Many of the homes of the homesteaders had only one room with dirt floors. People ate, worked and slept in the same room.
The fireplace was used for cooking and for heating the home. The fireplace was built of stone and had a large chimney. If there wasn't enough Wood then twisted straw and corn stalks were burned. Even buffalo chips and cow chips were gathered for fuel.
Iron stands (called andirons) were used to hold the burning logs and a metal rod held the iron cooking pots. A poker was used to move the logs around. Ashes were scooped out with a shovel and saved for making soap. A bucket (pail) of water was kept near the fireplace in case a fire had to be put out.
Soups and stews were cooked in iron pots and pans. A long spoon was used for stirring.
The Dutch oven was a cast iron pot with a lid and legs. The pot was set on the hot coals in the fireplace. Hot coals were also placed on the lid of the pot. The Dutch oven was used for cooking many things including bread, puddings, meat, cakes, stews and casseroles.
items found in a settler's home
In the evening the family would sit by the fireplace. Homemade rugs were laid on the floor for added warmth. Men and boys carved things out of wood. The women and girls knitted or did needlework (embroidery).
Later the stove became more popular than the fireplace because less wood was used to heat up a room.
There wasn't much furniture in a home - a table, some chairs or benches made of split logs and a cupboard for dishes. Most of the furniture was handmade.
There were shelves on the walls and wooden pegs for hanging up pots and pans as well as clothing. Clothing was also kept in chests or trunks. A cradle was made for the baby. The family slept on wooden beds with ropes stretched across the frame to hold the straw mattresses. The beds were covered with homemade feather quilts.
wash stand and water pitcher
Water was heated up on the stove or fireplace. In the summertime water was heated outdoors. The clothes were scrubbed on a washboard with homemade soap.
washing, ironing and making soap | items used for washing and ironing
| Survival - food & clothing | School, general store, blacksmith |
| Inside a settler's home | Transportation | Fun & games | Pioneer communities |
| Links | Canada | Web Pages for Students |
graphics - credits