Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter V: Difficulties of early farming, pp. 114-120 PDF (1.6 MB)
-1! lHIBBARD-IIISTORY OF AGRICULTURE IN DANE COUNTY. 115 of barrels of pork are annually imported from below on account of a lack of farmers to supply the great demand for this article from the mines." 62 Some idea of the manner of making a home in the wilderness may be gathered from the reminiscences of an old Rock county pioneer: "During the summer of '37 I made a claim on the bank of the Rock river three miles above Jefferson. In December fol- lowing I took an ax, a ham of pork, and a blanket, walked down to Jefferson, bought a few loaves of bread of E. G. Darling, also borrowed a boat of him-went up to my claim to make the neces- sary improvements to hold it until spring. "I worked upon my claim for four weeks, chopping trees, build- ing fences, etc. Having made the necessary improvements on my claim, I went back to Rock river to work until spring. During the winter I picked enough cat-tails to make me a bed. Also caught and salted a keg of fish, bought a yoke of oxen and pre- pared to go onto my claim in the spring. In April, '38, I bor- rowed the hind wheels of a wagon, put in a temporary tongue and box, loaded up my shanty outfit, drove to Ft. Atkinson and crossed the river on the ferry, thence to Jefferson; again ferried across, cut my own road through the timber, three miles, and reached my claim. The next day I took the wagon on the boat borrowed of Mr. Darling and returned it to Bark river running the distance of twenty miles, and returned to my farm the next day ready for farming. I cleared about two acres, made a harrow with wooden teeth, and planted the land with corn and potatoes. I paid four dollars a bushel for seed corn to plant. The corn not coming up the first time, I replanted June 3, paying sixpence an ear for the seed. Raised a splendid crop of corn and potatoes. The nearest grist mill was at Beloit and several Jefferson people carried their corn there to grind. One of my neighbors, Mr. Britton, dug a hole in an oak stump for a mortar and pounded his corn to supply a large family. Having raised something to live on and having built comfortable houses to live in, we all turned our attention to building roads through the timber. A territorial road was opened from Milwaukee to Madison by the United States Government in 1838 and '39-at this time I went to Milwaukee for a load of pro- "Wfto*M Buu rer, November 2, 1839.
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