Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Excerpt from Esther's Town

A fireplace provided the heat and was the stove to bake bread and prepare the meals. No family intentionally allowed the fire to go out, even in the heat of summer, when a bed of coals was kept outdoors for use when needed for cooking. There were no matches. A trestle-like table and a cupboard supported on one wall were provinces of the housewife. On another wall a rifle, bullet pouch, and a powder horn hung from pegs. The luxury of kerosene lamps was to come later and electric light much later yet. A shallow dish of lard or other grease with a loosely twisted cotton rag in it for a wick provided illumination of a sort. More sophisticated and somewhat scarce were candles fashioned from a mold that was shared by the settlement--an improvement upon dishes of grease. But often an open fireplace provided the family's only lighting on winter evenings.

Deemer Lee, Esther's Town.

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