Back to basics: Survival lessons from an 1800s era village
02/17/2021 / By Arsenio Toledo / Comments
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Back to basics: Survival lessons from an 1800s era village

Living during the 1800s was very difficult. The average life expectancy in the United States at the time barely reached 50. Despite this, there is still a lot to learn from this era. This is why preppers should visit a preserved historic town. Here are nine key skills you can learn from your visit. (h/t to


An 1800s-era historic town will most likely have a full-sized manual kick potter’s wheel. The next time you go to a historic town, inspect the potter’s wheel up close and try it out yourself. This will help you learn how to build one yourself. Learning how to make pots, plates and other objects using a potter’s wheel will help you stay self-sufficient.


The nature of housing will radically change after a large-scale disaster. To prepare yourself for the possibility of your home being destroyed in a SHTF event, you need to have an adaptable off-grid home. Many of these houses will be several hundred years old. Study their floor plans and learn how they managed to weather the test of time.

Raising livestock

No pioneer home would be complete without an area for their livestock, be it chickens, pigs or cows. Learn how they traditionally raised and bred their animals and how they kept them safe by building predator-proof enclosures.


After SHTF, you will not be able to rely on electric ovens and stoves to help speed up your cooking. By visiting a historic town, you may be able to witness traditional methods of food preparation and preservation. This will also help you understand their diets, as they did not eat meat at every meal due to the expense of obtaining meat. (Related: Think like a pioneer: When prepping your stockpile, remember the old ways.)


People in the 1800s made a lot of their own clothes with the help of a loom device. In a post-SHTF society, you and every other member of your group will need to re-learn how to repair clothes and make new clothes from scratch. Watch a demonstration at a historic town, learn the basics and learn how to build your own loom.


Along with making their clothes and cloth accessories, pioneers also had to make their tools on their own or with the help of a town blacksmith. Take a tour of a blacksmith’s shop and learn how to construct and work a large forge and the other parts of the process of making tools.


Hunting and fishing are two necessary skills for every prepper. Pioneers are well acquainted with these as well. However, trapping – or the act of catching animals using traps – was also a vital skill used by pioneers. Visit a working 1800s village and learn how it was done, the gear you need to trap animals, and how it was made.


Pioneers sometimes had to venture out to find animals rather than wait for them to become victims of their traps. To do this, they needed to develop tracking skills. With these skills, they learned how to identify the markings in nature that showed that an animal had moved in that area. They also learned how to lower the risk of being detected, which can be beneficial for hiding from other humans.

Natural medicine

Before the existence of modern health professionals, pioneers had to rely on the village apothecary, who took care of the people in the village using natural medicines such as flowers, roots and herbs. Visit the model apothecary in the historic town and learn about which herbs and plants they prescribed to their patients for specific illnesses.

People from the 1800s had difficult lives. Yet, despite all the hardship, many from this era not only survived but prospered. By learning how they did it, you can adapt your preps accordingly and improve your own odds of survival.

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