A walk back in time: Refuge celebrates annual Log Cabin Day


Seeing what life was like in days long ago made an impression on Asher Burns and his children.

“They did a lot of work back then,” he said. “It’s amazing how much effort they had to put in just to survive.”

On Saturday, Burns brought his children, Ty, Kaylie, Jacobi and Hannah, to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge for the annual Log Cabin Day celebration.

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The event, organized by Friends of the Muscatatuck, invites attendees to see how settlers lived long before the advancements of today.

Those who made their way around saw how to churn butter and do laundry. They also could see a blacksmith demonstration and hear stories.

Old-time music also played throughout the day, and a bean lunch — something settlers ate a lot of then — was served with traditional cornbread.

Burns said he was amazed how dangerous some simple tasks would be, and the risk of getting hurt while doing them made him think.

“You know, if you got hurt, you’d be all the way out here and no one to help,” he said.

Burns said it was good for his children to see how people lived back then.

“You have to get the kids to unplug every now and then,” he said. “It’s neat to see how people lived. Really, it’s amazing.”

Asher and Kaylie made their way into Myers Cabin — which was owned by Louis and Nancy Myers around 1885 — where they were met by volunteer Sally Crouch, who was sharing the history of the cabin.

She showed Kaylie what buckets were used to get water for drinking and how more buckets would be needed for a bath.

“Do you think you could carry all that?” she asked.

“I don’t think so,” Kaylie replied.

Then came time to show Kaylie how small the cabin was, and Crouch pointed out the five siblings who lived in Myers Cabin shared space upstairs. A ladder in the corner was used instead of a staircase to get to the second floor.

Kaylie shook her head at the thought of sharing a room with all of her siblings.

“They all had to share, but everything turned out fine,” Crouch told her.

Crouch also showed some of the food supplies and other things the family would have used then.

The cabin was built with the help of Nancy’s brothers. She raised five children, farmed the land around them and lived there until her death in 1948.

Carl was the oldest son of the family and played an important role in helping the family keep their farm going. He quit school as a third-grade student.

Carl later raised a successful orchard, famous for his peach and persimmon trees he sold across the state.

For Log Cabin Day, Linda Sullivan with Friends of the Muscatatuck said about 20 volunteers were used. They spent time playing music, telling stories and running craft booths.

She said the festival gives people a look into how far we’ve come and how different things were before.

“Their life was simple, but it was hard,” she said.

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