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Gard, Robert Edward / My land, my home, my Wisconsin : the epic story of the Wisconsin farm and farm family from settlement days to the present

Of wheat the golden, and the new machines,   pp. 19-36 PDF (11.0 MB)

Page 31

A proua 1Imu wniurn LU FIUtW inFrUrUMiig macrminu wa purunaseo.
it. It was no crucible for weaklings. The soil was the
mortar that held the family together. Cooperative
marketing plans came later. First it was a test of
man's strength and will against nature.
    Times were hard for the early settlers, but no-
body starved. Game was plentiful. Passenger or
wood pigeons clouded the sky and were harvested by
the barrel. Cattle and hogs were often driven into
Wisconsin from Illinois. The prairie racers, as very
lean hogs were called, were said to be so thin that fat
had to be added to the meat when it was fried. It
was a great day when the settlers discovered that
the streams were full of suckers. They ate fish and
more fish.
    Edwin Bottomley broke a little land and acquired
part ownership in a span of oxen. In this new wide
country he could take his rifle and walk for miles,
never meeting another person, watching the way the
birds flew, and appreciating the forests and streams
with virgin timber and clear water. His immediate
concerns were his family, the land, and survival.
Dear Father:
    I stated in my last letter that I thought we could not
get any land Broke for spring crops which was the case
But I am happy to inform you we got five acres broke.
    the 80 acres of Land which we have Bought runs half
a mile from east to west and a quarter of a mile from
North to South about 10 acres of the east end is wood
land and the other 70 acres is intercepted with trees in
various places in some parts of it we could plough 10 or
15 acres without a tree on it the Soil is of various quali-
ties that on the flat land is about 2 feet thick of a Black
Loam and a Clay Bottom which is the Best for indian
Sr~hers were a jolly crew who ate everything.

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