The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pioneers and Whiskey

From The History of Licking County:

Next to water, the drink of the pioneers was whiskey-corn or rye whiskey. Everybody drank it. It was supposed to be indispensable to health, and a protection against the morning fogs. It was supposed to be indispensable to strength and endurance during the labors of the day, and to sleep at night.
It was supposed to be absolutely indispensable to warmth and animation in cold, chilly winter weather. It was the sacrament of friendship and hospitality; it was in universal use yet there was probably less drunkenness in those days than at present. The whiskey was absolutely pure: it was not drugged, doctored and poisoned as it is to-day, and, although enough of it would bring drunkenness, it did not bring delirium-tremens, or leave the system prostrated, and the victim with a head-ache upon "sobering up." It was the first thing in demand as an article of commerce. Stills for its manufacture sprang up everywhere, all along the stream. Pioneers soon found a market at these stills for their corn, hence corn became the great crop, and whisker the great article of commerce. It was the only thing that would bring money, and money they must have to pay taxes. Whiskey could be purchased for twelve or fifteen cents per gallon and paid for in corn, and the barrel of whiskey in the cellar, was as common as the barrel of cider was later. The whiskey that was not consumed at home was shipped on flat-boats or pirogues on the Muskingum, Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and sold for Spanish gold. The rebellion against the government of the United States, commonly called the whiskey insurrection, had its growth out of the hardship of the conch-Irish of western Pennsylvania, who in the mother country had learned to love whiskey and hate gaugers : and this population gave tone and character to the first settlers of eastern Ohio. There was this apology for the production of whiskey, that it was the only means of disposing of surplus crops, or bringing money into the country.
The hardy pioneers, after disposing of their cargo of whiskey in New Orleans, would set out for home a distance of say fifteen hundred miles. Think of it, ye who ride in palace coaches at the rate of forty miles an hour while reclining in cushioned seats, smoking your cigar, and reading in your morning paper the happenings of yesterday in Europe and America. While apologizing some what for those whiskey days, it may be well to say the whiskey was not probably of any special benefit, was not to be compared to the pure water of their springs, and that too many of 'the pioneers drank too much of it, and that too often it made their eyes and noses red, their children ragged and their wives wretched, as it does to-day.

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