Herald-Whig

Seeing stuff from 'the old days'

In a Union Civil War uniform Richard Keppner shows Phillip Schmitz, Bo Kindhart, 6, and Ruth Jones a replica rifle during Frontier Settlement Day at the Log Cabin Village on Quinsippi Island on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018. Activities such as Rope making, candle making, brick making were held during the event. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 9, 2018 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Peter Zanger readily admits that life in pioneer times and living in a log cabin doesn't hold much appeal.

"I like my TV, all my devices," the 9-year-old New London, Mo., boy said.

But he got a glimpse of life in the past at the 10th annual Frontier Settlement Day, sponsored Saturday by the Friends of the Log Cabins on Quinsippi Island.

"We're taking the kids out and going on a field trip, so to speak," said Ernie Zanger, who homeschools Peter and his sister Amelia. "Hopefully they take away a little bit of what lifestyles were like back then and what they're like today."

Seven-year-old Aidan Martin took home a copy of the Gettysburg Address, signed by Lincoln re-enactor Fritz Klein, and talked with a Civil War-era soldier.

"It's great," Aidan said.

"Just a few weeks ago we were down here checking out the outside of the cabins. It's educational for my son. It's been a really good time," Aidan's mom Amanda Martin said. "You get to see stuff from the old days."

John Gebhardt with the Friends said goal of the event was to provide a look at life in the past. Wet conditions pushed displays inside the cabins and under tents, and people used modern-day umbrellas to stay dry while looking back in time.

"What we're hoping is kids see what life was like back in the 1800s," Gebhardt said. "Inside the D.D. Hull cabin, they raised 13 kids in that one-room cabin. This cabin is about the size of some kids' rooms. It's kind of interesting."

Volunteer Carol Hochgraber inherited a love of history from her parents -- her dad moved a cabin to the island years ago and her mother was involved with the Friends. She enjoys seeing history brought to life for visitors.

"I like the fact that people bring their children out," Hochgraber said.

Historic Nauvoo provided old-time activities, including rope making and spinning, and blacksmith Rich Bohne and his cousin Danny Merker demonstrated working with a forge.

"It's just kind of neat to be able to hand out a little bit of history to the next generation and support the Friends of the Cabin," Bohne said. "Back in the day, everything evolved from the blacksmith shop. It's neat to be able to learn how to do it myself and hand it down to the next generation."

The most fun, Bohne said, is seeing how kids react to the way things used to be done.

Making rope was fun, 9-year-old Liam Weed said, but it might not be as fun if he had to do it every day. "I am a little lazy to be honest," Liam said.

The log cabins were "cool", Liam said, and even though he can imagine living in one, "it's not pretty."

Even his dad Gavin Weed wasn't sure about living back in pioneer times.

"I like my electricity, my air conditioning and my heat," Weed said. "It would have been rough."