Friday, October 22, 2010

Stepping Back in Time: Millard's Crossing

I can't believe it's already been a week since we went to Millard's Crossing and I'm just now posting the pictures! This trip was filled with hands-on activities for the kids, and our guide, Roz, made it loads of fun!  There's a slight chance I may have been a little camera-happy while we were there, so prepare yourself for picture overload! :)

Our tour started off in the Free Methodist church.  The "free" part of Free Methodist has two meanings:  (1) They separated themselves from mainstream Methodists because they didn't agree with much of their doctrine, and (2) they didn't believe you should be charged a pew fee to hear the Word of God, which was actually a common practice at the time.

This is the rope you pull to ring the church bell.
The kids got to look at some of the tools that were common during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Starting at the left:  (1) This type of ax was used to chop down trees, and then another kind was used to shape them for building.  (2) This "mallet" was made from a solid piece of wood.  (3) This is a pot scrubber that was actually made of metal.  It's like the Brillo pad's great-granddaddy!  (4) This push broom was the coolest, and it had us stumped until Roz explained it to us.  It was basically a big block of wood with holes drilled in it.  Most of the holes were straight up and down, and people inserted corn husks into them.  The hole in the middle was drilled at an angle, and a broom handle was put in it.  (5) This one had us even more stumped than the push broom.  These were blinders you would put over your bull's eyes so he would go where you led him without putting up a fight.  Apparently a bull that can't see doesn't fight.
This is a pump organ.  See the pedals under Roz's feet?  A person playing this organ had to continually pump them while playing.  In addition, there are paddles that controlled things such as the volume of the organ.  (You can see them by her knees.)  So a person playing this organ had to move her knees (picture a chicken impersonation), pump with her feet, and play with her hands.  (And then go home and take a nap from the workout!)
Our next stop was the one-room schoolhouse.
Roz rang the bell for school to begin and had the students line up at the door—girls in front and boys in back.

Did you see the message here?  Clever, huh?  I didn't catch it until my mom pointed it out.
Boy, have times changed!  (You can click to enlarge.)
All the girls wore a bonnet to school, and all the boys wore a cap.  I love the look on Hannah's face.  She was ready to take it all in!
I know I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure this kid would have been on Little House on the Prairie if she had been alive back then!
First up:  Fingernail check.  Students were given a hand and face check at the beginning of school every day.  This was a poor country school and the families couldn't afford a doctor visit, so cleanliness was very important.  If their fingernails were dirty or too long, they received licks.  (Well, they would have 100 years ago, anyway.)
Next up:  Quill pen writing.  If I had known we were going to do this here, I probably would have refrained from dismantling Hannah's Indian headdress for school last week!  :) You had to write with a gentle hand. If you pushed hard enough for the teacher to hear a scratching sound . . . licks.
Grandma helped Millie with her quill pen writing.
Our next stop was the tool shed.

The kids took turns shelling the corn, which is basically flicking the dried up kernels off of the cob.  Can you imagine how much your thumbs would ache after a day of doing this?
For families who could afford it, a corn shelling machine could be purchased from the Sears & Roebuck catalog for a whopping $.79.  And after seeing how much faster and easier this made the corn shelling process, I can guarantee my family would have gone without food for a couple of weeks just to be able to afford one!
After the corn was shelled, you were left with a box of kernels and cobs.  The kernels could be planted or fed to the animals, and there were plenty of uses for the cobs!
If you were a little girl, this corncob doll might be your only toy . . .
. . . and if you were a little boy, this might have been your only toy!
I thought this was just part of the Frosty the Snowman song, but there really is such a thing as a corncob pipe!
And some people would attach feathers to them to make darts!
Here's some of our group giving the corncob darts a try!
Another use for corncobs:  toilet paper.  Needless to say, I didn't get a picture of that one.  :)

Next the kids moms got to see what doing laundry used to look like.  Lord, may I never complain about it again!

First, the water was drawn from a well.
Then it was poured into a bowl.
After the clothes were scrubbed, they were run through the wringer.
Finally, they were hung out to dry.
Roz kept referring to these as "Grandpa's underwear," and before we left Millie leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mom, are those really Grandpa's underwear?"  :)
Our next stop was the log cabin.

First, the kids plowed the garden.
Then Roz taught them how to drop the seeds in and use their feet to bury them so they wouldn't put too much strain on their backs.
Then the kids planted their corn seeds in the garden.  This picture captures the essence of my kids more than any other picture I've ever taken.  Notice how Hannah is showing this little girl how it's done and Millie is standing back observing while someone else is doing the work?  Yep, that's my girls!  ;)
But she did work hard to get the water pumping so dirty hands could be washed.
And finally, we peeked into the carriage house.

Here's a typical wagon.
And a much fancier carriage.
It was fun to see how much has changed over the past 100 years.  I love the simplicity of life back then.  I love that kids had manners.  I love that people ate what they grew.  I love that relationships within the family and within the church were the norm and not the exception.  I love that there wasn't the distraction of telephones, television, internet.  Even so, I am thankful beyond words that I live in the age of the washing machine and air conditioning!


Gator Mommy said...

That field trip is AWESOME! So perfect with our study this year. I wish there was something like that close to us- we have lots of Civil War History but not much pioneer.

And yes, that sweet angelic face would have been on The Little House on the Prairie for sure.

Thank you for the sweet comment but you are the one that amazes me! We tried to get what you guys got done last week but never got around to making our own countries or even stars. You have no idea how helpful your posts are! Thank you!

Carrie said...

What fun!!!

Now I'm so wishing we would have joined you!!

Want to go again next year?! ;)

Bright Sky Mom said...

Fun field trip! I appreciate my ac & washing machine also, but wish for the same things you do... :)

Kimberly said...

Interesting. Loved all the pictures.

Mom said...

Wonderful pics of living history. The blinders for the bull also kekpt it from charging while in the fields. I agree with your comments:) I think that's why I enjoy going to Jamesport and seeing a different, very simplistic lifestyle.