| Richard of Jamestown|
|by James Otis|
|Follow the fortunes of orphan Richard Mutton as he travels to the New World with Captain John Smith and takes up residence with him in the new colony of Jamestown. See the struggles they go through to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table while the majority of their fellow colonists shirk the work of establishing the colony for the pursuit of gold. Observe how their relationships with the native Americans change over time and how, when they are just on the point of abandoning the colony, a new contingent of colonists arrives to bring fresh hope to the Jamestown settlement. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-10 |
BUILDING A HOUSE OF LOGS
WHILE the others were hunting here and there for the gold
which it had been said could be picked up in Virginia as
one gathers acorns in the old world, Captain Smith set
about making a house of logs such as would protect him from
the storms of winter as well as from the summer sun.
This he did by laying four logs on the ground in the form of
a square, and so cutting notches in the ends of each that
when it was placed on the top of another, and at right angles
with it, the hewn portions would interlock, one with the
other, holding all firmly in place. On top of these, other
huge tree trunks were laid with the same notching of the ends.
It was a vast amount of labor, thus to roll up the heavy logs
in the form of a square until a pen or box had been made as
high as a man's head, and then over that was built a roof of
logs fastened together
 with wooden pins, or pegs, for iron
nails were all too scarce and costly to be used for such purpose.
When the house had been built thus far, the roof was formed
of no more than four or five logs on which a thatching of grass
was to be laid later, and the ends, in what might be called
the "peak of the roof," were open to the weather. Then it was
that roughly hewn planks, or logs split into three or four
strips, called puncheons, were pegged with wooden nails on
the sides, or ends, where doors or windows were to be made.
Then the space inside this framework was sawed out, and behold
you had a doorway, or the opening for a window, to be filled
in afterward as time and material with which to work might
After this had been done, the ends under the roof were covered
with yet more logs, sawn to the proper length and pegged
together, until, save for the crevices between the timbers,
the whole gave protection against the weather.
Then came the work of thatching the roof, which was done
by the branches of trees, dried grass, or bark. My master
put on first a layer of branches from which the leaves had
been stripped, and over that we laid coarse
 grass to the
depth of six or eight inches, binding the same down with small
saplings running from one side to the other, to the number
of ten on each slope of the roof.
To me was given the task
of closing up the crevices between the logs with mud and
grass mixed, and this I did the better because Nathaniel
Peacock worked with me, doing his full share of the labor.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics