Tracing my Mormon pioneer roots because sometimes our story begins with those who came before.
Chapter 3 – Settling In
“Settled” is such a cozy word. I like to settle into a comfortable chair or settle down for a warm winter nap. But for eager settlers like Henry and Elizabeth Wood, there was nothing cozy about settling into the raw Canadian land which Britain had given in exchange for their allegiance.
Settling in for them meant long days of toiling with sweat and muscle. Building log homes from felled trees was crucial to surviving harsh winters where twenty-five feet of snow might start accumulating in November and last well into April.
Once the basic shelter was in place, other tasks like forging roads, raising livestock, and growing and harvesting crops filled their days. In addition to being bone-tired, I imagine there was a deep satisfaction in the fruits of their labor.
Henry and Elizabeth moved to Loughborough Township, where their family grew to include fifteen children. Feeding and clothing a family this large was no easy feat. Everyone had chores vital to their survival. Each child’s responsibilities grew as they got older.
Young Daniel learned to farm by working alongside his father and brothers on their farm. His sisters helped their mother with domestic work like gardening, canning, quilting, and caring for younger siblings.
In one of Daniel’s journals, he recalls his father catching a cold from laboring in the harsh weather. This cold led to pulmonary tuberculosis, commonly called consumption. This potentially fatal lung disease left his father unable to work as hard. The responsibility fell on the shoulders of Daniel and his older brothers to keep the family farm going.
Daniel continued farming his parent’s land until, at age twenty-four, he married Mary Snyder on March 9, 1824. At twenty-one, Mary had captured his heart with her kind, modest, and persevering ways. The newlyweds moved to their farm two miles from his parents. It’s unclear whether Daniel purchased the land or if his parents gifted it to the newlyweds along with one yoke of oxen, two cows, and ten sheep.
Daniel continued to take on more responsibility as he settled comfortably into his new roles of husband, landowner, and father.
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Here are a couple other blogposts in the meantime.