Chapter Seven

House and cabin

This picture was taken in the early 1900’s, the exact date the picture was taken is unknown. On the right is the home Joseph Goodrich built-in 1838. On the left is the cabin brought from Lima which still sits behind the Milton House.

The Homecoming

After the travelers difficult 34 day journey through snow, cold and mud. Joseph Goodrich with his family and the rest of the exhausted group, arrived in Prairie du Lac on a dark and gloomy March 4 in 1839. Each member of the group was looking forward to being warm and dry in the house that Joseph had built prior to returning to New York. Unfortunately this was not going to be the case. When they arrived they found James Pierce not home and the door was locked. They would discover later that he had gone to Janesville for the mail and a few other provisions. Well, this was not the homecoming that Joseph envisioned for his family! Being a man of action he sought assistance from the blacksmith Orrin Sprague, of all people, for tools to open the door.

Once in the house Nancy and the rest of the group had a chance to take a look at their new home. The house was not at all a large building, 16 x 20 feet, but it was solidly built of oak timbers with a small window on each of the two floors.

Furnishings in the home were not what they were used to back in New York but they would serve them well. There were three–legged stools and table that was one foot wide and 12 feet long that rested on saw horses. After meals the table was taken outside and leaned against the house until it was needed again. At bedtime the stools were moved and beds were made on the floor. It was crowded as there were 14 people living in the little house, but they were happy.

Their home would serve many purposes. A loft area above served as the store and held a stock of goods for sale. As there was no established communities in the area. Settlers made the journey to purchase goods and supplies from this prairie store. The little home also later served as the post office and church. The family also welcomed travelers for the night.

In order to gain a little more space, Joseph bought a cabin from the Lima area and had it moved to Prairie Du Lac and created an annex to the house. Joseph had his family with him. Now the business of building a community could begin.

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