APR 7 2020
Early 1800s. Many people in the New England states are feeling overcrowded. Adventurous families move West, seeking new opportunities and cheaper land. Social distancing. Increasing the ever-expanding frontier. Among them: my ancestors Elisha & Sally Whiting and their 5 children. Several hundred miles in a covered wagon to the new frontier in Northeast Ohio. They settle a small farm. Plenty of timber. Much needed for Elisha’s chair & wagon making business. 2 room log cabin. 1st room: residence. 2nd room: business. Fruit trees. Berry vines. More children. 11 total. Sally’s 2 brothers live close by. ?
Exciting time. Adventures. Experimentation. Settlers face near insurmountable challenges. What they don’t know, they have to figure out. Few modern conveniences. Limited medical aid. They build homes, dig wells, clear land, farm produce, sew clothes, raise children, etc, etc, etc… Mostly on their own.?
Sure, there’s plenty of commerce. Specialty work is done by… well, specialists. If you don’t have all the tools or knowledge to fix a wagon, for instance, you can take it to Elisha. He might sell you a quality chair while he’s at it.?
Back East, family members worry about the salvation of their loved ones who have moved out West. The frontier is a rough place. Newspapers and dime novels paint a dismal picture of a lawless wilderness populated by cutthroats and roughnecks. Saloons and brothels abound.?
Where’s the religious structure on the frontier? Churches few and far-between. Particular brands of Protestant Christianity don’t even have congregations established out West. How are my family members going to be saved, when they don’t worship at the same altar as generations before them??
So, easterners commission itinerant preachers to travel West, save souls. Missionaries from nearly every sect establish camps on the frontier. They invite the settlers out to revival meetings. ?
And the settlers come. Some are happy to hear familiar doctrine. Others come to get religion. Still others just curious. Many just looking for cheap entertainment. Sally’s brothers? They’re searching for truth. (To be continued…)?
Today’s cufflink is: IMAGINE LIFE ON THE FRONTIER.?