|Nancy Hart Cabin w saddle notching|
In my upcoming novella, Across Three Autumns, part of the Backcountry Brides Collection releasing through Barbour in May (Backcountry Brides on Amazon), my heroine and her family live in a log cabin in Middle Georgia’s c. 1779 frontier. Due to frequent Indian attacks, Jenny White’s father Asa forted their house, constructing a rude stockade around the cabin and outbuildings. Since Jenny—the oldest of four—is unusually tall and strong like Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War heroine who inspired her character, she helps with the heavier work and can defend from the lookouts with the family’s Brown Bess musket.
|Nancy Hart cabin reconstruction|
Since I wasn’t describing the more formal homes I’m familiar with, I needed a better grasp on what her home would have looked like.
- Georgia woods used for log cabin construction included
hardwoods, poplar, pine and cyprus, with cyprus more common in South Georgia.
Settlers from Georgia’s Piedmont up to the Appalachians mostly used pine.
Sometimes a settler might use poplar, which is lighter and easier to square,
for the main beams, and pine for the rest of the house.
Elijah Clark cabin double pen reconstruction
- Size of the cabin could range from 15x12 to 30x18, single or double pen.
- Settlers might choose to make their homes hewn and squared on all sides or only on the inside, leaving the rounded logs visible from the outside. Men used broad axes to “skelp” logs and a crosscut saw to notch the ends.
- When notching, a settler could choose between several styles: saddle, half dove tail, and full dove tail. The saddle notch was mostly used by Cherokee and Creek Indians, while European settlers favored the other styles because they locked the logs more firmly in place.
- Cabin floors were often swept dirt or sand. If a constructed
floor existed, it was customarily made of hewn and hand-split planks which were
pegged to the floor joist, if hand-made nails were not available. The roof was applied
of hand-cut wood shakes (oak, chestnut) and the chimney of stone. If stone was
not available or the structure was more temporary, the chimney might be
constructed of small logs fronted with mud (or “clay and stake”). In cold
weather, animal skins or wooden shutters on wooden or leather hinges covered
Don’t you love the log cabin pictured on the front of Backcountry Brides? I admit, I’ve always had a penchant for these rustic homes. I love touring them, but I’m afraid living in one would require a LOT of adjustment!
~Denise Weimer (http://deniseweimerbooks.webs.com)