BES bicentennial letters

What do you think…?

Brownstown Elementary School students were asked “What do you think the town was like 200 years ago?” Here are responses from fourth-graders in Amy Hartley’s class and fifth-graders in Becky Baker’s class.

We can’t imagine living in Brownstown 200 years ago because it would be a lot different than it is today. Two hundred years ago, you would go to school in a one-room school in your church. The school days were shorter because you went home and had to work on the farm. If you wanted to travel, you would have to travel by horse and buggy. You would eat what your family hunted and would drink milk from your cows. We wish we could go back in time and know what it was like back then.

— Caiden Gwin and Parker Hehman

We might have walked to school or ridden a horse. We may have gone to a one-room school or to school at a church. We might have had a shorter day of school because there was more work to do back then. After school, you would work instead of play. Pioneers from Brownstown might have played outside games more than inside games. There were more dirt or rock roads, and pioneers had smaller houses built out of trees instead of brick and concrete. Pioneers traveled by horse and buggy. They used horse and buggy for getting furs to town to make most of their money. Every time the pioneers had to use their guns, they would have to put gunpowder in. They had to use their guns every time they went hunting to get furs and food.

— Ryan Branaman, Grant Black and Ethan Garland

The kids’ favorite game was probably kick the can. They would go places in a covered wagon coated with grease to make it waterproof instead of riding in a car. The people of Brownstown were probably good at hunting and fishing. They had outhouses and used corncobs, leaves and pine cones as toilet paper. Ugh! Parking lots were hitching posts. Horses pulled plows and were the machines of that time. The pioneers made houses out of logs. They didn’t have much medicine or many doctors, so a lot of people didn’t live to be adults. It was a difficult time to live in Brownstown but still very cool. We wish there was a time machine to go back and see everything in that time period.

— Ephram Autry, Brady Blann and Bryce Peak

Brownstown probably had dirt roads, and Brownstown’s citizens would use covered wagons and horses, oxen, donkeys, mules and steers. Their covered wagons usually were wooden with a white cloth over top and usually coated with grease to make them waterproof. Pioneer houses were mainly made of wood and were in villages, farms or by themselves. The women and the little girls wore dresses and bonnets, and the men and the little boys wore pants, shoes, work shirts, suspenders and hats. The men usually worked on a farm and planted crops. The women would probably work in the house, cook and clean. During the day, the kids would go to school in a one-room building or at their church. We wish we had lived during this so we would really know what Brownstown was like 200 years ago.

Paige Davidson, Careleena Bowman and Rylee Harris

You would be a pioneer doing chores in the morning and at night and play outside for the rest of the day. You could make up your own games that you could play alone or a bunch of people could play. You would ride in a covered wagon with a horse to school or to the general store. Boys helped in the fields, and girls helped in the houses. The girls made their clothes and blankets. You would eat vegetables and meat that your family raised and killed. You would drink water, tea, coffee and milk from your family’s cow. On Sundays, all you would do is go to church, eat and go to bed. You had to have good behavior on Sunday. Girls would wear their best dresses, and boys wore their best clothing.

Haley Bowman and Megan VonDielingen

Settlers lived in tiny log houses. Settlers hunted for food and would trade furs for supplies. The settlers would drive a wagon, and the road would be dirt. They couldn’t cure sicknesses as well as we can now. They had to grow their own food, and it was quite hard. Back then, the women and little girls wore dresses and bonnets. The men and little boys wore shirts and pants. The girls would make clothes, but their clothes were much different than our clothes. Boys would go hunting and worked on the farms. Instead of playing iPads, they would play with homemade dolls and balls. It would be interesting to see what life was like in Brownstown 200 years ago.

Emilee Ault and Caiti Howell

When we think of 1816, we think of pioneers, little cabins made of wood, people hunting all of their food and horses pulling buggies. They would eat deer, turkey, fish and buffalo. They saved the furs of the animals to make bed covers and blankets. You might have put weapons, blankets, pillows, food, books, most likely a Holy Bible, and even maybe a little girl’s doll in the oil-covered buggy when they traveled to settle here. They could bring their pets, like a dog or cat, too. They traded food, fabric, weapons, furs and animals. On Sundays, they did not work at all but studied their catechism or Bible. The men worked outside to grow their crops and hunt dinner for their families. The women stayed home and cooked and cleaned. The children would be in school with all of their friends. But when they came home, they had to work. The boys would be off with their fathers outside working. The girls would be inside or outside the house doing chores, helping their mom clean the house or cooking. They would be doing the laundry, washing themselves or washing the dishes. Brownstown was a really cool place back in 1816. We are really lucky to live in Brownstown today. We wish we could go back in time and see what Brownstown was like.

Kera Wischmeier and Lexi Wheeles

People wore less bright clothes, and they were ragged. They rode on horses and in carriages on dirt roads instead of fancy cars and hard roads. You would have to go to school in one room inside of a church instead of a huge school with hundreds of kids. That would be very crowded. They had less cures for diseases. They couldn’t cure cancer as well as we can today. They had had less school time because there was more work to do on the farm. They also had more log cabins. People hunted most of the time instead of buying food. More animals were alive, and people grew their own food. They were way more social than humans are today since video games were made. A long time ago, instead of Apple brand stuff, they played outside a bunch instead. Girls wore dresses, and boys wore pants. I would love to live in Brownstown at that time.

Aaron Skaggs

We think Brownstown had log cabins, and you had to make your own clothes and blankets. We think there would be woods, places to hunt and trading posts and shops. Two hundred years ago, people would rarely see each other. Instead of playing with computers and iPads, they played with dolls and tops. Farmwork was a lot harder because they didn’t have the machines we have today. You would have to hand hoe, hand dig, hand till, water by a can and harvest by hand. Instead of driving a car, you would probably drive an old horse-drawn wagon. The top was covered with a greased white cloth top so it would be waterproof. The girls would normally clean and do the housework, while the boys did all of the hunting and farming. We wish we could go back in time and live that life. Maybe someday, someone will invent a time machine and people can go back in time and live that life again.

Conner Wynn, Colton Whittymore and Spencer Penn

Many things were different in 1816. Now, we know a lot more things that we didn’t know back then. In 1816, there were no iPads, iPods, iPhones or computers, so they had to write letters, and they might have walked on the dirt roads. Even though there were no cars, people still had best friends they could talk to. Electricity wasn’t invented yet. Brownstown houses would have been wooden and made out of logs. There were no cars, so they had covered wagons. They would put grease all over the cloth to make it waterproof so their things wouldn’t get soaked. Indiana was very different 200 years ago. We would love to go back and see what it looked like 200 years ago.

Kaitlyn Williams, Rylee May and Maddie Singleton

Brownstown, long ago when it was established, the roads were probably dirt and rock. Unfortunately, cars were not invented 200 years ago, so horse-drawn buggies would be roaming the roads. Getting your own food for you and your family would have been a big challenge. There weren’t restaurants or grocery stores in town. The men would hunt and get the meat. The women would stay home with the kids, churn butter and clean the vegetables from the garden for dinner. In Brownstown today, there are many schools. There probably would have been only one school. The school would be one room with a lot of kids. School buses didn’t come to your house, so you could walk or have your parents take you. From horse-drawn buggies to cars, collecting your own food to going to the grocery store and having bigger or more school, Brownstown 200 years ago was very different from today.

Camryn Thompson

Brownstown 200 years ago would be a lot different than today Brownstown. We wouldn’t have any iPhones or Xboxes, but we would have butter churns and wells. Some days, you might have to churn butter until your arms fall off and cook for a house full of five to 10 people. You would have to pull weeds for so long that you will develop thick layers of scabs and calluses. You would have to hunt, work in the fields and make fences from the wee hours in the morning until the late, late hours of night. You couldn’t go to Jay C and get groceries. You would have to hunt all day in order to get just a little food. For fun, you probably played marbles, played with toys made from cornstalks and danced. Brownstown 200 years ago was different and more unique than it is today.

Evan Sibrel

Instead of having to buy things, you would probably have to trade for certain things. The women and girls would sew all of the clothes, prepare all of the meals and even have to go to the river or any water source and hand wash their clothes. The men and boys would have to do all of the hunting, fishing and working with crops and in the fields. People would have to travel by mule, donkey, horse or just on their own two feet. They probably were in love with their beds when they were done working. Man, the past Brownstown sounds way different. Our town has a lot of past history.

Eli Reynolds

I bet people hand-washed their clothes, planted their crops with a horse and old-fashioned plow and harvested their own crops instead of a big, noisy combine. People probably had to make every meal from scratch and cook it over the fire, so firewood was probably a big need. I bet that people were always working as hard as mules. I’m going to take a guess and say the girls did all of the sewing, cooking and of course, housework. The boys took care of hunting, raising cattle, making tools and working the fields or farming. Cup of Joe and energy drinks weren’t around then, so the mornings must have been tough.

Kylor McCulley

I think that the people of Brownstown probably rode in horses and buggies and used horses to pull the plows. The technology has really changed. Now, we use tractors to plow, and we drive vehicles instead of horse and buggies. Sometimes, I would like to live in those times just to see how hard life was. In my opinion, a lot of people take life for granted because we have phones, electricity, cars and air conditioning.

Emily Lewis

I bet people worked as hard as mules. They must have had to hand wash their own clothes on a washboard or even plow their own fields with a horse. Could you even imagine planting every seed one by one? They must have worked sun up to sundown. They probably had to work in long sleeves, jeans and dresses. It must have felt like they were in a sauna. They must have rode around on those horse buggies probably as slow as a snail. Just imagine churning your own butter. Sorry, kids, but you would have had chores to do. If I lived in Brownstown 200 years ago, when I went to bed, I would have dropped dead tired.

Madison Edwards

Brownstown 200 years ago is a dream for me to live in. I think Brownstown was very cool back then. We had all kinds of cool pioneer stuff, like the magnificent dresses the girls used to wear. I think things back then were more fascinating and interesting. It might not have been fun to wash your clothes by hand, but it would be a fun experience to do once or twice. Schools back then may not have been the biggest and may not have had pencil and paper, but it would be fun to try the slate and chalk that they did at school. I wish for a week that it would just go back to the old days. It would be tiring, but instead of kids playing video games like today, they would have to help around the house. That’s what I thought Brownstown would be 200 years ago, and I think we should appreciate it.

Kalee Borden

When Brownstown was a little, small town, it was way different than it is now. Don’t you ever wonder what it was like? Let me tell you what I think it was like. Cock-a-doodle-doo! There go the roosters trying to wake everybody up for church on an early, foggy, cold Sunday morning. I jump out of bed trying not to freeze myself. I grab my clothes and go under my covers to get dressed so I don’t freeze. I run through the curtain that separates my bed to the kitchen. I eat my toast and eggs and realize I forgot to brush my hair, so I run back through the curtain, grab my brush and stagger to church, which is just on the other side of the hill. I see all of my friends playing tag just outside the church. Then the bell rings. That means it’s time to go in. Since my grandpa is the preacher and my mom sings in the choir, my dad and I have to sit in the first pew all by ourselves. He talks for a while, and then we pray, it’s over and we all go home. Brownstown has changed a lot over 200 years. Back then, they had to walk on foot everywhere, but now, most people have automobiles to drive around and get places. Brownstown is good how it is now.

Emma Hughbanks