinner ; in 1827, Joseph Ingham and John Black, both clothiers ; in 1828, Orrin Galpin ; in 1829, Gashun Harris, Geo. A. McClen ; 1830, Clark Cummings, Moses Coolbaugh, Joseph Griggs, Elisha Harris, John E. Ingham ( physician ) ; in 1831, Fisher and Wilson, merchants ; in 1832, Francis Bull, John Gale, Hanson & Warford ( merchants ) ; in 1833, Thos. T. Smiley ; in 1834, Joab Summers, John Campbell ( miller ), D. M. Bull ; in 1835, Nicholas Wanck, Jeremiah Hollon, Elijah Horton ; in 1838, James Blauvelt, and Coonrad Mingos.
Joseph Ingham, a native of Yorkshire, England, emigrated to America in 1822. He was a clothier by trade, and was
required to smuggle his passage. After a voyage of forty days he landed
at Philadelphia, with a sixpence in cash. He worked at his trade for five
years in the southern part of the State, then in company with his brother-in-law,
John Black, came to Monroe. He rented A. C. Rockwell's factory, and gave
attention to carding and dressing cloth. He improved the factory, and manufactured
cloth, said to have been the first shop-made in the county. In 1831 he
built a factory on the very site of Hawes' toy shops, and did a find business
till 1855, when it was so crippled by the railroad company that he closed
his factory. In 1863 he removed to Knoxville, Tioga county, Pa., where
he established an extensive business. He was the father of Capt. James
B. Ingham, of the 50th P. V., and H. H. Ingham, of Monroeton.
George A. McClen, born at Addison, Vt., May 4, 1810, found his way into Monroe in 1829, and resided in the township, generally, thenceforward until the time of his demise---May 31, 1885. He was the father of S. M. McClen of Towanda, a member of the Germania band.
Joseph Griggs, a native of Windham, Conn., came to the township in 1830. He located at Monroeton and engaged in farming. He was born Dec 13, 1783 ; died Sept 12, 1874. His children were Permelia, Mary, John M., Lucius E., Julia A., and Eli. Mrs. Griggs was born May 26, 1790 ; died Dec 14, 1866.
Dr. John Ellicott Ingham, whose father was one of the first settlers in Sugar Run, after having graduated in medicine, located at Monroe in 1830. Four years thereafter he was united in marriage with Miss Amanda, daughter of Judge
Harry Morgan, of Wysox. He built up an extensive practice, and remained
in the township for twenty-seven years, then removed to Wysox, where he
died in 1857. He was a man of great worth in the community. Soon after
coming to Monroe he organized a Union Sabbath-school----the first in the
town ; and about the same time a temperance society. He also instituted
a grammer school for the benefit of young men and women, and instructed
them gratuitously. He took a deep interest in his young friends, and in
many other ways bestowed his kindness and generosity. His course created
a love for study, and had a noble influence in the formation of character.
He was endowed with a big heart, and worked to alleviate the pains of his
fellow mortals, whether rich or poor. He was just a man, and a noble example.
His widow survives him, and resides at Corning, N. Y.
John Gale, a native of Orange county, N. Y., and grandson of Selah Arnout, became a permanent resident of the town in 1832. He was an industrious hard-working man. His son, Eli, occupies the farm which is cleared up and improved.
Francis Bull located in Monroe in 1835. He was a native of Swarkeston, Derby Co., England, and was born Jan 21, 1777. He emigrated to America with his brother, John, and reached Philadelphia, Sept 5, 1801. After remaining at White Hall for a year he came to what is now Elkland, Sullivan county. In 1806 he married Miss Mary E. Lambert, whose father was among the early settlers in Forks township, Sullivan county. Upon making Monroe his home, he settled the farm now occupied by U. M. Pratt,
where he died Jan 22, 1863. Mrs. Bull was also born in the county of
Derby, England, September 29, 1789, and died Dec 26, 1851.
The children of Francis and Mary E. Bull were---Sarah ( Mrs. J. R. Irvine ) ; Mary ( Mrs. Luman Pratt ) ; Francis, Samuel, Joseph, Robert, George, Elizabeth ( Mrs. Daniel Derby ), William, Annie ( Mrs.Thos. G. Dripps ), John. Of the family only two are now living in the county---Joseph at Liberty Corners, and Robert, known as "Squire Bull," in Asylum.
Joah Summers, born in Northumberland, Pa., in 1800, settled at Liberty Corners in 1834. At an early age he was left an orphan, and went to live with his grandfather, Geo. Bird, of Sullivan county. When eleven years of age he had an encounter which, but for a timely rescue, would have cost him his life. He was searching for the cows in the dusk of evening, and hearing some thing behind him he looked around, and was terrified to behold a panther squatted before him. He realized his situation in a twinkling, and though nearly frightened out of his senses, he screamed, Murder! then wheeled and started to run. But as soon as he turned his back to the foe, the panther sprang upon him and crushed him to the ground. He made a feeble struggle, but it availed nothing as he was a mere toy in the clutches of so formidable a beast. The animal fastened its fangs into his cheek, and was soon sucking out his life blood. When almost dead, with a cheek torn away, a hand crushed, and a body dangerously wounded, his cries having been heard, his rescuers arrived, and with some effort beat off the animal and saved his life. His escape was a most
miraculous one, and it was thought that he could never get well. However,
in the course of time, his wounds healed, and now at the age of eighty-give
years he is able to recite his thrilling adventure. We should also state
that he has outlived the panther by seventy-four years, and that his life
has been a successful and prosperous one. His history is the same old story,
full of interest, and noble manhood, that is found in the lives of all
self-made men. Having become skilled in the art of weaving, he followed
that trade for some years.
In 1831 he was united in marriage with Miss Sally Hollon, of Chemung, N. Y.
The fruits of this union are---
John H., merchant at Monroeton ; and Angeline E., the wife of S. O. Decker, of Liberty Corners.
Mr. Summers is a man greatly esteemed by his neighbors, and has been a life-long consistent and devoted member of the M. E. Church.
Mrs. Summers, born March 29, 1810, is yet living in almost full vigor of her mental and physical powers, and administers most tenderly to the wants of her aged companion.
Jeremiah Hollon, born in Massachusetts, April 6, 1785, was left fatherless, when a small boy, enduring the severe hardships of those days, which made a man of him to be admired in after-years. He was a man of deep religious principals, being among the foremost in establishing means of worshing, many times opening his own house for that purpose.
In 1809 he married Betsy Orcutt, from near Lake Champlain, and settled
in Chemung county, N. Y., where they had a family of fourteen children,
four of whom died. In 1835 Mr. Hollon moved to Monroe and located in the
district, which was named in his honor, and is still known as Hollon Hill
or Liberty Corners. In September 1851, his wife died, and he in June 1871,
leaving the following children, all of whom live within a radius of four
miles of each other, and all save Daniel O., of North Towanda, still in
the township of their adoption.
Sally, the wife of Joab Summers ; Charles ; Daniel O.; Deborah, the wife of Guy C. Irvine ; Eliza, the wife of Wm. Irvine ; Lynan G. ; Lydia, the wife of Daniel Cook, deceased ; Almira, the wife of James W. Irvine ; Harry S. ; William.
Mr. Hollon married for his second wife Emma Burt, of Chemung, who survived him a number of years.
Elijah H. Horton moved to Liberty Corners the same year that Mr. Hollon came in, and cleared up the farm now occupied by J. W. Irvine.
James Blauvelt came to the hill from Chemung county, N. Y., in 1838 and in 1843 purchased the farm upon which he now resides.
Coonrad Mingos also settled at Liberty Corners in 1838, upon the place now occupied by his son, Joseph. He lived to be nearly 96 years of age and is the oldest person buried at Liberty Corners.
George Gilpin, not far from 1832, moved up Kent Run to
the place now occupied by Clark Johnson, being the first settler there.
William North, a native of Yorkshire, England, born in 1775, emigrated to America in 1820. For a time he resided in Northumberland county, Pa., where he married Mrs. Jane Smith nee Jane Fisher. He was a clothier by trade, and in 1832 came to Monroe and rented Mr. Fowler's factory, which he subsequently purchased. He improved the facilities and did a flattering business. He died Dec 21, 1868, and his son, Benjamin, succeeds him in the same business. Mary ( Mrs. Gould Phinney ) is a daughter, and William, a second son, resides in Philadelphia.
Larry Dunmore, Nathan Brown, Thomas Smith and John Edsall were among the early settlers up the South Branch. Smith settled the Blackman place ; Brown the place afterwards occupied by his son, Henry ; and Edsall the place afterwards occupied by his son, George--- McIntyre, Wm. Cox and Mr. Dunmore had occupied the Edsall place, respectively.
Charles Brown was born in Wysox, Oct 16, 1808. In 1837 he purchased a mill property at Greenwood and for several years engaged in lumbering. Quitting that business he devoted his time to farming, and continued until the time of his demise, Jan 28, 1874. Mr. Brown was known as the "horse farrier, and was called for miles to pronounce diseases. His knowledge of the horse was wonderful, and he seemed to determine his disease almost intuitively. His widow, "Delight Wilcox," resides upon the homestead.
George Tracy, a son of Solomon Tracy, one of the early
settlers of Ulster, engaged in the mercantile business at Towanda for
about two years, then in 1832 moved to Monroeton, where he continued the
same business in connection with lumbering. The last years of his life
he devoted to farming. He served one term as Associate Judge of Bradford
county, held the office of Justice of the Peace, etc. He was the father
of Dr. Geo. P. Tracy, of Burlington ; Burr R. Tracy, of Washington, D.
C., now engaged in the real estate business, and Henry C. Tracy, for many
years a merchant at Monroeton.
Squatters at an early day made beginnings in different parts of the township, but moved away after a short time. On the Summers place a log distillery and log house had been erected and covered with clapboards. In 1813 the clearings were covered with a second growth of timbers, fully four inches in thickness. This was known as the "Butler Clearing," the one on the Coolbaugh place as "Parker Meadows," and that on the Salisbury place as the "Massaker Clearing." These improvements are supposed to have been made by people who came in under the Connecticut title, but left after they had been despoiled of their possessions.
HABITS AND CUSTOMS.
Money, the pioneers had none ; and they were required to dress in the plainest and least expensive manner. Their common habiliments were pantaloons and dresses, made from flax for summer wear, and from wool for winter. "Buckskin trousers" were in fashion, and were not unfrequently worn by the men and boys. A. L. Cranmer, Esq., counted the
wealthiest man in Monroe, wore such when a boy. Roundabouts, or sailors'
jackets, took the place of coats.
Calico was less common than silk is now, and cost seventy-five cents per yard. She that could afford a dress made from seven yards of this material, wore "an extravagant garment." "The fashion was petticoats and short gowns." Shawls were made from pressed woolen cloth, and the finest home-made linen was bleached, and constructed into fine shirts for men and boys.
A lady's common dress was "copperas and white," as it was called, and "copperas and blue, two and two" for nice.
The women wore handkerchiefs, as a covering for the head, or bonnets of their own manufacture. It was not a strange occurrence to see a young lady, with her shoes and stockings in her hand, and a handkerchief about her head, while on her way to "meeting," in the log school house, or at some neighbor's cabin. When upon nearing the place of worship, she would sit down by the road-side and dress her feet. Garments were made to wear the longest possible, as it was very uncertain when the next could be had.
The boys had hats and caps, made by their mothers, from woolen cloth or straw, and sometimes, perhaps, from raccoon skins. Some wore knit caps, also, until "seal-skin caps," as they were called, came in fashion.
Garmets were fastened together with buttons constructed out of thread.
Nearly every wife had her spinning-wheel and loom, and manufactured her own cloth. Each did her own coloring, and the bark from a soft maple tree, hemlock, butternut or
"witch hazel" was used for drying purposes, also log-wood and smart-weed.
Copperas, alum, and sorrel were used to set the colors.
During the summer season the boys, girls and women, generally, went barefooted, as did some of the men. Rattlesnakes were without number, and were a great dread to the boys, when in search of the cows.
In the winter shoes with leggins were worn. Frequently it happened that some of the poorer families had no shoes, in which case the boys would heat large chips, to stand upon to keep their feet warm while chopping wood.
But few of the men had a "dress-up" suit. This consisted of knee-breeches, ornamented with buckles, long stockings, made from cotton, wool or silk, and shoes with buckles.
Samuel Cranmer, the Fowlers and a few others wore a "dress-up."
A lady's "dress-up" generally consisted of a linsey-woolsey suit, improved by pressing.
The food of the pioneers was coarse, and consisted of corn and rye bread, sometimes wheat, with potatoes. The last were generally baked in the fire-place, by covering them with ashes and coals. Mush and milk was not an uncommon diet. Venison could be had in abundance, for the killing, and brook trout for the catching. Deer and bear meat was made more appetizing by smoking it. Jerked venison was also a favorite article on the bill of fare. Sometimes bread was made out of wheat and rye bran. Milk was the main dependence, and was made a most palatable dish in several ways.
Stoves were not in use, and baking was done in fire-places
and stove bake ovens. The raw material for bread and cake was prepared
and put in the bake-kettle ( a low kettle-shaped iron pot with a cover
), which was then placed over coals in the hearth-stone. Upon the cover
of the kettle coals were also placed that the baking would be more evenly
done. "Johnny cakes" were baked in the long-handled frying-pans, which
were heated over the fire-places. The bake-kettle remained in use for some
years, when it was supplanted by the tin oven.
Maple sugar was used for sweetening purposes, and corn-cobs were burned in the bake kettle cover to get a substitute for saleratus. Maple syrup and honey took the place of butter, and bear's fat was used for shortening. Fried cakes were baked in pots of bear and raccoon fat. There not being many maple groves in Monroe, the pioneers frequently went to some neighboring settlement in the spring, and made sugar and syrup.
Browned rye, peas, beech-nuts, chestnuts and chickery were substituted for coffee, and sage, thyme, peppermint, spearmint, evans root, spice bush, sweet fern, pansy and hemlock boughs for tea. Imported tea and coffee were too costly, and could only be afforded when the "good mothers" had company. Moreover it could not be had, Jacob Bowman and Wm. Means brought in an occasional load of goods, but limited each family to a pound of coffee, and a half pound of tea, which lasted for a year. One lady says : "Jacob Bowman made a trip to the city, and, among other things, brought in some gingham, which we paid six shillings a yard for."
Herbs of all kinds were gathered and used for teas in
sickness, and each had its specific cure. For instance, elderblow, cat-nip
and worm-wood were used for children, and bone-set, pennyroyal, etc., for
Greased Paper, hung over an opening in the wall, afforded light for the cabins in the day-time. At night they were illuminated by the light, given out from the huge fire-places, and pick pine splinters into the chimney jambs. This furnished sufficient light for the mothers to sew, spin and weave by ; for the fathers to mend and make shoes, and the boys and girls to get their lessons.
"Aunt Mary Bull" says : "Many a time I have sewed till eleven o'clock at night by the light of a pitch-pine knot."
A supply of pitch-pine knots was generally put in before winter. Deer fat and lard were sometimes used for illuminating purposes, but not frequently.
Tallow lamps were finally introduced, and were used when tallow could be had, or lard spared. They were a cup-like construction, to contain animal fats, and could be hung against the wall. One end of a piece of cloth, answering as a wick, was dropped into the cup and the other end, which hung out, was lighted.
Tallow candles next followed, and subsequently lamps for burning coal oil.
------------The time of day was determined by "sun marks" or noon marks, upon the door or window frame. Finally the old-fashioned clocks without cases and with long cords were brought in and sold at fabulous prices.
Matches had not yet been invented, and fire was made by striking a piece of flint and steel, or the back of a jack-knife,
together, causing a spark, which was caught in a piece of punk, an inflammable
substance, formed from decayed wood, which was always kept in supply.
"Borrowing fire," as it was called, was not an unfrequent occurrence.
---- Wooden pails were substituted for tin, and wooden plates ( called "trenchers" ), bowls, etc., for earthenware. Wooden spoons and forks, also pewter plates, spoons and other table pieces were in use.
---- Sap troughs were substituted for cradles, and brooms were made out of young hickories.
Farming implements were very imperfect, as compared with those of modern invention. A plow was used with one handle, and a wooden mould board ; a crotched sapling with holes bored through, and supplied with wooden pins, answered as a harrow. Grain was sometimes "brushed in," by dragging a hemlock bush over the ground ; pitch-forks and hoes were manufactured by blacksmiths, and were very clumsy articles ; grain was threshed with flails, and cleaned by shaking it with a "hand-fan," a very laborious task. Fanning mills were not introduced till about 1825.
In lieu of a wagon, long sleds were generally used in hauling hay and grain, and in making trips to mill. Sometimes, however, hay was hauled to the stack by placing a bunch or more upon a brush, which formed a sort of sled ; and not unfrequently carried by two men, for some distance, by running two poles under a bunch, with a man at each end.
Logging and chopping bees were common, and the men and boys most cheerfully turned out with their ox-teams, or came
with their axes to assist their neighbor in getting a start. "On such
an occasion, a sheep would be killed, and boiled mutton and pot-pie had
in abundance, for dinner and supper."
Spinning bees were also in fashion. The lady getting up the bee, would distribute tow among her lady friends, and on a day set apart, they would bring in their skins and enjoy a visit and supper with her. The affair generally wound up in the evening by a dance, or "snap-and-wink-em," and other games. Sometimes, however, the ladies would take their spinning-wheels under their arms and go to the house of their friend, do a day's work and enjoy a visit together at the same time.
Quilting and sewing parties were common, and mothers alike came with their needles to assist their friend in need.
Husking bees, apple cuts and spelling schools were more of modern date, and dancing was the chief entertainment of the young people. Daniel Lyon was the violinist of those days.
Every mother taught her daughter to spin, weave, make garmets, make bread, etc., and the young lady that showed herself the best skilled in those branches of housekeeping was the first to find a suitor. How great the change !
Courting is said to have been "short and sweet," and if a young swain afforded a horse he would take his lady love riding by placing her on his horse behind himself. The greatest economy had to be practiced, and the wife vied with her husband in trying to get along. She not only did the work pertaining to the house, but helped to gather the hay
and grain, and not unfrequently assisted in the fallow, or the sugar-bush.
The people took great delight in visiting each other, and would generally go on foot, or with ox-sleds. A meal was always had together, the hostess giving the best the house afforded, which was sometimes one thing and sometimes another. The guest never forgot her knitting work or sewing, and would visit and work at the same time. The kitchen was the parlor, sitting-room, and all. There were no castes then, and the old people say---"those were the happiest days we ever saw." One neighbor envied not another, but, on the contrary, did all in his power to encourage and help along. All dwelt together in "brotherly love," living as true men and women, without the bigotry of a selfish nature.
Liquor was always had in abundance at bees, raisings, etc., and was a very common drink---even church members and preachers inbibing. The best could be had for twenty-five cents a gallon, and when a tippler got boosy, he was not a week in getting over it.
Hay was scarce, and cattle fed largely upon browse---the tender shoots of trees, especially of the maple and basswood. Cows roamed in the woods, and were found by the tinkle of the bells, which they wore about their necks. Pigs were fatted upon hickory nuts, or taken to the beachnut woods.
From the above it is very easy to comprehend the following poem, which was very popular, several years ago:
"How wondrous are the changes, Jim,
Since fifty years ago,
When girls wore dresses made at home
And boys wore pants of tow ;
When shoes were made of cow-hide,
And socks of our own wool,
And young folks did a halt-day's work
Before and after school.
The ladies sung and danced so gay,
Beside the spinning-wheel,
And practiced late and early then,
On spindle swift and reel ;
The boys would ride bare back to mill
A dozen miles or so,
And didn't fear a sun-burnt brow,
Some fifty years ago.
The people rode to meeting, Jim !
On bob-sleds or in sleighs,
And wagons rode as easy too,
As buggies now-a-days ;
And oxen answered well to draw,
' Though now they'd be too slow,
For people lived not half so fast,
Say fifty years ago.
And well do I remember yet
The Wilson's patent stove ;
Which father bought and paid for with
Some cloth our folks had wove ;
O ! how the neighbors wondered
When we got the thing to go,
They said ' twould bust and kill us all
' Bout fifty years ago.
Yes, many things are different, Jim,
From what we used to see
Some ways are altered for the worse
And some far better be ;
And what on earth we're coming to
Does any body know ?
For everything has changed so much
Since fifty years ago."
THE HUSKING BEE.
"In early times social life, was all aglow, and sometimes ' fun was
fast and furious' ---- the quiltings, raisings, loging-bees, apple-cuts,
and times of neighborhood gathering were times of great social and convivial
talkativeness, song and merriment. The husking had decidedly my boyish
preference, because of its surroundings and the usual accompaniments of
the occasion. It will do to think of yet, it was so delicious ; it will
do to describe, if my pen was a pencil, it would do to enjoy again, just
for the sake of the pie. Here is the husking bee of olden times !
"The corn was stripped from the stalks and hauled by loads out upon a clean grass second growth meadow, and there piled up in a row three or four feet high, six or seven feet across the base, and from twenty to thirty rods long, and all prepared for an evening bee. The whole male population of the neighborhood were invited, and usually all attended if the evening was fine.
"Adjacent to the pile of corn, was a dry pine stub standing about twenty-five feet high, rich with fat pitchy streaks, and looked for all the world as if it had stood there on its four-foot base for fifty years, in anxious expectancy or just this
occasion. At dusk fire about is communicated to the top of the stub
and a beautiful light beams forth in full harmony with the evening's pastime.
The owner of the pile of corn takes his seat, as soon as he has made husks
to sit on, husks his corn, and throws it over the pile in front of him,
into clean ground, and all the neighbors come and do as he is doing.
"Soon the pile is strung with busy men from end to end, each man full of talk, the news of the day, deaths, births, marriages, thefts, politics, crops, prices of grain, goods and land ; the abundance of game, the success of the recent hunt ; and the probability of the next wedding. But hark ! hear those ears of corn fall on the pile over in front. A perfect storm, a bushel a minute is a small estimate now, say five bushels and we would be nearer the mark. Hands work, corn flies, and tongues move, time speeds, and the work is being done with a will. Half an hour has passed in this busy way, when the voice of the old gray-haired veteran owner of the pile of corn, rings out upon the still atmosphere of the evening, in a stentorian sound, ' boys the jug, the jug, pass that jug, ' and in a moment the jug is started ; handed along from hand to hand, and from mouth to mouth along the entire pile, until each man has taken a moderate sip of the pure 'Old Rye,' just from the still-house, and no corn in it in those days. This was repeated about once in every half hour through the entire evening, and yet they did not get drunk, ' but just had plenty.'
"How beautifully the stub burned, and how fast time flew I cannot now tell, I hear a voice calling for a song, a song,
and in a moment a clear masculine voice rings out upon the evening atmosphere far surpassing many of our modern operatic performances, while all listen and all husk. It seems to me as if I could almost hear them now, as they sung, each man his favorite piece, such as ' Barbara Allen,' ' Kate and the Cows Hide,' battle of ' Lake Champlain,' ' Perry's Victory,' ' The Jolly Plow Boy,' and sometimes ' Old Hundred' would be sung with a zest that showed that devotion was not all left behind by the puritanic mass. Now finally as a closing song we will hear them sing the battle and victory of New Orleans. Here it :
"General Jackson on such occasions lucky ;
Soon round the General flocked,
With rifles ready cocked
The hunters of old Kentucky."
"Every man was half a horn and half an Alligator."
"This would generally bring down the whole field with shouts and yells in perfect keeping with the old Jacksontonian times ; storm after storm of applause either to the song or the General, it made no difference, the people felt patriotic, and must find vent in some direction. Shout they would and shout they did to their hearts utmost satisfaction. It is now ten o'clock or a trifle later, when it is announced that the corn is all husked, and all the men rise up, repair to the brilliant light around the remaining stump of the stub, and take a good finishing ' imbibe ' from the old stone jug. Here a few wrestling matches are enjoyed, where some of the young experts try their skill to the mirth and merriment of all.
"Just about here the old veteran of crops and field, steps to the front
with his hat in his hand, his iron-gray locks shining in the light of the
stub, and in a moment all is still. He thanks all present for their presence
and help, hopes soon to have an opportunity to reciprocate the favor, assures
them ' one and all' that he will not be slow to respond to an invitation
of the kind, and concludes his truly native eloquence by inviting all men
and boys forthwith to his house for some refreshments ' come on boys, come
"At the house : it was a large double log-house in those days, and a place of comfort, quietude and repose. The luxuries of life were dispensed with, while the necessaries were fully enjoyed. That old fashioned fire-place, large and ample, with its ample maplewood fire, dispensing both light and heat ; the cheerful and tidy appearance of all within, told plainly of days of sturdy integrity, industry and thrift.
"The matron of the house with her daughters had anticipated the occasion fully, all was in readiness, cheerfulness and moderate quietude ; that well starched cap on the mother's head, those nice white clean aprons worn by the daughters, as well as the tables loaded with the substantial cookery of the times, all told of the times, the occasion, and of a good hearty welcome. All are invited to eat, as there are passed around, doughnuts, apple-pies, pumpkin-pies, berry-pies, cheese and cider almost new ; and all eat as if they had not devoured anything before for days. See that boy in the act of craming a large piece of pumpkin-pie into his mouth, until he has daubed both his nose and his chin, and appears to wish that his mouth and throat were both larger.