Horatio Alger, Jr. was an American author of over 100 boys’ rags-to-riches stories whose heroes lead exemplary lives, succeeding in the face of adversity and poverty. Published in 1869, "Mark the Match Boy" was the third of six volumes in the Ragged Dick Series.
The Horatio Alger Association was founded in 1947 and continues to this day. It provides scholarships and gives awards to promote the “belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles.”
The curing shed is just one of several outbuildings that would have been common on a 19th century farm, including: storage sheds, barns, stables, granary, corn crib, root cellar, smoke house, ice house, tobacco barns, pack house, wash house, lye hopper, cider press.
Curing refers to various methods of food preservation (common in the days before refrigeration), and includes drying, salting and smoking. Curing also refers to the process of aging tobacco in special barns lined with racks for hanging bundles of leaves. In smokehouses, meat and fish are smoked for days by burning wood on the ground beneath the meat.
Most often yoked in pairs, they were – and are – commonly used to plough fields and haul heavy loads. In the 1800’s, oxen teams were popular with emigrants to the American West who used them to pull their wagons; they could exist on sparse vegetation and were more useful as farm animals.