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Southeast Missouri had a key role in the road to Missouri statehood in 1817-1821. The events leading to statehood, and some of the events, people, and lifeways in the area may be unfamiliar to many modern-day Missourians. Currently, Missouri is celebrating its Bicentennial, and this program aims to summarize the events leading to statehood, some of the factors affecting Missouri’s entry into the Union, and how people lived and worked during that time 200 years ago.Every Friday morning at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m. and Saturday morning at 8:18 a.m., Bill Eddleman highlights the people, places, ways of life, and local events in Southeast Missouri in 1821.The theme music for the show ("The Missouri Waltz") is provided by Old-Time Missouri Fiddler Charlie Walden, host of the podcast "Possum’s Big Fiddle Show."

MO Bicentennial Minutes: Property in John Whittenburgh’s Estate Inventory – Part 2

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Images, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Top, left: cooper’s adz; center: broadax; right: mattock. Bottom, left: use of a scythe and cradle; left center: Dutch scythes; right center: froe or frow; right: auger and gimlet.

We continue our look at unfamiliar items in the estate of John Whittenburgh. An enslaved man probably made barrels at the farm, because a barrel auger, or drill, drawing knife, and cooper’s adz were in the estate. The latter was a short-handled tool with a sharply curved back tipped with a cutting blade and rectangular front. It was used to cut a bevel, called the chime, on the inside top of the assembled barrel staves. The short handle allowed work inside the barrel. Workers used a mattock to chop in soil or to remove roots and small trees. A grubbing hoe had similar use in chopping out small trees and their roots.

Broad axes were for squaring up logs. One face was straight, allowing cutting a straight surface between a series of perpendicular cuts in the log. An auger and gimlet drilled small holes without splitting wood, and consisted of a worm or screw on the drilling end, with a cross handle at the other end.

Farming tools included a fan and screen, used to separate grain from chaff. Harvesters used a curve-handled scythe and cradle to cut and hold wheat, flax, and other crops for binding clumps to dry. A Dutch scythe was similar, but had a straight or short handle and blade for cutting only.

A froe cleaves wood by splitting it along the grain, often to produce shingles. The Whittenburgh household likely produced corn whiskey or other distilled spirits, because a still, cap, flake stand, and brass cock were inventoried.

Finally, a yoke (or pair) of oxen were the tractors of the day. The animals and the harnessing gear were all in the estate inventory.