Page:History of Richland County, Ohio.djvu/266

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done for; they'll tuck you unter next time, an' nobody but your booby of a self to blame for it!"

In very early times one of the sorest privations that the poor pioneer encountered, was the scarcity of salt, Mush, hominy and cornbread without a savor of salt was very insipid food. It was very precious, and when they had a little, they dealt it out generously to all, even though a teacupful was a man's allowance to carry home to his family. Women used to borrow a "mite of salt," and a "settin' o' butter." The workingmen—and they all belonged to this class—nearly starved at first for meat victuals. They wanted pork. Turkey and bear and venison did not seem to touch the right place. In 1811, a few of them joined in killing a large hog which had been lost so long in the wilderness that he had become wild, and was a ferocious creature, with over-jutting white tushes and standing bristles. After several ineffectual rifle and musket shots, he was brought to the ground. The meat tasted well to the poor men, and the hide made good sole leather.

In those early times, say before the pioneer had raised crops, and when mills were distant, they lived on mush and corn-bread made from the meal of corn that they had pounded in a hominy-block. The block was made by burning out, or hollowing out, a stump. By placing wood in the center of it, and laying on stones to become red-hot, a hollow could be made deep enough for use. The corn was pounded by an ax, or an iron wedge in the end of a stick. When sifted, the finest of the meal made bread, the next mush, and the third grade was grits or hominy. This, with butter and milk, constituted the daily food. Without salt, one can imagine what the living of the poor pioneer amounted to; and it must not be forgotten that many of them owned no cow. One of this class of men when interviewed not long ago said, "Yes, times were pretty hard for new-comers, but I want you to remember that there was a smart sprinkling of Virginians ahead of us here in Richland County, and the Lord never made better people. If they killed a deer, or a beef, they always shared liberally with their neighbors, and especially with those in need. I mind the year after we came, my father took down with the ague, and things looked dark enough for a while; but, when old Billy Slater, on the Clear Fork killed a fat cow, he loaded a lot of the choicest on to a horse and brought it to us; and old John Davis, another Virginian, looked after us as though we were his kindred. The hospitality and good will and courtesy of the Virginia pioneer were without a parallel; they were so kind and cordial, so much ahead of the thrifty, selfish Yankees, in their gracious deeds and their generous conduct. That phrase, 'the latch-string is always out,' is full of meaning"—the quivering old voice grew husky with emotions that overpowered him, and he was left alone with his thoughts and olden memories.

Salt was obtained at Zanesville and Sandusky, and, as there were no roads, it had to be packed on horses, following the trail, one behind another. At one time, Andy Craig, in company with two other men, brought a barrel of salt—280 pounds—from Sandusky, on the back of one horse. Andy had a daughter, a fair, fat girl, a young woman toward whom Johnny Appleseed was somewhat attracted, and for a time Johnny frequently spoke of "Hanner Craig." Boys and girls laughed slyly, but they did not venture to joke the kind old man.

Distilleries were common. To one township alone there were no less than six in full blast at one time. Whisky was currency for which grain was exchanged. It was a common beverage among all classes, a social habit, and its use was not abused over-much. It helped men at log-rollings and raisings and gatherings, kept their spirits up, and made them friendly and chatty. Sometimes it was the incentive to fights