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Arad Thomas.

Pioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations online

. (page 23 of 32)
Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 23 of 32)
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of fourteen miles travel through the woods, God only
knows.



324 PIONEER HISTORY

We started as early as possible in the morningj
overturned one load of goods, and fearing we should all
perish in the woods, we unhitched our teams from the
sleds some time in the night, patting our oxen before
us, the women being supported by holding fast to
the tails of the oxen, and thus pursuing our way
through the trackless forest four miles, we arrived ai
a log house about four o'clock in the morning. The
liouse had been partially chinked but not plastered.
Here we tarried the next day and night, during which
time we went back, shod our sleds and got them out
of the forest.

AVe had to pay one dollar each for a joke of oxen
one night at hay, and one dollar a bushel ^for oats.
So in about forty days, like the Israelites of old, we
reached the promised land.

Tn October, before this time, I had been to Chautau-
(pia county and contracted for a piece of land there,
to do which 1 traveled out there from Massachusetts,
and back again with my knapsack on my back, on
foot, averaging fifty miles travel per day on the
Journey.

The third day after arriving on my land, I pro-
cured some boards and built a shanty twelve feet
square, nailing two of the corners to two standing
trees, making a board roof, with not a tree cut
down near it.

The year 1816 was the 'cold season;" corn was
cut off by frost and it was almost impossible to get
bread. For three weeks before harvest we had
nothing to eat but some very small new potatoes, but-
ter and milk. By changing the order of having these
dislies, we made quite a variety, lived^ 7iig7i, with
hopes buoyant, and worked hard. Here we cleared
up a new farm, raised an orchard from apple seeds
brought out from Massachusetts, and also raised
eight children.



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OF OKLEANS COUNTY. 325

I went into lumbering business in 1832 ; took my
lumber to Cincinnati to sell, but the stagnation in
trade, and scarcity of money, owing to the course
taken by the Old United States Bank, after its re-
newed charter was vetoed by President Jackson,
made it impossible for me to dispose of my lumber
without great loss, which obliged me to sell my prop-
erty in Chautauqua county to pay my debts, and I
found even then I had not enough by $500 to pay up.
That deficiency I afterwards earned by work at mason
business and paid up in full.

I removed to Orleans county in 1833, and worked
as a mason several years.

Previous to the opening of the Erie canal, I have
paid seventy-five cents per 3'ard for sheeting, and
seventy-five cents per yard for calico for my wife a
dress. I have also paid fifteen dollars a barrel for
salt.

I have laid the corners of over fifty log buildings,
and have helped raise as many frames. I have spent
more than six months of my labor gratuitously, in
opening new public highways, and building cause-
ways.

LEVI DAVIS."

Ridgeway, February, 1863.

.JERE31IAII BKOWTs'.

" I was born in Cheshire, Massachusetts, July 7.
1780. My father, who was an officer in the revolu-
tionary war, died when I was seven years old. ]
lived with my eldest brotlier until I was sixteen years
old, and then ran away from him and worked out
by the month the next seven years.

When I was nineteen j^ears old I traveled with my
knapsack on ni}- back, on foot from Massachusetts to
Farmington, Ontario county, N. Y., spent a short
time there, then returned as I came, most of tlie



Online LibraryArad ThomasPioneer history of Orleans county, New York. Containing some account of the civil divisions of western New York, with brief biographical notices of early settlers, and of the hardships and privations → online text (page 23 of 32)