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Gwen Tuinman

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settlers

Pioneer Illnesses: Catarrh and Ague

I’ve nearly worn out my DVD box set of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman from having watched it so often. Dr. Michaela Quinn had the cure for almost everything and often sought the council of her First Nation Cheyenne friends who taught her about medicinal plants growing in the wilds. Episodes often mentioned people suffering a catarrh or ague. These terms appear in a number of pioneer journals as well and I’ve always been curious about their meaning.

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How Settlers Cleared Their Land

Among the settler families’ first concerns was clearing trees from their allotments so land could be cultivated and crops grown. The prospect of such an undertaking must have been daunting. The second-growth forests of today are very different from the dense forests and huge trees our fore-bearers encountered. Colonel Strickland wrote about measuring a tree 11 feet in diameter with “the trunk rising like a majestic column, towering upwards for sixty or seventy feet before branching off its mighty head.”

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of How Settlers Cleared Their Land.

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Pioneer Christmas and New Years

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What better way for an author to brush up against the hardships and daily lives of pioneers, than to participate in a living history event? Before the snow flew this winter, I visited Pickering Museum Village to experience Christmas and New Years traditions as celebrated by some of the earliest settlers in our region. History was brought to life throughout the village by museum staff, volunteers, and a group of performers known as The Backwoods Players.
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