The first settlers to Loudoun County were a rough and sturdy folk, those first poorer arrivals were illiterate for the most part. Their poor living conditions from birth provided self-reliance in meeting the problems of existence on a sparsely settled land and wholly ignorant of the relative comforts of life enjoyed by the prosperous planters in tidewater. They built rude cabins of logs in such places as seemed best to them, paying scant attention to land titles and being in fact, for the most part, mere squatters on their holdings; and there they planted small patches of corn and beans which, with the abundant game in the woods and fish in the streams, provided their liberal and hearty fare. It has been traditional that these earliest pioneers found many open spaces burned over before their arrival; for so prevalent had been the Indian habit of firing the woods, that historians have suggested that had the coming of the Europeans to Virginia been delayed for a few more centuries, its great forests would have vanished before their arrival. As a result, they found the timber far inferior in size and beauty. Indeed it has been asserted that in clearing ten acres of land there could hardly be obtained from it sufficient material to enclose it.