Monday, February 24, 2014

1800's Trivia Quiz ~ Answers

Family living near Broken Bow, NE 1888.  Used with permission: Nebraska Historical Society
1800's Trivia

So, how do you think you did?  I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  Here we go.....

1). By Hook and Crook  

Well, this is something we still say, but the meaning we use, which loosely means "doing whatever it takes" is not at all what was meant in the 1800's.  It was actually a legal term which forbade a tenant to chop or cut down a live tree anywhere on the property.  The tenant could, however, pull-down, or "hook" the dead limbs and use them for firewood.

2).  A Grike

I don't think I've ever heard of this word before.  It refers to a narrow opening in a stone or wooden fence, allowing people to get through, but not any of the farm animals.  Do we have any farmers or ranchers out there who have heard of this word?  I would love to know!

3).  Made by Cat and Clay

This is an interesting phrase that refers to a construction method which uses sticks and mud in the construction of a building.  I can't help but wonder exactly how that phrase came to be!  Was a feline involved somehow?  I suppose we'll never know!

4).  A Trunnel

A trunnel is a large wooden pin used in fastening the framework of buildings together.  They were also commonly known as "tree nails".  Hhmmm....wouldn't you love to see one of those?

5).  A Summer Cloth

Ok...this one really piqued my interest.  As a quilter and fabric lover, this could have had all sorts of domestic applications, right?  It was an all-purpose square of water-tight canvas that could be folded into knapsacks, a water bucket and many other uses.  What does the word "summer" have to do with that?  

Hope you enjoyed this little quiz.  I love this stuff!

P.S.  Mary M. left me a comment in my last post about the family in the photo above.  She remarked about all of the household stuff they had in the photo and asked if there was any significance to it.  Absolutely, YES!  Like now, for instance, we might have our photos taken in front of a new car.  Back then, they were equally as proud of their home, livestock, wagon, and for sure, treadle sewing machine.  It was a status symbol for them.  This photo was taken by famous photographer, Solomon Butcher, who traveled extensively throughout the prairie states taking photos of pioneer families and their precious belongings.  You can learn more about Mr. Butcher at your local library.


  1. Well I did not get a one right... but I loved learning about the words. Thanks

  2. I really enjoyed learning about these words and their meanings. Thank you for sharing your research.

  3. You did get me wondering. Of course the meanings we assume today are nothing like the real thing:) Thanks for sharing this with me.

  4. Very interesting. 'Funny how meanings change over time. Some phrases even drop from common vocabulary. Is summer cloth the same as oil cloth?

  5. Well, I am a farmer and I've never heard of the term Grike. However, we do have openings for us to slide through and not the livestock. Now I know what to call them. When you go to a live, livestock auction there will be a "Grike" right in front of the auctioneer podium. When cattle come into the ring to be auctioned off, the ring men stay in the pen with the cattle to keep the cattle moving so the buyers can view what they are buying. If an animal, isn't very human friendly and wants to take out the ring man, he can duck behind the "Grike" to stay safe and the cattle can't harm him. Thanks for the info that was fun.

  6. Such interesting stuff, Pam. I've never heard of any of it--other than the first one which we have adulterated. : )

  7. P.S are you aware you have that 'prove your not a robot' thingie for people leaving comments?

  8. I wonder on number 3 if they might have mixed cat hairs with their clay for stabilizer? Just guessing I have no idea. I watch a lot of DIY remodeling homes and just the other day they said horse hair was used with plaster to plaster the walls many years ago.

  9. I'm wondering if 'cat and clay' has something to do with 'catgut' which is the intestine of animals that was dried and stretched into a strong cord that was used for many things. Thanks for the trivia.

  10. Love your fabric, your patterns and your blog. Question….have you read the book "No Time on My Hands" by Grace Snyder? She moved out west in the late 1800's. She had three wishes in her young life…..To make the most beautiful quilts ever….To marry a cowboy….To see the clouds from up above. She accomplished this in her close to 100 year life. I hope you have read it. Lee

  11. The cat and clay: I was right on that one - it's like building a cob building. You kneed the straw and clay together like a cat kneeds with their front feet & it hurts:)
    I love this sort of stuff - thank you.