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place reduces the whole to uniform consistence. Without mixture with other substances, the tendency of animal manures is to a too rapid fermentation. They may become mouldy and burn up. The addition of manure to the heap is necessary. It requires occasional turning and intermixing, so that the whole mass may become thoroughly mixed. It is not good policy to apply composted manures to fields indiscriminately.
A soil well-supplied with humus is often benefited by lime and other stimulants. Light and sandy soils require carbon and potash. Heavy, stiff and cold clays require carbonaceous and animal manures and silicates, to improve their mechanical condition.
Compost heaps are a part of the farmer's capital. They deserve more attention than is usually given to them, especially in the Western States. As the country grows older and the soil is depleted, it must be a more prominent agency for supporting the land.
The process of fermentation of milk, in the manufacture of butter and cheese, is an interesting one to science, and of great importance to dairymen.
The myriads of animals or animalculi, that float in the atmosphere, cannot exist in a temperature below the freezing or above the boiling point. They must eat, like larger animals. Instead of devouring milk, as the cat does, the animalcules make their home in it, and the vessels that hold it.
As soon as the milk is taken from the cow, myriads of them alight on the surface, and devour its nutritious elements. They multiply rapidly, and eat all the time. Here is the main source of success or failure in making good butter. If milk is kept in unclean vessels, or allowed to stand but a few hours, its quality, and that of the butter and cheese made from it, will be impaired in proportion to the time it is exposed to even a moderately warm atmosphere. This may occur before the fermentation gives evidence of souring.
Milk, then, cannot be kept safely in vessels not perfectly clean and pure. Its temperature should be immediately cooled, until it approaches the freezing point, even though the cream rises more slowly. There is often too much haste in securing the cream, provided the milk is kept in a cool place. Forcing cream to rise by immediate heat, bringing the milk, as soon as strained, to almost a scalding point, has been successfully tried, the results being a large proportion of cream, and very sweet butter. Churning sweet milk with the sour cream has been practiced to some extent, but seems not to have become a universally popular process. It is generally believed, by butter makers, that the sooner it will “come,” in the churn, the better it will be, if skilfully managed afterward. The careful and conscientious observer will gain much valuable knowledge in this, as well as all other arts and processes, by experience.
Cheese is subject to the deleterious action, of animalcules, as spoken of above. The peculiar flavor of old cheese, which many people prize, is owing to the excrement of these insects. They make it their home, but do not destroy it, like the larger pest of the cheese fly.
VARIOUS ITEMS OF INTEREST.
The best way to free potatoes in the cellar from sprouts is to put three pecks or a bushel in a barrel and skake them briskly till these sprouts are broken off. This covers them with moisture that prevents their wilting and keeps them fresh longer than if sprouted by hand. It is well to keep a few potatoes, a bushel in a barrel, shaking them frequently.
A new mash for horses is now in use. Take two quarts of oats, one of bran, a half pint of flax seed, place the oats first in the stable-bucket, place over it the linseed, add boiling water, then the bran, covering the mixture with thick cloth, allowing it to rest five hours, then stir up well. One feed per day is sufficient. It is easily digested and is adapted to young animals, giving substance to their frames and volume rather than height.
Old pork barrels, whether tainted or not, should be cleansed before using for new pork. A peck of strong wood ashes, a couple of pails of water, standing a day or two in a barrel, then scoured with a stiff broom, will effectually clean them. Rinse in cold water, then pour boiling water down the sides.
FEEDING RATIONS FOR MILK AND BUTTER.
What is the most economical daily ration for a cow in milk? There are various rations that are about equally good. If the object is milk only, the following is good and cheap :
15 pounds corn stalks, cut and steamed.
sugar beets, pulped or steamed.
Total, 35 pounds. This ration should not cost over eleven or twelve cents a day, including labor and coal for steaming. If butter is the object in view, it may be changed as follows:
10 pounds corn stalks, cut and steamed,
HISTORY OF MCHENRY COUNTY.
ETTLEMENTS within the limits of this county commenced along the Fox
River and on the military road from Chicago to Green Bay, in 1834, Algonquin being entitled to the honor of the oldest inhabitant. These first settlers came from Virginia, and it was appropriate that the “Mother of Presidents,” herself the oldest settled of the English colonies, should perform the same office for this county that their ancestors had for Virginia.
The Blackhawk War had just ended, the Indian title had been extinguished, and the country, to those brought up among the mountains of Virginia, was beauty itself. They were in search of something better, and surely they need look no further. Here was a deep and inexhaustible soil ready for the plow, and, within easy range, timber along the streams-not such as they had left behind them, but amply sufficient for buildings and fences.
The land had not been surveyed, but that made little difference to them; they could and did make their claims by mutual consent, and waited till the man with the compass should
put in an appearance.
THE VIRGINIA SETTLEMENT.
In 1835, Christopher Walkup, James Dufield, John McClure, Christopher McClure, William Hartman, John L. Gibson and John Gillilan came from Western Virginia and located in the eastern part of the town of Dorr, since that time known as the “ Virginia Settlement.” John Gillilan, preferring to be near the water, made his claim where he now resides.
These men were the real pioneers of the county, and for that reason deserve more than a passing notice; but it is chiefly on account of their true Southern hospitality to all new comers, to whom their latch-string always hung out, and who were always welcome to all the assistance they could render through money, men and teams, that they are gratefully remembered by those who had occasion to claim their aid or hospitality.
Christopher Walkup, John McClure and John L. Gibson have taken their final emigration, while the others are as ready as ever to welcome the stranger to the best the house affords.
Of all these places, Christopher Walkup's was perhaps the most noted, as he held several of the offices of Justice of the Peace and Sheriff of the County. He was the father of the late lamented Josiah Walkup, of Crystal Lake Crossing. The elder Mr. Walkup died about six years ago, at the age of eighty. John McClure died in Kansas, and John L. Gibson at his residence in Ridgefield.
These “old settlers” are passing away, and as we shall never have any more, it is well that their memory be embalmed in history as it is in the memory of those who in that early day were forced to put their hospitality to the test; and if one of them was ever found wanting, the instance has not come to light.
These Virginians brought with them the local customs of the place whence they came, where one was not thought to have made a visit unless he had come with the entire family, and spent at least one night beneath the roof of his host. The march of improvement has changed all this, but still their memory is green ; and many are now living who have cause to remember the Virginia Settlement.
Pleasant Grove, now Marengo, came next in order, in 1835, after which time it were of little use to essay the settlement in the order of time.
Deer, wolves, foxes and other animals at that time roamed over these prairies and through the openings, as many and free as the Indian, and no great exertion was necessary to procure meat for the table ; indeed, the temptation was too great, so that much more was killed than was needed for the necessities of the settler. The men bunted the deer during the day, and the wolves hunted the sheep and pigs during the night. In 1844, the people of McHenry County thought to rid themselves of the wolves by a grand hunt, in which they would surround a large tract of land with a skirmish line, armed with anything that would make a noise, drive the animals into the center of their noisy circle, there to slaughter them at their leisure. The hunters found their meeting place on section six, Seneca Township; and although they had corralled about sixty deer, all but one of which were allowed to escape, they bagged a wolf and a fox. This was the first and last hunt of the kind ever held in the county.
During the session of 1836–7, the Legislature passed an act setting off from Cook the territory now included in McHenry and Lake Counties, under the former name, which was given in honor of an officer of that name who, in the Sac War, marched through the Territory on his way to Fort Atkinson.
In May, 1837, the county seat was located at McHenry, which had been chosen by Commissioners appointed by the Legislature, Crystal Lake, Half Day, Fort Hill and Independence Grove, now Liberty ville, competing with McHenry for that honor. John Coville," of Bloomington, Peter Cohen and Peter Pruyne, of Cook County, examined the different points, and after mature consideration, taking into account that the first-named point was near the geographical center of the territory, and not a bad location in other respects, decreed accordingly. McHenry County then contained thirty Congressional Townships, being bounded on the east by the Lake, on the south by Cook, on the west by Boone, organized about the same time, and on the north by Wisconsin, then a Territory. It was about equally divided between timber and prairie, was well watered by creeks and rivers, not to mention the two dozen lakes, large and small, that then supplied and still supply an abundance of fish.
On the first day of June, 1837, at the store of Hiram Kennicott, near Half Day, the first election of county officers was held. The vote was not large, the total being 138, and the three County Comissioners chosen were Charles H. Bartlett, Mathias Mason and Solomon Norton. · Henry B. Steele was chosen Sheriff; Michael McGuire, Coroner; Seth Washburn, Recorder; Chas. E. Moore, County Surveyor; the Commissioners appointed Hamilton Dennison, of Half Day, for Clerk, and Andrew S. Wells, of the same place, Treasurer. These Commissioners held their first court at McHenry, June 5, 1837, to organize the county, their first order being an approval of the Clerk's bond; their second, the appointment of a Treasurer; and third, dividing the county into precincts, or magistrate districts; which being done, the county machinery was in running order. The court then proceeded to divide the territory into precincts or magistrate districts, ; the first, called Fox Precinct, included all the territory in the then County of McHenry lying west and two miles east of Fox River, which, as will be seen, comprised a trifle more than is now within this county. The election was held at McHenry ; Christy G. Wheeler, Wm. L. Way and John V. McLane were appointed Judges of Election; H. N. Owen and B. B. Brown, Clerks; and at the first election held July 3d, 1837, Wm. H. Buck and Wm. L. Way were elected Justices of the Peace.
Lake County appears to have had a monopoly of precincts, having four, named respectively, Oak, Lake, Indian Creek and Abingdon; the first holding an election at the residence of William Dwyer, Isaac Hickox, Arthur Patterson and Benjamin Marks being Judges of Election ; in the second, the voting was done at the house of Samuel P. Ransome, the Judges being Jeremiah Porter, Emsley Sunderland and Edward Jenkins; Seth Washburne's house was made the voting place in the third, John G. Ragan, Richard Steele and Andrew S. Wells receiving the tickets; and in the fourth, the house of Thomas McClure was where the Justices and Constables were elected, Jared Gage, Willard Jones and Samuel Brooks being Judges. Two Justices and a like number of Constables were elected in each precinct.