Ingenuity Solves Winter Problem

Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 5, page 2.

by Professor I.T. Osmond

Hollowed Out Log To Grind Meal

Pioneers Made Mortar and Pestle Out of Oak Log Aftr Water Power Grist Mill Froze Up

The colony raised a crop of corn the first summer, and there was a little grist mill (corn only) a few miles northwest of Hopeville, on Grand River. This mill "froze up" early in the winter and would be useless until warm weather. There was no other mill accessible with a loaded ox team and such roads (or non-roads) and snow and ice, in less time for a trip than several days. So the colonists had to crack the corn with hammers, axes, and stones, like primitive peoples, or make lye hominy, the lye from leaking hardwood ashes.

Osmond and Keplinger cut down a large black-oak tree and sawed out a section about four feet long, shaped it like a wine glass with thick stem and very heavy bottom, sawed it open lengthwise, hollowed out the bowl part of each half, fastened the halves together with wooden pins through the stem part and a stout hoop or two around the top, and made a pestle with an iron wedge fastened in the bottom and a cross bar near the top for using it with two hands. Considerable corn was "ground" in this during the winter, for others than those who made it used it. Those who did not mind the grind could make a pretty good meal.

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