Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

The New Home

We had one more bear hunt before the first of the log houses had been built; but I did not take part in it, because of our being so nearly done with our building that mother urged us to make every effort at winding up the task within the next four and twenty hours, to the end that we might be able to leave the cave among the first of the company.


By this time we had among us many laborers, and father hired two men to saw logs into boards, so that we might have floors in our home, and doors that were seemly to look upon.

I saw many dwellings in which the floor was nothing more than the earth beaten down hard, and the doors made of riven logs to form rough planks called puncheons; but my father, counting to spend the remainder of his days in this land of America, gave due heed to the comfort of himself and of his family.

In later days I have heard much concerning the suffering endured by people who came to other portions of the New World to build homes, and have been told of the shifts they made in putting up dwellings, or in providing themselves with food; but we of Philadelphia were not called upon thus to battle against obstacles that need not have arisen, had the colony been properly cared for by those who had charge of the matter in England.

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