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What was this book? Early European settlement of Midwest

Post date: 2020-09-22 06:12:30
Views: 8
Another edition of What Was This Book I Read: a story of early European settlement of the midwestern United States, possibly/probably in Indiana. The few details that I remember include:

1. The white settlers were clearing forested land in order to plant crops. They cut down trees and then burned the tree trunks where they fell. Some part of the story involved going out and checking on the fires under trees to be sure that they hadn't gone out, etc.

2. The main character/narrator (who I believe is a child?) spends a good deal of time early in the novel terrified of a panther who may be stalking the narrator in their cabin. Only, the narrative is rendered partly in dialect so the panther is referred to exclusively as a "painter," causing no end of confusion for me as the reader.

3. The white settlers are so cut off from other settlements, and have only been able to establish limited agricultural production, so they have no access to grains like wheat, oats, barley, etc. So, no bread or other grain-based products in their diet. So, they refer to white meat as "white bread," and there's a scene where Grandma (who grew up back East and remembers what bread is) is dying and asks for "white bread" and they bring her a slice of turkey breast and she's like, "no, no, I want white bread" and the child/narrator is so confused.

4. I probably read this book sometime between 1982 and 1995 but my memory says that it was written much earlier, possibly around the turn of the 20th century.

5. It is not Girl of the Limberlost.

Any ideas what I read? I don't even remember if I finished the book.
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