- Sod Home
- A man stands in the doorway of a sod home on his farmstead
- Sketch of first schoolhouse
- Immigrants Flock to Iowa
- Come to Iowa
- Immigrant Transportation
- Pioneers Travel in Groups
- Early Travelers Face Danger
- Pioneers Leave Civilization
- Sod Houses
- Interior of Settler Cabins
- Pioneer Children
Interior of Settler Cabins
Cabins were small, dark and smelly. Everyone lived and slept in one room with a dirt floor, sharing their lives with mice, rats and insects. The settler’s bed, often sleeping the entire family, was merely straw filled ticking lying on a hard wooden frame.
For light, at first we had grease lamps. In a shallow dish we first took a soft rag, twisted it then dipped one end in lard. Laying that one end on the side of the dish, we poured melted lard over it. And it was ready to light.
Windows in the cabin were small, to offer some protection against the bitter winter winds. Though they were covered with an oilpaper to allow just a little light inside. Keeping the wood box filled was a constant duty. The fire was kept going all the time. Flint and steel were used to start the fire. Settlers who chose the open prairie were faced with a shortage of wood and were forced find substitute fuels. In some parts of Iowa, roots and branches of various shrubs, prairie grass, hay and sometimes flax were twisted into knots for fuel. The fireplace was the center of the pioneer home, quite often it occupied an entire wall. Both furnace and stove, it provided warmth during bitter winters and heat for cooking.
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