Shoe, shoe, baby

As civilization arrives on any frontier, what sorts of signs show that things are changing for the better? Well, perhaps the arrival of Jehiel Ferris (1744-1833) in the town of Burlington, Bradford County, PA., in 1795 was such a sign. You see, Jehiel was a shoemaker, the first shoemaker in the community.

Long before Nike, shoes were made by hand. If you were lucky enough and had some money, a shoemaker made them and not your mom. Shoemakers also did repairs, which made shoes last longer.

Shoemakers were often masters of leather craft. Along with shoes, they could produce just about anything leather. Production and repair of harnesses for horses and oxen were one of the most important leather products that they would work on. No elves

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, just needles, thread or sinew, and metal parts often produced by the blacksmithy next door.

I suggest that the arrival of a shoemaker was one of the first signs that a community was becoming civilized. The fact that Jehiel Ferris of the Jeffrey Ferris lineage was one is not my sole reason.

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