Monday, January 13, 2020

Fresh Butter for Wagon Grease

The research library has many books about history and/or genealogy of other Illinois counties.  One such book is Prairie Albion, an English Settlement in Pioneer Illinois by Charles Boewe.  The author has selected excerpts from letters and diaries written by the founders, Morris Birkbeck and George Flower, for publication describing their lives in this area. Though the book is primarily about the English settlement of Albion, there are a few references to Lawrence County. 

Written sometime after 1819 and before 1830 George Flower describes a backwoods pleasure trip he and his wife took.  Starting northward in July from the Albion settlement, by the time they were north of the trace leading from Vincennes to St. Louis, he described the country as being sparsely populated, from ten to twenty miles from house to house. Their first night's lodging was  in a cabin with another family.  "After a supper of corn bread, milk and venison, we rested for the night on one of the two beds, the whole family taking the other. Before mounting the next morning, we were struck with the occupation of our host.  He was greasing his wagon with good fresh butter.  He might as well do so, he said, for when he took it to Lawrenceville ten miles distant, he could only get five cents a pound for it and that in trade."