History of Arenzville, IL
By Judge J. A. Arenz, Chapter XIV, History of Cass County, Illinois, edited by William Henry Perrin, Chicago, O.L. Baskin & Co. Historical Publishers, 1882.
Early Residence of the Settlers
The residences of the people at an early day were log houses, having generally one or two doors, one little window, or none at all, a big fire-place, and the furniture therein was generally a table or big chest, a bed and a few split-bottom chairs, which so completely covered the floor, that only a few visitors at a time could get inside the house. The door had on such occasions to be left open, so that one could at least see who his next neighbor was. These cabins were so open and airy, that in winter the snow would blow through the cracks, and in summer swarms of mosquitoes would surround the sleeper, and if the party could not afford the luxury of a bar, he must either have the hide of an elephant or be entirely insensible to pain. To scare off mosquitoes, some people made a big fire of weeds before their cabins in the evening, or in the fire-place, and under the cover of tremendous smoke arising, under coughing and sneezing, the evenings were passed, and thus the nights. Very early rising was the order of the day, for as soon as daylight faintly approached, every one hurried to leave his bed. There was no necessity of calling anyone to get up; the flies would relieve the mosquitoes from duty and perform this work effectually. In almost every house, or in the shed part of the cabin, was found a spinning-wheel and loom, to manufacture the yarn and weave the clothing and bedding for family use. The women were exclusively the manufacturers of these useful things, and on days of gatherings, or on Sundays, when people assembled for church purposes, before the service commenced, it was spoken of, how many yards of jeans, linsey-woolsey, socks, etc., had been manufactured by Mrs. So and So. The surplus of these articles not used for family purposes, were brought to the stores for sale, and jeans, socks, knit gloves and mittens, came in such abundance, that the storekeeper could not dispose of the same here, and had to ship them to St. Louis, then the New York of the western country.