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 log cabins and interior furnishings.
Now for naming the rooms of the building. The larger building had a partition run across it cutting off 12 feet on one end and leaving 18 feet on the other end. The big room was called the “Big House” and the small one was just plain back room. The ell was called the kitchen. A ladder made of pins and driven in the logs formed a stairway to the upper floor of the main building. Some time they got hold of lumber and made a sort of winding stairway to the second floor of their houses.
Now for the heating system. Well, a section of logs was cut out in the end of the big house and back end of the kitchen a section of floor was left out for the hearth which was made of big flat rocks. Now two structures were erected made of rocks and clay. These rock structures were 2 or 3 feet in diameter and hollow. They towered on above the buildings. They were made hollow so the smoke from the fire would escape through them. They were called chimneys.
Now for the furniture of the pioneer. The furniture mostly consisted of beds. Usually 2 set in the big house, one on each side of the fireplace, one or 2 in the back room and 2 or 3 upstairs. A dresser which had a chest of drawers and a mirror or looking glass as it was called sat in the big house.
Also a chest of drawers without a mirror, but it had a big pitcher and bowl set on it. This was called the washstand. The drawers of these two pieces of furniture were filled with linens such as sheets, pillows, slips, towels, shirts, socks, dresses, etc. All important papers were kept in the top small drawers, as well as razor soap, shaving mugs, hair and clothes brushes, etc.
They had large wall clocks which were kept on shelves nailed up high on the wall to keep the children from them. These clocks were wound with keys or cranks. Some of them were wound each night and some run 8 days with one winding. They struck or banged away every hour and 1/2 hour. A small hammer hit a gong or a big spring inside the clock. Boy, you had to be a sound sleeper not to be waked by those old time clocks.
As clothes presses were unheard of, all clothing that couldn’t be put in the dresser drawers were hung on the wall or behind doors by nails in the walls.
Every body had a shotgun or an old hog rifle as it was called and it was set behind the door too.
Yes they had chairs made from hard wood. They were made by boring holes in pieces of round wood about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and putting little sticks called rounds in the holes. The bottoms or seats were made of hickory bark laced back and forth across the top rounds of chair. The back legs of a chair were longer than the front, reaching up to your shoulders when sitting down. They were held together with thin pieces of board for a back rest.