HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- Lifestyle of Early Holmes County

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))  This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small about of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

The following is a quote from the writings of Mrs J H Godwin on the early days:  "The first settlers were typical of the early Americans who in the unlimited freedom granted by unoccupied, wide-open spaces, were in not hast to choose a permanent place of abode. Indeed many were habitual wanderers, who, ever, and anon must seek more elbow room, to find it in the quite of primeval forests basking in a balmy, semi-tropical sun, with his nearest neighbor miles away.  He found a spot to his liking, water near at hand, plenty of game, good range for the cow, pigs and chickens he had brought with him, struck camp and built a log cabin; rather inadequate looking to the man of today, but wholly in keeping with the early settler's manner of life.

"A neighbor, though miles away, would ride over and help "raise" the logs.  In case of no neighbor, smaller logs were used and pulled on skids, using ropes.  The cracks between the logs were sealed with split boards.  If transient minded, packed dirt served as a floor, and sometimes a surface of clean sand was given it.  Others used puncheons -- logs split and hewed smooth with a broadax, edges fitted closely together, and underside notched to fit the sleepers of round logs beneath.  A steady floor, yes.

"If permanent, a larger room was built later and the first building used as a kitchen.  Later a third building was erected alongside the second, leaving a wide open hall between, a real breezeway, most pleasant during the summer.  Thus it acquired the designation "dog-trot" house, as it provided a convenient avenue of travel for the watchful, ever-faithful family dog.  This was home in the truest sense of the word and the latch-string always hung on the outside to anyone who chanced to pass that way.  No one was turned away.

"Life was simple.  His domain was unbounded and undisputed.  He was a law unto himself.  Society made no demands on him and he happily and unmolested pursued his rather hard life in his own way.

"Still life did not present so many problems after all.  Game in the woods, bacon in the smoke house, potatoes in the bank, cow on the range, and a calf in the pen.  One didn't have to go to the grocery store every day.  No drugstore bills to pay at the end of the month.  He look ahead and the occasional trip to the crossroads store or small town, forty, fifty, or more miles away, brought ample supplies of the few things his small clearing did not produce.  A day's travel to the little water mill hid away in a secluded spot where the fish were so active that one had to "get behind a tree", so said, "to bait his hook" brought back good corn meal for a month or six-week's bread.

"Time for hunting, fishing, time for fiddlin'.  A pot of good old-fashioned lye hominy always on the stove."

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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM