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 fall food preparation, the making of molasses, and hunting.
In the late summer and fall months, people were kept busy preparing and putting up or canning food for winter. Vegetables were pickled berries, picked and canned through the summer and fall. Corn and beans were pickled by cooking and putting in a big barrel. Salt was added and a good lid put on the barrel to keep out rats and insects. Boy, these were good in winter. Apples, peaches, pears, cherries, and plums were gathered and canned from the orchard, which had been set out earlier.
Now that good old molasses making took place. First, large stacks of wood were prepared and dried. Now the cane had to be cut and the blades pulled off or stripped and the heads cut off. Now a furnace built and an evaporator pan set on the furnace. A machine with cogs and wheels and a long crooked pole on top with a horse or mule pulling the pole round and round: this was called a cane mill. You see, as the mule went around the stalks of cane were put in between two or three big rollers set close together and the juice squeezed out of the stalks. The juice was caught in a big tub and then transferred to the big pan to be boiled into sorghum. I liked to lick sorghum from a paddle swiped through the molasses pan. Everybody had a good time at “lassy makin’ time,” even though it was hard work.
Cushaws, squashes and pumpkin were gathered into the cellar or crib. Corn gathering was done by pulling corn of the stalks some time it had been cut and shocked up. It was hauled into the crib with mules or horses or cattle.
Now that everything was gathered in, a little pleasure followed. Squirrel , rabbit, quail, pheasant, and coon and possum hunting was done by most all the pioneers. They obtained lots of their meat supply by hunting wild game. Some folks hunted animals for their skins, which were sold, bringing in a little cash.