Frontier Pioneers

Can You Even Imagine The Pioneer Family Surviving The Frontier?

Pioneer Family

If you’re a homesteader or preparedness “lifestyler” (just invented that word ;) ), can you even imagine the life of the American pioneer family?

From their first arrival in Massachusetts in the 1600’s, early pioneer settlers pushed westward behind a constantly moving frontier.

Just think about it… Setting out into the frontier with a covered wagon and whatever food and gear that would fit.

They would travel across wilderness and undeveloped terrain with no previous knowledge of the area. Zero external support systems. They entirely relied on their own skills, tenacity, and thought out (and limited) supplies brought with them or in their wagon. Self reliance was a requirement on the frontier.

The pioneers were a variety of lifestylers including trappers, fur traders, hunters, frontier soldiers, surveyors, pioneer farmers.

The pioneer family would travel for weeks, months, in all sorts of conditions, weather, and dangers. Somehow surviving until they settled upon a chunk of land that suited them. But that was just the beginning…

Then they would build a home, a barn, and put in a garden field for survival. The practical knowledge, skills, and labor required to survive was astounding in comparison with today’s typical preparedness lifestyler.

The survival skills that they brought with them were absolutely essential. Some of those skills likely included:

Pioneer Family Skills

– Fire Building
– Navigation
– Carpentry, Building Home & Barn
– Gardening
– Seed Saving
– Food Preservation
– Hunting
– Fishing
– Foraging
– Livestock, Animal Husbandry
– Cooking, Open Fire

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier

– Sewing, Weaving & Spinning
– First Aid & Herbal Medicine
– Soap Making
– Blacksmithing
– Gunsmithing
– Candle Making
– Leatherwork
– Well Drilling

Think about their daily life… Lots of hard work and difficulty.

Working sunup to sundown, lots of chores needed to be done. The whole family needed to work.

For those of us who plant a garden and understand how easy it is for it to fail (weather, disease, pests, etc.) just think about the consequences of a pioneer family losing their crop. They were literally lots closer to “life and death” situations in this regard than us!

Pioneers had to take with them the right tools for frontier life. It would probably take pages to list the things they would take with them, to the extent that the bulk and weight could be carried by horse drawn wagons.

When you read about or think about life on the frontier and what it was like, it’s stunning compared with today’s modern times.

I’m not sure of the percentage but the majority of humans on earth today would die within a short time without today’s modern systems. It’s interesting to think about how knowledge and entire skill sets are transformed over time as the human race evolves/adapts to modern changes.

The “modern” part of our society becomes increasingly dependent upon the systems that made it modern. As time marches on and older ‘less modern’ knowledge and skills are lost, we drift further away from the ability to survive naturally.

That’s progress I suppose… But is that partly what is inspiring today’s homesteaders and preparedness lifestylers? The gut instinct that we’re getting too far removed from our ancestral self reliance and self sufficiency skills? Food for thought…

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69 Comments

  1. A lot of them did die from starvation, human attacks, disease, freezing weather and heat.

    The lucky, stubborn and tough survived, some even prospered to become leaders in their communities.

    The human can be a tough and tenacious creature.

  2. Not to be forgotten, the pioneers got a lot of assistance from the inhabitants of the continent that taught them vast amounts of knowledge of plants, herbs and wilderness skills.
    My ancestors in 1800’s western Minnesota went to town for salt, flour, sugar and tobacco. They kept salted fish in a barrel in the cellar year-round and kept the garden root crops buried in piles of hay and snow throughout the winter into late spring until the garden started providing again. Kerosene lights, coal and wood for heat and oven. The wash was hung up in the living room every Monday, an all day project. The women prepared meals all day long for the farmer husband; breakfast, coffee break, lunch, supper, dinner.

    1. Old Chevy,
      Good point on the original inhabitants, their story is even more inspiring as they had absolutely NO knowledge of any of the ways or know how of the “pioneers” yet they survived and thrived.

    2. Old Chevy ,,,,,the first people did give much to the new people , but the first people also gained much At least the ones that were open to learning new things ,,just part of change ,,,,

  3. My uncle has a journal of my great-great-grandparents. They traveled by covered wagon from Kansas to south Texas with their six kids sometime in the 1800s. (Not as long ago as those first heading west, but things were still a lot different than today.) What’s always been awe-inspiring to me is that their youngest child was only two weeks old when they started out. I remember when I had my son, and everything had to be just right, the way all of the parenting books and magazines said things should be. Ha! Our ancestors managed to survive just fine without everything we have.

    Yes, many died. Many suffered in ways we can’t even imagine. The Laura Ingalls books tell some of the myriad of things that had to be done by the family. Since they were written for kids, though, she left out many of the bad things that happened. Rereading the books as an adult, I have a different appreciation for them.

  4. I had just read that in the 1800″s, a families schedule was worked around the food production and cooking. The whole family worked, whether it was tending the animals, farming, fishing, hunting or foraging. A better part of the day was spent tending, harvesting, cooking, butchering, Remember they didn’t have all the conveniences that we have today. I guess that is why in all the old pictures the people are all so skinny.

    1. I believe that this is how our modern day school summer vacation came about. Everyone harvesting because it was vital. Education could wait a bit.

      1. – aka –
        As late as the 1950’s, when cotton was still pulled by hand and a tow sack was something you pulled (‘towed’) behind you, it was commonplace for schoolkids in my area to work as hoe hands in the summer and pull cotton at harvest time.

        Lots of the older folks here will still tell you about how that went. It’s not ancient history. Of course, they would shut down for the opening day of deer season, too.

        – Papa S.

        1. – Remember the song about, “Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, jump down, turn around, pick a bale a day”? FWIW, a bale weighs 500 pounds,
          – Papa S.

        2. I was born in the 50’s so that is modern day to me: ) Grew up on the Oregon coast so I’m sure that a lot of kids/family were picking crops during the summer. Somewhere along the line they made it illegal for kids to pick berries etc though…..

        3. Papa S, I met an older gentleman at work one day and I asked him how old he was? He said “he was 86 years old” I said wow so, you remember the depression? He said “yes I do, the proudest day of my life was when I picked 100 lbs. of cotton by myself, in one day, I was six years old.”
          All I could say was WOW!.

  5. From a woman’s perspective, there are three children. All three would have been born at home and probably without a doctor. Now days women do not want to feel an ounce of pain during childbirth. If SHTF happens there will still be babies being born and MAYBE with a doctor available. Talk about an awaking to a new world for the mothers to be. No more convenient pre determined deliveries for the parents and Dr’s. Cesarean sections all but disappear. Something for the medical professionals to consider is some classes on Midwifery. I had my 1st son in the hospital and my second, 9 years later at home with a Midwife. She new more about the subtleties of birth than the hospital staff of my 1st birthing. Now I am speaking of the 1970’s and 1980. I know much has changed in the hospitals. However if SHTF we revert back to the past ways. I still have held on the homebirth book just in case. Perhaps anyone interested could take a class on birthing. It would be a very good skill to have and make you necessary……….

    1. For the most part it’s not that difficult. Babies generally know how to get born, it’s a natural process. The only things to worry about are the various complications that can arise, whether it’s a prelapsed/abrupted placenta, ectopic pregnancy, limb presentation during birth, maybe a prolapsed cord–or if you only get a partial placenta upon delivery. Mind you, there is VERY little that you can do for the vast majority of what I had listed in a SHTF scenario unless you have a surgeon with the know-how and sterile equipment, so what I originally said stands. The main issue would be hypothermia, and that’s pretty easily dealt with.

      1. My grandmother had my twin aunts out on the prairie They were about two pounds each. She placed them in a butter box lined with mason jars of hot water. She laid in a down comforter, face too. For three months she kept those jars warm and fed them with an I dropper. Water was delivered by the barrel. My aunts both grew to be almost six feet tall.
        They moved after a three year drought.
        This is for our new friends. I have written this before.

        1. She instinctively created her own incubator. Common sense, the ability to solve problems, and the determination. Traits that are becoming too rare!

        2. My husband’s uncle was born on a ship coming from Ireland-sometime near the 1890’s..
          Imagine!!!

      2. Youngster have you ever walked in an pre 1800’s graveyard? Way too many had the husband and two or three even more wives that died in childbirth.

        Yes more are successful births but some said one in 10 was fatal for the mother.

        So knowing all you can about childbirth/midwifery is probably a very good idea.

        1. I have taken two classes in emergency childbirth. I’m not about to say I know everything about it, but what I said still stands. If you learn advanced techniques, then sure it might save some lives, but if the majority of the complications I listed arise, well, then no midwife is gonna save you. Ultimately, there aren’t a ton of techniques I can immediately think of that aid to the degree of saving lives. To my knowledge, midwives mainly just keep things in order, call the shots, and offer emotional support. If there is some sort of complication that would cause a person to die, it is unlikely that a midwife would be prepared to deal with most of them.

          1. Youngster I am happy you have taken classes in emergency childbirth. Please continue to develop this very useful and Valued Skill Post SHTF.

            I have caught more than a few babies in South America in the 80’s and limb first/breech presentation and placenta failure to expel are events that occur more often than you would think and they can be handled most of the time with out surgery.

            One of the hardest things to handle is the ones that you will lose. Even with modern surgery and fully equipped surgical suite we still lose some.

            BUT like the Pioneers before us we have to try!

          2. My midwife was a RN in Miami when the refugees from Haiti were landing by the boat loads. She had a lot of experience besides just midwifery. She was a pioneer in promoting the craft. The state of Florida gave her a lot of crap and sued her back in the day. Anyway I felt safe with her. in the 1970’s some of you may remember the Farm/Commune in Summertown Tenn. They have always been into natural birth and still teach today. Not a commune anymore. the Hippies grew up!!! I hope the snowflakes grown up too!!!

        2. Yes, I think they called it childbed fever due to infection if the placenta did not separate correctly. There are many graves for babies as well.

  6. We’ve often talked about this and what strikes us as the most significant thing in comparing people today to the pioneers is the loss of knowledge!

    Crappy little snowflakes like david hogg make snyde and derisive remarks about their grandparents not being able to use modern technology as well as their descendants, but I seriously doubt the snowflakes know 3% of what people their own age knew even 50 years ago when it comes to surviving. Take away their phones and internet and I honestly believe a vast majority of them would simply be lost.

    I mourn the loss of knowledge that has taken place. I wasn’t able to learn a quarter of what I wanted to learn from my grandparents regarding things like gardening, livestock, food preservation, etc. They both grew up in the great depression. They did not waste anything. I don’t know if they ever bought dog food- the dog ate breakfast and lunch left-overs. They usually had a MASSIVE garden every year that always produced well. Tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages, potatoes, etc. My grandmother knew how to can food, and their basement was filled with the product of her hard work. They had chickens and knew what to look for and how to care for them, fresh eggs and fresh chicken were frequently on the menu! My grandfather was an in-demand carpenter in his later years. They both told me that they didn’t know as much as THEIR parents knew!

    Now I look at myself and what I know and realize that I don’t know as much as I think most 12 year olds knew back in the covered wagon days. Most of what we know today is not centered around actually surviving, it’s centered around employment and hobbies. Remove employment and the hobbies soon follow, as does the ability to buy food and supplies. Take a few of those pioneers and transplant them into the modern world and of course, they would be shocked! Shocked at technology, but I also think they would be shocked at how little we know about what it takes to be self-sufficient. I think the average teenager from back then could “out survive” most of the people alive today, even preppers.

    I’m trying to learn, but I think a person who is his own teacher has a fool for a student. The best way to learn is under the tutelage of someone who already knows it, but those people are quickly disappearing.

    Thank God for the internet, as it allows us to find others with knowledge and hopefully learn from them. I can’t tell y’all how much I’ve learned just from the comments here on MSB! Keep that wonderful information coming!

    1. Yeah, I have to agree with you about David Hogg. It really annoys me when kids, especially people around my age act like they are so much more wiser than the people who have been around at least twice as long as they have. If you see someone disrespect their elders like that kid does, you know that they’re probably in for a pretty disillusioned life.

    2. Brad,,,
      The net is a poor substitute for spending the time with those that have the knowledge ,,,,,but then you have to actually spend the time and effort ,,, a difference between a cup of coffee and a key board and sweat and dirt
      ,,,,,just has been my observation ,,,,

      1. I agree, that is where my teacher/student comment originated. Sadly, there aren’t any elders around here willing to pass on what they know, especially to someone they don’t know well. :(

        1. restoringBrad
          Have you called the local Homes for Elder care(warehousing-mho),? To see if it possible to share time with those who grew up during the time frame you would like to gather said knowledge? There are those who are in their 80’s+++ which grew up on farms/ranches. Much more enjoyable for them & you, they need someone who listens to them & YOU are looking for their stories.

    3. restoringBrad, well said!
      Your quote, “They both told me that they didn’t know as much as THEIR parents knew! ”
      Wow…
      Interesting, now that we have been on our homesteading journey for sometime now,
      we actually enjoy what we do and we also choose to do what we do, because we value self-sufficiency
      I think perhaps, much of the mainstream culture is the way it is, is because they are taught to believe they do not need to learn these things, conditioned dependence…
      Something to think about…

  7. Just think about the medical hardships. Women dying giving birth, children dying at childbirth. My parents told me that without the modern medicine era, I would not have survived birth. And then the disease, the accidents causing infections, all sorts of trauma. Wow. We are so blessed to live now in the modern days and I pray we will not be cursed for living in it!

    1. It is not just childbirth issues. My great-grandmother died of breast cancer when my grandfather was very young. My grandfather told me about when they found out she had cancer and everyone knew it was just a matter of time before she passed. Back then there were not any treatments. It was just that if you got it, you were on borrowed time. My grandfather told that what she had could have been treated if she was around today. So, there are many good things for modern medicine that would have been a certain death sentence in yesteryear. However, that being said, there are also many things that could do more harm than help such as mercury in vaccines and medicines that help with a problem but can cause a myriad of other issues up and including death (just watch the TV advertisements of various drugs).

  8. My grandparents came to this country by steamship in the 1900’s to the port of Seattle.

    Although eventually becoming a farmer, my grand father took a variety of odd jobs working for the rail road etc before he could buy or lease a piece of bottom land to farm. His wife was an arranged marriage from the old country which he arranged only after he had his farm going and was able to obtain the funds to arrange the marriage. She spent many nights crying because she missed her family in the first 10 years.

    The U.S. offered better chances of finding success as a farmer than the limited options in the old country of Japan. ( first son inherits everything.). My grandfather was not the eldest son so he went on the steamship at an age younger than 18 years of age. There were fewer laws and regulations about employing minors back then.

    In reference to yesterday’s post: I never remember hearing him complain though he may have done so quietly in Japanese. He was a doer. He was not a talker.

    1. Calirefugee ,,,,,from you post of the past looks to me a lot of him rubbed off on you ,,,

      Tea time

  9. Article introduction mentions pioneers in covered wagons, a fascinating vehicle and experience. Amazing what they decided to bring along on a long journey; spinning wheels, pianos, stuffed chairs and sofas. Sort of a land yacht with the sails being the cover.

  10. I actually study migration because of my family genealogy interest. Not all migration took place in covered wagons. MANY people traveled through the use of flowing rivers. This is why there are so many old cities along the rivers in the continental US.

    Oftentimes, especially through the early 1800s, scouting groups would travel to future destinations prior to a group migrating westward. Then small groups would plan the arduous trip together.

    Most of my entire family line came to America in the early 1600s and most came into the Philadelphia port area. I’ve found the ship manifests, Oaths of Allegiance, and more. As the majority of my family traveled ‘west’, they traveled with the use of the rivers. Most were original settlers.

    One family line, the Dyers, traveled into the old Virginia region that’s now the Pendleton area in West Virginia. My 6th g-grandfather, Roger Dyer, was one of several who erected a frontier fort where the community resided. It was Indian-territory. One day, Fort Seybert was attacked in 1758 while some fort-members had traveled elsewhere. Roger Dyer was massacred, along with other family members. About 30 people in total were massacred that day. The Fort is still there, along with a mass grave, but only remnants are found and it is difficult searching.

    Elsewhere in Virginia, one of my g-grandmothers was kidnapped by a tribe of Indians in old Virginia. Several years later, soldiers found her and her sister, alive and part of the Indian group.

    A 250-year old family farm still remains in operation in the Pendleton WV area and has been given many historical awards. Family still lives there and I have visited. It hasn’t changed much. The farm was originally about 1,000 acres and included an entire mountain and one of the Potomac River branches. Hunting and fishing were commonplace — many family stories are written and records are preserved. The family cemetery holds the graves of 5 generations of my family. Visiting there doesn’t take much imagination because it’s right there.

    Another branch of my family (from Sweden) entered into America through New Amsterdam (now New York). They were original settlers in the region they established known as “New Sweden” and their tools and other implements were brought to America across the Atlantic. Imagine planning a life like that!! They planned and purchased land as a group, then built their entire community. The community is still there, preserved w/ historical preservation awards and a society to keep the traditions and the history alive.

    It’s all so very interesting and just through studying migration, patterns of migration, and our family wills, we learn what is important. The wills of my descendants from the 1700s have enormous lists of what was to be taxed (items of value). The estate list was lengthy and even a pewter spoon, a spinning wheel, or horse tack was listed in the inventory. What was important then? Family, God, tools necessary to live with, real property (land), and coins. A much simpler life, but great hardships were everywhere.

    1. You would really enjoy the series “The Emmigrants” by Vilhelm Moberg. It is the story of Swedish immigrants to America. The author relied on a lot of diaries of the Swedish immigrants for information. A truly remarkable story.

  11. There are some fascinating comments on relatives and how they survived, I know I have a few to tell myself, but I wanted to take a slightly different turn since we are sort-of comparing the “old ways” and the modern world.

    This will sound “old hat” to a lot of us, but can you imagine the country and the ways of living if an EMP or the ‘grid’ goes down. Where would the knowledge to survive be if we all were cast back 2-300 years?
    There are rock solid reports that state that 90% (or more) of the country would parish in the first year.

    The knowledge we are talking about here is lost, there are very few groups of people that know how to live “without”, The Amish for one, a lot of the Mormon and Mennonites probably, The others, not so much. Heck; take a city dweller away from Starbucks and they can’t even make coffee.

    Make no mistake about it, 90% plus would parish in the first year. One might also remember the average life span in the 1800 hovered between 30 and 40 years of age. The average life span now is between 78 and 81. Now toss those 80 year old folks into the 1800 …….

    Ken’s new word “Lifestyler” is a first step to learning this lost art of “true survival” I feel. Learning to can , preserve food, grow what you need, learning the ways of hunting and making cloth. How many here actually know how to tan a skin and make a pair of gloves from that hide?

    Odd we sometimes forget what’s really important in life as we scurry about our lives thinking we have it so well off. Are we really? I wonder how many of us/you would go back 200 years rather than be in this time and age (Disregarding the lifespan thing)?

    Yes life was a LOT harder, was it better? Hummmmm

    Would make an interesting Poll huh?

    1. NRP
      Would you like to read my 5th great grandmothers diary, a book now via the historical society?
      Life was not an easy feat for them, they did not know nor have the ‘conveniences’ we live with every day.
      Having lived without the conveniences of today’s modern world, and it was due able, did I like it– NO way. Lived that way for four years, rare time we had electrical power, the saving grace was the gas cook stove for winter time & BBQ for cooking during the summer months, gravity feed water to the travel trailer.

      1. AC
        OMGosh
        A diary…….my mom would write a dairy. For years.
        Temperatures, what happened on those days.
        It is documented history. We all need to have pen and paper at hand.

  12. I have written a few times about my 95 year old neighbor and what he has taught me. I document what he teaches me. All his life has been on a farm and his knowledge is about survival. He has taught me:
    1. Making soap from animal fat and charcoal.
    2. Gardening and canning, smoking food, fermenting food, salting food, etc.
    3. How to use old farm tools, draw blade, cross cut and hot forging iron, etc
    4. Trapping, fishing hunting in Texas, every location is different.
    5. Ridding horses, raising cows and goats.
    6. Tanning leather to make clothes.
    The list goes on.
    He has taught me when it becomes (unfortunely) necessary(why) to shoot someone. He wants all of this to be published( with photos) and not forgotten. He talks about his time is almost up and tells me I might it (maybe). He always has a lesson ready for me. He talks about why God is the glue of the universe. I write as fast as I can but I can’t keep with his lectures. “The Way of Henry ” will be published on his passing.

    1. Texas Boy
      When you are unable to writer fast enough to keep up, that is w hen you require a digital recorder for your lessons.

      We had a small cassette(mini)recorder of my uncle before he passed answering questions on the family lineage that he knew. Those tapes would have been a great enjoyment after his passing lost them so reason for a digital recorder & be sure to read the instructions..do not be like myself. lol (oh,,,,an I found the instruction manual finally )

    2. Your neighbor is a treasure chest of information. I hope he lives for years to come, but I truly look forward to reading the knowledge he’s passing on to you.

    3. Why not open a school to teach others what you’ve learned .
      A camp for young people before they get to the age of Independence and needing to make a living, paying bills, etc.

    1. Texas Boy
      Great advice from AC.
      What a great person he must be to share with and I’m sure he loves to share his knowledge with you.
      Take it ALL in.

  13. Just this morning one of my DS and I were discussing how well we ate at our grandmothers’ tables. Now that we are that old and older we realize just how little they had. Kansas homesteaders and wheat farmers.

    Preparedness lifestylers? P-li’ers? Makes us a pair of pliers, eh?

  14. I wish I would have listened closer to my grandma. There is nothing that interests me more than history.
    Almost failed in highschool, but the last couple of decades, I want more.
    Especially from my family’s side.
    I remember grandma saying she came north from Ohio in a covered wagon when she was a child. Late 1800’s, early 1900. Several hundreds of miles they covered, I’m sure.

  15. We have pictures in the family album of my grandmother(Father’s mother) as a little girl coming in from England across the continent in a covered wagon to settle in Montana. The pictures and accompanying stories document a HARD journey and an absolutely fascinating life after. Obviously they made it because I am living testament. My father’s father came the generation before so that grandfather was born in Montana. They were from the same region in Cornwall….and had some sort of familial friendship encouraging the other family to emigrate.

    I guess, what I am saying is that I have come from hardy stock! I had the wonderful experience of knowing not only my grandparents (all living into their 100’s) and 5 of 8 of my great grandparents (also living into their late 90’s early 100’s). As a mid-aged woman I spent alot of time with them documenting history. I have an amazing picture of my grandmother at 104 holding my first grandson (104 years and 1 day apart) It is truly sweet. Rare to get 5 generation pictures in families that wait until college graduations to have children (ave 23.6 years between generations).

    Oddly, one of my favorite pictures is the covered wagon carting a beautiful organ, which currently resides at my youngest aunt’s home. Crazy right? to cart an organ across a couple thousand miles of wilderness after a long sea voyage? Well, apparently they DID and that wagon had not only the organ but many household items from England, and they survived the journey. This would have been in 1902. I consider myself very fortunate to have known all these wonderful folks. NOW the true test is to pass all of this knowledge and “lifestyle” to my own grandkids. LOL Their lifestyles are metropolitan….and getting them to the mountain does NOT happen often enough for my satisfaction. The only silver lining is that each of my children cherish what I know and so as time permits will drag their kids along!

  16. Living in the frontier and crossing the country is hard enough, but some of those people had to cross an ocean before starting their trek. Just to live through that was sometimes a miracle and then they still crossed the plains. We move for better jobs, better living conditions etc. A lot of them did this out of faith. To be able to be that strong in your faith that you would endure such hardships for religious freedom.

    1. Old Lady
      So true
      My grandfather on my mother’s side came to America, established a farm, a living, a homestead, eight years prior to his wife and first son’s arrival to the US.

    2. Old Lady, When I got deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 I heard a story about some people in a village that heard a RUMOR that the U.S. gov. was going to build a school in another valley. So, the people of that village picked up the entire village, all of their belongings,livestock, etc. and moved it to that valley where the U.S. gov. was going to build that school; No definite info, JUST A RUMOR! The U.S. gov. did eventually build a school in that valley. But, to move your entire life’s possessions to another valley BASED ON A RUMOR no less is nuts! right…maybe???

  17. I don’t know the year, but my cousin and her daughter actually found documents of my grandfather’s arrival to Ellis Island from Yugoslavia.

  18. Disease is a big concern if we get a bad SHTF, it’s a good idea to stock up on antibiotics. Antibiotic pills are inexpensive and can allow you to deal with a lot of problems that in the past killed people.

    They truly are a life saving thing to have on hand. Antibiotics are easy to get now, stock up as it can save peoples life. Today it is hard to imagine people died from things that a few dollars of pills could have prevented.

    As far as hardships of the past people were tougher back then because it was the way it was. I think if it really hits the fan bad people (the ones that lived) will re-learn skills. Take away the smart phone and other distractions and people will do what they did in the past. People today are not really dumber then in the past, it;’s just that we don’t have to know the skills to live a more basic homesteading life that was needed in the past. But throw people into the lake and they will learn to swim. Otherwise you die.

    I think a bad SHTF would kill a lot of people and cause bad hardship. But modern people would survive and go on. Those left would learn how to survive.

    Today we have lost so many homesteading \ survival skills. But we are also lucky in that we have access to information that people of the past didn’t have or even know that they were missing out on such info.

    I have lots (a few hundred) books on just about every kind of info / skill I think may be useful. I save a lot of info off the web in Word files, PDF files and U-Tube videos. This info is a gold mind for a prepper / homesteader and it’s easy for all of us to have at our finger tips.

    We just have to go and get it. And then learn it and practice it. I actually enjoy practicing homesteading skills.

    The problem is the smart-phone zombies don’t have any desire to learn the skills of the past. They have no concept of a system failure that could be just around the corner. I have no desire to enlighten people as they will not prep or learn and will just throw out the tired statement about coming over if it hits the fan.

    Better to let it happen, keep a low profile and wait till the situation settles out a bit to see who is working to learn the skills of the past. Then you work with and help people as those left are the ones that can learn and are motivated to do so.

  19. Just a quick note… 4 years ago my dentist told me that if I researched it, I would see that a common cause of death listed on death certificates even 100 years ago was bad tooth/infected tooth/dental infection.
    Scary.

  20. The local nursing center is a fine place in which to begin to learn of the old ways if you lack having grandparents nearby.

    I would encourage people to contact the people who run the place ( director of nursing.) and arrange a visiting time. It is a win-win situation for both the residents who are lonely and live in a place that lacks stimulation and you the visitor who would like to talk to these people who may have lived a very interesting life.

    As a student nurse and working as a Nursing Assistant with a background in history and economics, I was able to talk to the folks and learn a lot from those fellows who fought in WW 2 before they passed on. D-day survivors from Omaha Beach, Marines that fought in Saipan, an army nurse that worked in Korea. They are all gone now.

    I was fortunate as a young man to be able to catch fish and give them to my grandparents who really loved fresh fish for dinner. In exchange, they taught me how to prepare some of the old country foods that I still prepare and enjoy to this day. I realized they knew a lot and this knowledge was not going to be taught in schools or college.

    To Oldhomesteader: I can only hope to be like my grandparents and if I am compared to them, I take that as a high compliment.

    To Chuck Findlay: Antibiotics are good to have on hand butt I am interested in and looking forward to learning about herbal medicines and making your own tinctures, salves and plant based medications for when the antibiotics run out.

    Number one killer of people 200 years ago was sepsis ( infection ) caused by lack of sterile technique and failure of medical community to adopt the germ theory into the surgical theatre. Look up Dr. Lister in the 1880’s and his use of lye and carbolic acid to wipe down the operating rooms, tables and instruments prior to making the first incision.

    Childbirth was and remains inherently risky with or without the modern surgical theatre and trained experienced staff on standby. ( nurses the work in labor and delivery still carry supplementary insurance to protect against litigious patients.)

    Accidents still take out quite a few people each year. ( something to remember with young folks graduating this weekend. Remind those youngsters to be careful out there.)

    and finally, the advent of rapid medical transport from field to hospital is a recent development with the use of the helicopter has increased the survivability rate of some grievous injuries the would have proven fatal in previous years. This was about the same time when transfusing blood and typing and cross matching blood technology was ‘being used. ( this knowledge is less than 100 years old.)

  21. Think about this.
    Think about what they endured.
    That could be our future, to some degree.
    Avoid crowds, prepare!

  22. A lot of them crossed the Atlantic in order to escape religious and or political persecution, to be able to own their own land, to seek opportunity for better farming, or to exploit the land for it’s resources and it’s accompanying wealth .
    We see the hardships that they endured, while they looked beyond the hardships, and saw the land of opportunity. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to settle a new country!

  23. A lot of them probably endured by believing in the dream of the future for their children. Realizing that their progeny would be much better off here than had they remained where they were.
    The Tommy Robinson situation is a perfect example of why we (our ancestors left).
    We’re still accepting them if they happen to board a modern day cruiseliner named the Mayflower 🇺🇸

  24. When you really contemplate the whole picture of what it took for the Pioneers to travel from east to way out west and then actually survive and flourish it is amazing. A wagon or two, a few animals and all whatever they hauled along, just amazing, to find a spot, and build a homestead, the sod busters are the ones that really blow my mind, at least if you find a forested area theres usually lots of other resources, just having wood for fires is huge, but out on the prairies, holy cow, usually no wood, no rocks, only grass and dirt, if lucky clay.

    Then to build you sod house, plant a garden, and thats assuming you could do that before or in spite of the weather turning bad,

    1. It is stunning in the context of today!!
      It was surely a time of survival of the fittest. And it really wasn’t all that long ago. Amazing what they went through.

      1. Ken
        It makes me wonder, what if?

        Imagine, you have to bug out, war or whatever, have enough time to fill your pickup bed with stuff, what would your list be? Only space is what you can pile on your truck, no campers, no trailers.

        Where would you go, and would you survive. You would essentially be like the settlers of old but in the 21st century refugee version.

        Do folks actually have the hand tools and knowledge to build sufficient shelter? Food? Can they trap? Do they have enough seeds to get food growing? What kind of seeds would be most important?

        This would be assumed a one way trip with no hope of resupply.

        Stuff to think about.

        1. i pulled this of of a Oregon trail website.

          “To survive the long journey, a family of four would need 600 lbs. of flour, 120 lbs. of biscuits, 400 lbs. of bacon, 60 lbs. of coffee, 4 lbs. of tea, 100 lbs. of sugar, and 200 lbs. of lard. These would just be the basic staples. Other food stuffs could include sacks of rice and beans, plus dried peaches and apples. Bacon was often hauled in large barrels packed in bran so the hot sun would not melt the fat. Each man took a rifle or shotgun and some added a pistol. A good hunting knife was essential. Farm implements such as a plow, shovel, scythe, rake, hoe; plus carpentry tools – saw, broad axe, mallet, plane. Seeds for corn, wheat and other crops.”

          i have seen more compressive lists before, but this is just a primmer.

          when i find better info i’ll post it.

          1. NyScout
            So over a ton and a half of gear easily, or more! And thats just basics, theres all the other stuff, wood working tools, saws, axes, handles, nails, fabrics, thread, needles, buckets, blacksmith tools, hand tools for working a garden.
            No wonder people lived to the ripe old age of 40!

  25. Part of my past family left Illinois in 1849 came west ,,took them three years to get to the place they settled in , in nw Washington ,eight people with two wagons ,my great great aunt kept a diary , that I had access to as a kid ,tuff people , we were free people then ,, do we dishonor them by what we have become? Talked about letting wagons down steep drops in the trail with ropes ,or taking apart wagons to work them through the trees in Washington, and shooting the Bonneville rappids on the river. ,talked about leaving the spinning wheel behind on the trail to lighten the load to save the oxen ,i had the experience of seeing the family name carved in rock at glenrock Wyoming as was noted in the diary

    ,,, a long way to go to fill there boots ,,,

  26. MY, somehow I missed this wonderful thread, must have worked hard that day and took to an early sleep. I read all the stories and they are all so exciting to read, and remind me of my own ancestors and the hard but content life they had at times,…. you wish you were there to witness the experience. I have those ancestors too, so the best way I can witness is to read all the books, journals, and listen to the recordings of them, some very dire, some famous, some pretty funny but mostly educational.

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