In the early 1800's the first settler's cabin was being constructed in East Charlotte, Vermont. These temporary homes were used by logger, trappers and American settlers while they trekked across the country. Some of the earliest and first cabins were made from hand hewn, pine and beech timbers. If you visit the right areas of the country you can find cabins with history dating all the way back to the 1750's.
A true settler's cabin was only designed to last about three traveling winters. A pioneer's family was able to fit into these cabins during winter while they were on their journey across the plains. These shelters looked like the pioneer just picked out some sticks and wood and threw it together to make a shelter for the night. To the outdoor enthusiast today these structures would be more for the overnight stay rather than a couple months stay. Ancestors have passed on some documentation and descriptions of these cabins since there are no photos of these cabins from before the early 1900's.
Some of the late 1800's French Canadian cabins can still be found standing in some areas of the United States. A couple of places you can visit and even tours these cabins built during the Wild West movement are; New York, Iowa and Vermont among others. So many events and people have been around with the settler's cabin and they store so much amazing history that it will keep you in awe for hours.
While these cabins were commonly found in the Midwest and on the East Coast, the true history of the settler's cabin is unclear. Countries, provinces and states from all over are trying to lay claim to the structure but it is hard to determine the origins since there were no real documents kept about these traveling structures. Most likely a version of this cabin was even used when the cave men and American Indians ruled the land. The main difference in the two houses is that the settler's cabin was specifically intended to be for short uses.
You can experience the closest thing to the real settler's experience and life at the Settler's Cabin Park in Pennsylvania. Thanks to the archeologist at Carnegie Museum of Natural History some of the cabins on the property are dated back to the 1780's! Here you can see the extremely rich history and it is one of the only places in the country where you can see how the cabins functioned when they were used years and years ago.
Housing life was different then and to experience how it really was, you should take the Burning Settler's Cabin tour. You will be taken back to a time where Indians were either with you or against you on this train ride, and it is obvious some Indians were against you. While on the tour you will look over and see a cabin engulfed in flames, but the fire is actually controlled and part of the tour. Once the tours ends you can walk inside the cabin to see how it would have really provided for the ever traveling pioneer.
Since the records were so poorly kept back then it is difficult for historians to say exactly what tools and techniques were originally used to construct these cabins. All we have is the information that has been passed on by generations of ancestors and then we try and recreate the history and the structure itself. If you want to check out photos and information on the original settler's cabins, you can find plenty of options on the internet.