Pioneers in the Battle Against Mother Nature
Most of the time people get what they pay for no matter how assuring the product may seem. O.
F. Davis was the Land Commissioner of Omaha, Nebraska and he was determined to sell 12,000,000 acres of land to any and all parties seeking land to build businesses or farms. He made a poster claiming the land was rich , close to a railroad, and was a mild and healthful climate. Opposite to the poster side Davis presented, Flo Ota De Lange introduced the true difficulties in an article called,”Home, Sweet Soddie.” De Lange showed how many of the faults the poster had in her article such as climate, isolation, droughts, and the horrid problems caused by bugs. Instead of the reassuring feeling of peace brought from a fresh new start, the pioneers were faced with a life of hardship and challenge.
All of these challenges and hardships our early settlers endured were nearly impossible because of the weather, isolation, and horrific bugs. Though there was a charming setting of scenery with plush tall grass kneeling to the direction of the wind, miles upon miles of open space, and a lot of potential for growth and development; anyhow, the weather made living on the prairie groggy. There was a great concern when it came to weather, between the severe storms and extreme temperatures the pioneers couldn’t catch a break. Flo Ota De Lange’s “Home Sweet Soddie,” reveals all the tormenting problems caused by dust storms, drought, scorching heat and freezing cold, blizzards, and fires. “Whenever there was a heavy rain, water followed the root systems in the sod bricks right on down through the sod ceiling, soaking everything in the room and turning the sod floor to mud.
” Even days after the storm may have passed the house would leak. Mold and disease were a lot more probable to cause health problems when these conditions occurred. Another major hazard for these early settlers were the extreme temperatures. There was always a chill to the bone in the winters. The summer’s scorching hot, and this often sent the dust storming off in a rampage across the prairie.
These people fought courageously and endured so much just to survive, but the brutal beatings of the weather didn’t compare to the suffocating isolation. Davis glorified the land by mentioning, “prices are extremely low, the location is central, diversified hills, rich soil, mild climate, and timber can be found near streams,” but he neglects to mention anything about the isolation.All of that may have some truth; however, all of this was far away from even the nearest of homes. These pioneers were surrounded by the plush grass giving their area a little color, but that factor quickly faded when they began their journey for the simplest means of survival, water. Leaving their pod homes they probably thought it was going to be at the very least five miles away, but after hours upon hours of brutal walking, they still hadn’t had a glimpse of the so called “near streams.” After only a few days they discovered they’d given their currency to money hungry thieves.
“250 miles to the nearest post office, 100, miles to wood, and 20 miles to water,”De Lange addresses one pioneers thoughts. The poster neglects to mention how hard the settlers would have to work to survive. With their homes leaking so much, disease was always a threat, but how did they survive if there was no doctor or neighbor in sight? The greedy thieves embezzled the safety and joy these settlers once had and replaced it with hazards and fear, but not even this smothering isolation could compare to the problems brought on by bugs. Insects, hemiptera, or bugs no matter what they are called are still squirmy things that very few people like. Living in a sod house not only brought on problems with the weather, but these homes quickly came invested with countless amounts of worms.
These slimy bugs dropped from the ceiling and surrounded the floor, but along with them bed bugs, grasshoppers, moths, and mosquitoes presented horrendous problems. “Bedbugs came crawling out at night, along with fleas.” With these nasty, biting, little beasts, being pretty much indestructible, settlers would often have to shake off their beds or end up with miniature, itchy, red marks all over their skin. As if getting rid of the insects wasn’t hard enough, the bugs on the outside were pretty much concrete in causing problems.There were “enough grasshoppers to block out the sun.
So many millions of grasshoppers that they can strip a farm bare in a matter of hours. They can chew their way through a plow handle.” The grasshoppers had the power to destroy nearly everything on the pioneer’s property, and a lot of the times they did causing a family to start over again and again.Sod homes were usually the solution to this brutal destruction; nevertheless, the house seemed to never be clean and was dark no matter the time of day. Moths left holes in a lot of their material such as clothing and quilts. Mosquitoes carried around diseases creating a lot of misery for its prey.
The early settlers homes were inviting to lots of other horrific bugs making the move very difficult. These brave pioneers battled them countless times, but getting rid of them was always challenging, and they soon discovered how little the poster reflected on all of these challenges. On O.F. Davis’s poster, there was a claim made of rich farming property, mild and healthful climate, and the land was close to the railroad; nonetheless, he neglects to mention all of the difficulties to farm the land with all the issues brought on by bugs.
He also claimed that it was mild and healthful, but as presented in “Home Sweet Soddie,” De Lange presents that the temperatures were extremely hot in the summer showing just how far fetched the poster truly was. Another thing about wrong about the poster that the railroad was miles away, but just to top it off the grasshoppers often caused the train to stop in its tracks. Now that it is clear, Davis had no support for his claim, for he was only anxious to sell his twelve million acres of land. Given the chance of a fresh new start many people jumped at the chance of fresh new land, but instead were faced with many difficulties. Never knowing when the next storm would occur, being unable to have a helping hand, and getting attacked by swarms of bugs, these pioneers took the bull by the horns and battled against mother nature for their survival. Some would say without the hardships pioneers faced America wouldn’t have made it as far, but while that is true, it still doesn’t change the fact that the pioneers were promised a land of good fortune and instead were struck with a life of hardship.
These early settlers all have their battle scars to proving that life on the prairie was onerous.