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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

What Was It Like In The County 150 Years Ago?

Dallas Bogan on 13 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
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What was life in Warren County 150 years ago? It was the sound of the old wooden bucket, the creaking of the well-sweep, the whetting of the scythe, the whistling of the old spinning wheel, the dipping of candles, the beating of the loom, the huskings at night, the ring of the ax from the dense forests, all in another time, another era.
Imagine a group of twenty or thirty men, all wielding their sickles beneath a blistering sun, harvesting the golden grain that lay in a mass upon the ground. Each man was paid a silver half-dollar for his day's work, which was from sunrise to sunset.
Summer clothing was obtained by the sowing of the flax seeds. When flax fiber is bleached to a dazzling white it produces an attractive appearance for apparel goods as well as tablecloths and napkins. The yarn and fabric produced from the woody stem of the flax plants are called linen. Shearing of the sheep was the first step in the production of winter clothing. Next the wool had to be washed and taken to the carding machine and fulling mill.
The grand spinning wheel was the next step, the winding on the reel and knotting of each cut of yarn, the scouring of the skeins, and last, but not least, the coloring was applied.
The young lady of the house had a head full of sense. She would create bright colors and reasonably succeed in design and intent. She not only applied the coloring to the yarn, but also wove it into cloth.
Her mission was to appear in the presence of a young man in her newly homespun flannel and presumably win his heart. The chivalrous young man would present himself at the lady's home and immediately adapt himself to the surroundings.
At bedtime, if the cabin had but one room, he would excuse himself, exit the premises, and allow the elderly folks to retire. If the weather was perhaps a bit chilly, he might possibly return a little too soon, a stunt he likely would not repeat in the future.
Incoming of the New Year was celebrated by the custom of a company of twenty or more young men (one was chosen as captain) with heavy loaded muskets who would go from house to house throughout the neighborhood.
A residence would be chosen and the captain would call to those within and ask if they had any objection to a New Year's salute. If no objection was raised, the muskets would ring out in a loud thunderous roar, which would nearly raise the cabin off its support.
A company of men once stationed themselves in front of the Shaker family at the Center house. A call was presented to the residents as to whether a salute to New Year's should be made. No response was heard.
The captain ordered a discharge of muskets. Immediately following the explosion the entire company of men disbanded as quickly as possible, fearing the consequences.
The many sugar camps in the spring were an affair that kept the farming multitude busy. Because of constant tending these furnaces of fire deprived many a young man of his sleep. Fires of the neighboring camps could be seen ablaze all hours of the day and night. An interchange of visiting suspended the boredom and made life very gratifying.
The pioneers often took pleasure trips. These excursions were taken either on horseback or in a two-horse wagon.
Mrs. George Duckworth traveled on horseback from the locality of Lebanon to Urbana in one day. She carried her little son, Bobby, in her lap. The toddler survived the round trip and later became a coal dealer in Lebanon.
Joseph Mulford and his wife, Rhoda, made a delightful trip in 1816 from Lebanon to Cape May County, N. J., in a two-horse wagon. They spent twenty-one days going and twenty days returning. They often spoke of it as a splendid journey.
A.W. Reynolds dealt extensively in hogs in the vicinity of Urbana. He herded many large droves to Cincinnati by way of Beedle's Station.
Some of these animals were said to run like deer. If one of these bristly creatures decided to run back, it would require two men on horses, a boy and a big dog to head it off, after racing with it a mile or two.
The boy with his dog, on one occasion, received a fippenny- bit for their services of about three hours hard yanking with a hog that refused to cross the bridge at Beedle's Station.

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This page created 13 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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