Homesteading on Wisconsin Land Near Belle Plaine

Times got incredibly tight for one family homesteading Wisconsin land near Belle Plaine.


| Good Old Days


My folks pioneered for eight years near Belle Plaine in Wisconsin. My father spoke of these years as the best-years-of-his-life simply wasted! Well-meaning friends had urged him to buy a piece of Wisconsin land in wintertime, and when the snows melted away, Father discovered he had bought a rock pile.

After those years of working away from home to earn enough for food and payments on the rock pile, Father decided to quit Wisconsin and go west in search of better land. With his wife and eight sons he left in the spring of 1875. The highlight of the first leg of the journey was the spectacle of the city of Oshkosh in flames. Oshkosh was burning as they drove by.

The Grants, my father's family, settled near Rhodes (then Edenville), Iowa. Mother afterward told us they were so short of money and food that they surely would have starved if their neighbors, poor people, too, had not sent in a little food. One kind woman sent over a pan of little new potatoes and Mother hid them until dinnertime so they would be a surprise for the children. They ate the potatoes with salt; there was no milk for gravy.

Father heard of a sod-breaking job 10 miles away, and although he was suffering from dysentery and the plow nearly jerked him to death as it dug into the tough-rooted sod, he lived through the week, eating mostly cornmeal gruel cooked with milk which his boss's wife prepared for him.



When Saturday night came, Father asked for his week's wages, but the farmer said he had no money. Father insisted that he must draw his pay so he could get a few groceries to take home for his wife and children. When the man still refused, Father, sick and desperate, said "You must pay me or else. . ." He got it and walked the 10 miles home carrying groceries in a sack over his shoulder.

The family grew to 10 with the birth of a ninth son and a daughter in Iowa.







mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE









Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265