(Transcribed from Fairhope Courier, August 1, 1919)
OLD SETTLER TELLS ABOUT OLD TIMES
One of the old-time settlers of Fairhope who arrived here when the land was simply a wilderness and really knows what pioneering is, dropped into the Courier office the first of the week and gave the writer a few illustrations of what the new-comers to this section had to contend with in early times.
What started this interview was the breaking down of the town pump the other day, causing a little inconvenience for several hours.
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“I couldn’t help but think,” said our caller, “how these people, who make so much fuss because they are out of water for a few hours, would have liked to go to the trouble we were compelled to go to get our water supply in the early times and the many other things we had to contend with. The water around here was not considered good in those days as we had no deep wells and no tools for digging them. We had to load our casks into the wagon and when we went after the mail down to Battles each evening we would fill them at the Sweetwater branch on the way back, and that’s how we got our drinking water.
“No fresh milk could be obtained at any price and we had to get along by using the condensed kind, which we purchased in Mobile. You couldn’t buy any roasted coffee even in Mobile in those days and everyone had to roast their own coffee, buying it green.”
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“One could not get a package of yeast cakes anywhere in this section. The southerners baked biscuit three times a day and consequently used no yeast, so the grocers, even in Mobile, did not have package yeast on their shelves. We had to make yeast by using the Sweet Bay leaves.”
“For every little thing we needed we had to hitch up and drive down the trail through the woods to Battles, as of course we had no wharf, boat or anything else here until about a year after our arrival. Battles was really quite an old settlement, even in those times, but the things one could purchase at the stores was very limited.”
“During the summer one could get fresh meat to a limited extent at Battles, as it was a summer resort then as now, but it was practically deserted in the winter months, when Mobile was our nearest meat market. Anyone who thinks it was a snap to chase clear to Mobile after supplies of all kinds might try it a few weeks.”
“It was practically a year after our arrival before we had a store in Fairhope. It was sure some store, measuring fully 8 x 12 feet, and was started by the Colony. Shortly after it was sold to Mershon Bros. It was located on the lot now occupied by Mrs. Call’s milinery (sic) store, and was later turned into Fairhope’s first school house.”
“Never mind mentioning my name,” concluded our pioneer, “Let your readers do a little guessing.”
Table of Contents
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