Settler’s Cabins

The settlers homes were log cabins. There were two standard sizes for these structures – 12×14 feet or 14x16feet. Nails were scarce and many log cabins were built entirely without them. The shingles were kept in place by poles laid across them. The beds, chairs, and tables were made of puncheons. Woven elm bark or hickory slats made the bottoms of the pioneers beds. Where wooden wedges would not tighten the crevices in the walls, the chinks in the walls of the cabin were filled with clay. The fireplaces were centered affairs, often occupying one whole side of the cabin. They were made of stone and held together by mortar or stiff clay. The chimneys were made the same way or by laying iron-wood sticks cross-wise and plastering them with mud. Logs six to ten feet in length were burned in these fireplaces. The front log would be the largest and toughest.  Back of it was the smaller log. Between them was piled the smaller wood.  Over the fire hung an iron kettle, in which everything by way of boiling, roasting, frying and baking was done. The heat from these fireplaces was great, but it was not evenly distributed. The old settlers used to tell of freezing on one side and roasting on the other. The fire was banked at night, and the settlers would head for bed. Furs and quilts kept them warm but it was an ordeal to rise in the morning. In some of the cabins there were lofts and in order to get to them pins were driven into the wall. The floor of the loft would be puncheons laid loose on the beams.

*Below is a scene from early Ohio.


family hut