The Generations of Thomas Pine Petznick



Thomas Pine Petznick

Notes for John Howard Cather

"He married Elizabeth McKee (in Frederick County) and crossed the mountains 150 miles to northwestern Virginia. He brought his wife along the trail on horseback while he walked before with his gun. He crossed Tygart's Valley River into Harrison County the first day of October 1800. He had wife, gun, horse, and one dollar in money, a strong and vigorous frame, and a sunny, cheerful spirit. But with such endowment he was able to secure land, open a farm, build a house, rear a family, live a useful life, and establish an honorable name. He and his brother-in-law, James McDonald, and another neighbor, Robert Shields, used for many years to make their annual trips across the mountains and unbridged rivers to Winchester with packhorses to hake some pelts and furs as they could gather in a year, also ginseng and snakeroot and linen, and as years advanced, a horse or two to exchange for salt, guns, saddles, ammunition, iron cooking utensils, knives and forks and a few pewter spoons and plates, and in rare cases, a single pewter platter. They carried their bed and provisions with them. Eighty-four pounds was reckoned a bushel of salt, but it was usually measured, sifted, into half-bushels as lightly as possible. Two bushels, with other lighter articles, was a horse load. It took a cow and a half to pay for a bushel of salt. A peck was the customary wedding fee. A bushel of salt would buy ten acres of land. John Cather lived to be 80 years; James McDonald 96 years; and Shields the Irishman, 104 years old."

John Cather Built a Log Cabin on the Frontier

"The cabin was built of logs, cut nearby in the forest, notched together at the corners with unshaven clapboards, riven from bolts, and the board roof was held in place with poles. The cracks were chincked with the hearts of bolts and daubed with red and blue clay, strngthened by hair from deer and buffalo hides, hog bristles or cut straw. A puncheon floor was of split and hewed poplar and openings were left for door, window and chimney. A forked post was set up for the inner corner of the bed. A pole, with one end inserted in the crack of the wall, and the other placed in the crotch of the upright, formed the front rail, and the end rail was formed in the same way. Clapboards with one end inserted in the crack of the wall, and the other resting on the front rail, served to frorm the bottom of the bed, till the days of the flax-rope bed cord came. Pins inserted in the wall with clapboards served to form the cupboard. Other pins served to hang away the scant wardrobe. The pronged buck horns above the door served for the gun and shot pouch. The pelts were stretched and dried on the outside wall. The door was made of clapboards or puncheons, according to the strength, with wooden hinges; stools and furniture were made of split slabs with wooden pins for legs. In the whole structure, probably not a nail or screw, or particle of iron, and probably no use of saw, plane or chisel - only ax, broad ax, draw-knife and adz."

Frederick County, Virginia - Settlement and Some First Families of Back Creek Valley 1730 - 1830 by Wilmer L. Kerns, Ph.D.


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