From the Early Days
RICHARDSON COUNTY, NE
Corners Genealogical Society, NKT
On this page you will find accounts, stories, and legends related to the history of Richardson County. These have been contributed by family members and other interested persons.In some cases a link to another site will be given.
Thomas Family - Rulo, NE
Experiences in Nebraska Pioneering - Welsh Settlement - by John Lewis, 1937
Saga of John Morgan Lewis - Welsh Settlement - by Joan Lewis Bohrer
Welsh Settlement - Eunice Haskins, Stella Press, 1917
Stephen Picton Family Immigration from Wales - Mrs. Lewis Morgan, 1957 (revised by Owen Picton)
Memories related by Sam Picton - by Owen Picton
contributed by Sandra Howard Shsandra@aol.com
I have family that resided in Rulo during the early days. My ancestor, David Vaughn Thomas, served many years as circuit minister among the Indians and Whites. David preached on the " Sac and Fox" and " Iowa" reservations, also a welsh parish located near "Lost Creek Schoolhouse" in Kansas. During the civil war the Thomas family ran a hotel in Rulo and were visited by Quantrill's Raiders. They demanded food for fifty men and horses but left without paying for it. Reverend Thomas spent a lifetime in the service of his church and died at age 74, buried in Rulo, Cemetery. His wife Mary was living in a small house in the rear of her daughter's home. She overturned a kerosene lamp by accident and was badly burned. The injuries were fatal and she lived only a fey hours. She died at 79 and is buried along side of her husband in the Rulo Cemetery. Mr and Mrs Thomas came from South Wales about 1834. They went to the Rulo area shortly after. Several family members are in the Rulo Cemetery. If, you would like any of this data on my family. I would be happy to share it.
EXPERIENCES IN NEBRASKA PIONEERING
by Thomas Lewis, Gibbon, NE 1937
contributed by Kathleen Lewis Lencki email@example.com
My father, John Lewis, was born in Wales and lived there until he was a comparatively young man, when he decided to come to America to make his home. After many weeks the ship arrived in America. As he had always been a coal miner he went to Pennsylvania where he again became a worker in the coal mines of that state. Afterwards, moving his family to Pomeroy, Ohio, as he was an expert at laying the timbers in the mines, that became his work, for which he received better wages than did the common workers.
In July 1863, when Morgan with his 4,000 men were making raids in Ohio, father joined the farmers in obstructing his path with felled trees. Attempting to cross the Ohio River near Pomeroy, Morgan found his way blocked by gun boats and militia. A short battle ensued and Morgan was defeated, losing 600 men, wounded and prisoners, and many of his guns. Father asked the officer in charge if he could keep one of the muskets. The officer replied, "If you take it when I'm not looking you can have it." The musket is still an old relic in the Lewis family. While the raid was on, Mother and three children were taken down in the coal mine for safety.
In the spring of 1864, father made up his mind to go to the western gold fields. He took the boat from Pomeroy, Ohio and went down the Ohio River to St. Louis, then up the Missouri River to Nebraska City, Nebraska. There he joined a number of men, I think about 100 men and 60 wagons drawn by ox teams; this was called a train. Father made arrangements to drive one wagon to pay for his transportation. These wagons were loaded with provisions for the soldiers, also people of the west.
After leaving the Missouri River, this territory had but very few settlers, but many Indians of a war-like disposition, so they had to be very careful for fear of the Indians. This train would camp quite early in the afternoon to give the oxen plenty of time to eat grass and find watering places. Each man had his work assigned him, some unhitched the oxen, took off the heavy yokes and herded them, some were cooks, and some looked after the wagons. In order to be safe from the Indians, these wagons were always placed so as to make a large circle or corral. When night came, these oxen were all put into this corral and the last wagon was put in place or as we would say the gate was closed, and all would rest for the night. Very early the next morning the oxen were taken out to graze before starting on the day's journey. From 12 to 20 miles was a big day's drive. All the time they kept a look out for the Indians, but were not molested by them on all the westward trip. Traveling for many days, they finally came to the Platte Valley somewhere near where Lowell is today. The next stop was at Fort Kearney, where they rested several days. Old Fort Kearney at that time was garrisoned with soldiers for the protection of travelers and wagon trains, for it was about the only way to get provisions to Denver and to the west, as there were no railroads at that time.
After the men and oxen had rested for several days they continued their journey, crossing the Platte River north of the Fort. It took some time to ford the river with the water and sand and up the bank. When all were safely over the river, they started on over the prairie, on a long, slow journey, hoping some day to reach their goal. This long trail is now known and has markers as the "OLD OREGON TRAIL." After traveling for a time this train was divided, Father staying with the division that was going to Virginia City, Idaho Territory. When this territory was divided into states Virginia City was on the Montana side of the line.
Father stayed there during the winter of 1864-65 and worked in the gold mines. The robbers, or road agents as they were called because they robbed stage coaches, became so bold they began robbing the miners of their dust. So the miners formed a Vigilance Committee and rounded up six robbers, taking them to a new store building under construction. Six ropes were thrown over the joist of the building. While the other ends of the ropes were being adjusted around the necks of the men, one road agent said he had something to say, "Gentlemen, Mr. Galligher, the sheriff, is one of our band." Another rope was thrown over the joist and attached to the sheriff's neck. That was the last of the road agents. After that the gold could be placed any where with perfect safety.
In the early spring Father started homeward, riding by stage coach as far as it came. There he met about 20 men who were driving to Nebraska City. In this train there were eight wagons, but drawn by horses which made the trip much more pleasant. He paid his way back instead of driving. They traveled along and all went well until one evening when they were camped near the mountains two Indian chiefs came into the camp. They were tired and very hungry. Father told them he would get them something to eat. He made pancakes for them and they ate so many that he thought he never would make all they could eat. They slept that night in the camp and the next morning Father made them more pancakes and coffee. The chiefs went away feeling very thankful for the kindness shown them.
The train traveled on for many days. One day a wagon broke down and while it was being fixed, Father took his gun and walked down along the Platte River hunting. As he was walking through a thick growth of willows, he suddenly entered an Indian camp. At once the Indians began to gather around him and were going to take his gun and seemed very hostile. Two chiefs came up to see what all the excitement was about. When they saw Father they at once recognized him. They pushed the Indians away saying "He good, he good, he feed." They were very friendly and courteous and went with him back to his train. They had not forgotten the one who fed them. This kindness to them probably saved Father's life.
The wagon fixed, the train started on. They were not so careful about the Indians as they should have been; they neglected to build corrals for the horses at night but just picketed them. One night about midnight, the Indians came whooping and yelling, riding their ponies amongst the horses, stampeding them. When morning came there was not a horse to be found. This happened near Plum Creek, a historical creek somewhere close to where Lexington, Nebraska is now. They were at their wits ends to know what to do. They decided to load all the necessary things on the lightest wagon, leaving the other seven wagons where they had camped. When all was ready they started on their way, pushing and pulling the loaded wagon. There was a very fat man with them who could not walk very far, so he was allowed to ride all the way. After a long, long walk and pushing and pulling the wagon, they arrived at Nebraska City with their wagon, also the fat man, after the long hard trip of about 300 miles.
Father was very anxious to get home. He took the boat at Nebraska City for St. Louis and then up the Ohio to Pomeroy, glad to be home again. Father was so favorably impressed with Nebraska, and the great possibilities of the new country that he told his friends he thought it would be the real place for those looking for a home. So in June 1866, he with six other men, all miners, started west. This time they took a boat at St. Louis up the Missouri River to Aspinwall, a little river village about thirty miles south of Nebraska City. They went west about three miles. Here they came to a small stream with fine timber all along its banks, and prairie land covered with tall grass. It was an Indian Reservation. They decided that this was the ideal place for their new home. Father bought his land from the Indians for five dollars an acre. The other men also bought land along this stream, which ran almost through the middle of these farms. This stream was named "Whiskey Run," and still goes by that name.
I want to tell you just a little about these men. Six were Welshmen and one a Scotchman. They had worked together for years in the coal mines and had never lived on a farm. They thought they must all live close together so bought adjoining land, all very much delighted with their new purchases. They went back to Ohio feeling happy, and began preparations to bring their families to their new home. In the spring on 1867, they, with their families and all their belongings, were loaded on the boat bound for Nebraska, the boat reaching Aspinwall in safety, all eager to see where they were to make their new home. The first thing to do was to buy horses and wagons and build houses to live in. These men all worked together. First they built one house and then another until all had a house to live in. This is how they built the houses: They went down along Whiskey Run and cut poles, then selected the place for the house and set the poles in the ground, also put poles all along the side and over the top. They cut slough grass, a course, heavy grass growing five or six feet tall, and bound it into bundles and put it all around the sides and all over the top, then made some windows and a door. This building was divided into two rooms.
After a time seven new homes stood on the prairie, each made out of grass. This is the only colony in Nebraska that we have any record of that built temporary houses out of grass to live in until they were able to build better houses.
One man bought two teams of oxen, and a big plow; he did the breaking of the ground. During the first year each man had a small field broken around his house, which was planted to vegetables and corn. The corn was planted in this method: After the sod was broken the farmer came along with an axe and dug holes in the over-turned sod, the corn was dropped by hand and covered with the foot and was tended with a hoe. The next year larger fields of corn were planted, also small fields of spring wheat. This wheat was cut with a scythe and bound in bundles by hand. For threshing this wheat poles were put over the wagon box, on which the bundles were placed and the grain pounded out. The wheat was then put in sacks and stored until the time when it would be taken to the mill.
The nearest mill was twenty miles away on the Nemaha River. It was a stone burr mill propelled by water power. The miller kept so many pounds of flour, so many pounds of middlings, so much bran for his toll.
One time, when the men were coming home with their load of flour, they discovered a big prairie fire coming from the north. A woman with two small children came running from their house; she did not know what to do or how to escape the ravaging fire. Father set a fire in the grass and as it burned they kept driving farther into the clear spot. After the wall of flame had passed on, they hurried home to find their houses unharmed. The prairie fire was the worst enemy of the pioneer. Breaking the sod around the houses was the only protection from fire. About the first of
September, 1875, the grasshoppers came in clouds and ate everything that was green. Next spring when they hatched they even ate the bark from the trees. About July they all flew away. The farmers then planted buckwheat and had a good crop. It was threshed the same as wheat. Buckwheat cakes were all we had to live on all winter and the next summer till a crop could be raised. We surely got tired of buckwheat cakes.
These farmers were all very successful. They soon built large houses and barns, set out orchards, raised corn, all kinds of grain, horses, cattle and hogs. Nemaha county today is known for its rich soil and is wonderfully adapted to fruit growing, especially apples. The largest apple orchards in Nebraska are in the southeastern part of the state.
I almost forgot to tell you about the school. As soon as this colony was settled they built a school house. It was built on the northwest corner of my father's farm, as it was the most central location, and was named the Bethel School, and is still in the same place today, except for a bigger and better schoolhouse. It was there I spent my first school years, and all my children spent their first school days there, too.
The first church was built about the same time the school was. Named Peniwell, a Welsh name, after a number of years a new modern church was built and the old one torn down. The new one was called Prairie Union Baptist. It still has the same name today.
These seven families all lived on their farms, and were always the best of friends. The old people have all passed away and were buried in the beautiful Prairie Union Cemetery. Their descendants are still living on the farms and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the ones who help to make Prairie Union the wonderful Country Church that it is today.
Many years have come and gone since those first grass houses were built along the Whiskey Run. We of today have just cause to be proud of our ancestry, who so bravely met the obstacles of pioneer living, and whose dreams and ideals have added much in making Nebraska the wonderful State it is today.
THE SAGA OF JOHN MORGAN LEWIS
by Joan Lewis Bohrer
contributed by Kathleen Lewis Lencki firstname.lastname@example.org
Over one hundred years back
There was a deep rutty track
Across the land named Nebraska.
Along this trail the schooners would sail,
Full blown they would pass
In the winds that seaed the grass of Nebraska
At the head of one line sat a man of the mine,
Reared in the dark of Wales' underground
Wondering at the new world he had found in Nebraska.
John Morgan Lewis, a man among men,
Had come up out of the deep coal den,
John had a dream, a dream of the land
And yearned for a chance to try his hand
At a farm of his own
In the rich black loam of eastern Nebraska.
Yes, John had a dream, but first his job
Was to get this mottly brawling mob
Over the mountains, past Indian braves,
Leaving a trail of shallow graves,
On to the promise of Idaho's gold
Out of the wold* of Nebraska.
Back in Ohio, in a town named Pomeroy
Waited his wife, two girls, five boys.
And a man named Liken who would pay the most
For bringing the gold back from the coast...
That would pay for his stake --
What it would take for a start in Nebraska.
Yes, this was John's dream, but first his task
Was to herd this gold hungry mass
Through the spires of the mountain pass
And at last to their golden sand...Out of the
land of Nebraska.
But, no gold seeker he, his gold had been black
It had bleached him, and bent his father's back,
The dream he dreamed was of soft rich soil
That would bloom to the touch of his family's toil
Once they could come to Nebraska.
Do it, he did, and he started back,
Back along the Oregon track,
With strong fast horses and a fine light coach
Loaded with gold for the looters to poach
John rode gun in hand
"Til a savage band left him for dead
On the hard hot sand of western Nebraska.
The horses were gone, the gold was stolen
His head was aching, his feet were swollen,
John wandered for days through the lush green maze
Of central Nebraska.
He stumbled on until he was found,
Fed and cared for, wounds were bound.
By some Pawnee men, friendly, but starving,
For there was not meat...
They had nothing but raw grain to eat.
Now, John Morgan Lewis was a resourceful man,
Handy with fire and a make-shift pan
He taught this heathen friends to make of their grain
Then eastward he rode on an Indian steed
Hale and hearty, making good speed out of the land
In dead of winter, unshaven and shaggy
He got back to his children, and wife Maggie.
Empty handed, with nothing to show,
Back to Liken he had to go.
John told what had happened, where he had been...
Of the land he had seen...
Then he got to his dream...
And Liken began to believe in him.
He saw John was strong and honest and willing...
So Liken decided to put up the shilling
To get John and himself some of the land...that
fabulous land in Nebraska.
He gave him oxen, a wagon...a start
Told him to get land, and send back a part
Of the cash from each crop, be it only a drop,
From one hundred acres John was to crop for him
In the spring of sixty-seven John and Maggie,
children and all
Came up the river to Aspinwall.
They settled, and struggled, built, cleared and farmed their land
John plowed his life, his strength and his toil
Deep in the rich Nebraska soil.
He raised sons and daughters
He founded a clan
John Lewis was a pioneer...John was a man
Who loved the land of Nebraska!
* WOLD: upland plain.
The following article by Eunice Haskins appeared in the STELLA PRESS in 1917:
contributed by Kathleen Lewis Lencki email@example.com
STORY OF THE PROSPERITY OR A STUDY OF A WELSH COLONY
No colony in southeastern Nebraska ever played a more important part in
the development of a new country than did the Welsh, who came to
Richardson County from Pomeroy, Ohio, in the first three or four years
following the Civil War, settling in a community known as Prairie Union
northeast of where is now located Stella, and about ten miles west of
the Missouri River. Preceding the Ohio Welsh there came here from
Wisconsin three Welsh families, David Thomas and David Higgins, who came
together in 1859, and Daviel Davis who came in 1863. The Wisconsin
Welsh made the entire journey by ox-team.
There was a big colony of Pomeroy Welsh, who had come over from the old
country to work in the coal mines. As they had been here but a
comparatively short time they did not enlist in the Civil War, as did
their neighbors, so many of whom were away from home that the miners
were paid higher wages than usual. During any time of idleness they
discussed opportunities for investment in land and the best place to
go. Alex McGechie, a Scotchman, and some of his Welsh friends heard
wonderful stories, from returning soldiers, of the country about
Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain in Tennesee and made a journey of
investigation, but decided that section was better adapted to mining.
Within the very next few years there came (to Nebraska in 1867) from
Pomeroy the following twelve famiilies, making many in the settlement
from the same place: David N. Jones, Alex McGechie, JOHN M. LEWIS,
Richard Morris, Jonah Jones, Edmund Williams, David N. Jones, David R.
Jones, Samuel Brimble, James Evans, Robert Roberts, David Phelps and
John Owens. All were Welsh except Mr. McGechie. The trip was made by
water, as Pomeroy was on the Ohio, and Aspinwall in this state was made
the landing point. At the time Mr. McGechie and others came, six weeks
were spent on the boat. During two weeks of this time the boat was laid
up on a sandbar and three times on the journey the cargo was unloaded.
Of the above men named there is but one survivor today, 1917, Alexander
McGechie, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, who was ninety years of age in
April 1917. Mrs. JOHN M. LEWIS, who, at the age of eighty-five died at
her home in Shubert in 1915, was the last surviving woman of the
pioneers who founded the settlement. David N. Jones, the last surviving
head of a Welsh family among the settlers, died in 1909 at his home
seven miles northeast of Stella. He was born in Wales in 1832, came to
America in 1837, and had lived continuously on the same farm since
These pioneers prospered and their families were an honor to the
community. Most of them, perhaps all, were of a devout religious
nature; anyway two Welsh churches were founded in this community.
Prairie Union and Penuel; the latter, during its existence, being about
two miles northeast of the former. The homeseekers were quiet,
peace-loving men. They stuck together like a band of brothers, helping
each other until new machinery made the necessity less.
The roads at first were scarcely more than a trail or path and often
the grass was tall and wet, or the path was filled with dust. Along
most of the streams, now covered with a good growth of timber, in those
early days of the Welsh settlement there was not a tree, owing to the
very frequent prairie fires.
Stephen Picton Family Immigration from Wales
Much of the following account was taken from an article written by Mrs.Lewis Morgan and read at the 1957 Picton reunion to tell the story of the Stephen Picton family immigration from St. Clair, Carmarthenshire, Wales to the Welsh community located a few miles south of the Nebraska - Kansas state line between Rulo, Nebraska and Hiawatha, Brown County, Kansas. The account was then placed in the "Hiawatha Daily World" dated August 17, 1957. Below is the account after it has been revised by Owen Picton.( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Account of the Stephen Picton family immigration
In the spring of 1870, Stephen Picton, his daughter, Elizabeth and son, James, left Wales and came to America They came to a Welsh settlement northeast of Hiawatha in Brown County, Kansas. They stayed with friends until they found work. Stephen, who was 43 years old at this tine and his son James got work on a farm of David Evans. Elizabeth found work in a hotel. By late summer they had enough money for the passage of the rest of the family and had bought 160 acres of land.
He was the second owner of this land which had been Kansas territory according to the provisions of the treaty with the Iowa Tribe of Indians concluded on the 17th day of May, 1834. Stephen paid $10.00 an acre or $1600.00 in July 1870 to William H. Tarr for the 160 acre farm. That year he then built a large one room log cabin, with a loft for sleeping. The big adventure began for Eliza his wife, who was about 40 years old, and the other seven children. After about fourteen days on the water they arrived in New York In those days there were hundreds of people coming to America from European countries, so the railroads ran special trains to bring them to the country where they wanted to settle. The Picton family was glad to be on land.
Then they started on the last step of their long journey to Kansas. Whenever the train stopped all would get out and look around. One place was by a corn field and the man came back with ears of corn. So Eliza sent two of her children out to get some and they could not find any on the stalk so they pulled it up to see if it grew in the ground like potatoes.
Stephen Picton and his son James went to St. Joseph, Missouri to meet them. They bought a watermelon which they had seen others eating and which looked so delicious, but it was such a foreign taste to them that they could not eat it and had to throw it away. From St. Joseph, they all rode on the Grand Island Train to Hiawatha. When they got to Hiawatha, they stopped at the hotel and visited with Elizabeth then started for their new home.
The Picton family walked to their new home eight miles northeast of Hiawatha, the older children helped carry the younger ones. The Picton family walked part way and stopped at a place with a house, and a friendly lady came out, and visited with them and gave them fresh water to drink. From this location they followed an old Indian Trail in a northeasterly direction to their home in America.
Stephen and Eliza Picton's nine children ranged in age from 18 months to 18 years. Elizabeth, age 18 years worked in Hiawatha, Mary age 16 years, James age 14 years, Phebe age 12 years, Margaret age 8 years, Thomas age 6 years, Richard age 4 years, Anne age 2 and a half years, and John age 18 months. The older ones had to carry the smaller ones. They had a way to tie them on their backs with a shawl and they could run and play with a little brother or sister on their back with no trouble at all. The children, old enough, worked for the neighbors and gave the money to their folks.
In 1874 their was a grasshopper and locust invasion. Stephen farmed with oxen until 1876. Then he bought a horse of Ben Podette for 300 bushels of corn and $30. In 1882, the Picton family built a new and bigger house. Stephen kept an account. Carpenters got $2.50 a day, masons got $3 a day. They hauled lumber and material from Rulo, and some from Hiawatha. This house burned down one night in the early 1900's. Another house was then built on this location.
Stephen and Eliza Picton had four more children after coming to America. They were Sarah, David, Frances and Owen. Stephen Picton, started to keep a record book on September 1875 of all the money he took in and all the money he paid out, like groceries, clothing, and interest which was around ten percent at that time. One year Stephen wrote that everything was so depressing that he just couldn't write it in the record book. In 1877 on his threshing account it showed buying one cask of beer (8 gallons) for $2.25 from Lewis Morgan. In 1880 he sold steers for $3, hogs for $2.25, wheat for 82 cents, and corn for 25 cents.
In 1886 Stephen and Eliza went back to Wales. They left home on May 7 and returned on September 23 They spent $305 on this trip.
Before coming to America, Stephen's favorite pastime was singing. He had a very fine voice, liked to go to a singing group where he met his friends. He directed his church choir in Wales. After coming to this country they joined the Baptist church in Hiawatha. There are still later generation members in the Hiawatha Baptist church. This church was eight miles from the Picton home. Stephen was a very religious man and he raisedhis family with an iron hand. He had family devotions. Every morning he would read a chapter from the bible and then everyone would get down on his knees by their chairs while he offered up prayer.
In the beginning their only means of transportation was oxen and cart or wagon. In 1874 Mrs. Stephen (Eliza) Picton and four other women started a Sunday School or service of some kind in a school house near their home. The children walked to this service. According to Baptist church records in Hiawatha, Mrs. Stephen Picton was one of six people granted "Letters" to go into Bryn Pleasant Baptist Church at a School House in Padonia township June 1, 1878.
In 1895 the Stephen Picton family and other neighboring families organized the Bethel Baptist church which was only about a mile and a half from the Picton home. The Bethel Baptist church was dedicated on August 11, 1895. The Bethel Baptist church disbanded on June 31, 1931.
Eliza Picton was a little person. She had small dainty hands and feet. She wore number 2 and a half shoes and had dark hair and eyes. They had a big garden and orchard. She raised lots of vegetables, currants,gooseberries, black berries, raspberries, peaches, plums and every variety of apples from Red June to Winesaps. They always dug a pit and lined it with straw and buried potatoes, cabbage, turnips and apples for the winter. She had lots of flowers. Peonies, roses, tiger lilies, bleeding hearts, but her favorite was pink flowering almond because it was the first to bloom in the spring. She had beds of herbs - Rosemary and Tanay.
Sorrow and tragedy was also with the Picton family. Stephen and Eliza Picton had two children buried in Wales. In 1880 their seven year old son was accidentally killed with a gun in the hands of an older brother while hunting. In 1893 their daughter, Sarah (who had moved to western Kansas) and who was married to John Davies, died during childbirth of her first child at age 23. Stephen Picton died October 18, 1896 and Eliza Rees Picton died May 20, 1906.
One wonders how the Picton family felt in Kansas because it was so different from Wales where the climate is so mild and the air is always moist so everything stays green and beautiful. In Wales, Eliza had maids to help, dairy maids, chamber maids, etc., and she would take her little basket on her arm and knitting and would walk into the village with her neighbors to buy the tea and sugar which was about all they bought at the store.
Memories of Sam Picton
The following are stories that my father Sam Picton related to me, Owen Picton
( email@example.com ) Sam Picton was the grandson of Stephen Picton.
When Sam Picton was young he hauled grain by horse and wagon from the Welsh settlement located across the state line in Kansas to Rulo, Nebraska. On the way he would pass an Indian grave yard. The Indians placed their dead up in the air on platforms held up by poles.There was a coal mine in a bluff south of Rulo, Nebraska. One time when he was young he went back into the coal mine.
When he was young he used to go ice skating on the Missouri River by Rulo. He said a lot of people would gather and the ice was frozen so hard that some people drove their cars onto the ice. The river was at that time about 3 times as wide and much slower than it is today because it was before the time that the government had worked on the river.
The following is how they made chewing tobacco on the Nebraska - Kansas state line near Rulo. First, grow the tobacco. After harvesting the tobacco, partly split a wood log but leave the wedge in the log. Next, molasses is smeared onto the tobacco leafs and then the tobacco leaf is stuffed into the split log. Next, remove the wedge from the log and let it clamp shut. After the tobacco plug is cured, split the log and now you have chewing tobacco.