Talbot Settlement Life in 10 Artifacts
This is an original land deed signed by Colonel Talbot himself. The Colonel was responsible for settling 500,000 acres-representing a little over 3,000 lots with a populationTalbot claimed, of 50,000. The land deed is donated by Ruth Bedford. Dated 23rd day of December, 1840 at Port Talbot to John McLean, Yeoman for 3 farthings Northeast Quarter of Lot Two, Concession Eight, in Dunwich with all Houses, Outhouses, Woods and Waters. Witnessed by Jeffrey Hunter and Mahlon Burwell
The ink well, a must have for any literate settler wanting to write letters to family and friends, although paper was quite expensive and hard to come by. In the area of Backus-Page we have an abundance of walnut trees. These walnuts would have been dried and ground up to make ink. Instead of the handy pencil, back then people used a pen/quill and ink. Settlers would write on an angled writing board. Its purpose was to keep the quill horizontal which allows the ink to flow out at a steady pace and prevent it from spilling out the end.
This is a tin lamp designed to burn whale oil and made to resemble a candle holder. If whale oil wasn't readily available then any fish oil (and Lake Erie had plenty of fish) boiled and pressed would work, although it would give off a very unpleasant odour.
Technically this is a pail for collecting sap but a water pail would be made in a similar fashion. Having land with a creek, stream, or lake front was a best case scenario until a settler had time and help to dig a well. With a shoulder yoke you could evenly distribute the weight of two buckets of water and carry them a greater distance. The task of fetching water was usually the work of women and girls in the family.
Chamber pots were used during the night so no one had to find a light source and make the long tek outside to relieve themselves. In the morning you would take your chamber pot with you to the outhouse to be emptied and bring it back inside to be washed and put back under the bed. During the day you would use the outhouse of if out in the fieldd or forest, you went where you could find a modest place. As for supplies, the luxury of toilet paper was unheard of. Folks would use leaves, fur, corncobs, or pages from newspapers and magaines. Joseph C. Gayetty of New York was the producer of the first packaged toilet paper in 1857. It consisted of moistened, flat sheets medicated with aloe named " Gayetty's Medicated Paper", and Gayetty's name was printed on every sheet. Most residents in the Talbot Settlement would not have purchased this medicated paper but would continue to use the more economical leaves, rags, and newspaper.
Soap and detergent looked very different in the 1800s than it does today. Ash/lye was mixed with water and used for the everyday linens. The soap would often be made at home using ash, fat, salt, and warm dry weather. If soap was bought from the local general store it would be cut from big blocks. Laundry day for many settlers in our area was monday. Linens would be gathered, sorted, and washed from soiled to least soiled. One tub would be filled with hot water and another with cold. Hard wood ashes were added to the boiled water and soap added to the cold. Ashes were added till the water appeared curdled and then let settle till it was clear.
All farms in the Talbot Settlement would have had a flock of sheep, according to the 1842 agricultural Census. The Patterson family who resided down the road from Backus-Page House had the most significant wool production with 84 sheep and a total of 313 yards of cloth from 350lbs of wool. Here on the Backus property during the same year there were 16 sheep and 40 yards/lbs produced with an increase to 40 sheep and 160lbs of wool fleece in 1861.
Potentially the most vital and multi use tool a settler would need. It had extensive everyday uses, ceremonial purposes and could be used as a weapon when needed. The axe was used to clear land, dig, fell trees, split wood etc. If it was all you had it did the work of a saw, adze, plough and more. Getting crops into the newly cleared fields was vital and timely. In the absence of other equipment, your axe was enough to dig the ground around the remaining tree stumps and plant a corn or potato crop. Axes were a very personal item, the handles were particularly customizable to fit the individual. Mostly carved out of wood, the curvature of the axe handle could be varied to reflect whether the owner was left or right-handed as well as reflect their arm length.