continuing the Hon. P. A. Armstrong’s remarks to the 1877 La Salle County Old Settlers Reunion:
Our population was too much scattered for schools. Four Miles was not considered too far for the children to travel in attending school. Books, except the book of books, the Bible, were very scarce. There were no newspapers then published in the state and if there had been, we had no means of obtaining them, as we had no mails. There was one copy of that noble work of Bunyan, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in our neighborhood. It was read by all who could read, and constituted a kind of circulating library. I doubt not but my pious friend Col. Hitt perused the history of poor Prospect, filled with hopes and doubts, especially the doubts. The condition of society at that date was such as to render this locality very unhealthy for the Mrs. Grundys and the Paul Prys.
Even visiting was not popular, not because our people were unsocial, but because our neighbors were too far distant.
Talking societies and curiosity shops did not flourish. Nor had we any tramps, gipsies, or strolling organ grinders; sewing machine agents would have been shot on the spot. We had no difficulties between neighbors on account of trespass committed by the chickens or pigs of one upon the premises of another. The only trespass with which we were then familiar was that known as jumping of claims upon Uncle Sam’s land. These sometimes occurred and when they did occur a field fight generally followed in which whole families took a hand; but we never went to law to establish our claims, although all sometimes did seek consolation at law for bruised heads and bloody noses received in the struggle to protect our claims. It was a poor country for office and office holders. All our disputes were settled by arbitration, hence lawsuits were but little heard of.
Tea and coffee were luxuries we could not obtain for love or money, for there was none in the country.
——————– to be continued ————————