- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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I must also note the fine neighborly spirit among the
early settlers which sought every occasion to aid,
comfort, and cheer one another. This may have been due
in part to the fact that every one was more or less
dependent on neighbors for assistance. The farmers would
buy a breaking plow or a threshing rig together. They
would exchange work. A settler seldom had more than
one team, and when three or four yoke of oxen were
needed, as in breaking, the teams and teamsters were
lent, and upon like occasion the loan was returned. At
threshing time the farmer would raise the needed crew
of 12 or 15 men from his neighbor farmers, and he, in
turn, would be one of the crew when the threshing was
done on the farms of each of them. If a neighbor got
behind in his season’s work those near him, having
finished their own, would hasten unbidden to his assistance.
And, of course, in sickness or misfortune every one was
ready to help. When immigrants arrived, even those
not related, would harbor them for weeks, no matter
how small and crowded their homes. I recall an
incident in my boyhood, when the little home of two
small rooms, a lean-to, and a corncrib sheltered, for
several weeks, four families, each family having several
children. This neighborly feeling led to sociability and
hospitality. Visits back and forth were frequent,
especially on Sundays and holidays. At these visits some
simple refreshment was nearly always offered. People
did not expect much, but the simple entertainment was
provided with such evident pleasure for both the
expected and unexpected visitor that it was thoroughly
enjoyed. I regret to say that this fine spirit of
helpfulness and friendly intercourse of pioneer days has to a
great extent departed.

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