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McAdams Log Cabin

The McAdams log cabin was built by Leonard Henry McAdams in southwestern Jersey County, near Pere Marquette State Park.

While the few photos of the cabin that remain may be old and faded, the memories Christina “Tina” McAdams Lyming has of growing up in the old McAdams log cabin are still bright and clear in her mind. Tina was born in the log cabin in 1935 and spent the first 13 years of her life there.

“Originally, there was just one room with a loft up above, but later my dad built a frame room and loft area onto it,” Tina says.  “My parents occupied one loft bedroom and the kids the other.  The boys had a bed and us girls had a bed.”

The 1930s was the period right after the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, men were out of work, and families got by the best they could.

“I was young, but I can remember it being a very hard time for us,” Tina says. “I remember Momma taking old coats and sewing them together to make covers for us kids because we couldn’t afford to buy blankets. They were so heavy that you felt like you had been working all night holding the covers up. But they kept us warm.”

Living in a log cabin was especially hard in the rough winters of the 1930s.

“The cabin wasn’t insulated, and I remember waking up in the morning with snow on my bed,” Tina recalls.

With no electricity, reading was done the old-fashioned way – by either candlelight or kerosene lamp. “We didn’t have a lot of money to buy the kerosene, so we always went to bed soon after dark. Before we did, Momma would always read to us. She would draw us close to the lamp and read to us from an old book and an old western magazine because Dad liked western stories.”

Despite the hardships, Tina remembers her years in the cabin happy.  “As I look back, it was hard, but we were always laughing and teasing, and my mother was always singing. You just did what you had to do to survive and loved each other.”

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Jersey County Historical Society

601 N. State St.
Jerseyville, IL 62052