MANY years ago, when this country was new, it was all covered over with great forests. There were no nice fields of wheat and corn, no good farmhouses, no cities, no villages.

The Indians were the only people who lived here, and as they got their living mostly by hunting and fishing, they did not need to cut down the trees, and plant vegetables and grain. The Indian women, though, did plant a few things, such as corn, potatoes, and tobacco.

After a time some white men came across the ocean, and settled in the new country. They chopped down the great trees, and of the logs made just such houses as this one you see in the picture. In building these houses they cut notches in the ends of the logs, and laid them so that the end of one log fitted in the notch cut in the end of the other. Of course these logs couldn't be made to fit tight together, so the cracks were stopped up with dried moss or clay. The chimney was built on the outside, at one end, and in it, and opening into the room was a huge fireplace, so large that great logs could be rolled into it. All the houses had these fireplaces, for the people didn't know very much about stoves.

After they had built their houses, they set to work to clear the land. To do this, they made fires around the roots of the trees, and when the trees were dead, planted their corn. They did not have any such good farming tools as we have now-a-days, so they tilled the land very much as the Indians did. The Indians had hoes made of flat bones, tied to the ends of sticks, and many of the white men at first had no better tools than these to work with. It took them a long while to-hoe just a little ground, but the land was rich, so that things grew if they didn't get a very good hoeing. By and by rude plows were brought over from England, and then the farmers could work faster.

They had no stores where they could go to buy calico and flannel to make up into clothes. So they cut the wool off their own sheep, and spun it into yarn on their spinning wheels; then they put the yarn into looms and wove it into cloth. If you will ask your grandmothers how they did the spinning and weaving, I have no doubt but that they will tell you, for they used to do the same thing themselves when they were girls.

When there was a new house to be built, the neighbors came from all around to help. They often lived miles away from each other, but they were neighbors for all that. When the corn was ripe in the fall, the farmers made husking bees, and went to help one another husk corn. This was about all the visiting they had time to do, and they made the most of it.

Their roads were not very good; in fact, they were so busy at first in building houses and raising crops that they didn't think to make any roads, they just had little footpaths through the woods.

By and by they made themselves two-wheeled carts, and then they began to make roads from one house to another. They had no schools for their little boys and girls to go to, and so, as the children grew up, they learned very little except what their folks taught them. But if they didn't know so much about books as we do now, they did know how to work, and to work with a will. Altogether the people did not have a very easy time in making their new homes; for their cattle used to get lost in the woods, and sometimes they could not find them; then the wolves would eat up their sheep and calves. The Indians didn't like it because the white people took away the land that they used to have to hunt in, and they sometimes burned the settlers' houses and destroyed their crops. And when the people went to meeting in their little log meetinghouses, they always carried their guns for fear of the Indians and wild animals.

But in spite of all these troubles the people kept right on clearing the land and building towns and villages, until our country has grown to be the largest nation on the earth. Did you ever stop to think what hardships the people had to go through with before we could have railroads and steamships to ride on, good schools to go to, and safe homes to live in?




W. E. L.