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The home of a pioneer family was a place where families could come together to enjoy each other's company. Home life was built on the relationships of the family members. Each evening, the family came together to eat and share stories from the day. After the meal, the family would remain in the kitchen to read, study, sew, or whittle in each other's company. The home itself was an excellent representation of some of the tasks that filled the days of the Florida pioneers. The home was where children learned their work ethic; it was the source of ongoing daily chores and responsibility. As the children grew, so did their obligations to the family and to the home.

The home was built for the immediate needs of the family; additions were made when they were needed. Men built most of the furniture for a home, such as bed frames, tables and chairs. Women sewed the mattresses and pillows, filling them with chicken or duck feathers, pine straw, Spanish moss, or palmetto fronds. Bedspreads in this time period were usually plain white and were called “counterpanes.” It was not until around 1900 that women embroidered decorative designs on them. Floors were most often built of pine wood. The floors were cold in the winter months, so women crocheted rugs out of scraps of cloth to cover the cold flooring and to keep their feet warm.

 

Further reading:

Brown, Canter Jr.
1991 Florida’s Peace River Frontier. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Haase, Ronald W.
1992 Classic Cracker: Florida’s Wood-Frame Architecture. Sarasota: Pineapple Press.