Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 51

CHAPTER VIII

Benjamin6, Patriarch
Southern Illinois Bunn Clan

wagon loads to those coming as far away as Mt. Carmel, Il1inois, a distance of 20 miles or more. Both areas were also thickly populated with deer, wild turkey, pheasants, and other game of lesser importance. The wild game largely provided meat for the household as well as revenue for these early families. At heart, however, these pioneers were farmers, and they immediately and diligently worked first to provide shelter for themselves and their livestock and then, to carve out of the heavy forested area an acreage on which they could grow crops.

Benjamin Bunn6, the patriarch of the settlement early built a small flour mill. This was quite an asset to the community. It also provided a source of income for the resourceful Benjamin. His son Aaron helped him operate the mill. Arley Earl Bunnl0 (Joseph9, Harrison8 - Solomon7,
Benjamin6) reports that this mi1l was located on Benjamin's6 farm near "little" Bonpas Creek a short distance north of the Boley homestead on the Claremont - Berryville road. This is thought to have been the first steam flour mi1l operated in Richland County.

Further commenting on those early times and situations; their first homes were log houses, simply but skillfully constructed from the trees felled on the home farm, deftly scored and hewn with the broad-axe along the chalk line mark to a straightedge, cleverly fitted together for strength and permanency about the corners. The necessary window and door space was provided. The door was made of hewn timbers and included the leather latch string which usually hung out. The window was made from greased, but heavy papers. The logs for the side walls and ends were snugly fitted together, chinked with small split timbers riven by the ancient and useful froe, then smoothly daubed with a homemade white mortar that filled the cracks and made the cabin cozy inside. While red oak clapboards were split with the froe sawed from butts of giant tree saplings fitted together made the rafters. A big fireplace was built on the end side of the one, two, or three room cabin from sandstone or limestone obtained nearby; floors were puncheon -- and there you have the pioneer cabin.

Of course therein, life centered about the fireplace for it not only provided the center of heat cooking, but it also provided a source of light. The spinning wheel, a homemade table, benches, a pot or two, a skillet, maybe a Dutch oven, a rope bed or two, and one or more trundle
beds, bedding, homespun clothes, boots or moccasins, simple provisions, and the furnishings and house supplies of the Pioneer home were almost if not entirely complete.

Benjamin's6 home in Bonpas township, Richland County, Illinois, was built of logs. It had two rooms in front with a shed kitchen in the rear. A loft overhead was also used as a sleeping room. This was entered by way of a crude ladder nailed to the wall.

Ar1ey Earl Bunnl0 comments in a well written paper about these original Southern Illinois Bunns and the situations which they faced as, follows: "All of the original Southern Illinois Bunn families were a very hardy, farming people. It was necessary for them to clear the timber from their land before they

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