Welcome to the start of my Pioneers series! I’m diving into the details of the day-to-day lives of 1840’s-1850’s pioneer families, both settled and on the go. In this series, I’m exploring the ways settlers lived their lives and how we can learn from their lost ways of living.
With no modern store to run to, women and men of the time grew their own food, dug their own wells and built homes with few tools at their disposal, or they did without. We can apply many of their lost methods to our own, modern-day lives to persevere through the unprecedented times we are faced with.
In fact, many are choosing to mirror the pioneer’s lifestyle to get back to a healthier, simpler life. People of the time ate organic, pesticide-free food, enjoyed (often) clean, non-chlorinated water from their personal wells or from streams and led environmentally-friendly lives, wasting none and leaving little footprints in their wake.
My goal with this series is to highlight the importance of preserving this way of life. Today, we are all too dependent on our local grocery store, but what if that supply were interrupted? What would we bathe with? How would we clothe ourselves? How would we eat? We’d return to the fundamentals of pioneer life to answer these questions.
Pioneers Decision to Travel West
We've all heard of the Oregon Trail, but pioneers settled in all parts of western territories. Growing factories and crowding pushed pioneers out of towns, along with the promise of a better life. Better jobs, better living conditions and independence from factories.
Life before Departing
The United States, still somewhat freshly a country, quickly boomed with industry. Despite the textile and goods trade, many pioneers still made goods from home. Many became fed-up with factories overcoming their rural communities and set sail for unchartered territory.
Of course, we all know the pioneers faced significant hardships on the trail. Disease, injury, snakebites, starvation and the cold killed many trailblazers. Many walked along besides mules or horses as they pulled wagons, to reduce the weight of the load.
They brought along carefully chosen possessions, not that they had many. Trunks with clothing, a milk cow tied to the back of the wagon and food could be found in most load outs.
Settling out West
Once pioneers found a settlement, the struggle was not over. Along with daily chores of cooking, creating household staples from scratch, hunting, milking and much more, they were tasked with building a settlement from scratch.
Depending on where a homestead was staked, settlers may or may not have had neighbors to help with their house-building and barn-raising.
I'm looking forward to increasing my own knowledge of how pioneers lived, through the toughest of conditions, and thrived. I hope I can shine a preserving light on skills lost to time, and convenience. Skills that may prove life-saving to have in our own portfolio, one day soon.
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