Harsh Living Conditions

Living conditions were harsh in the early days in Bement. With the constant threat of disease and accidents and because of limited medical resources, life expectancy was short. Fever Pneumonia, ague, typhoid fever, diphtheria, burns, broken bones, gun-shot accidents, and childbirth were some of the major health problems the pioneers faced on the swampy prairie.

Out of necessity, the children had to work and had few educational opportunities, even after the first school was established. Boys in most families cut wood, carried water, hoed the garden, pulled weeds, cut the grass with scythes, and ran errands. The girls helped out by cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, and tending the younger children in the family. Most early pioneers had live-stock and usually a milk cow that also needed tending. The children also worked away from home to help older relatives, neighbors, businesses, or friends.

From Bement Sesquicentennial book - used with permission

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