LeRoy Historical Society - page 2

Page 2
These huge iron kettles were used
for scalding hogs, boiling maple
sugar, cooking animal feed, probably
washing clothes and making potash
or black salts.
The production of potash was im-
portant to the early settlers. When
they cleared the trees, they used
only some of them for a log cabin
or split rail fences. Most of the logs
were put in big piles and burned.The
ashes were saved and put into leach
barrels. As water was poured into the
barrel, caustic lye water would leach
out the bottom. The lye was boiled
until the water was evaporated out
and the remaining “black salts” were
a type of crude potash.
To refine the potash into pearlash,
the black salts had to be heated at
a high temperature. Although there
are early accounts of asheries, it is
believed that most settlers manu-
factured their own black salts and
then sold them. In many situations,
the sale of black salts was the first
“cash crop” for the pioneers, because
it would be a while before they were
able to raise crops of corn or wheat
on the land. Many of the large ket-
tles remained on farms and became
water troughs for animals, but most
of them were given up during the
WorldWar scrap drives.
There are many questions about
these kettles. So far, it’s unclear
where they were made, since none
of them have cast marks. Of the ket-
tles included on the survey, none of
them are identical in size or shape.
More research is needed to com-
plete the story.
Hunting for Iron Kettles
Rider, 44” dia. ,1 inch thick.
Dusen, 36“ dia.
Stafford Town Hall, 49” dia., 1 inch
E. Main St., 47”dia. , 1 inch thick.
Parmelee, 45“ dia. (55”with lip).
Englerth, 49“ dia. 1 inch thick.
Englerth, 31”dia.
Walters, 35.5“ dia. 1 inch thick.
South St. Rd. , 41”dia.
1 3,4,5,6
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