Journey To The Prairie Slide Show

Journey to the Prairie Slide Show

 

Would you be willing to move off to faraway, unknown lands? That's just what many American pioneers did over 100 years ago. Making the decision to leave their homes in the Eastern U.S. was often difficult. Moving away meant leaving their family, friends, and the lives that they knew behind. So why did they go? Many moved west to start new lives. Some of the people were farmers looking for cheap or free farm land. Others were blacksmiths, carpenters, or storekeepers who wanted to open new businesses. A few were even teachers who went to teach all the pioneer children. And some just moved west because they were looking for adventure, or heard stories that made the new frontier sound like a magical place.

This slide show briefly explores what life was like for many of those who made the journey to Northern Illinois, specifically Arlington Heights and the surrounding area.

Moving West

Moving West

The people who first settled in Dunton, Illinois were called pioneers. These families left their homes in the East for the promise of a new life in the West. This promise was based on the availability of good farmland.

What to Bring

What to Bring?

These settlers packed their belongings in covered wagons and began the trip West. They brought only the essentials with them-food and water, household utensils, farming implements, guns and ammunition, a piece or two of furniture, and perhaps, a cow.

The Prairie

The Prairie

After a long and hard trip, the settlers faced a vast and unknown Illinois prairie. The prairie grass was thick and as tall as a person and seemingly, endless. People often called their wagons prairie schooners because the prairie grass reminded them of t

A Place To Live

A Place To Live

The newcomers first settled in areas called groves because of the availability of trees for building homes. Deer Grove, Elk Grove, Long Grove and Buffalo Grove are some of the place names from this part of Illinois.

The Potawatomi

The Potawatomi

These settlers were not the first inhabitants of the area. The Native Americans, in this case the Potawatomi tribe, lived in villages throughout Northeastern Illinois. The Potawatomi and settlers coexisted peacefully.

Life on the Farm

Life on the Farm

The majority of the new settlers were farmers. Once they built shelters for their families, they planted crops and started to raise farm animals.

Pioneer School

Pioneer School

When children were not needed on the farm, they attended school. The schoolhouse was usually just one room. "Scholars" were as young as 4 and as old as 18. A beginning Schoolmarm was often as young as 15 or 16 years old.

Blacksmiths

Blacksmiths

As more people settled the area, the number of Village businesses grew. The Village Blacksmith was an important businessman. He kept your horses shod, your wagon wheels turning and your tools in good repair. By 1900, Arlington Heights had 5 blacksmith sho

The General Store

The General Store

The General Store was another vital aspect of Village commerce. The farmer depended on the store for everyday supplies and for that occasional special gift.

The Bee

The Bee

Settlers' bees involved neighbors working together to get work done. The flurry of activity reminded people of hardworking bees in a hive and hence, its name. Quilting bees, apple peeling bees, and barn raising bees provided social time as well. Often, th