The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY

Chapter VI
Log House Furniture

Online Edition by Holice & Deb

 

CHAPTER VI.

LOG HOUSE FURNITURE.

Beds and Bedding -- Fire Place -- Hooks and Trammel -- Bake Pan --Table -- Chairs -- Pewter Spoons -- Blue Edged Plates -- Black Earthen Tea pots.

All household furniture used at first in the log houses of the farmers, at their first beginning in the woods on the Holland Purchase, was about as primitive in its character, as their new dwellings. It was such as was adapted to the wants and circumstances of its owner, and such as he would readily procure.

For temporary use, a few hemlock boughs on the floor, covered with blankets, made a comfortable bed. If a better bed and bedstead was wanted, it was made by boring holes in the logs at proper height; putting in rods fastened to upright posts; and upon this bedstead, laying such a bed and bedding, as the taste and ability of the party could furnish. To a cross pole over the fire place, kettles were suspended by wooden pr iron hooks; often by an instrument called a trammel, which was a flat iron bar filled with holes, on a hook, from the pole, on which a kettle suspended on a hook, might be raised or lowered at pleasure, by moving the hook from one hole to another.

Their nearest approach to an oven was a cast iron bake pan, covered with a moveable lid, standing on legs, and lifted by a bail. Dough was placed in this vessel, and coals put on and under it, when in use.--

Another cooking utensil was a frying pan, with a handle long enough to be held in the hand of the cook, while the meat was frying in the pan over the fire. The table was at first a board, or box cover laid on a barrel; and many of the first families have taken their meals with the keenest relish, for some time after moving into a new log house, off a barrel head, or a chest cover. Their chairs were often blocks of logs, or benches and stools, of home manufacture. It was many years after the first settlement of Orleans County, before a stove of any kind was seen here.

The pewter mugs and platters, and the wooden trenchers that graced the shelves and tables of our grand-mothers, among the early settlers of New England, were not commonly seen in the outfit furnished the young couple commencing housekeeping among the first, on this part of the Holland Purchase.--Spoons of tinned iron, or pewter--home made; and a slender stock of necessary crockery, including the veritable "blue edged plates,' comprised the table furniture; not however forgetting the black earthen tea pot, in which the tea beverage for the family was duly prepared, whether the ingredient to be steeped was boughten tea, or sage, or pennyroyal, or any other herb of the fields. These little black steepers, holding about a quart, were claimed by their owners to make a better article of tea, than any other material; and were used for every day, sometime after block tin had become the fashionable article for a tea pot, which increasing wealth and pride had introduced. To this day, one of these interesting relics of antiquity is occasionally seen, with its spout probably broken off, adorning the upper back shelf of some kitchen pantry, in the great new house, which has succeeded the log one, carefully preserved, and annually dusted by the loving hands of the venerable dame, who used it once; or, of her grand-daughters, who, inheriting the time-honored frugality of the family, in turning every thing to profitable account, make even the old teapot useful in storing a few garden seeds.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas

 

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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