Jackson Township
Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Chapter 4

Annals of Jackson Township

Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Nanty Glo Journal

April 30, 1942

The early settlers were adept at making many of the articles we now buy already made. Many of the residents of the township can recall the time when their flax was raised at their homes and linen from it made into fine garments and towels, sheets, and pillowcases. One resident has a piece of linen in her possession which was woven by her mother. Woolen garments, too, were home-made, coming from the wooly coats of their own sheep. The ingenuity of these housewives in making something beautiful out of drabness was sometimes amazing. For practical purposes the woolen was not always left its original color but dyed with home-made dyes. The bark of the walnut tree made a brown dye and a beautiful shade of blue was obtained by combining balls of indigo with a home-made solution, all colors being guaranteed not to fade.

Coal was used for fuel as early as 1822, but it was not until 1860 that its use was general, the usual fuel being wood. Wood was also used mainly for locomotives until that time. When the Black Lick district opened in 1892, most of the residents used coal for heating their homes.

When this country was first settled entertainment was not lacking for the young people, although a more fitting term would be to call it fun. Although there were no movies nor automobiles, nor the dozen things that the young people of today take for granted, there were other forms of entertainment just as amusing. In the winter there were the square dances (in some communities), the taffy pulls and sleighing parties. Then for the older ones, the quilting parties (a form of social contact recently revived in this community), corn husking, barn raisings, apple snitzings, chopping frolics and log rollings. These were the times when these hard working pioneers combined work with pleasure.

Jennie Meegan of Chickaree can recall many times when, as a young girl, she participated in many of these things. Singing schools were very popular at one time, Joseph Burkhart, a first settler in the Millwood community being well known as a teacher. Also the spelling bee and church affairs at the old Horner church (long since torn down), were gathering places for the folk of the various communities.

When the early settler would clear the ground for land to raise his crops his neighbor, far and wide, would come to his aid. Then men would fall the trees and cut the logs into lengths easily handled. Then the logs would be piled in huge piles and at night a great bonfire would be built. Sometimes a dance in the barn would be held at the same time. Afterwards, long tables would be spread with good things to eat. Thus, the home-owner would get his land cleared in a short time and have a great pleasure while doing it.

To To Be Continued Next Week

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