The first constructed settler’s cabin goes all the way back to the early 1800’s in the East Charlotte area of Vermont. American settlers, trappers and loggers all constructed these types of structures to use as temporary homes while on their journey across the frontier. The first of these homes that were constructed were made of beech and pine timbers and were hand hewn. There are even areas of the country where the history of these cabins dates around the 1750s!
The structure of these cabins was not meant to last more than three winters. A settler’s cabin was only designed to fit a pioneer’s family through the winter, in between moving across the country to another area. It almost looked like the settlers threw some logs and sticks together to make a shelter. These cabins would resemble more of an overnight structure to the outdoors adventurist today. Some of the earliest cabins from the 1800’s were not photographed so the only documentation is by descriptions passed down from ancestors.
The design of the early settler’s cabin was French Canadian and a few of some late 1800 cabins are still standing today in certain areas. Iowa, Vermont, and New York are just a couple of the places you can visit and tour actual cabins that were built by people on the Wild West movement. When you think about the people and events that occurred around the settler’s cabin, it is amazing how much history they store.
You could find these cabins in the Midwest and East Coast but the true History of the settler’s cabin is unknown. There are dozens of countries, provinces, and states that lay claim to the creation of the cabins but since there was no documentation until the early 1900’s, it is hard to say who coins the creation. The outdoor structure itself most likely dates back to the time of American Indians and even cave men! The only difference in these structures and settler’s cabins is that the cabins were only intended for very short use.
There is a Settler’s Cabin Park in Pennsylvania where you can experience the closest thing to the pioneer’s life back in the earlier days. An actual archeologist from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History has even visited this park and verified all of the cabins dating back to the 1780’s. The history is really rich here and it is one of the few places you can see the cabins and how they were set up when the settlers were using them.
To experience how life really was when this housing was the only option you can take advantage of a cool tour called the Burning Settler’s Cabin. This little train ride will take you back to a time where Indians were either with you or against you, and in this demonstration they were obviously against the pioneer. The cabin appears to be engulfed in flames but it is actually set up and safely controlled. After you get off the train, you can even walk around inside of the burning cabin to see how a settlers home would have looked like for the frontier traveler.
Unfortunately, because records were so poorly kept in the earlier days it is hard to correctly date the settler’s cabin and the exact tools and techniques they used to build them. We can only take what has been passed down through the generations to help recreate the structures and the history they carry along with them. For photos of some early American settler’s cabins you can do a quick search on the internet.