Pioneers, O Pioneers!
. . . one does not need to go to a battlefield, or to find tragedies in blood, for the world’s greatest heroes. Many unknown in life, bearing its burdens under difficulties and under depressing circumstances, and under the crushing conditions of poverty and misfortune are heroes, and the women who toil with them are heroines. The writer in the early seventies knew several families in Northwest Iowa who were without money, without friends-for the world is cold and uncharitable to the borrower-whose crops were an utter failure, and where existence was continued by living on anything that was accessible, and whose diet principally was corn ground in a coffee mill. We who are living in the present progress and prosperity of Osceola County cannot realize the crushed and despondent heart of many a mother whose little ones, in the early days of the county’s history, were crying for bread, and where but inch boards protected them from the severity of winter, huddled around a fire made by twisted hay, and whose one hope was in a change, which the future, dark and doubtful, would bring to them. These early settlers who were thus battling against the misfortunes of the county then were heroes.
This is an excerpt from a history book written in 1914 about the foundation of two counties in the Northern portion of Iowa. It is an interesting perspective, especially as we approach Independence Day this Sunday to consider that it’s not just the soldiers who fought that day who changed the face of our nation, but also the people who raised families in little villages in wooden huts, the people who foraged and hunted and turned the endless plains of the midwest into farms. It’s interesting to consider the impact those people had, the way they shaped the landscape, many of whom are faceless and nameless as the years wear on.
Happy Independence Day, everyone!