See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 50 -- Anecdotes Concerning Charles Livezey.
I was 71 years old on the 12th of March 1942, so my memory goes back to practices and things that might be a new subject to the younger generation. At this particular time, sugar and sweets are a much talked of subject. No doubt there are many young folks who do not know that even in my time, no one, even with plenty of money, could buy granulated sugar.
My first recollection of sugars was "Orlenes" sugar, a very dark sticky coarse grained kind, that would become so juicy in the bottom of the grocers' barrel that the last had to be carried home in water-tight containers. Then there was light brown, which exposed to the air for a short time would become as hard as sand rock.
But I invite the younger generation to go with us, down "Memory Lane" to the time when but little sugar was used in canning or for fruit butters. My grandfather, Cyrus Hall, was the first white child born in the Leatherwood Valley. After growing to manhood he married Ellen Strahl. They built a home on the hill, one mile south of what is now Quaker City, Ohio and planted what was then considered a large orchard. In this orchard were many sweet apples of several varieties. These were used for making sweet cider to be used for sweetening fruit butters, etc.
Back in that time, many people travelled long distances on horseback, with a cotton grain bag with a gallon jug in each end thrown across the back of the saddle (or maybe a sheepskin) to grandfathers to try to buy, or beg, enough cider to sweeten "a sturring" of apple butter.
Grandfather had three sons. The older of the three, Edward -- who was my father, learned the art of maple sugar making when quite young. Grandfather at one time had about two hundred sugar trees (hard maples). When there was a good run of sap, all four men were quite busy at least part of every day and well into the night, as long as the season lasted -- that being until the leaf buds were ready to swell.
A good-sized log house was built near the middle of the camp. An open fireplace extended entirely across one end and in this fireplace were hung four sugar kettles. Some of them weighed 250 pounds. At that time, buckets were scarce and expensive, so by each tree was a trough made from half of a poplar log about three feet long. The sap boiled down to a light syrup after the kettles had been filled up many times.
This syrup was allowed to cool and settle, usually over night. Then it was strained through a heavy woolen cloth. Next, a well beaten egg together with a pint of rich milk was added, and allowed to come to a slow boil. The milk and egg all left the syrup, and came to the top in the form of an ugly looking scum. This process brought up the dark particles of woody substance and left the syrup a bright golden color. This produced a product that I am certain will never be excelled, if one is looking for a top dressing for either griddle cakes or hot soda biscuits.
On the farm where I now live, there were at one time about forty large sugar trees, but scattered over a wide area. Anyway we called it the sugar camp. There I served my apprenticeship.
Some may think that in order to make maple syrup, or maple sugar, one must have a great number of trees, expensive outfits, etc. They are wrong On our lawn are sugar trees that were planted in the spring of 1914. This spring I tapped four of the larger ones. On good sap days, they produce 1 1/2 gallons per tree. Four gallons of sap should make one jelly glass of thick syrup. Five gallons should make a desert dish of dry maple sugar. You might asks, does it pay? The answer depends entirely upon what kind of pay you are looking for.
Sell at a profit? No. Who would want to sell anything so good. Is it profitable to make and keep? Yes, for "its good to the last drop" and the "memory lingers on."
Some people may have "raised cain", before the advent of maple sugar making, but the raising of cane for molasses making came much later.
Six miles southwest of Quaker City and on the Seneca Fork of Wills Creek was in the early times the Joseph Burson farm.
On it was the first clearing and permanent home in that part of the valley. On the Burson farm, no doubt, was the first cane patch in this part of Ohio.
The following year cane was raised in many places in Guernsey and Belmont Counties. The Burson farm is now covered by the water in Seneca Lake.
Source: Written by: Isaac Hall, Quaker City, Ohio.
See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 52 -- The Patterson History.
For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.
This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.
DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved
ENTRY NUMBER: EBK30013751