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Everyday Life in Colonial Times

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					Everyday Life in
Colonial Times
 FAMILY LIFE AND CUSTOMS
• Life in colonial times centered on the
  family
• With farms and settlements scattered,
  people often only had contact with
  members of their own family.
• Families were large and close knit
• Many lived, worked, and played in a cabin
  or house consisting of just one room
      Family Life and Customs
• It was important that everyone in the family got
  along and that everyone did his or her fair share
  of the work
• Colonists considered marriage a lifetime
  commitment and frowned on divorce
• For the most part, couples married young…life
  expectancy was short
• A boy was considered a man at age 16
• A girl not married by the age of 20 was
  considered an old maid
Family Life and
Customs…Courtship
Chaperones…
whispering stick
(NE)
Wealthy
parents…arranged
marriages and
dowrys
Poor
families/frontier…
freedom
Weddings
Family life and Customs…Children
• “children are the poor man’s wealth”
• Chores
  boys- chopped wood, gathered corn, fed
  livestock, make clothes
  girls- make clothes, cook and keep house
• death and funerals
• Strange names
      Family Life and Customs
        …Welcome wagon
• NE
• South
         Family Life and Customs-
               New England
•   Close knit families and communities
•   Cool to outsiders
•   Strict rules concerning courtship
•   Strict rules concerning the behavior of children
    (NE) “Children should be seen and not heard”
    - meals
    - tithingman
            Colonial Homes
•   Caves and wigwams
•   Wood houses, thatched roofs
•   glass windows and nails
•   fire
•   Dutch houses
•   Log cabins
•   furniture
          Colonial Homes
• No bathrooms..chamber pots
• Bathing
                 Clothing
• Simple, homemade attire (NE)
  - buttons were illegal
  - clothing dyed from roots, berries and
    leaves
  - linen, wool, and leather
• No restrictions on dress (MC)
                    Clothing
• Plantation owners
  tried to imitate the
  styles of Europe
  - wigs
  - hoop dresses
  - fans
  - beauty spots
• Yankee Doodle
                 Food….
• Arrived empty handed except for seeds, and a
  few sheep, chickens and hogs
• CORN became the main part of the diet in all
  13 colonies
• No part of the corn plant was wasted
• Pumpkins, beans, squash, sweet potatoes
• turkey, pheasant, rabbits, geese, pigeons,
  ducks, deer
• fish, clams, oysters, eels
• apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, and
  apricots (pies/pudding/dried)
              …and Drink
• depended on region
  - rum (NE)
  - beer and wine (M and S)
  - cider (frontier and backwoods)
  - tea, chocolate, coffee (plantation)
• Milk usually reserved for butter and
  cheese
JUST SAY NO… to WATER???
• Alcohol abuse
• unfit water
• beer or ale before breakfast (NE)
                  Cooking
•   One pot meal
•   breakfast @ 10 am
•   dinner (main meal of the day @ 4:00)
•   supper (light meal @ bedtime 9:00)
•   No forks
               FUN in NE
• early NE “fun” was frowned upon (no
  dancing or cards)
• turned work into play
  - corn husking bees (red ear)
  - quilting bees
• Later, rules were relaxed and allowed for
  cards, dancing, billiards, ice skating
        Fun in other colonies
• horse racing and skittles (MC)
• Horse racing, skittles, cock fighting and fox
  hunting, GALA BALLS
• Wrestling, foot racing, barn-raisings, stone
  bees, piling bees, “bran” dances
• Quoits (horseshoes)
• Fairs
• concerts, theatres
                  Kids games
•   Hopscotch           •   kites
•   marbles             •   tops
•   leapfrog            •   dolls
•   tag                 •   street football
•   hide and seek
•   blind man’s bluff
•   checkers
•   backgamon
         RELIGION in MASS.
• The Puritans
  - attendance required
  - Complete day of worship
  - No other activities allowed (cooking, cleaning,
  playing, work)
  - two services
  - uncomfortable (benches, heat, dogs)
  - typical church service (prayer then sermon)
 Religion in the Middle Colonies
• NY- Dutch Reformed        • PA- Quakers
  – Attendance                - quakers and
    encouraged                shakers
  – No work or games
                              - anyone could speak
  – taverns closed during
    church hours            • Other groups:
                              - Anglicans,
                              presbyterians, Jews,
                              Catholics, Lutherans
                              etc
 Religion in the Southern Colonies
• The Church of England became the
  dominant religion
• As with the Middle colonies, people were
  tolerant of other religions
                 Education
• New England placed a high priority on education
  - first college (Harvard)
  - Dame schools (alphabet, reading, arithmetic)…
  2 years…for most end of the education (esp.
  girls…insanity)
  - Common schools..4 more years…firewood
  - Latin schools…until 15 years old
  - off to college
           Discipline in school
•   Whippings (flapper)
•   cleft stick
•   Whispering stick
•   Dunce caps and signs
•   Humiliation
•   Middle Colonies-
    thrashings but no humiliation
    Classes and Occupations
• No guarantee of equality
• One’s position was determined by income
  and political influence
• moving up the social ladder
             Occupations
• North
    merchants
    shipbuilders
    fishing and whaling

Skilled Craftsman
            Skilled Craftsman
•   blacksmith       •   joiners
•   silversmith      •   cabinetmakers
•   whitesmith       •   carpenters
•   pewterer         •   APPRENTICES
•   cobbler
•   cooper
•   wheelwright
           TRAVEL AND
         COMMUNICATION
• In the early days,
  easier to travel to
  England than to
  another colony
• Easiest to travel by
  water (canoe)
• Horesback, as roads
  were established
• Stagecoaches

				
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posted:10/6/2012
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