This history of early life in Logan County, West Virginia, was written by Howard and Daisy Adams. Howard (1906-1976) and Daisy (b.1915) were children of Major and Belle Dora Adams of Trace Fork of Harts Creek. Titled “The life of pioneers during the latter half of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the 19th century” and written in the late 1960s or early 1970s, their history marks the only known attempt by local people to reconstruct the story of pioneer life. This part of the history includes information regarding weddings and log cabins.
The settlements were few and far between, meaning the population was not crowded too much. Regardless of distances a few people, young men and young women, met and got acquainted and after a boy had gone to see one girl several times it was called going sparkin’ or courting. Well after a while they got to caring a lot for each other and found they were in love. Now they decided they loved each other dearly and wanted to get married. So the boy got up enough nerve and asked the parents of the girl for her hand in marriage. When the parents consented a date was set for the wedding. Next a marriage license was secured and a big dinner was prepared at the home of the bride. A parson was found and asked to perform the wedding ceremony. People or friends of both families came for several miles to attend the wedding. Rings and honeymoons were hardly ever mentioned by poor folks. As soon as the parson had performed the wedding and hand-shaking and qreeting, wishing both bride and groom good luck was over now, began the eating of the wedding dinner or supper, whichever name suited the hour of the day. Next wine or liquor was set up and a little drinking was done by all including most parsons too. If the boy failed to set up drinks to his friends the crowd would get out a lot of cow bells and ring them all around or sometimes a fence rail was brought in and the boy forced to ride the rail as it was called. Well so much for the wedding. Usually a square dance followed on the night of the wedding.
Now as the young man and his wife had to make a living for themselves they selected a tract of land or section as it was called. Sometimes people could file a claim on land. Other times it was bought cheap or a parent deeded his heir a piece of land. Most all the land in this county at this time was covered with forests of timber, such as large trees, brush, rock, etc. So first a clearing had to be made for a set of farm building by cutting down all the trees on the spot selected. The only available building material was the timber or logs cut down from clearing the land. A site was chosen for the dwelling house. Now enough logs were picked out and cut to the proper length for the building. A foundation was made using rocks around 12 inches square. They were piled up around the outside dimensions of foundation to correct height for leveling building. Now two long oak logs were laid on foundation rocks. These were laid the long way of building and called “bed sills.” Then smaller logs were laid crosswise on the sills spaced 2 or 3 feet apart. These were called sleepers. They were to support the floor of the house. The floor of a pioneer house was made by splitting large trees and turning the split of flat side up. They were notched on bottom and leveled up on the sleeper. A lot of chopping had to be done to get the floor level. These floor logs were called “Puncheons.” Now the walls of the house was made by the logs laid on top of each other and notched at the ends to hold them in place. A lot of old timers made two story houses, which were around 16 feet high. So far we have not mentioned the size of the house. The average house was 18 feet wide by 30 feet long and one story about 7/12 feet, a two story around 14 to 16 feet high. Now back to building our house. The logs were laid up to the roof. Even the gable ends and roof framing made of logs. Now the roof or cover for a house was made by cutting a large oak tree and sawing the tree in blocks 2 or 3 feet long. These blocks were split up into thin pieces about 1/2 inch thick and they were called boards. These were nailed or pined on roof timbers. Sometimes when there were no nails boards were weighted down with rocks or heavy timbers to keep them in place or to keep them from blowing off. Now we have the house built. They had to saw out doors and windows. Strips of wood were nailed or pined to outside of logs where a door or window was the be made. Window glass was not around in those days so a shutter was made of boards for to shut the windows or a sliding window made. Door locks were hard to find so the door which was made of boards too had to be held closed by a piece of wood 2 inches wide by 6 inches long by one inch thick nailed on inside door facing with one nail in its center. It turned around and around and was called a door button. Most houses had an ell attached to the main building. The ell was made of same construction as main house. Its size was about 14 feet wide and 20 feet long and one story high.