a tale of white light'in
Lincoln's New Salem Village
....Mak'in some whiskey, in Lincoln's New Salem Village, circa 1833, or it could be Hannibal or Shelbyville, MO at the same date, or Fayette and Westfield, IA in 1848.
...The corn is planted in small clearings cut out of the hill top woodland, as the prairies are scary places with 8-12 foot grasses, and almost impossible to cultivate just now.
Contains webpage links to various Fayette Co. surnames and history
Iowaz Index Page
The photo hosting site contains material regarding history, maps, genealogy of Fayette, Co, Iowa
Iowaz Photo Hosting Site
Folder contains numerous historic living history albums
Use Microsoft Research Maps for a topo and aerial view of farms, villages, along with Google Earth.
Last uploaded: Feb 14, 2011
Angelfire page from 2001, moved to Iowaz.info, Feb 13, 2011
...Since it was fall and there would be a great deal of time during the non-growing season, one could fire up the homemade "still" brought west with the family migration.
...The "folks" out east had been doing this for years, so we know just what the process is from "helping" the men-folk when we were "keeds".
...If we can take those fifty bushels of corn, ferment and distill the by-products into 100 proof white whiskey, it will bring at least twice, perhaps three times the price in Springfield and can be put into two to four small wooden kegs from the cooper's shop and packed in on one horse.
...Takes lots of time, but some of us generally got's lots o' time.
...Need some wooden basins/containers, a fire place or pit, a great deal of cut wood,
...And of course a copper still, with a copper pipe leading out of the still and coiled into a drip condenser, and a basin to catch the "dripp'en's"
...Corn grist and water will be mixed and allowed to ferment a few days. Wild yeast is everywhere.
...When a hard crust forms on the surface of the mix, we will tap the
crust to break it loose so it settles to the bottom of the wooden bucket, taking
all the corn sediments with it, leaving the "corn wine" to pour off
into another wooden container and then into the still.
...The still has to be sealed with mortar or clay.
...Corn wine will be about
...The liquid will be heated , but not too fast as the natural sugars left in the mixture will burn on the bottom of the still and have to be removed. A terrible job in those days.
..."'Sides, slow heat'en is what brings off the good stuff best."
...The alcohols and other volatile organic molecules will boil off generally
between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
...The first lot will be the ketones and alcohol's that make beginners and enemies "loco" when allowed to drink them, which possibly could be quite often. Enough of the 'first lot' can kill you.
...If you are not dull of mind, you leave the first lot alone. You throw it away.
...How do you know when to start saving the distilled liquid? Well, you just do. You know the first dripp'en's kin make ya blind or kill ya. You know nothing of boiling points, ketones, methyl alcohol, organic chemicals, but you know exactly what to do, as you helped with this job many times back in the hills of Kentucky or Pennsylvania.
...The first time you distill the corn wine, the product is about 40 proof (+/- 20% ethanol). Another distillation will bring it up to 80 proof, and a third will bring it to 100 proof.
...That is what the folks in Springfield are "a'speck'tin".
...They will take a little of your product, place a palm of blackpowder into it, ignite the "sqeez'in's" and see if the flame it blue and the liquid burns off, leaving the blackpowder to ignite with a smoky pouf or 100% proof it is good stuff.
...If your "white light'in" is not 100 proof, the powder will be left a wet mess and not ignite, thus no prime dollar for your barrels, and worse yet a terrible reputation for "bad product" and no more sales.
...It is going to take a lot of weeks and tall tails to complete this job, and of course a little sampling of the product now and then.
Folder contains numerous historic living history albums to
include visits to Lincoln's New Salem Village.
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