Below is an example of a single-pen cabin, much like the one Laurel’s father would have built for his family in the mountains in Washington County in the early 1840’s. Notice the shutters that would have covered the oiled paper over the windows. Laurel commented that only the single glass-paned window in the front room allowed bright sunlight. She also told Mac she hoped to have real glass windows in her home someday. Those of you who have read In Search of Shiloh probably remember those conversations between the two newlyweds. Also you’ll notice the cabin is tall enough to allow a loft where Laurel’s sleeping area would have been. This log house is actually near Dalton in Randolph County, but the style and structure is what I imagined for the Campbell homestead.
A second strong memory would be the rugged mountain terrain they travelled in their small wagon, pulled by the mules across the Boston Mountains. Roads at that time were little more than “suggestions of paths from one point to another” according to journalist of the day. They had to make their way over rocky areas and cut their way through forests when necessary. Except for the military roads, which were certainly not modern highways by any means, travelers made their way the best they could.
A third memory from the early part of the story would come from finding shelter under the stone shelf near the Buffalo River not far from Jasper. Indeed with the wagon as a wind break, a couple of oil cloth tarps, and a roaring camp fire such this natural outcropping would indeed be a Godsend to Laurel and Mac. This stone shelf and the scenes above are near the beautiful Buffalo River in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. Imagine Mac and Laurel in these beautiful places.