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Title: Home Life in Colonial Days
Author: Earle, Alice Morse, 1851-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

This e-text was prepared from the reprint edition published in 1974 by
Berkshire Traveller Press. Copyrighted materials from that edition,
including the modern preface and illustrations, are not included.

       *       *       *       *       *



Home Life in
COLONIAL
DAYS

Written by
ALICE MORSE EARLE
in the year 1898

THE BERKSHIRE TRAVELLER PRESS
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

_THIS BOOK IS BEGUN
AS IT IS ENDED
IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER_



_Foreword_


_The illustrations for this book are in every case from real articles
and scenes, usually from those still in existence--rare relics of past
days. The pictures are the symbols of years of careful search, patient
investigation, and constant watchfulness. Many a curious article as
nameless and incomprehensible as the totem of an extinct Indian tribe
has been studied, compared, inquired and written about, and finally
triumphantly named and placed in the list of obsolete domestic
appurtenances. From the lofts of woodsheds, under attic eaves, in dairy
cellars, out of old trunks and sea-chests from mouldering warehouses,
have strangely shaped bits and combinations of wood, stuff, and metal
been rescued and recognized. The treasure stores of Deerfield Memorial
Hall, of the Bostonian Society, of the American Antiquarian Society, and
many State Historical Societies have been freely searched; and to the
officers of these societies I give cordial thanks for their coöperation
and assistance in my work._

_The artistic and correct photographic representation of many of these
objects I owe to Mr. William F. Halliday of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr.
George F. Cook of Richmond, Virginia, and the Misses Allen of Deerfield,
Massachusetts. To many friends, and many strangers, who have secured for
me single articles or single photographs, I here repeat the thanks
already given for their kindness._

_There were two constant obstacles in the path: An article would be
found and a name given by old-time country folk, but no dictionary
contained the word, no printed description of its use or purpose could
be obtained, though a century ago it was in every household. Again, some
curiously shaped utensil or tool might be displayed and its use
indicated; but it was nameless, and it took long inquiry and
deduction,--the faculty of "taking a hint,"--to christen it. It is plain
that different vocations and occupations had not only implements but a
vocabulary of their own, and all have become almost obsolete; to the
various terms, phrases, and names, once in general application and use
in spinning, weaving, and kindred occupations, and now half forgotten,
might be given the descriptive title, a "homespun vocabulary." By
definite explanation of these terms many a good old English word and
phrase has been rescued from disuse._

                                        _ALICE MORSE EARLE._



Contents


                                                                    Page

   I. Homes of the Colonists                                           1

  II. The Light of Other Days                                         32

 III. The Kitchen Fireside                                            52

  IV. The Serving of Meals                                            76

   V. Food from Forest and Sea                                       108

  VI. Indian Corn                                                    126

 VII. Meat and Drink                                                 142

VIII. Flax Culture and Spinning                                      166

  IX. Wool Culture and Spinning, with a Postscript on Cotton         187

   X. Hand-Weaving                                                   212

  XI. Girls' Occupations                                             252

 XII. Dress of the Colonists                                         281

XIII. Jack-knife Industries                                          300

 XIV. Travel, Transportation, and Taverns                            325

  XV. Sunday in the Colonies                                         364

 XVI. Colonial Neighborliness                                        388

XVII. Old-time Flower Gardens                                        421



Home Life in Colonial Days



CHAPTER I

HOMES OF THE COLONISTS


When the first settlers landed on American shores, the difficulties in
finding or making shelter must have seemed ironical as well as almost
unbearable. The colonists found a land magnificent with forest trees of
every size and variety, but they had no sawmills, and few saws to cut
boards; there was plenty of clay and ample limestone on every side, yet
they could have no brick and no mortar; grand boulders of granite and
rock were everywhere, yet there was not a single facility for cutting,
drawing, or using stone. These homeless men, so sorely in need of
immediate shelter, were baffled by pioneer conditions, and had to turn
to many poor expedients, and be satisfied with rude covering. In
Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and, possibly, other states, some
reverted to an ancient form of shelter: they became cave-dwellers; caves
were dug in the side of a hill, and lived in till the settlers could
have time to chop down and cut up trees for log houses. Cornelis Van
Tienhoven, Secretary of the Province of New Netherland, gives a
description of these cave-dwellings, and says that "the wealthy and
principal men in New England lived in this fashion for two reasons:
first, not to waste time building; second, not to discourage poorer
laboring people." It is to be doubted whether wealthy men ever lived in
them in New England, but Johnson, in his _Wonder-working Providence_,
written in 1645, tells of the occasional use of these "smoaky homes."
They were speedily abandoned, and no records remain of permanent
cave-homes in New England. In Pennsylvania caves were used by newcomers
as homes for a long time, certainly half a century. They generally were
formed by digging into the ground about four feet in depth on the banks
or low cliffs near the river front. The walls were then built up of sods
or earth laid on poles or brush; thus half only of the chamber was
really under ground. If dug into a side hill, the earth formed at least
two walls. The roofs were layers of tree limbs covered over with sod, or
bark, or rushes and bark. The chimneys were laid of cobblestone or
sticks of wood mortared with clay and grass. The settlers were thankful
even for these poor shelters, and declared that they found them
comfortable. By 1685 many families were still living in caves in
Pennsylvania, for the Governor's Council then ordered the caves to be
destroyed and filled in. Sometimes the settler used the cave for a
cellar for the wooden house which he built over it.

These cave-dwellings were perhaps the poorest houses ever known by any
Americans, yet pioneers, or poor, or degraded folk have used them for
homes in America until far more recent days. In one of these miserable
habitations of earth and sod in the town of Rutland, Massachusetts, were
passed some of the early years of the girlhood of Madame Jumel, whose
beautiful house on Washington Heights, New York, still stands to show
the contrasts that can come in a single life.

The homes of the Indians were copied by the English, being ready
adaptations of natural and plentiful resources. Wigwams in the South
were of plaited rush or grass mats; of deerskins pinned on a frame; of
tree boughs rudely piled into a cover, and in the far South, of layers
of palmetto leaves. In the mild climate of the Middle and Southern
states a "half-faced camp," of the Indian form, with one open side,
which served for windows and door, and where the fire was built, made a
good temporary home. In such for a time, in his youth, lived Abraham
Lincoln. Bark wigwams were the most easily made of all; they could be
quickly pinned together on a light frame. In 1626 there were thirty
home-buildings of Europeans on the island of Manhattan, now New York,
and all but one of them were of bark.

Though the settler had no sawmills, brick kilns, or stone-cutters, he
had one noble friend,--a firm rock to stand upon,--his broad-axe. With
his axe, and his own strong and willing arms, he could take a long step
in advance in architecture; he could build a log cabin. These good,
comfortable, and substantial houses have ever been built by American
pioneers, not only in colonial days, but in our Western and Southern
states to the present time. A typical one like many now standing and
occupied in the mountains of North Carolina is here shown. Round logs
were halved together at the corners, and roofed with logs, or with bark
and thatch on poles; this made a comfortable shelter, especially when
the cracks between the logs were "chinked" with wedges of wood, and
"daubed" with clay. Many cabins had at first no chinking or daubing; one
settler while sleeping was scratched on the head by the sharp teeth of a
hungry wolf, who thrust his nose into the space between the logs of the
cabin. Doors were hung on wooden hinges or straps of hide.

A favorite form of a log house for a settler to build in his first "cut
down" in the virgin forest, was to dig a square trench about two feet
deep, of dimensions as large as he wished the ground floor of his house,
then to set upright all around this trench (leaving a space for a
fireplace, window, and door), a closely placed row of logs all the same
length, usually fourteen feet long for a single story; if there was a
loft, eighteen feet long. The earth was filled in solidly around these
logs, and kept them firmly upright; a horizontal band of puncheons,
which were split logs smoothed off on the face with the axe, was
sometimes pinned around within the log walls, to keep them from caving
in. Over this was placed a bark roof, made of squares of chestnut bark,
or shingles of overlapping birch-bark. A bark or log shutter was hung at
the window, and a bark door hung on withe hinges, or, if very luxurious,
on leather straps, completed the quickly made home. This was called
rolling-up a house, and the house was called a puncheon and bark house.
A rough puncheon floor, hewed flat with an axe or adze, was truly a
luxury. One settler's wife pleaded that the house might be rolled up
around a splendid flat stump; thus she had a good, firm table. A small
platform placed about two feet high alongside one wall, and supported at
the outer edge with strong posts, formed a bedstead. Sometimes hemlock
boughs were the only bed. The frontier saying was, "A hard day's work
makes a soft bed." The tired pioneers slept well even on hemlock boughs.
The chinks of the logs were filled with moss and mud, and in the autumn
banked up outside with earth for warmth.

These log houses did not satisfy English men and women. They longed to
have what Roger Williams called English houses, which were, however,
scarcely different in ground-plan. A single room on the ground, called
in many old wills the fire-room, had a vast chimney at one end. A
so-called staircase, usually but a narrow ladder, led to a sleeping-loft
above. Some of those houses were still made of whole logs, but with
clapboards nailed over the chinks and cracks. Others were of a lighter
frame covered with clapboards, or in Delaware with boards pinned on
perpendicularly. Soon this house was doubled in size and comfort by
having a room on either side of the chimney.

Each settlement often followed in general outline as well as detail the
houses to which the owners had become accustomed in Europe, with, of
course, such variations as were necessary from the new surroundings, new
climate, and new limitations. New York was settled by the Dutch, and
therefore naturally the first permanent houses were Dutch in shape, such
as may be seen in Holland to-day. In the large towns in New Netherland
the houses were certainly very pretty, as all visitors stated who wrote
accounts at that day. Madam Knights visited New York in 1704, and wrote
of the houses,--I will give her own words, in her own spelling and
grammar, which were not very good, though she was the teacher of
Benjamin Franklin, and the friend of Cotton Mather:--

     "The Buildings are Brick Generaly very stately and high: the Bricks
     in some of the houses are of divers Coullers, and laid in Checkers,
     being glazed, look very agreable. The inside of the houses is neat
     to admiration, the wooden work; for only the walls are plaster'd;
     and the Sumers and Gist are planed and kept very white scour'd as
     so is all the partitions if made of Bords."

The "sumers and gist" were the heavy timbers of the frame, the
summer-pieces and joists. The summer-piece was the large middle beam in
the middle from end to end of the ceiling; the joists were cross-beams.
These were not covered with plaster as nowadays, but showed in every
ceiling; and in old houses are sometimes set so curiously and fitted so
ingeniously, that they are always an entertaining study. Another
traveller says that New York houses had patterns of colored brick set in
the front, and also bore the date of building. The Governor's house at
Albany had two black brick-hearts. Dutch houses were set close to the
sidewalk with the gable-end to the street; and had the roof notched like
steps,--corbel-roof was the name; and these ends were often of brick,
while the rest of the walls were of wood. The roofs were high in
proportion to the side walls, and hence steep; they were surmounted
usually in Holland fashion with weather-vanes in the shape of horses,
lions, geese, sloops, or fish; a rooster was a favorite Dutch
weather-vane. There were metal gutters sticking out from every roof
almost to the middle of the street; this was most annoying to passers-by
in rainy weather, who were deluged with water from the roofs. The cellar
windows had small loop-holes with shutters. The windows were always
small; some had only sliding shutters, others had but two panes or
quarels of glass, as they were called, which were only six or eight
inches square. The front doors were cut across horizontally in the
middle into two parts, and in early days were hung on leather hinges
instead of iron.

In the upper half of the door were two round bull's-eyes of heavy
greenish glass, which let faint rays of light enter the hall. The door
opened with a latch, and often had also a knocker. Every house had a
porch or "stoep" flanked with benches, which were constantly occupied in
the summer time; and every evening, in city and village alike, an
incessant visiting was kept up from stoop to stoop. The Dutch farmhouses
were a single straight story, with two more stories in the high,
in-curving roof. They had doors and stoops like the town houses, and all
the windows had heavy board shutters. The cellar and the garret were the
most useful rooms in the house; they were store-rooms for all kinds of
substantial food. In the cellar were great bins of apples, potatoes,
turnips, beets, and parsnips. There were hogsheads of corned beef,
barrels of salt pork, tubs of hams being salted in brine, tonnekens of
salt shad and mackerel, firkins of butter, kegs of pigs' feet, tubs of
souse, kilderkins of lard. On a long swing-shelf were tumblers of spiced
fruits, and "rolliches," head-cheese, and strings of sausages--all Dutch
delicacies.

In strong racks were barrels of cider and vinegar, and often of beer.
Many contained barrels of rum and a pipe of Madeira. What a storehouse
of plenty and thrift! What an emblem of Dutch character! In the attic
by the chimney was the smoke-house, filled with hams, bacon, smoked
beef, and sausages.

In Virginia and Maryland, where people did not gather into towns, but
built their houses farther apart, there were at first few sawmills, and
the houses were universally built of undressed logs. Nails were costly,
as were all articles manufactured of iron, hence many houses were built
without iron; wooden pins and pegs were driven in holes cut to receive
them; hinges were of leather; the shingles on the roof were sometimes
pinned, or were held in place by "weight-timbers." The doors had latches
with strings hanging outside; by pulling in the string within-doors the
house was securely locked. This form of latch was used in all the
colonies. When persons were leaving houses, they sometimes set them on
fire in order to gather up the nails from the ashes. To prevent this
destruction of buildings, the government of Virginia gave to each
planter who was leaving his house as many nails as the house was
estimated to have in its frame, provided the owner would not burn the
house down.

Some years later, when boards could be readily obtained, the favorite
dwelling-place in the South was a framed building with a great stone or
log-and-clay chimney at either end. The house was usually set on sills
resting on the ground. The partitions were sometimes covered with a
thick layer of mud which dried into a sort of plaster and was
whitewashed. The roofs were covered with cypress shingles.

Hammond wrote of these houses in 1656, in his _Leah and Rachel_,
"Pleasant in their building, and contrived delightfull; the rooms large,
daubed and whitelimed, glazed and flowered; and if not glazed windows,
shutters made pretty and convenient."

When prosperity and wealth came through the speedily profitable crops of
tobacco, the houses improved. The home-lot or yard of the Southern
planters showed a pleasant group of buildings, which would seem the most
cheerful home of the colonies, only that all dearly earned homes are
cheerful to their owners. There was not only the spacious mansion house
for the planter with its pleasant porch, but separate buildings in which
were a kitchen, cabins for the negro servants and the overseer, a
stable, barn, coach-house, hen-house, smoke-house, dove-cote, and
milk-room. In many yards a tall pole with a toy house at top was
erected; in this bird-house bee-martins built their nests, and by
bravely disconcerting the attacks of hawks and crows, and noisily
notifying the family and servants of the approach of the enemy, thus
served as a guardian for the domestic poultry, whose home stood close
under this protection. There was seldom an ice-house. The only means for
the preservation of meats in hot weather was by water constantly pouring
into and through a box house erected over the spring that flowed near
the house. Sometimes a brew-house was also found in the yard, for making
home-brewed beer, and a tool-house for storing tools and farm
implements. Some farms had a cider-mill, but this was not in the house
yard. Often there was a spinning-house where servants could spin flax
and wool. This usually had one room containing a hand-loom on which
coarse bagging could be woven, and homespun for the use of the negroes.
A very beautiful example of a splendid and comfortable Southern mansion
such as was built by wealthy planters in the middle of the eighteenth
century has been preserved for us at Mount Vernon, the home of George
Washington.

Mount Vernon was not so fine nor so costly a house as many others built
earlier in the century, such as Lower Brandon--two centuries and a half
old--and Upper Brandon, the homes of the Harrisons; Westover, the home
of the Byrds; Shirley, built in 1650, the home of the Carters; Sabin
Hall, another Carter home, is still standing on the Rappahannock with
its various and many quarters and outbuildings, and is a splendid
example of colonial architecture.

As the traveller came north from Virginia through Pennsylvania, "the
Jerseys," and Delaware, the negro cabins and detached kitchen
disappeared, and many of the houses were of stone and mortar. A clay
oven stood by each house. In the cities stone and brick were much used,
and by 1700 nearly all Philadelphia houses had balconies running the
entire length of the second story. The stoop before the door was
universal.

For half a century nearly all New England houses were cottages. Many had
thatched roofs. Seaside towns set aside for public use certain reedy
lots between salt-marsh and low-water mark, where thatch could be freely
cut. The catted chimneys were of logs plastered with clay, or platted,
that is, made of reeds and mortar; and as wood and hay were stacked in
the streets, all the early towns suffered much from fires, and soon laws
were passed forbidding the building of these unsafe chimneys; as brick
was imported and made, and stone was quarried, there was certainly no
need to use such danger-filled materials. Fire-wardens were appointed
who peered around in all the kitchens, hunting for what they called foul
chimney hearts, and they ordered flag-roofs and wooden chimneys to be
removed, and replaced with stone or brick ones. In Boston every
housekeeper had to own a fire-ladder; and ladders and buckets were kept
in the church. Salem kept its "fire-buckets and hook'd poles" in the
town-house. Soon in all towns each family owned fire-buckets made of
heavy leather and marked with the owner's name or initials. The entire
town constituted the fire company, and the method of using the
fire-buckets was this. As soon as an alarm of fire was given by shouts
or bell-ringing, every one ran at once towards the scene of the fire.
All who owned buckets carried them, and if any person was delayed even
for a few minutes, he flung his fire-buckets from the window into the
street, where some one in the running crowd seized them and carried them
on. On reaching the fire, a double line called lanes of persons was made
from the fire to the river or pond, or a well. A very good
representation of these lanes is given in this fireman's certificate of
the year 1800.

The buckets, filled with water, were passed from hand to hand, up one
line of persons to the fire, while the empty ones went down the other
line. Boys were stationed on the _dry lane_. Thus a constant supply of
water was carried to the fire. If any person attempted to pass through
the line, or hinder the work, he promptly got a bucketful or two of
water poured over him. When the fire was over, the fire-warden took
charge of the buckets; some hours later the owners appeared, each picked
out his own buckets from the pile, carried them home, and hung them up
by the front door, ready to be seized again for use at the next alarm of
fire.

Many of these old fire-buckets are still preserved, and deservedly are
cherished heirlooms, for they represent the dignity and importance due
a house-holding ancestor. They were a valued possession at the time of
their use, and a costly one, being, made of the best leather. They were
often painted not only with the name of the owner, but with family
mottoes, crests, or appropriate inscriptions, sometimes in Latin. The
leather hand-buckets of the Donnison family of Boston are here shown;
those of the Quincy family bear the legend _Impavadi Flammarium_; those
of the Oliver family, _Friend and Public_. In these fire-buckets were
often kept, tightly rolled, strong canvas bags, in which valuables
could be thrust and carried from the burning building.

The first fire-engine made in this country was for the town of Boston,
and was made about 1650 by Joseph Jencks, the famous old iron-worker in
Lynn. It was doubtless very simple in shape, as were its successors
until well into this century. The first fire-engine used in Brooklyn,
New York, is here shown. It was made in 1785 by Jacob Boome. Relays of
men at both handles worked the clumsy pump. The water supply for this
engine was still only through the lanes of fire-buckets, except in rare
cases.

By the year 1670 wooden chimneys and log houses of the Plymouth and Bay
colonies were replaced by more sightly houses of two stories, which were
frequently built with the second story jutting out a foot or two over
the first, and sometimes with the attic story still further extending
over the second story. A few of these are still standing: The
White-Ellery House, at Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1707, is here
shown. This "overhang" is popularly supposed to have been built for the
purpose of affording a convenient shooting-place from which to repel the
Indians. This is, however, an historic fable. The overhanging second
story was a common form of building in England in the time of Queen
Elizabeth, and the Massachusetts and Rhode Island settlers simply and
naturally copied their old homes.

The roofs of many of these new houses were steep, and were shingled with
hand-riven shingles. The walls between the rooms were of clay mixed with
chopped straw. Sometimes the walls were whitened with a wash made of
powdered clam-shells. The ground floors were occasionally of earth, but
puncheon floors were common in the better houses. The well-smoothed
timbers were sanded in careful designs with cleanly beach sand.

By 1676 the Royal Commissioners wrote of Boston that the streets were
crooked, and the houses usually wooden, with a few of brick and stone.
It is a favorite tradition of brick houses in all the colonies that the
brick for them was brought from England. As excellent brick was made
here, I cannot believe all these tales that are told. Occasionally a
house, such as the splendid Warner Mansion, still standing in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is proved to be of imported brick by the
bills which are still existing for the purchase and transportation of
the brick. A later form of many houses was two stories or two stories
and a half in front, with a peaked roof that sloped down nearly to the
ground in the back over an ell covering the kitchen, added in the shape
known as a lean-to, or, as it was called by country folk, the linter.
This sloping roof gave the one element of unconscious picturesqueness
which redeemed the prosaic ugliness of these bare-walled houses. Many
lean-to houses are still standing in New England. The Boardman Hill
House, built at North Saugus, Massachusetts, two centuries and a half
ago, and the two houses of lean-to form, the birthplaces of President
John Adams and of President John Quincy Adams, are typical examples.

The next roof-form, built from early colonial days, and popular a
century ago, was what was known as the gambrel roof. This resembled, on
two sides, the mansard roof of France in the seventeenth century, but
was also gabled at two ends. The gambrel roof had a certain grace of
outline, especially when joined with lean-tos and other additions. The
house partly built in 1636 in Dedham, Massachusetts, by my far-away
grandfather, and known as the Fairbanks House, is the oldest
gambrel-roofed house now standing. It is still occupied by one of his
descendants in the eighth generation. The rear view of it, here given,
shows the picturesqueness of roof outlines and the quaintness which
comes simply from variety. The front of the main building, with its
eight windows, all of different sizes and set at different heights,
shows equal diversity. Within, the boards in the wall-panelling vary
from two to twenty-five inches in width.

The windows of the first houses had oiled paper to admit light. A
colonist wrote back to England to a friend who was soon to follow,
"Bring oiled paper for your windows." The minister, Higginson, sent
promptly in 1629 for glass for windows. This glass was set in the
windows with nails; the sashes were often narrow and oblong, of
diamond-shaped panes set in lead, and opening up and down the middle on
hinges. Long after the large towns and cities had glass windows,
frontier settlements still had heavy wooden shutters. They were a safer
protection against Indian assault, as well as cheaper. It is asserted
that in the province of Kennebec, which is now the state of Maine, there
was not, even as late as 1745, a house that had a square of glass in it.
Oiled paper was used until this century in pioneer houses for windows
wherever it was difficult to transport glass.

Few of the early houses in New England were painted, or colored, as it
was called, either without or within. Painters do not appear in any of
the early lists of workmen. A Salem citizen, just previous to the
Revolution, had the woodwork of one of the rooms of his house painted.
One of a group of friends, discussing this extravagance a few days
later, said: "Well! Archer has set us a fine example of expense,--he has
laid one of his rooms in oil." This sentence shows both the wording and
ideas of the times.

There was one external and suggestive adjunct of the earliest pioneer's
home which was found in nearly all the settlements which were built in
the midst of threatening Indians. Some strong houses were always
surrounded by a stockade, or "palisado," of heavy, well-fitted logs,
which thus formed a garrison, or neighborhood resort, in time of danger.
In the valley of Virginia each settlement was formed of houses set in a
square, connected from end to end of the outside walls by stockades
with gates; thus forming a close front. On the James River, on Manhattan
Island, were stockades. The whole town plot of Milford, Connecticut, was
enclosed in 1645, and the Indians taunted the settlers by shouting out,
"White men all same like pigs." At one time in Massachusetts, twenty
towns proposed an all-surrounding palisade. The progress and condition
of our settlements can be traced in our fences. As Indians disappeared
or succumbed, the solid row of pales gave place to a log-fence, which
served well to keep out depredatory animals. When dangers from Indians
or wild animals entirely disappeared, boards were still not over-plenty,
and the strength of the owner could not be over-spent on unnecessary
fencing. Then came the double-rail fence; two rails, held in place one
above the other, at each joining, by four crossed sticks. It was a
boundary, and would keep in cattle. It was said that every fence should
be horse-high, bull-proof, and pig-tight. Then came stone walls, showing
a thorough clearing and taming of the land. The succeeding "half-high"
stone wall--a foot or two high, with a single rail on top--showed that
stones were not as plentiful in the fields as in early days. The
"snake-fence," or "Virginia fence," so common in the Southern states,
utilized the second growth of forest trees. The split-rail fence, four
or five rails in height, was set at intervals with posts, pierced with
holes to hold the ends of the rails. These were used to some extent in
the East; but our Western states were fenced throughout with rails split
by sturdy pioneer rail-splitters, among them young Abraham Lincoln.
Board fences showed the day of the sawmill and its plentiful supply; the
wire fences of to-day equally prove the decrease of our forests and our
wood, and the growth of our mineral supplies and manufactures of
metals. Thus even our fences might be called historical monuments.

A few of the old block-houses, or garrison houses, the "defensible
houses," which were surrounded by these stockades, are still standing.
The most interesting are the old Garrison at East Haverhill,
Massachusetts, built in 1670; it has walls of solid oak, and brick a
foot and a half thick; the Saltonstall House at Ipswich, built in 1633;
Cradock Old Fort in Medford, Massachusetts, built in 1634 of brick made
on the spot; an old fort at York, Maine; and the Whitefield Garrison
House, built in 1639 at Guilford, Connecticut. The one at Newburyport is
the most picturesque and beautiful of them all.

As social life in Boston took on a little aspect of court life in the
circle gathered around the royal governors, the pride of the wealthy
found expression in handsome and stately houses. These were copied and
added to by men of wealth and social standing in other towns. The
Province House, built in 1679, the Frankland House in 1735, and the
Hancock House, all in Boston; the Shirley House in Roxbury, the
Wentworth Mansion in New Hampshire, are good examples. They were
dignified and simple in form, and have borne the test of
centuries,--they wear well. They never erred in over-ornamentation,
being scant of interior decoration, save in two or three principal rooms
and the hall and staircase. The panelled step ends and soffits, the
graceful newels and balusters, of those old staircases hold sway as
models to this day.

The same taste which made the staircase the centre of decoration within,
made the front door the sole point of ornamentation without; and equal
beauty is there focused. Worthy of study and reproduction, many of the
old-time front doors are with their fine panels, graceful, leaded side
windows, elaborate and pretty fan-lights, and slight but appropriate
carving. The prettiest leaded windows I ever saw in an American home
were in a thereby glorified hen-house. They had been taken from the
discarded front door of a remodelled old Falmouth house. The hens and
their owner were not of antiquarian tastes, and relinquished the windows
for a machine-made sash more suited to their plebeian tastes and
occupations. Many colonial doors had door-latches or knobs of heavy
brass; nearly all had a knocker of wrought iron or polished brass, a
cheerful ornament that ever seems to resound a welcome to the visitor as
well as a notification to the visited.

The knocker from the John Hancock House in Boston and that from the
Winslow House in Marshfield are here shown; both are now in the custody
of the Bostonian Society, and may be seen at the Old State House in
Boston. The latter was given to the society by Dr. Oliver Wendell
Holmes.

The "King-Hooper" House, still standing in Danvers, Massachusetts,
closely resembled the Hancock House. This house, built by Robert Hooper
in 1754, was for a time the refuge of the royal governor of
Massachusetts--Governor Gage; and hence is sometimes called General
Gage's Headquarters. When the minute-men marched past the house to
Lexington on April 18, 1775, they stripped the lead from the gate-posts.
"King Hooper" angrily denounced them, and a minute-man fired at him as
he entered the house. The bullet passed through the panel of the door,
and the rent may still be seen. Hence the house has been often called
The House of the Front Door with the Bullet-Hole. The present owner and
occupier of the house, Francis Peabody, Esq., has appropriately named it
The Lindens, from the stately linden trees that grace its gardens and
lawns.

In riding through those portions of our states that were the early
settled colonies, it is pleasant to note where any old houses are still
standing, or where the sites of early colonial houses are known, the
good taste usually shown by the colonists in the places chosen to build
their houses. They dearly loved a "sightly location." An old writer
said: "My consayte is such; I had rather not to builde a mansyon or a
house than to builde one without a good prospect in it, to it, and from
it." In Virginia the houses were set on the river slope, where every
passing boat might see them. The New England colonists painfully climbed
long, tedious hills, that they might have homes from whence could be had
a beautiful view, and this was for the double reason, as the old writer
said, that in their new homes they might both see and be seen.



CHAPTER II

THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS


The first and most natural way of lighting the houses of the American
colonists, both in the North and South, was by the pine-knots of the fat
pitch-pine, which, of course, were found everywhere in the greatest
plenty in the forests. Governor John Winthrop the younger, in his
communication to the English Royal Society in 1662, said this
candle-wood was much used for domestic illumination in Virginia, New
York, and New England. It was doubtless gathered everywhere in new
settlements, as it has been in pioneer homes till our own day. In Maine,
New Hampshire, and Vermont it was used till this century. In the
Southern states the pine-knots are still burned in humble households for
lighting purposes, and a very good light they furnish.

The historian Wood wrote in 1642, in his _New England's Prospect_:--

     "Out of these Pines is gotten the Candlewood that is much spoke of,
     which may serve as a shift among poore folks, but I cannot commend
     it for singular good, because it droppeth a pitchy kind of
     substance where it stands."

That pitchy kind of substance was tar, which was one of the most
valuable trade products of the colonists. So much tar was made by
burning the pines on the banks of the Connecticut, that as early as 1650
the towns had to prohibit the using of candle-wood for tar-making if
gathered within six miles of the Connecticut River, though it could be
gathered by families for illumination and fuel.

Rev. Mr. Higginson, writing in 1633, said of these pine-knots:--

     "They are such candles as the Indians commonly use, having no
     other, and they are nothing else but the wood of the pine tree,
     cloven in two little slices, something thin, which are so full of
     the moysture of turpentine and pitch that they burne as cleere as a
     torch."

To avoid having smoke in the room, and on account of the pitchy
droppings, the candle-wood was usually burned in a corner of the
fireplace, on a flat stone. The knots were sometimes called
pine-torches. One old Massachusetts minister boasted at the end of his
life that every sermon of the hundreds he had written, had been copied
by the light of these torches. Rev. Mr. Newman, of Rehoboth, is said to
have compiled his vast concordance of the Bible wholly by the dancing
light of this candle-wood. Lighting was an important item of expense in
any household of so small an income as that of a Puritan minister; and
the single candle was often frugally extinguished during the long family
prayers each evening. Every family laid in a good supply of this light
wood for winter use, and it was said that a prudent New England farmer
would as soon start the winter without hay in his barn as without
candle-wood in his woodshed.

Mr. Higginson wrote in 1630: "Though New England has no tallow to make
candles of, yet by abundance of fish thereof it can afford oil for
lamps." This oil was apparently wholly neglected, though there were few,
or no domestic animals to furnish tallow; but when cattle increased,
every ounce of tallow was saved as a precious and useful treasure; and
as they became plentiful it was one of the household riches of New
England, which was of value to our own day. When Governor Winthrop
arrived in Massachusetts, he promptly wrote over to his wife to bring
candles with her from England when she came. And in 1634 he sent over
for a large quantity of wicks and tallow. Candles cost fourpence apiece,
which made them costly luxuries for the thrifty colonists.

Wicks were made of loosely spun hemp or tow, or of cotton; from the
milkweed which grows so plentifully in our fields and roads to-day the
children gathered in late summer the silver "silk-down" which was "spun
grossly into candle wicke." Sometimes the wicks were dipped into
saltpetre.

Thomas Tusser wrote in England in the sixteenth century in his
_Directions to Housewifes_:--

      "Wife, make thine own candle,
      Spare penny to handle.
    Provide for thy tallow ere frost cometh in,
    And make thine own candle ere winter begin."

Every thrifty housewife in America saved her penny as in England. The
making of the winter's stock of candles was the special autumnal
household duty, and a hard one too, for the great kettles were tiresome
and heavy to handle. An early hour found the work well under way. A good
fire was started in the kitchen fireplace under two vast kettles, each
two feet, perhaps, in diameter, which were hung on trammels from the
lug-pole or crane, and half filled with boiling water and melted tallow,
which had had two scaldings and skimmings. At the end of the kitchen or
in an adjoining and cooler room, sometimes in the lean-to, two long
poles were laid from chair to chair or stool to stool. Across these
poles were placed at regular intervals, like the rounds of a ladder,
smaller sticks about fifteen or eighteen inches long, called
candle-rods. These poles and rods were kept from year to year, either in
the garret or up on the kitchen beams.

To each candle-rod was attached about six or eight carefully
straightened candle-wicks. The wicking was twisted strongly one way;
then doubled; then the loop was slipped over the candle-rod, when the
two ends, of course, twisted the other way around each other, making a
firm wick. A rod, with its row of wicks, was dipped in the melted tallow
in the pot, and returned to its place across the poles. Each row was
thus dipped in regular turn; each had time to cool and harden between
the dips, and thus grew steadily in size. If allowed to cool fast, they
of course grew quickly, but were brittle, and often cracked. Hence a
good worker dipped slowly, but if the room was fairly cool, could make
two hundred candles for a day's work. Some could dip two rods at a time.
The tallow was constantly replenished, as the heavy kettles were used
alternately to keep the tallow constantly melted, and were swung off and
on the fire. Boards or sheets of paper were placed under the rods to
protect the snowy, scoured floors.

Candles were also run in moulds which were groups of metal cylinders,
usually made of tin or pewter. Itinerant candle-makers went from house
to house, taking charge of candle-making in the household, and carrying
large candle-moulds with them. One of the larger size, making two dozen
candles, is here shown; but its companion, the smaller mould, making six
candles, is such as were more commonly seen. Each wick was attached to a
wire or a nail placed across the open top of the cylinder, and hung down
in the centre of each individual mould. The melted tallow was poured in
carefully around the wicks.

Wax candles also were made. They were often shaped by hand, by pressing
bits of heated wax around a wick. Farmers kept hives of bees as much for
the wax as for the honey, which was of much demand for sweetening, when
"loaves" of sugar were so high-priced. Deer suet, moose fat, bear's
grease, all were saved in frontier settlements, and carefully tried into
tallow for candles. Every particle of grease rescued from pot liquor, or
fat from meat, was utilized for candle-making. Rushlights were made by
stripping part of the outer bark from common rushes, thus leaving the
pith bare, then dipping them in tallow or grease, and letting them
harden.

The precious candles thus tediously made were taken good care of. They
were carefully packed in candle-boxes with compartments; were covered
over, and set in a dark closet, where they would not discolor and turn
yellow. A metal candle-box, hung on the edge of the kitchen
mantel-shelf, always held two or three candles to replenish those which
burnt out in the candlesticks.

A natural, and apparently inexhaustible, material for candles was found
in all the colonies in the waxy berries of the bayberry bush, which
still grows in large quantities on our coasts. In the year 1748 a
Swedish naturalist, Professor Kalm, came to America, and he wrote an
account of the bayberry wax which I will quote in full:--

     "There is a plant here from the berries of which they make a kind
     of wax or tallow, and for that reason the Swedes call it the
     tallow-shrub. The English call the same tree the candle-berry tree
     or bayberry bush; it grows abundantly in a wet soil, and seems to
     thrive particularly well in the neighborhood of the sea. The
     berries look as if flour had been strewed on them. They are
     gathered late in Autumn, being ripe about that time, and are thrown
     into a kettle or pot full of boiling water; by this means their fat
     melts out, floats at the top of the water, and may be skimmed off
     into a vessel; with the skimming they go on till there is no tallow
     left. The tallow, as soon as it is congealed, looks like common
     tallow or wax, but has a dirty green color. By being melted over
     and refined it acquires a fine and transparent green color. This
     tallow is dearer than common tallow, but cheaper than wax. Candles
     of this do not easily bend, nor melt in summer as common candles
     do; they burn better and slower, nor do they cause any smoke, but
     yield rather an agreeable smell when they are extinguished. In
     Carolina they not only make candles out of the wax of the berries,
     but likewise sealing-wax."

Beverley, the historian of Virginia, wrote of the smell of burning
bayberry tallow:--

     "If an accident puts a candle out, it yields a pleasant fragrancy
     to all that are in the room; insomuch that nice people often put
     them out on purpose to have the incense of the expiring snuff."

Bayberry wax was not only a useful home-product, but an article of
traffic till this century, and was constantly advertised in the
newspapers. In 1712, in a letter written to John Winthrop, F.R.S., I
find:--

     "I am now to beg one favour of you,--that you secure for me all the
     bayberry wax you can possibly put your hands on. You must take a
     care they do not put too much tallow among it, being a custom and
     cheat they have got."

Bayberries were of enough importance to have some laws made about them.
Everywhere on Long Island grew the stunted bushes, and everywhere they
were valued. The town of Brookhaven, in 1687, forbade the gathering of
the berries before September 15, under penalty of fifteen shillings'
fine.

The pungent and unique scent of the bayberry, equally strong in leaf
and berry, is to me one of the elements of the purity and sweetness of
the air of our New England coast fields in autumn. It grows everywhere,
green and cheerful, in sun-withered shore pastures, in poor bits of
earth on our rocky coast, where it has few fellow field-tenants to crowd
the ground. It is said that the highest efforts of memory are stimulated
through our sense of smell, by the association of ideas with scents.
That of bayberry, whenever I pass it, seems to awaken in me an
hereditary memory, to recall a life of two centuries ago. I recall the
autumns of trial and of promise in our early history, and the bayberry
fields are peopled with children in Puritan garb, industriously
gathering the tiny waxen fruit. Equally full of sentiment is the scent
of my burning bayberry candles, which were made last autumn in an old
colony town.

The history of whale-fishing in New England is the history of one of the
most fascinating commercial industries the world has ever known. It is a
story with every element of intense interest, showing infinite romance,
adventure, skill, courage, and fortitude. It brought vast wealth to the
communities that carried on the fishing, and great independence and
comfort to the families of the whalers. To the whalemen themselves it
brought incredible hardships and dangers, yet they loved the life with
a love which is strange to view and hard to understand. In the oil made
from these "royal fish" the colonists found a vast and cheap supply for
their metal and glass lamps; while the toothed whales had stored in
their blunt heads a valuable material which was at once used for making
candles; it is termed, in the most ancient reference I have found to it
in New England records, Sperma-Coeti.

It was asserted that one of these spermaceti candles gave out more light
than three tallow candles, and had four times as big a flame. Soon their
manufacture and sale amounted to large numbers, and materially improved
domestic illumination.

All candles, whatever their material, were carefully used by the
economical colonists to the last bit by a little wire frame of pins and
rings called a save-all. Candle-sticks of various metals and shapes were
found in every house; and often sconces, which were also called
candle-arms, or prongs. Candle-beams were rude chandeliers, a metal or
wooden hoop with candle-holders. Snuffers were always seen, with which
to trim the candles, and snuffers trays. These were sometimes
exceedingly richly ornamented, and were often of silver: extinguishers
often accompanied the snuffers.

Though lamps occasionally appear on early inventories and lists of
sales, and though there was plenty of whale and fish oil to burn, lamps
were not extensively used in America for many years. "Betty-lamps,"
shaped much like antique Roman lamps, were the earliest form. They were
small, shallow receptacles, two or three inches in diameter and about an
inch in depth; either rectangular, oval, round, or triangular in shape,
with a projecting nose or spout an inch or two long. They usually had a
hook and chain by which they could be hung on a nail in the wall, or on
the round in the back of a chair; sometimes there was also a smaller
hook for cleaning out the nose of the lamp. They were filled with
tallow, grease, or oil, while a piece of cotton rag or coarse wick was
so placed that, when lighted, the end hung out on the nose. From this
wick, dripping dirty grease, rose a dull, smoky, ill-smelling flame.

Phoebe-lamps were similar in shape; though some had double wicks, that
is, a nose at either side. Three betty-lamps are shown in the
illustration: all came from old colonial houses. The iron lamp, solid
with the accumulated grease of centuries, was found in a Virginia cabin;
the rectangular brass lamp came from a Dutch farmhouse; and the graceful
oval brass lamp from a New England homestead.

Pewter was a favorite material for lamps, as it was for all other
domestic utensils. It was specially in favor for the lamps for whale
oil and the "Porter's fluid," that preceded our present illuminating
medium, petroleum. A rare form is the pewter lamp here shown. It is in
the collection of ancient lamps, lanterns, candlesticks, etc., owned by
Mrs. Samuel Bowne Duryea, of Brooklyn. It came from a Salem home, where
it was used as a house-lantern. With its clear bull's-eyes of unusually
pure glass, it gave what was truly a brilliant light for the century of
its use. A group of old pewter lamps, of the shapes commonly used in the
homes of our ancestors a century or so ago, is also given; chosen, not
because they were unusual or beautiful, but because they were universal
in their use.

The lamps of Count Rumford's invention were doubtless a great luxury,
with their clear steady light; but they were too costly to be commonly
seen in our grandfathers' homes. Nor were Argand burners ever universal.
Glass lamps of many simple shapes shared popularity for a long time with
the pewter lamps; and as pewter gradually disappeared from household
use, these glass lamps monopolized the field. They were rarely of cut or
colored glass, but were pressed glass of commonplace form and quality. A
group of them is here given which were all used in old New England
houses in the early part of this century.

For many years the methods of striking a light were very primitive, just
as they were in Europe; many families possessed no adequate means, or
very imperfect ones. If by ill fortune the fire in the fireplace became
wholly extinguished through carelessness at night, some one, usually a
small boy, was sent to the house of the nearest neighbor, bearing a
shovel or covered pan, or perhaps a broad strip of green bark, on which
to bring back coals for relighting the fire. Nearly all families had
some form of a flint and steel,--a method of obtaining fire which has
been used from time immemorial by both civilized and uncivilized
nations. This always required a flint, a steel, and a tinder of some
vegetable matter to catch the spark struck by the concussion of flint
and steel. This spark was then blown into a flame. Among the colonists
scorched linen was a favorite tinder to catch the spark of fire; and
till this century all the old cambric handkerchiefs, linen underwear,
and worn sheets of a household were carefully saved for this purpose.
The flint, steel, and tinder were usually kept together in a circular
tinder-box, such as is shown in the accompanying illustration; it was a
shape universal in England and America. This had an inner flat cover
with a ring, a flint, a horseshoe-shaped steel, and an upper lid with a
place to set a candle-end in, to carry the newly acquired light. Though
I have tried hundreds of times with this tinder-box, I have never yet
succeeded in striking a light. The sparks fly, but then the operation
ceases in modern hands. Charles Dickens said if you had good luck, you
could get a light in half an hour. Soon there was an improvement on this
tinder-box, by which sparks were obtained by spinning a steel wheel with
a piece of cord, somewhat like spinning a humming top, and making the
wheel strike a flint fixed in the side of a little trough full of
tinder. This was an infinite advance in convenience on tinder-box No. 1.
This box was called in the South a mill; one is here shown. Then some
person invented strips of wood dipped in sulphur and called "spunks."
These readily caught fire, and retained it, and were handy to carry
light to a candle or pile of chips.

Another way of starting a fire was by flashing a little powder in the
pan of an old-fashioned gun; sometimes this fired a twist of tow, which
in turn started a heap of shavings.

Down to the time of our grandfathers, and in some country homes of our
fathers, lights were started with these crude elements,--flint, steel,
tinder,--and transferred by the sulphur splint; for fifty years ago
matches were neither cheap nor common.

Though various processes for lighting in which sulphur was used in a
match shape, were brought before the public at the beginning of this
century, they were complicated, expensive, and rarely seen. The first
practical friction matches were "Congreves," made in England in 1827.
They were thin strips of wood or cardboard coated with sulphur and
tipped with a mixture of mucilage, chlorate of potash, and sulphide of
antimony. Eighty-four of them were sold in a box for twenty-five cents,
with a piece of "glass-paper" through which the match could be drawn.
There has been a long step this last fifty years between the tinder-box
used so patiently for two centuries, and the John Jex Long match-making
machine of our times, which turns out seventeen million matches a day.



CHAPTER III

THE KITCHEN FIRESIDE


The kitchen in all the farmhouses of all the colonies was the most
cheerful, homelike, and picturesque room in the house; indeed, it was in
town houses as well. The walls were often bare, the rafters dingy; the
windows were small, the furniture meagre; but the kitchen had a warm,
glowing heart that spread light and welcome, and made the poor room a
home. In the houses of the first settlers the chimneys and fireplaces
were vast in size, sometimes so big that the fore-logs and back-logs for
the fire had to be dragged in by a horse and a long chain; or a
hand-sled was kept for the purpose. Often there were seats within the
chimney on either side. At night children could sit on these seats and
there watch the sparks fly upward and join the stars which could plainly
be seen up the great chimney-throat.

But as the forests disappeared under the waste of burning for tar, for
potash, and through wanton clearing, the fireplaces shrank in size; and
Benjamin Franklin, even in his day, could write of "the fireplaces of
our fathers."

The inflammable catted chimney of logs and clay, hurriedly and readily
built by the first settlers, soon gave place in all houses to vast
chimneys of stone, built with projecting inner ledges, on which rested a
bar about six or seven or even eight feet from the floor, called a
lug-pole (lug meaning to carry) or a back-bar; this was made of green
wood, and thus charred slowly--but it charred surely in the generous
flames of the great chimney heart. Many annoying, and some fatal
accidents came from the collapsing of these wooden back-bars. The
destruction of a dinner sometimes was attended with the loss of a life.
Later the back-bars were made of iron. On them were hung iron hooks or
chains with hooks of various lengths called pothooks, trammels, hakes,
pot-hangers, pot-claws, pot-clips, pot-brakes, pot-crooks. Mr. Arnold
Talbot, of Providence, Rhode Island, has folding trammels, nine feet
long, which were found in an old Narragansett chimney heart. Gibcrokes
and recons were local and less frequent names, and the folks who in
their dialect called the lug-pole a gallows-balke called the pothooks
gallows-crooks. On these hooks pots and kettles could be hung at varying
heights over the fire. The iron swinging-crane was a Yankee invention of
a century after the first settlement, and it proved a convenient and
graceful substitute for the back-bar.

Some Dutch houses had an adaptation of a Southern method of housekeeping
in the use of a detached house called a slave-kitchen, where the meals
of the negro house and farm servants were cooked and served. The
slave-kitchen of the old Bergen homestead stood unaltered till within a
few years on Third Avenue in Brooklyn. It still exists in a dismantled
condition. Its picture plainly shows the stone ledges within the
fireplace, the curved iron lug-pole, and hanging pothooks and trammels.
With ample fire of hickory logs burning on the hearthstone, and the
varied array of primitive cooking-vessels steaming with savory fare, a
circle of laughing, black faces shining with the glowing firelight and
hungry anticipation, would make a "Dutch interior" of American form and
shaping as picturesque and artistic as any of Holland. The fireplace
itself sometimes went by the old English name, clavell-piece, as shown
by the letters of John Wynter, written from Maine in 1634 to his English
home. "The Chimney is large, with an oven at each end of him: he is so
large that wee can place our Cyttle within the Clavell-piece. Wee can
brew and bake and boyl our Cyttle all at once in him." Often a large
plate of iron, called the fire-back or fire-plate, was set at the back
of the chimney, where the constant and fierce fire crumbled brick and
split stone. These iron backs were often cast in a handsome design.

In New York the chimneys and fireplaces were Dutch in shape; the
description given by a woman traveller at the end of the seventeenth
century ran thus:--

     "The chimney-places are very droll-like: they have no jambs nor
     lintell as we have, but a flat grate, and there projects over it a
     lum in the form of the cat-and-clay lum, and commonly a muslin or
     ruffled pawn around it."

The "ruffled pawn" was a calico or linen valance which was hung on the
edge of the mantel-shelf, a pretty and cheerful fashion seen in some
English as well as Dutch homes.

Another Dutch furnishing, the alcove bedstead, much like a closet, seen
in many New York kitchens, was replaced in New England farm-kitchens by
the "turn-up" bedstead. This was a strong frame filled with a network of
rope which was fastened at the bed-head by hinges to the wall. By night
the foot of the bed rested on two heavy legs; by day the frame with its
bed furnishings was hooked up to the wall, and covered with homespun
curtains or doors. This was the sleeping-place of the master and
mistress of the house, chosen because the kitchen was the warmest room
in the house. One of these "turn-up" bedsteads which was used in the
Sheldon homestead until this century may be seen in Deerfield Memorial
Hall.

Over the fireplace and across the top of the room were long poles on
which hung strings of peppers, dried apples, and rings of dried pumpkin.
And the favorite resting-place for the old queen's-arm or fowling-piece
was on hooks over the kitchen fireplace.

On the pothooks and trammels hung what formed in some households the
costliest house-furnishing,--the pots and kettles. The Indians wished
their brass kettles buried with them as a precious possession, and the
settlers equally valued them; often these kettles were worth three
pounds apiece. In many inventories of the estates of the settlers the
brass-ware formed an important item. Rev. Thomas Hooker of Hartford had
brass-ware which, in the equalizing of values to-day, would be worth
three or four hundred dollars. The great brass and copper kettles often
held fifteen gallons. The vast iron pot--desired and beloved of every
colonist--sometimes weighed forty pounds, and lasted in daily use for
many years. All the vegetables were boiled together in these great pots,
unless some very particular housewife had a wrought-iron potato-boiler
to hold potatoes or any single vegetable in place within the vast
general pot.

Chafing-dishes and skimmers of brass and copper were also cheerful discs
to reflect the kitchen firelight.

Very little tin was seen, either for kitchen or table utensils. Governor
Winthrop had a few tin plates, and some Southern planters had tin pans,
others "tynnen covers." Tin pails were unknown; and the pails they did
own, either of wood, brass, or other sheet metal, had no bails, but were
carried by thrusting a stick through little ears on either side of the
pail. Latten ware was used instead of tin; it was a kind of brass. A
very good collection of century-old tinware is shown in the
illustration. By a curious chance this tinware lay unpacked for over
ninety years in the attic loft of a country warehouse, in the
packing-box, just as it was delivered from an English ship at the close
of the Revolution. The pulling down of the warehouse disclosed the box,
with its dated labels. The tin utensils are more gayly lacquered than
modern ones, otherwise they differ little from the tinware of to-day.

There was one distinct characteristic in the house-furnishing of olden
times which is lacking to-day. It was a tendency for the main body of
everything to set well up, on legs which were strong enough for adequate
support of the weight, yet were slender in appearance. To-day bureaus,
bedsteads, cabinets, desks, sideboards, come close to the floor;
formerly chests of drawers, Chippendale sideboards, four-post bedsteads,
dressing-cases, were set, often a foot high, in a tidy, cleanly fashion;
thus they could all be thoroughly swept under. This same peculiarity of
form extended to cooking-utensils. Pots and kettles had legs, as shown
in those hanging in the slave-kitchen fireplace; gridirons had legs,
skillets had legs; and further appliances in the shape of trivets,
which were movable frames, took the place of legs. The necessity for the
stilting up of cooking-utensils was a very evident one; it was necessary
to raise the body of the utensil above the ashes and coals of the open
fireplace. If the bed of coals and burning logs were too deep for the
skillet or pot-legs, then the utensil must be hung from above by the
ever-ready trammel.

Often in the corner of the fireplace there stood a group of trivets, or
three-legged stands, of varying heights, through which the exactly
desired proximity to the coals could be obtained.

Even toasting-forks, and similar frail utensils of wire or wrought iron,
stood on tall, spindling legs, or were carefully shaped to be set up on
trivets. They usually had, also, long, adjustable handles, which helped
to make endurable the blazing heat of the great logs. All such irons as
waffle-irons had far longer handles than are seen on any
cooking-utensils in these days of stoves and ranges, where the flames
are covered and the housewife shielded. Gridirons had long handles of
wood or iron, which could be fastened to the shorter stationary handles.
The two gridirons in the accompanying illustration are a century old.
The circular one was the oldest form. The oblong ones, with groove to
collect the gravy, did not vary in shape till our own day. Both have
indications of fittings for long handles, but the handles have vanished.
A long-handled frying-pan is seen hanging by the side of the
slave-kitchen fireplace.

An accompaniment of the kitchen fireplace, found, not in farmhouses, but
among luxury-loving town-folk, was the plate-warmer. They are seldom
named in inventories, and I know of but one of Revolutionary days, and
it is here shown. Similar ones are manufactured to-day; the legs,
perhaps, are shorter, but the general outline is the same.

An important furnishing of every fireplace was the andirons. In kitchen
fireplaces these were usually of iron, and the shape known as goose-neck
were common. Cob irons were the simplest form, and merely supported the
spit; sometimes they had hooks to hold a dripping-pan. A common name for
the kitchen andirons was fire-dogs; and creepers were low, small
andirons, usually used with the tall fire-dogs. The kitchen andirons
were simply for use to help hold the logs and cooking-utensils. But
other fireplaces had handsome fire-dogs of copper, brass, or cut steel,
cast or wrought in handsome devices. These were a pride and delight to
the housewife.

A primitive method of roasting a joint of meat or a fowl was by
suspending it in front of the fire by a strong hempen string tied to a
peg in the ceiling, while some one--usually an unwilling
child--occasionally turned the roast around. Sometimes the sole
turnspit was the housewife, who, every time she basted the roast, gave
the string a good twist, and thereafter it would untwist, and then twist
a little again, and so on until the vibration ceased, when she again
basted and started it. As the juices sometimes ran down in the roast and
left the upper part too dry, a "double string-roaster" was invented, by
which the equilibrium of the joint could be shifted. A jack was a
convenient and magnified edition of the primitive string, being a metal
suspensory machine. A still further glorification was the addition of a
revolving power which ran by clockwork and turned the roast with
regularity; this was known as a clock-jack. The one here shown hangs in
the fireplace in Deerfield Memorial Hall. A smoke-jack was run somewhat
irregularly by the pressure of smoke and the current of hot air in the
chimney. These were noisy and creaking and not regarded with favor by
old-fashioned cooks.

We are apt to think of the turnspit dog as a creature of European life,
but we had them here in America--little low, bow-legged, patient souls,
trained to run in a revolving cylinder and keep the roasting joint
a-turn before the fire. Mine host Clark of the State House Inn in
Philadelphia in the first half of the eighteenth century advertised in
Benjamin Franklin's _Pennsylvania Gazette_ that he had for sale "several
dogs and wheels, much preferable to any jacks for roasting any joints of
meat." I hope neither he nor any one else had many of these little
canine slaves.

A frequent accompaniment of the kitchen fireplace in the eighteenth
century, and a domestic luxury seen in well-to-do homes, was the various
forms of the "roasting-kitchen," or Dutch oven. These succeeded the
jacks; they were a box-like arrangement open on one side which when in
use was turned to the fire. Like other utensils of the day, they often
stood up on legs, to bring the open side before the blaze. A little door
at the back could be opened for convenience in basting the roast. These
kitchens came in various sizes for roasting birds or joints, and in them
bread was occasionally baked. The bake-kettle, which in some communities
was also called a Dutch oven, was preferred for baking bread. It was a
strong kettle, standing, of course, on stout, stumpy legs, and when in
use was placed among the hot coals and closely covered with a strong
metal, convex cover, on which coals were also closely heaped. Such
perfect rolls, such biscuit, such shortcake, as issued from the
heaped-up bake-kettle can never be equalled by other methods of cooking.

When the great stone chimney was built, there was usually placed on one
side of the kitchen fireplace a brick oven which had a smoke uptake into
the chimney--and-an ash-pit below. The great door was of iron. This oven
was usually heated once a week. A great fire of dry wood, called oven
wood, was kindled within it and kept burning fiercely for some hours.
This thoroughly heated all the bricks. The coals and ashes were then
swept out, the chimney draught closed, and the oven filled with brown
bread, pies, pots of beans, etc. Sometimes the bread was baked in pans,
sometimes it was baked in a great mass set on cabbage leaves or oak
leaves. In some towns an autumn harvest of oak leaves was gathered by
children to use throughout the winter. The leaves were strung on sticks.
This gathering was called going a-leafing.

By the oven side was always a long-handled shovel known as a peel or
slice, which sometimes had a rack or rest to hold it; this implement was
a necessity in order to place the food well within the glowing oven. The
peel was sprinkled with meal, great heaps of dough were placed thereon,
and by a dexterous twist they were thrown on the cabbage or oak leaves.
A bread peel was a universal gift to a bride; it was significant of
domestic utility and plenty, and was held to be luck-bearing. On
Thanksgiving week the great oven had a fire built in it every morning,
and every night it was well filled and closed till morning.

On one side of the kitchen often stood a dresser, on which was placed in
orderly rows the cheerful pewter and scant earthenware of the
household:--

      "----the room was bright
    With glimpses of reflected light,
    From plates that on the dresser shone."

In Dutch households plate-racks, spoon-racks, knife-racks,--all hanging
on the wall,--took the place of the New England dresser.

In the old Phillips farmhouse at Wickford, Rhode Island, is a splendid
chimney over twenty feet square. So much room does it occupy that there
is no central staircase, but little winding stairs ascend at three
corners of the house. In the vast fireplace an ox could literally have
been roasted. On each chimney-piece are hooks to hang firearms, and at
one side curious little drawers are set for pipes and tobacco. In some
Dutch houses in New York these tobacco shelves are in the entry, over
the front door, and a narrow flight of three or four steps leads up to
them. Hanging on a nail alongside the tobacco drawer, or shelf, would
usually be seen a pipe-tongs, or smoking-tongs. They were slender
little tongs, usually of iron or steel; with them the smoker lifted a
coal from the fireplace to light his pipe. The tongs owned and used by
Captain Joshua Wingate, of Hampton, New Hampshire, who lived from 1679
to 1769, are here shown. The handle is unlike any other I have seen,
having one end elongated, knobbed, and ingeniously bent S-shaped into
convenient form to press down the tobacco into the bowl of the pipe.
Other old-time pipe-tongs were in the form of lazy-tongs. A companion of
the pipe-tongs on the kitchen mantel was what was known as a
comfortier--a little brazier of metal in which small coals could be
handed about for pipe-lighting. An unusual luxury was a comfortier of
silver. These were found among the Dutch settlers.

The Pennsylvania Germans were the first to use stoves. These were of
various shapes. A curious one, seen in houses and churches, was of
sheet-metal, box-shaped; three sides were within the house, and the
fourth, with the stove door, outside the house. Thus what was really
the back of the stove projected into the room, and when the fire was fed
it was necessary for the tender to go out of doors. These German stoves
and hot-air drums, which heated the second story of the house, were ever
a fresh wonder to travellers of English birth and descent in
Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that their evident economy and comfort
suggested to Benjamin Franklin the "New Pennsylvania Fireplace," which
he invented in 1742, in which both wood and coal could be used, and
which was somewhat like the heating apparatus which we now call a
Franklin stove, or heater.

Thus German settlers had, in respect to heating, the most comfortable
homes of all the colonies. Among the English settlers the kitchen was,
too often, the only comfortable room in the house in winter weather.
Indeed, the discomforts and inconveniences of a colonial home could
scarcely be endured to-day; of course these culminated in the winter
time, when icy blasts blew fiercely down the great chimneys, and rattled
the loosely fitting windows. Children suffered bitterly in these cold
houses. The rooms were not warm three feet away from the blaze of the
fire. Cotton Mather and Judge Samuel Sewall both tell, in their diaries,
of the ink freezing in their pens as they wrote within the
chimney-side. One noted that, when a great fire was built on the hearth,
the sap forced out of the wood by the flames froze into ice at the end
of the logs. The bedrooms were seldom warmed, and had it not been for
the deep feather beds and heavy bed-curtains, would have been
unendurable. In Dutch and some German houses, with alcove bedsteads, and
sleeping on one feather bed, with another for cover, the Dutch settlers
could be far warmer than any English settlers, even in four-post
bedsteads curtained with woollen.

Water froze immediately if left standing in bedrooms. One diary, written
in Marshfield, Massachusetts, tells of a basin of water standing on the
bedroom hearth, in front of a blazing fire, in which the water froze
solid. President John Adams so dreaded the bleak New England winter and
the ill-warmed houses that he longed to sleep like a dormouse every
year, from autumn to spring. In the Southern colonies, during the fewer
cold days of the winter months, the temperature was not so low, but the
houses were more open and lightly built than in the North, and were
without cellars, and had fewer fireplaces; hence the discomfort from the
cold was as great, if not the positive suffering.

The first chilling entrance into the ice-cold bed of a winter bedroom
was sometimes mitigated by heating the inner sheets with a warming-pan.
This usually hung by the side of the kitchen fireplace, and when used
was filled with hot coals, and thrust within the bed, and constantly and
rapidly moved back and forth to keep from scorching the bed-linen. The
warming-pan was a circular metal pan about a foot in diameter, four or
five inches deep, with a long wooden handle and a perforated metal
cover, usually of copper or brass, which was kept highly polished, and
formed, as it hung on the wall, one of the cheerful kitchen discs to
reflect the light of the glowing fire. The warming-pan has been deemed
of sufficient decorative capacity to make it eagerly sought after by
collectors, and a great room of one of these collectors is hung entirely
around the four walls with a frieze of warming-pans.

Many of our New England poets have given us glimpses in rhyme of the
old-time kitchen. Lowell's well-known lines are vivid enough to bear
never-dying quotation:--

    "A fireplace filled the rooms one side
      With half a cord of wood in--
    There warn't no stoves (tell comfort died)
      To bake ye to a puddin'.

    "The wa'nut log shot sparkles out
      Towards the pootiest--bless her!
    An' little flames danced all about
      The chiny on the dresser.

    "Agin the crumbly crooknecks hung,
      An' in amongst 'em rusted
    The old queen's-arm that granther Young
      Fetched back from Concord busted."

To me the true essence of the old-time fireside is found in Whittier's
_Snow-Bound_. The very chimney, fireplace, and hearthstone of which his
beautiful lines were written, the kitchen of Whittier's boyhood's home,
at East Haverhill, Massachusetts, is shown in the accompanying
illustration. It shows a swinging crane. His description of the "laying
the fire" can never be equalled by any prose:--

    "We piled with care our nightly stack
    Of wood against the chimney back--
    The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
    And on its top the stout back-stick;
    The knotty fore-stick laid apart,
    And filled between with curious art
    The ragged brush; then hovering near,
    We watched the first red blaze appear,
    Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
    On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
    Until the old, rude-furnished room
    Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom."

No greater picture of homely contentment could be shown than the
following lines:--

    "Shut in from all the world without,
    We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
    Content to let the north wind roar
    In baffled rage at pane and door,
    While the red logs before us beat
    The frost-line back with tropic heat;
    And ever, when a louder blast
    Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
    The merrier up its roaring draught
    The great throat of the chimney laughed.
    The house dog on his paws outspread
    Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
    The cat's dark silhouette on the wall
    A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;
    And, for the winter fireside meet,
    Between the andirons' straddling feet
    The mug of cider simmered slow,
    And apples sputtered in a row.
    And, close at hand, the basket stood
    With nuts from brown October's woods.
    What matter how the night behaved!
    What matter how the north wind raved!
    Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
    Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow."

Nor can the passing of years dim the ruddy glow of that hearth-fire, nor
the charm of the poem. The simplicity of metre, the purity of wording,
the gentle sadness of some of its expressions, make us read between the
lines the deep and affectionate reminiscence with which it was written.



CHAPTER IV

THE SERVING OF MEALS


Perhaps no greater difference exists between any mode of the olden times
and that of to-day, than can be seen in the manner of serving the meals
of the family. In the first place, the very dining-table of the
colonists was not like our present ones; it was a long and narrow board,
sometimes but three feet wide, with no legs attached to it. It was laid
on supports or trestles, shaped usually something like a saw-horse. Thus
it was literally a board, and was called a table-board, and the linen
cover used at meals was not called a tablecloth, but a board-cloth or
board-clothes.

As smoothly sawed and finished boards were not so plentiful at first in
the colonies as might naturally be thought when we remember the vast
encircling forests, all such boards were carefully treasured, and used
many times to avoid sawing others by the tedious and wearying process of
pit-sawing. Hence portions of packing-boxes, or chests which had carried
stores from England to the colonies, were made into table-boards. One
such oaken table-board, still in existence, has on the under side in
quaint lettering the name and address of the Boston settler to whom the
original packing-box was sent in 1638.

The old-time board-cloth was in no way inferior in quality or whiteness
to our present table-linen; for we know how proud colonial wives and
daughters were of the linen of their own spinning, weaving, and
bleaching. The linen tablecloth was either of holland, huckaback,
dowlas, osnaburg, or lockram--all heavy and comparatively coarse
materials--or of fine damask, just as to-day; some of the handsome
board-cloths were even trimmed with lace.

The colonists had plenty of napkins; more, as a rule, than families of
corresponding means and station own to-day. They had need of them, for
when America was first settled forks were almost unknown to English
people--being used for eating in luxurious Italy alone, where travellers
having seen and found them useful and cleanly, afterwards introduced
them into England. So hands had to be constantly employed for holding
food, instead of the forks we now use, and napkins were therefore as
constantly necessary. The first fork brought to America was for Governor
John Winthrop, in Boston, in 1633, and it was in a leather case with a
knife and a bodkin. If the governor ate with a fork at the table, he
was doubtless the only person in the colony who did so. Thirty or forty
years later a few two-tined iron and silver forks were brought across
the water, and used in New York and Virginia, as well as Massachusetts;
and by the end of the century they had come into scant use at the tables
of persons of wealth and fashion. The first mention of a fork in
Virginia is in an inventory dated 1677; this was of a single fork. The
salt-cellar, or saler, as it was first called, was the centrepiece of
the table--"Sett in the myddys of the tabull," says an old treatise on
laying the table. It was often large and high, of curious device in
silver, and was then called a standing salt. Guests of honor were seated
"above the salt," that is, near the end of the table where sat the host
and hostess side by side; while children and persons who were not of
much dignity or account as guests were placed "below the salt," that is,
below the middle of the table.

There is owned by Harvard University, and here shown in an
illustration, "a great silver salt" given to the college in 1644, when
the new seat of learning was but eight years old. At the table it
divided graduates, the faculty, and such, from the undergraduates. It
was valued at £5 1s. 3d., at five shillings an ounce, which was
equal to a hundred dollars to-day; a rich gift, which shows to me the
profound affection of the settlers for the new college. It is inscribed
with the name of the giver, Mr. Richard Harris. It is of simple English
design well known during that century, and made in various sizes. There
is no doubt that many of similar pattern, though not so heavy or so
rich, were seen on the tables of substantial colonists. They are named
in many wills. Often a small projecting arm was attached to one side,
over which a folded napkin could be thrown to be used as a cover; for
the salt-cellar was usually kept covered, not only to preserve
cleanliness, but in earlier days to prevent the ready introduction of
poison.

There are some very entertaining and curious old English books which
were written in the sixteenth century to teach children and young
rustics correct and elegant manners at the table, and also helpful ways
in which to serve others. These books are called _The Babees Boke_, _The
Boke of Nurture_, _The Boke of Curteseye_, etc., and with the exception
of variations in the way of serving a dinner, and a few obsolete
customs, and in the names and shapes and materials of the different
dishes, plates, etc., used at the table, these books are just as
instructive and sensible to-day as then. From them we learn that the
only kind of table furnishings used at that time were cups to drink out
of; spoons and knives to eat with; chafing-dishes to serve hot food;
chargers for display and for serving large quantities of food;
salt-cellars, and trenchers for use as plates. There were very few other
table appointments used on any English table, either humble or great,
when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

One of the most important articles for setting the table was the
trencher. These were made of wood, and often were only a block of wood,
about ten or twelve inches square and three or four deep, hollowed down
into a sort of bowl in the middle. In this the food was
placed,--porridge, meat, vegetables, etc. Each person did not have even
one of these simple dishes; usually two children, or a man and his wife,
ate out of one trencher. This was a custom in England for many years;
and some very great people, a duke and his wife, not more than a century
and a half ago, sat side by side at the table and ate out of one plate
to show their unity and affection. It is told of an old Connecticut
settler, a deacon, that as he had a wood-turning mill, he thought he
would have a trencher apiece for his children. So he turned a sufficient
number of round trenchers in his mill. For this his neighbors deemed him
deeply extravagant and putting on too many airs, both as to quantity and
quality, since square trenchers, one for use by two persons, were good
enough for any one, even a deacon. So great a warrior and so prominent a
man in the colony as Miles Standish used wooden trenchers at the table,
as also did all the early governors. Nor did they disdain to name them
in their wills, as valued household possessions. For many years college
boys at Harvard ate out of wooden trenchers at the college mess-table.

I have seen a curious old table top, or table-board, which permitted
diners seated at it to dispense with trenchers or plates. It was of
heavy oak about six inches thick, and at intervals of about eighteen
inches around its edge were scooped out deep, bowl-shaped holes about
ten inches in diameter, in which each individual's share of the dinner
was placed. After each meal the top was lifted off the trestles,
thoroughly washed and dried, and was ready for the next meal.

Poplar-wood is an even, white, and shining wood. Until the middle of
this century poplar-wood trenchers and plates were used on the table in
Vermont, and were really attractive dishes. From earliest days the
Indians made and sold many bowls and trenchers of maple-wood knots. One
of these bowls, owned by King Philip, is at the rooms of the
Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. Old wooden trenchers and
"Indian bowls" can be seen at the Memorial Hall in Deerfield. Bottles
were made also of wood, and drinking-cups and "noggins," which were a
sort of mug with a handle. Wood furnished many articles for the table to
the colonist, just as it did in later days on our Western frontiers,
where trenchers of wood and plates of birch-bark were seen in every
log-cabin.

The word tankard was originally applied to a heavy and large vessel of
wood banded with metal, in which to carry water. Smaller wooden drinking
tankards were subsequently made and used throughout Europe, and were
occasionally brought here by the colonists. The plainly shaped wooden
tankard, made of staves and hoops and here shown, is from the collection
at Deerfield Memorial Hall. It was found in the house of Rev. Eli Moody.
These commonplace tankards of staves were not so rare as the beautiful
carved and hooped tankard which is here pictured, and which is in the
collection of Mrs. Samuel Bowne Duryea, of Brooklyn. I have seen a few
other quaintly carved ones, black with age, in American families of
Huguenot descent; these were apparently Swiss carvings.

The chargers, or large round platters found on every dining-table, were
of pewter. Some were so big and heavy that they weighed five or six
pounds apiece. Pewter is a metal never seen for modern table
furnishing, or domestic use in any form to-day; but in colonial times
what was called a garnish of pewter, that is, a full set of pewter
platters, plates, and dishes, was the pride of every good housekeeper,
and also a favorite wedding gift. It was kept as bright and shining as
silver. One of the duties of children was to gather a kind of horse-tail
rush which grew in the marshes, and because it was used to scour pewter,
was called scouring-rush.

Pewter bottles of various sizes were sent to the Massachusetts Bay
Colony, in 1629. Governor Endicott had one, but they were certainly far
from common. Dram cups, wine mugs, and funnels of pewter were also
occasionally seen, but scarcely formed part of ordinary table
furnishings. Metheglin cans and drinking-mugs of pewter were found on
nearly every table. Pewter was used until this century in the wealthiest
homes, both in the North and South, and was preferred by many who owned
rich china. Among the pewter-lovers was the Revolutionary patriot, John
Hancock, who hated the clatter of the porcelain plates.

Porringers of pewter, and occasionally of silver, were much used at the
table, chiefly for children to eat from. These were a pretty little
shallow circular dish with a flat-pierced handle. Some had a "fish-tail"
handle; these are said to be Dutch. These porringers were in many
sizes, from tiny little ones two inches in diameter to those eight or
nine inches across. When not in use many housekeepers kept them hanging
on hooks on the edge of a shelf, where they formed a pretty and cheerful
decoration. The poet Swift says:--

    "The porringers that in a row
    Hung high and made a glittering show."

It should be stated that the word porringer, as used by English
collectors, usually refers to a deep cup with a cover and two handles,
while what we call porringers are known to these collectors as
bleeding-basins or tasters. Here we apply the term taster, or
wine-taster, to a small, shallow silver cup with bosses in the bottom to
reflect the light and show the color and quality of wine. I have often
seen the item wine-taster in colonial inventories and wills, but never
bleeding-basin; while porringers were almost universal on such lists.
Some families had a dozen. I have found fifteen in one old New England
farmhouse. The small porringers are sometimes called posnets, which is
an old-time word that may originally have referred to a posset-cup.

"Spoons," says the learned archæologist, Laborde, "if not as old as the
world, are as old as soup." All the colonists had spoons, and certainly
all needed them, for at that time much of their food was in the form of
soup and "spoon-meat," such as had to be eaten with spoons when there
were no forks. Meat was usually made into hashes or ragouts; thick stews
and soups with chopped vegetables and meats were common, as were
hotch-pots. The cereal foods, which formed so large a part of English
fare in the New World, were more frequently boiled in porridge than
baked in loaves. Many of the spoons were of pewter. Worn-out pewter
plates and dishes could be recast into new pewter spoons. The moulds
were of wood or iron. The spoon mould of one of the first settlers of
Greenfield, Massachusetts, named Martindale, is here shown with a
pewter spoon. In this mould all his spoons and those of his neighbors
were cast. It is now in the Deerfield Memorial Hall.

A still more universal spoon material was alchymy, also called occamy,
alcamy, arkamy, etc., a metal never used now, which was made of a
mixture of pan-brass and arsenicum. Wooden spoons, too, were always
seen. In Pennsylvania and New York laurel was called spoonwood, because
the Indians made pretty white spoons from that wood to sell to the
colonists. Horn was an appropriate and available material for spoons.
Many Indian tribes excelled as they do to-day in the making of horn
spoons. The vulgar affirmation, "By the great horn spoon," has
perpetuated their familiar use.

Every family of any considerable possessions or owning good household
furnishings had a few silver spoons; nearly every person owned at least
one. At the time America was settled the common form of silver spoon in
England had what was known as a baluster stem and a seal head; the assay
mark was in the inner part of the bowl. But the fashion was just
changing, and a new and much altered form was introduced which was made
in large numbers until the opening reign of George I. This shape was the
very one without doubt in which many of the spoons of the first
colonists were made; and wherever such spoons are found, if they are
genuine antiques, they may safely be assigned a date earlier than 1714.
The handle was flat and broad at the end, where it was cleft in three
points which were turned up, that is, not toward the back of the spoon.
This was known as the "hind's-foot handle." The bowl was a perfectly
regular ellipse and was strengthened by continuing the handle in a
narrow tongue or rat-tail, which ran down the back of the bowl. The
succeeding fashion, in the early part of the eighteenth century, had a
longer elliptical bowl. The end of the handle was rounded and turned up
at the end, and it had a high sharp ridge down the middle. This was
known as the old English shape, and was in common use for half a
century. About the period of our Revolutionary War a shape nearly like
the one in ordinary present use became the mode; the bowl became
egg-shaped, and the end of the handle was turned down instead of up. The
rat-tail, which extended down the back of the bowl, was shortened into a
drop. Apostle spoons, and monkey spoons for extraordinary use were
occasionally made, and a few are still preserved; examples of five types
of spoons are shown from the collection of Edward Holbrook, Esq., of New
York.

Families of consequence had usually a few pieces of silver besides their
spoons and the silver salt. Some kind of a drinking-cup was the usual
form. Persons of moderate means often owned a silver cup. I have seen in
early inventories and lists the names of a large variety of silver
vessels: tankards, beer-bowls, beakers, flagons, wine cups, wine bowls,
wine cans, tasters, caudle-cups, posset-cups, dram-cups, punch-bowls,
tumblers, mugs, dram bottles, two-eared cups, and flasks. Virginians and
Marylanders in the seventeenth century had much more silver than New
Englanders. Some Dutch merchants had ample amounts. It was deemed a
good and safe investment for spare money. Bread-baskets, salvers,
muffineers, chafing-dishes, casters, milk pitchers, sugar boxes,
candlesticks, appear in inventories at the end of the century. A tankard
or flagon, even if heavy and handsome, would be placed on the table for
every-day use; the other pieces were usually set on the cupboard's head
for ornament.

The handsome silver tankard owned by Sarah Jansen de Rapelje is here
shown. She was the first child of European parents born in New
Netherland. The tankard was a wedding gift from her husband, and a Dutch
wedding scene is graven on the lid.

There was a great desire for glass, a rare novelty to many persons at
the date of colonization. The English were less familiar with its use
than settlers who came from Continental Europe. The establishment of
glass factories was attempted in early days in several places, chiefly
to manufacture sheet-glass, but with slight success. Little glass was
owned in the shape of drinking-vessels, none used generally on the
table, I think, during the first few years. Glass bottles were certainly
a great rarity, and were bequeathed with special mention in wills, and
they are the only form of glass vessel named. The earliest glass for
table use was greenish in color, like coarse bottle glass, and poor in
quality, sometimes decorated in crude designs in a few colors. Bristol
glass, in the shape of mugs and plates, was next seen. It was opaque, a
milky white color, and was coarsely decorated with vitrifiable colors in
a few lines of red, green, yellow, or black, occasionally with initials,
dates, or Scriptural references.

Though shapes were varied, and the number was generally plentiful, there
was no attempt made to give separate drinking-cups of any kind to each
individual at the table. Blissfully ignorant of the existence or
presence of microbes, germs, and bacteria, our sturdy and unsqueamish
forbears drank contentedly in succession from a single vessel, which
was passed from hand to hand, and lip to lip, around the board. Even
when tumbler-shaped glasses were seen in many houses,--flip-glasses,
they were called,--they were of communal size,--some held a gallon,--and
all drank from the same glass. The great punch-bowl, not a very handy
vessel to handle when filled with punch, was passed up and down as
freely as though it were a loving-cup, and all drank from its brim. At
college tables, and even at tavern boards, where table neighbors might
be strangers, the flowing bowl and foaming tankard was passed serenely
from one to another, and replenished to pass again.

Leather was perhaps the most curious material used. Pitchers, bottles,
and drinking-cups were made of it. Great jugs of heavy black leather,
waxed and bound, and tipped with silver, were used to hold metheglin,
ale, and beer, and were a very substantial, and at times a very handsome
vessel. The finest examples I have ever seen are here represented. The
stitches and waxed thread at the base and on the handles can plainly be
perceived. They are bound with a rich silver band, and have a silver
shield bearing a date of gift to Samuel Brenton in 1778; but they are
probably a century older than that date. They are the property by
inheritance of Miss Rebecca Shaw, aged ninety-six years, of Wickford,
Rhode Island.

The use of these great leather jacks, in a clumsier form than here
shown, led to the amusing mistake of a French traveller, that the
English drank their ale out of their boots. These leather jugs were
commonly called black jacks, and the larger ones were bombards. Giskin
was still another and rarer name.

Drinking-cups were sometimes made of horn. A handsome one has been used
since colonial days on Long Island for "quince drink," a potent mixture
of hot rum, sugar, and quince marmalade, or preserves. It has a base of
silver, a rim of silver, and a cover of horn tipped with silver. A
stirrup-cup of horn, tipped with silver, was used to "speed the parting
guest." Occasionally the whole horn, in true mediæval fashion, was used
as a drinking-cup. Often they were carved with considerable skill, as
the beautiful ones in the collection of Mr. A. G. Richmond, of
Canajoharie, New York.

Gourds were plentiful on the farm, and gathered with care, that the
hard-shelled fruit might be shaped into simple drinking-cups. In
Elizabeth's time silver cups were made in the shape of these gourds. The
ships that brought "lemmons and raysins of the sun" from the tropics to
the colonists, also brought cocoanuts. Since the thirteenth century the
shells of cocoanuts have been mounted with silver feet and "covercles"
in a goblet shape, and been much sought after by Englishmen. Mounted in
pewter, and sometimes in silver, or simply shaped with a wooden handle
attached, the shell of the cocoanut was a favorite among the English
settlers. To this day one of the cocoanut-shell cups, or dippers, is a
favorite drinking-cup of many. A handsome cocoanut goblet, richly
mounted in silver, is shown in the accompanying illustration. It was
once the property of the Revolutionary patriot, John Hancock, and is now
in the custody of the Bostonian Society, at the Old State House, in
Boston, Massachusetts.

Popular drinking-mugs of the English, from which specially they drank
their mead, metheglin, and ale, were the stoneware jugs which were made
in Germany and England, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in
great numbers. An English writer in 1579, spoke of the English custom of
drinking from "pots of earth, of sundry colors and moulds, whereof many
are garnished with silver, or leastwise with pewter." Such a piece of
stoneware is the oldest authenticated drinking-jug in this country,
which was brought here and used by English colonists. It was the
property of Governor John Winthrop, who came to Boston in 1630, and now
belongs to the American Antiquarian Society, in Worcester,
Massachusetts. It stands eight inches in height, is apparently of German
Gresware, and is heavily mounted in silver. The lid is engraved with a
quaint design of Adam and Eve and the tempting serpent in the
apple-tree. It was a gift to John Winthrop's father from his sister,
Lady Mildmay, in 1607, and was then, and is still now, labelled, "a
stone Pot tipped and covered with a Silver Lydd." Many other Boston
colonists had similar "stone juggs," "fflanders juggs," "tipt juggs."
What were known as "Fulham juggs" were also much prized. The most
interesting ones are the Georgius Rex jugs, those marked with a crown,
the initials G. R., or a medallion head of the first of the English
Georges. I know one of these jugs which has a Revolutionary bullet
imbedded in its tough old side, and is not even cracked. Many of them
had pewter or silver lids, which are now missing. Some have the curious
hound handle which was so popular with English potters.

There was no china in common use on the table, and little owned even by
persons of wealth throughout the seventeenth century, either in England
or America. Delft ware was made in several factories in Holland at the
time the Dutch settled in New Netherland; but even in the towns of its
manufacture it was not used for table ware. The pieces were usually of
large size, what were called state pieces, for cabinet and decorative
purposes. The Dutch settlers, however, had "purslin cupps" and earthen
dishes in considerable quantities toward the end of the century. The
earthen was possibly Delft ware, and the "Purslin" India china, which by
that time was largely imported to Holland. Some Portuguese and Spanish
pottery was imported, but was not much desired, as it was ill fired and
perishable. It was not until Revolutionary times that china was a common
table furnishing; then it began to crowd out pewter. The sudden and
enormous growth of East India commerce, and the vast cargoes of Chinese
pottery and porcelain wares brought to American ports soon gave ample
china to every housewife. In the Southern colonies beautiful isolated
pieces of porcelain, such as vast punch-bowls, often were found in the
homes of opulent planters; but there, as in the North, the first china
for general table use was the handleless tea-cups, usually of some
Canton ware, which crept with the fragrant herb into every woman's
heart--both welcome Oriental waifs.

It may well be imagined that this long narrow table--with a high
salt-cellar in the middle, with clumsy wooden trenchers for plates, with
round pewter platters heaped high with the stew of meat and vegetables,
with a great noggin or two of wood, a can of pewter, or a silver tankard
to drink from, with leather jacks to hold beer or milk, with many wooden
or pewter and some silver spoons, but no forks, no glass, no china, no
covered dishes, no saucers--did not look much like our dinner tables
to-day.

Even the seats were different; there were seldom chairs or stools for
each person. A long narrow bench without a back, called a form, was
placed on each side of the table. Children in many households were not
allowed to sit, even on these uncomfortable forms, while eating. Many
times they had to stand by the side of the table during the entire meal;
in old-fashioned families that uncomfortable and ungracious custom
lasted till this century. I know of children not fifty years ago
standing thus at all meals at the table of one of the Judges of the
Supreme Court. He had a bountiful table, was a hospitable entertainer
and well-known epicure; but children sat not at his board. Each stood at
his own place and had to behave with decorum and eat in entire silence.
In some families children stood behind their parents and other grown
persons, and food was handed back to them from the table--so we are
told. This seems closely akin to throwing food to an animal, and must
have been among people of very low station and social manners.

In other houses they stood at a side-table; and, trencher in hand, ran
over to the great table to be helped to more food when their first
supply was eaten.

The chief thought on the behavior of children at the table, which must
be inferred from all the accounts we have of those times is that they
were to eat in silence, as fast as possible (regardless of indigestion),
and leave the table as speedily as might be. In a little book called _A
Pretty Little Pocket Book_, printed in America about the time of the
Revolution, I found a list of rules for the behavior of children at the
table at that date. They were ordered never to seat themselves at the
table until after the blessing had been asked, and their parents told
them to be seated. They were never to ask for anything on the table;
never to speak unless spoken to; always to break the bread, not to bite
into a whole slice; never to take salt except with a clean knife; not to
throw bones under the table. One rule read: "Hold not thy knife upright,
but sloping; lay it down at right hand of the plate, with end of blade
on the plate." Another, "Look not earnestly at any other person that is
eating." When children had eaten all that had been given them, if they
were "moderately satisfied," they were told to leave at once the table
and room.

When the table-board described herein was set with snowy linen cloth and
napkins, and ample fare, it had some compensations for what modern
luxuries it lacked, some qualifications for inducing contentment
superior even to our beautiful table-settings. There was nothing
perishable in its entire furnishing: no frail and costly china or glass,
whose injury and destruction by clumsy or heedless servants would make
the heart of the housekeeper ache, and her anger nourish the germs of
ptomaines within her. There was little of intrinsic value to watch and
guard and worry about. There was little to make extra and difficult
work,--no glass to wash with anxious care, no elaborate silver to
clean,--only a few pieces of pewter to polish occasionally. It was all
so easy and so simple when compared with the complex and varied
paraphernalia and accompaniments of serving of meals to-day, that it was
like Arcadian simplicity.

In Virginia the table furnishings were similar to those in New England;
but there were greater contrasts in table appointments. There was more
silver, and richer food; but the negro servants were so squalid, clumsy,
and uncouth that the incongruity made the meals very surprising and, at
times, repellent.

When dinners of some state were given in the larger towns, the table was
not set or served like the formal dinner of to-day, for all the sweets,
pastry, vegetables, and meats were placed on the table together, with a
grand "conceit" for the ornament in the centre. At one period, when
pudding was part of the dinner, it was served first. Thus an old-time
saying is explained, which always seemed rather meaningless, "I came
early--in pudding-time." There was considerable formality in portioning
out the food, especially in carving, which was regarded as much more
than a polite accomplishment, even as an art. I have seen a list of
sixty or seventy different terms in carving to be applied with exactness
to different fish, fowl, and meats. An old author says:--

     "How all must regret to hear some Persons, even of quality say,
     'pray cut up that Chicken or Hen,' or 'Halve that Plover'; not
     considering how indiscreetly they talk, when the proper Terms are,
     'break that Goose,' 'thrust that Chicken,' 'spoil that Hen,'
     'pierce that Plover.' If they are so much out in common Things, how
     much more would they be with Herons, Cranes, and Peacocks."

It must have required good judgment and constant watchfulness never to
say "spoil that Hen," when it was a chicken; or else be thought
hopelessly ill-bred.

There were few state dinners, however, served in the American colonies,
even in the large cities; there were few dinners, even, of many courses;
not always were there many dishes. There were still seen in many homes
more primitive forms of serving and eating meals, than were indicated by
the lack of individual drinking-cups, the mutual use of a trencher, or
even the utilization of the table top as a plate. In some homes an
abundant dish, such as a vast bowl of suppawn and milk, a pumpkin stewed
whole in its shell, or a savory and mammoth hotchpot was set, often
smoking hot, on the table-board; and from this well-filled receptacle
each hungry soul, armed with a long-handled pewter or wooden spoon,
helped himself, sometimes ladling his great spoonfuls into a trencher
or bowl, for more moderate and reserved after-consumption,--just as
frequently eating directly from the bountiful dish with a spoon that
came and went from dish to mouth without reproach, or thought of
ill-manners. The accounts of travellers in all the colonies frequently
tell of such repasts; some termed it eating in the fashion of the Dutch.
The reports of old settlers often recall the general dish; and some very
distinguished persons joined in the circle around it, and were glad to
get it. Variety was of little account, compared to quantity and quality.
A cheerful hospitality and grateful hearts filled the hollow place of
formality and elegance.

By the time that newspapers began to have advertisements in them--about
1750--we find many more articles for use at the table; but often the
names were different from those used to-day. Our sugar bowls were called
sugar boxes and sugar pots; milk pitchers were milk jugs, milk ewers,
and milk pots. Vegetable dishes were called basins, pudding dishes
twifflers, small cups were called sneak cups.

We have still to-day a custom much like one of olden times, when we have
the crumbs removed from our tables after a course at dinner. Then a
voider was passed around the table near the close of the dinner, and
into it the persons at the table placed their trenchers, napkins, and
the crumbs from the table. The voider was a deep wicker, wooden, or
metal basket. In the _Boke of Nurture_, written in 1577, are these
lines:--

    "When meate is taken quyte awaye
      And Voyders in presence,
    Put you your trenchour in the same
      and all your resydence.
    Take you with your napkin & knyfe
      the croms that are fore the,
    In the Voyder your Napkin leave
      for it is a curtesye."



CHAPTER V

FOOD FROM FOREST AND SEA


Though all the early explorers and travellers came to America eager to
find precious and useful metals, they did not discover wealth and
prosperity underground in mines, but on the top of the earth, in the
woods and fields. To the forests they turned for food, and they did not
turn in vain. Deer were plentiful everywhere, and venison was offered by
the Indians to the first who landed from the ships. Some families lived
wholly on venison for nine months of the year. In Virginia were vast
numbers of red and fallow deer, the latter like those of England, except
in the smaller number of branches of the antlers. They were so devoid of
fear as to remain undisturbed by the approach of men; a writer of that
day says: "Hard by the Fort two hundred in one herd have been usually
observed." They were destroyed ruthlessly by a system of fire-hunting,
in which tracts of forests were burned over, by starting a continuous
circle of fire miles around, which burnt in toward the centre of the
circle; thus the deer were driven into the middle, and hundreds were
killed. This miserable, wholesale slaughter was not for venison, but for
the sake of the hides, which were very valuable. They were used to make
the durable and suitable buckskin breeches and jackets so much worn by
the settlers; and they were also exported to Europe in large numbers. A
tax was placed on hides for the support of the beloved William and Mary
College.

In Georgia, in 1735, the Indians sold a deer for sixpence. Deer were
just as abundant in the more Northern colonies. At Albany a stag was
sold readily by the Indians for a jack-knife or a few iron nails. The
deer in winter came and fed from the hog-pens of Albany swine. Even in
1695, a quarter of venison could be bought in New York City for
ninepence. At the first Massachusetts Thanksgiving, in 1621, the Indians
brought in five deer to the colonists for their feast. That year there
was also "great store of wild turkies." These beautiful birds of gold
and purple bronze were at first plentiful everywhere, and were of great
weight, far larger than our domestic turkeys to-day. They came in flocks
of a hundred, Evelyn says of three hundred on the Chesapeake, and they
weighed thirty or forty pounds each: Josselyn says he saw one weighing
sixty pounds. William Penn wrote that turkeys weighing thirty pounds
apiece sold in his day and colony for a shilling only. They were shy
creatures and fled inland from the white man, and by 1690 were rarely
shot near the coast of New England, though in Georgia, in 1733, they
were plentiful enough and cheap enough to sell for fourpence apiece.
Flights of pigeons darkened the sky, and broke down the limbs of trees
on which they lighted. From Maine to Virginia these vast flocks were
seen. Some years pigeons were so plentiful that they were sold for a
penny a dozen in Boston. Pheasant, partridge, woodcock, and quail
abounded, plover, snipe, and curlew were in the marsh-woods; in fact, in
Virginia every bird familiar to Englishmen at home was found save
peacock and domestic fowl.

Wild hare and squirrels were so many that they became pests, and so much
grain was eaten by them that bounties were paid in many towns for the
heads of squirrels. County treasuries were exhausted by these premiums.
The Swedish traveller, Kalm, said that in Pennsylvania in one year,
1749, £8000 was paid out for heads of black and gray squirrels, at
threepence a head, which would show that over six hundred thousand were
killed.

From the woods came a sweet food-store, one specially grateful when
sugar was so scarce and so high-priced,--wild honey, which the colonists
eagerly gathered everywhere from hollow tree-trunks. Curiously enough,
the traveller, Kalm, insisted that bees were not native in America, but
were brought over by the English; that the Indians had no name for them
and called them English flies.

Governor Berkeley of Virginia, writing in 1706, called the maple the
sugar-tree; he said:--

     "The Sugar-Tree yields a kind of Sap or Juice which by boiling is
     made into Sugar. This Juice is drawn out, by wounding the Trunk of
     the Tree, and placing a Receiver under the Wound. It is said that
     the Indians make one Pound of Sugar out of eight Pounds of the
     Liquor. It is bright and moist with a full large Grain, the
     Sweetness of it being like that of good Muscovada."

The sugar-making season was ever hailed with delight by the boys of the
household in colonial days, who found in this work in the woods a
wonderful outlet for the love of wild life which was strong in them. It
had in truth a touch of going a-gypsying, if any work as hard as
sugaring-off could have anything common with gypsy life. The maple-trees
were tapped as soon as the sap began to run in the trunk and showed at
the end of the twigs; this was in late winter if mild, or in the
earliest spring. A notch was cut in the trunk of the tree at a
convenient height from the ground, usually four or five feet, and the
running sap was guided by setting in the notch a semicircular basswood
spout cut and set with a special tool called a tapping-gauge. In earlier
days the trees were "boxed," that is, a great gash cut across the side
and scooped out and down to gather the sap. This often proved fatal to
the trees, and was abandoned. A trough, usually made of a butternut log
about three feet long, was dug out, Indian fashion, and placed under the
end of the spout. These troughs were made deep enough to hold about ten
quarts. In later years a hole was bored in the tree with an augur; and
sap-buckets were used instead of troughs.

Sometimes these troughs were left in distant sugar-camps from year to
year, turned bottom side up, through the summer and winter. It was more
thrifty and tidy, however, to carry them home and store them. When this
was done, the men and boys began work by drawing the troughs and spouts
and provisions to the woods on hand-sleds. Sometimes a mighty man took
in a load on his back. It is told of John Alexander of Brattleboro,
Vermont, that he once went into camp _upon snowshoes_ carrying for three
miles one five-pail iron kettle, two sap-buckets, an axe and trappings,
a knapsack, four days' provisions, and a gun and ammunition.

The master of ceremonies--the owner of the camp--selected the trees and
drove the spouts, while the boys placed the troughs. Then the snow had
to be shovelled away on a level spot about eighteen or twenty feet
square, in which strong forked sticks were set twelve feet apart. Or the
ground was chosen so that two small low-spreading and strong trees could
be trimmed and used as forks. A heavy green stick was placed across from
fork to fork, and the sugaring-off kettles, sometimes five in number,
hung on it. Then dry wood had to be gathered for the fires; hard work it
was to keep them constantly supplied. It was often cut a year in
advance. As the sap collected in the troughs it was gathered in pails or
buckets which, hung on a sap-yoke across the neck, were brought to the
kettles and the sap set a-boiling down. When there was a "good run of
sap," it was usually necessary to stay in the camp over night. Many
times the campers stayed several nights. As the "good run" meant milder
weather, a night or two was not a bitter experience; indeed, I have
never heard any one speak nor seen any account of a night spent in a
sugar-camp except with keen expressions of delight. If possible, the
time was chosen during a term of moonlight; the snow still covered the
fields and its pure shining white light could be seen through the trees.

    "God makes sech nights, so white and still
      Fer's you can look and listen.
    Moonlight an' snow, on field and hill,
      All silence and all glisten."

The great silence, broken only by steady dropping of the sap, the
crackle of blazing brush, and the occasional hooting of startled owls;
the stars seen singly overhead through the openings of the trees,
shining down the dark tunnel as bright as though there were no moon;
above all, the clearness and sweetness of the first atmosphere of
spring,--gave an exaltation of the senses and spirit which the country
boy felt without understanding, and indeed without any formulated
consciousness.

If the camp were near enough to any group of farmhouses to have
visitors, the last afternoon and evening in camp was made a country
frolic. Great sled-loads of girls came out to taste the new sugar, to
drop it into the snow to candy, and to have an evening of fun.

Long ere the full riches of the forests were tested the colonists turned
to another food-supply,--the treasures of the sea.

The early voyagers and colonists came to the coasts of the New World to
find gold and furs. The gold was not found by them nor their children's
children in the land which is now the United States, till over two
centuries had passed from the time of the settlement, and the gold-mines
of California were opened. The furs were at first found and profitably
gathered, but the timid fur-bearing animals were soon exterminated near
the settlements. There was, however, a vast wealth ready for the
colonists on the coast of the New World which was greater than gold,
greater than furs; a wealth ever-obtainable, ever-replenished,
ever-useful, ever-salable; it was _fish_. The sea, the rivers, the
lakes, teemed with fish. Not only was there food for the settlers, but
for the whole world, and all Europe desired fish to eat. The ships of
the early discoverer, Gosnold, in 1602, were "pestered with cod."
Captain John Smith, the acute explorer, famous in history as befriended
by Pocahontas, went to New England, in 1614, to seek for whale, and
instead he fished for cod. He secured sixty thousand in one month; and
he wrote to his countrymen, "Let not the meanness of the word _fish_
distaste you, for it will afford as good gold as the mines of Guiana or
Potosi, with less hazard and charge, and more certainty and facility."
This promise of wealth has proved true a thousandfold. Smith wrote home
to England full accounts of the fisheries, of the proper equipment of a
fishing-vessel, of the methods of fishing, the profits, all in a most
enticing and familiar style. He said in his _Description of New
England_:--

     "What pleasure can be more than to recreate themselves before their
     owne doores in their owne boates, upon the Sea, where man, woman,
     and childe, with a small hooke and line by angling, may take
     diverse sorts of excellent fish, at their pleasure? And is it not
     pretty sport to pull up twopence, sixpence, or twelvepence, as fast
     as you can hale and veare a line? If a man worke but three days in
     seaven hee may get more than hee can spend unless hee will be
     excessive.

     "Young boyes and girles, salvages, or any other, be they never such
     idlers may turne, carry, and returne fish without shame or either
     great pain: hee is very idle that is past twelve years of age and
     cannot doe so much: and shee is very old that cannot spin a thread
     to catch them."

His accounts and similar ones were so much read in England that when the
Puritans asked King James of England for permission to come to America,
and the king asked what profit would be found by their emigration, he
was at once answered, "Fishing." Whereupon he said in turn, "In truth
'tis an honest trade; 'twas the apostles' own calling." Yet in spite of
their intent to fish, the first English ships came but poorly provided
for fishing, and the settlers had little success at first even in
getting fish for their own food. Elder Brewster of Plymouth, who had
been a courtier in Queen Elizabeth's time, and had seen and eaten many
rich feasts, had nothing to eat at one time but clams. Yet he could give
thanks to God that he was "permitted to suck of the abundance of the
seas and the treasures hid in the sand." The Indian Squanto showed the
Pilgrims many practical methods of fishing, among them one of treading
out eels from the brook with his feet and catching them with his hands.
And every ship brought in either cod-hooks and lines, mackerel-hooks and
lines, herring-nets, seines, shark-hooks, bass-nets, squid-lines,
eel-pots, coils of rope and cable, "drails, barbels, pens, gaffs," or
mussel-hooks.

Josselyn, in his _New England's Rarities_, written in 1672, enumerated
over two hundred kinds of fish that were caught in New England waters.

Lobsters certainly were plentiful enough to prevent starvation. The
minister Higginson, writing of lobsters at Salem, said that many of them
weighed twenty-five pounds apiece, and that "the least boy in the
plantation may catch and eat what he will of them." In 1623, when the
ship _Anne_ arrived from England, bringing many of the wives and
children of the Pilgrims who had come in the first ships, the only
feast of welcome that the poor husbands had to offer the newcomers was
"a lobster or a piece of fish without bread or anything else but a cup
of spring water."

Patriarchal lobsters five and six feet long were caught in New York Bay.
The traveller, Van der Donck, says "those a foot long are better for
serving at table." Truly a lobster six feet long would seem a little
awkward to serve on a dinner table. Eddis, in his _Letters from
America_, written in 1792, says these vast lobsters were caught in New
York waters until Revolutionary days, when "since the incessant
cannonading, they have entirely forsaken the coast; not one having been
taken or seen since the commencement of hostilities." Beside these great
shell-fish the giant lobster confined in our New York Aquarium in 1897
seems but a dwarf. In Virginia waters lobsters were caught, and vast
crabs, often a foot in length and six inches broad, with a long tail and
many legs. One of these crabs furnished a sufficient meal for four men.

From the gossiping pages of the Labadist missionaries who came to
America in 1697 we find hints of good fare in oysters in Brooklyn.

     "Then was thrown upon the fire, to be roasted, a pail full of
     Gowanes oysters which are the best in the country. They are fully
     as good as those of England, better than those we eat at Falmouth.
     I had to try some of them raw. They are large and full, some of
     them not less than a foot long. Others are young and small. In
     consequence of the great quantities of them everybody keeps the
     shells for the burning of lime. They pickle the oysters in small
     casks and send them to Barbados."

Van der Donck corroborates the foot-long oysters seen by the Labadist
travellers. He says the "large oysters roasted or stewed make a good
bite,"--a very good bite, it would seem to us.

Strachey, in his _Historie of Travaile into Virginia_, says he saw
oysters in Virginia that were thirteen inches long. Fortunately for the
starving Virginians, oyster banks rose above the surface at ebb-tide at
the mouth of the Elizabeth River, and in 1609 a large number of these
famished Virginia colonists found in these oyster banks a means of
preservation of life.

As might be expected of any country so intersected with arms of the sea
and fresh-water streams, Virginia at the time of settlement teemed with
fish. The Indians killed them in the brooks by striking them with
sticks, and it is said the colonists scooped them up in frying-pans.
Horses ridden into the rivers stepped on the fish and killed them. In
one cast of a seine the governor, Sir Thomas Dale, caught five thousand
sturgeon as large as cod. Some sturgeon were twelve feet long. The works
of Captain John Smith, Rolfe's _Relation_, and other books of early
travellers, all tell of the enormous amount of fish in Virginia.

The New York rivers were also full of fish, and the bays; their plenty
in New Netherland inspired the first poet of that colony to rhyming
enumeration of the various kinds of fish found there; among them were
sturgeon--beloved of the Indians and despised of Christians; and
terrapin--not despised by any one. "Some persons," wrote the Dutch
traveller, Van der Donck, in 1656, "prepare delicious dishes from the
water terrapin, which is luscious food." The Middle and Southern states
paid equally warm but more tardy tribute to the terrapin's reputation as
luscious food.

While other fish were used everywhere for food, cod was the great staple
of the fishing industry. By the year 1633 Dorchester and Marblehead had
started in the fisheries for trading purposes. Sturgeon also was caught
at a little later date, and bass and alewives.

Morton, in his _New England Canaan_, written in 1636, says, "I myself at
the turning of the tyde have seen such multitudes of sea bass that it
seemed to me that one might goe over their backs dri-shod."

The regulation of fish-weirs soon became an important matter in all
towns where streams let alewives up from the sea. The New England
ministers took a hand in promoting and encouraging the fisheries, as
they did all positive social movements and commercial benefits. Rev.
Hugh Peter in Salem gave the fisheries a specially good turn. Fishermen
were excused from military training, and portions of the common stock of
corn were assigned to them. The General Court of Massachusetts exempted
"vessels and stock" from "country charges" (which were taxes) for seven
years. Seashore towns assigned free lands to each boat to be used for
stays and flakes for drying. As early as 1640 three hundred thousand
dried codfish were sent to market from New England.

Codfish consisted of three sorts, "marchantable, middling, and refuse."
The first grade was sold chiefly to Roman Catholic Europe, to supply the
constant demands of the fast-days of that religion, and also those of
the Church of England; the second was consumed at home or in the
merchant vessels of New England; the third went to the negroes of the
West Indies, and was often called Jamaica fish. The dun-fish or
dumb-fish, as the word was sometimes written, were the best; so called
from the dun-color. Fish was always eaten in New England for a Saturday
dinner; and Mr. Palfrey, the historian, says that until this century no
New England dinner on Saturday, even a formal dinner party, was complete
without dun-fish being served.

Of course the first fishing-vessels had to be built and sent from
England. Some carried fifty men. They arrived on the coast in early
spring, and by midsummer sailed home. The crew had for wages one-third
share of the fish and oil; another third paid for the men's food, the
salt, nets, hooks, lines, etc.; the other third went to the ship's
owners for profit.

This system was not carried out in New England. There, each fisherman
worked on "his own hook"--and it was literally his own hook; for a tally
was kept of the fish caught by each man, and the proceeds of the trip
were divided in proportion to the number of fish each caught. When there
was a big run of fish, the men never stopped to eat or sleep, but when
food was held to them gnawed it off while their hands were employed with
the fish-lines. With every fishing-vessel that left Gloucester and
Marblehead, the chief centres of the fishing industries, went a boy of
ten or twelve to learn to be a skilled fisherman. He was called a
"cut-tail," for he cut a wedge-shaped bit from the tail of every fish he
caught, and when the fish were sorted out the cut-tails showed the boy's
share of the profit.

For centuries, fish was plentiful and cheap in New England. The
traveller Bennet wrote of Boston, in 1740:--

     "Fish is exceedingly cheap. They sell a fine cod, will weigh a
     dozen pounds or more, just taken out of the sea for about twopence
     sterling. They have smelts, too, which they sell as cheap as sprats
     in London. Salmon, too, they have in great plenty, and these they
     sell for about a shilling apiece which will weigh fourteen or
     fifteen pounds."

Two kinds of delicious fish, beloved, perhaps, above all others
to-day,--salmon and shad,--seem to have been lightly regarded in
colonial days. The price of salmon--less than a penny a pound--shows the
low estimation in which it was held in the early years of the eighteenth
century. It is told that farm-laborers in the vicinity of the
Connecticut River when engaged to work stipulated that they should have
salmon for dinner but once a week.

Shad were profoundly despised; it was even held to be somewhat
disreputable to eat them; and the story is told of a family in Hadley,
Massachusetts, who were about to dine on shad, that, hearing a knock at
the door, they would not open it till the platter holding the obnoxious
shad had been hidden. At first they were fed chiefly to hogs. Two shad
for a penny was the ignoble price in 1733, and it was never much higher
until after the Revolution. After shad and salmon acquired a better
reputation as food, the falls of various rivers became great resorts for
American fishermen as they had been for the Indians. Both kinds of fish
were caught in scoop-nets and seines below the falls. Men came from a
distance and loaded horses and carts with the fish to carry home. Every
farmhouse near was filled with visitors. It was estimated that at the
falls at South Hadley there were fifteen hundred horses in one day.

Salted fish was as carefully prepared and amiably regarded for home use
in New England and New York as in England and Holland at the same date.
The ling and herring of the old countries of Europe gave place in
America to cod, shad, and mackerel. The greatest pains was taken in
preparing, drying, and salting the plentiful fish. It is said that in
New York towns, such as New York and Brooklyn, after shad became a
popular fish, great heaps were left when purchased at each door, and
that the necessary cleaning and preparation of the shad was done on the
street. As all housewives purchased shad and salted and packed at about
the same time, those public scavengers, the domestic hogs who roamed
the town streets unchecked (and ever welcomed), must have been specially
useful at shad-time.

Not in the waters, but of it, were the magnificent tribes of marine fowl
that, undiminished by the feeble weapons and few numbers of the Indians,
had peopled for centuries the waters of the New World. The Chesapeake
and its tributaries furnished each autumn vast feeding-grounds of wild
celery and other aquatic plants to millions of those creatures. The
firearms of Captain John Smith and his two companions were poor things
compared with the fowling-pieces of to-day, but with their three shots
they killed a hundred and forty-eight ducks at one firing. The splendid
wild swan wheeled and trumpeted in the clear autumn air; the wild geese
flew there in their beautiful V-shaped flight; duck in all the varieties
known to modern sportsmen--canvas-back, mallard, widgeon, redhead,
oxeye, dottrel--rested on the Chesapeake waters in vast flocks a mile
wide and seven miles long. Governor Berkeley named also brant, shell
drake, teal, and blewings. The sound of their wings was said to be "like
a great storm coming over the water." For centuries these ducks have
been killed by the white man, and still they return each autumn to their
old feeding-places.



CHAPTER VI

INDIAN CORN


A great field of tall Indian corn waving its stately and luxuriant green
blades, its graceful spindles, and glossy silk under the hot August sun,
should be not only a beautiful sight to every American, but a suggestive
one; one to set us thinking of all that Indian corn means to us in our
history. It was a native of American soil at the settlement of this
country, and under full and thoroughly intelligent cultivation by the
Indians, who were also native sons of the New World. Its abundance,
adaptability, and nourishing qualities not only saved the colonists'
lives, but altered many of their methods of living, especially their
manner of cooking and their tastes in food.

One of the first things that every settler in a new land has to learn is
that he must find food in that land; that he cannot trust long to any
supplies of food which he has brought with him, or to any fresh supplies
which he has ordered to be sent after him. He must turn at once to
hunting, fishing, planting, to furnish him with food grown and found in
the very place where he is.

This was quickly learned by the colonists in America, except in
Virginia, where they had sad starving-times before all were convinced
that corn was a better crop for settlers than silk or any of the many
hoped-for productions which might be valuable in one sense but which
could not be eaten. Powhatan, the father of the Indian princess
Pocahontas, was one of the first to "send some of his People that they
may teach the English how to sow the Grain of his Country." Captain John
Smith, ever quick to learn of every one and ever practical, got two
Indians, in the year 1608, to show him how to break up and plant forty
acres of corn, which yielded him a good crop. A succeeding governor of
Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale, equally practical, intelligent, and
determined, assigned small farms to each colonist, and encouraged and
enforced the growing of corn. Soon many thousand bushels were raised.
There was a terrible Indian massacre in 1622, for the careless
colonists, in order to be free to give their time to the raising of that
new and exceedingly alluring and high-priced crop, tobacco, had given
the Indians firearms to go hunting game for them; and the lesson of easy
killing with powder and shot, when once learned, was turned with havoc
upon the white men. The following year comparatively little corn was
planted, as the luxuriant foliage made a perfect ambush for the close
approach of the savages to the settlements. There was, of course,
scarcity and famine as the result; and a bushel of corn-meal became
worth twenty to thirty shillings, which sum had a value equal to twenty
to thirty dollars to-day. The planters were each compelled by the
magistrates the following year to raise an ample amount of corn to
supply all the families; and to save a certain amount for seed as well.
There has been no lack of corn since that time in Virginia.

The French colonists in Louisiana, perhaps because they were accustomed
to more dainty food than the English, fiercely hated corn, as have the
Irish in our own day. A band of French women settlers fairly raised a
"petticoat rebellion" in revolt against its daily use. A despatch of the
governor of Louisiana says of these rebels:--

     "The men in the colony begin through habit to use corn as an
     article of food; but the women, who are mostly Parisians, have for
     this food a dogged aversion, which has not been subdued. They
     inveigh bitterly against His Grace, the Bishop of Quebec, who, they
     say, has enticed them away from home under pretext of sending them
     to enjoy the milk and honey of the land of promise."

This hatred of corn was shared by other races. An old writer says:--

     "Peter Martyr could magnifie the Spaniards, of whom he reports they
     led a miserable life for three days together, with parched grain of
     maize onlie"--

which, when compared with the diet of New England settlers for weeks at
a time, seems such a bagatelle as to be scarce worth the mention of
Peter Martyr. By tradition, still commemorated at Forefathers' Dinners,
the ration of Indian corn supplied to each person in the colony in time
of famine was but five kernels.

The stores brought over by the Pilgrims were poor and inadequate enough;
the beef and pork were tainted, the fish rotten, the butter and cheese
corrupted. European wheat and seeds did not mature well. Soon, as
Bradford says in his now famous _Log-Book_, in his picturesque and
forcible English, "the grim and grizzled face of starvation stared" at
them. The readiest supply to replenish the scanty larder was fish, but
the English made surprisingly bungling work over fishing, and soon the
most unfailing and valuable supply was the native Indian corn, or
"Guinny wheat," or "Turkie wheat," as it was called by the colonists.

Famine and pestilence had left eastern Massachusetts comparatively bare
of inhabitants at the time of the settlement of Plymouth; and the vacant
cornfields of the dead Indian cultivators were taken and planted by the
weak and emaciated Plymouth men, who never could have cleared new
fields. From the teeming sea, in the April run of fish, was found the
needed fertilizer. Says Governor Bradford:--

     "In April of the first year they began to plant their corne, in
     which service Squanto stood them in great stead, showing them both
     ye manner how to set it, and after, how to dress and tend it."

From this planting sprang not only the most useful food, but the first
and most pregnant industry of the colonists.

The first fields and crops were communal, and the result was disastrous.
The third year, at the sight of the paralyzed settlement, Governor
Bradford wisely decided, as did Governor Dale of Virginia, that "they
should set corne every man for his owne particuler, furnishing a portion
for public officers, fishermen, etc., who could not work, and in that
regard trust to themselves." Thus personal energy succeeded to communal
inertia; Bradford wrote that women and children cheerfully worked in the
fields to raise corn which should be their very own.

A field of corn on the coast of Massachusetts or Narragansett or by the
rivers of Virginia, growing long before any white man had ever been seen
on these shores, was precisely like the same field planted three hundred
years later by our American farmers. There was the same planting in
hills, the same number of stalks in the hill, with pumpkin-vines running
among the hills, and beans climbing the stalks. The hills of the Indians
were a trifle nearer together than those of our own day are usually set,
for the native soil was more fertile.

The Indians taught the colonists much more than the planting and raising
of corn; they showed also how to grind the corn and cook it in many
palatable ways. The various foods which we use to-day made from Indian
corn are all cooked just as the Indians cooked them at the time of the
settlement of the country; and they are still called with Indian names,
such as hominy, pone, suppawn, samp, succotash.

The Indian method of preparing maize or corn was to steep or parboil it
in hot water for twelve hours, then to pound the grain in a mortar or a
hollowed stone in the field, till it was a coarse meal. It was then
sifted in a rather closely woven basket, and the large grains which did
not pass through the sieve were again pounded and sifted.

Samp was often pounded in olden times in a primitive and picturesque
Indian mortar made of a hollowed block of wood or a stump of a tree,
which had been cut off about three feet from the ground. The pestle was
a heavy block of wood shaped like the inside of the mortar, and fitted
with a handle attached to one side. This block was fastened to the top
of a young and slender tree, a growing sapling, which was bent over and
thus gave a sort of spring which pulled the pestle up after being
pounded down on the corn. This was called a sweep and mortar mill.

They could be heard at a long distance. Two New Hampshire pioneers made
clearings about a quarter of a mile apart and built houses. There was an
impenetrable gully and thick woods between the cabins; and the blazed
path was a long distance around, so the wives of the settlers seldom saw
each other or any other woman. It was a source of great comfort and
companionship to them both that they could signal to each other every
day by pounding on their mortars. And they had an ingenious system of
communication which one spring morning summoned one to the home of the
other, where she arrived in time to be the first to welcome fine twin
babies.

After these simple stump and sapling mortars were abandoned elsewhere
they were used on Long Island, and it was jestingly told that sailors
in a fog could always know on what shore they were, when they could hear
the pounding of the samp-mortars on Long Island.

Rude hand-mills next were used, which were called quernes, or quarnes.
Some are still in existence and known as samp-mills. Windmills followed,
of which the Indians were much afraid, dreading "their long arms and
great teeth biting the corn in pieces"; and thinking some evil spirit
turned the arms. As soon as maize was plentiful, English mills for
grinding meal were started in many towns. There was a windmill at
Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1631. In 1633 the first water-mill, at
Dorchester, was built, and in Ipswich a grist-mill was built in 1635.
The mill built by Governor John Winthrop in New London is still
standing.

The first windmill erected in America was one built and set up by
Governor Yeardley in Virginia in 1621. By 1649 there were five
water-mills, four windmills, and a great number of horse and hand mills
in Virginia. Millers had one-sixth of the meal they ground for toll.

Suppawn was another favorite of the settlers, and was an Indian dish
made from Indian corn; it was a thick corn-meal and milk porridge. It
was soon seen on every Dutch table, for the Dutch were very fond of all
foods made from all kinds of grain; and it is spoken of by all
travellers in early New York, and in the Southern colonies.

Samp and samp porridge were soon abundant dishes. Samp is Indian corn
pounded to a coarsely ground powder. Roger Williams wrote of it:--

     "Nawsamp is a kind of meal pottage unparched. From this the English
     call their samp, which is the Indian corn beaten and boiled and
     eaten hot or cold with milk and butter, and is a diet exceedingly
     wholesome for English bodies."

The Swedish scientist, Professor Kalm, told that the Indians gave him
"fresh maize-bread, baked in an oblong shape, mixed with dried
huckleberries, which lay as close in it as raisins in a plum pudding."

Roger Williams said that sukquttahhash was "corn seethed like beans."
Our word "succotash" we now apply to corn cooked with beans. Pones were
the red men's appones.

The love of the Indians for "roasting ears" was quickly shared by the
white man. In Virginia a series of plantings of corn were made from the
first of April to the last of June, to afford a three months' succession
of roasting ears.

The traveller, Strachey, writing of the Indians in 1618, said: "They
lap their corn in rowles within the leaves of the come and so boyle yt
for a dayntie." This method of cooking we have also retained to the
present day.

It seemed to me very curious to read in Governor Winthrop's journal,
written in Boston about 1630, that when corn was "parched," as he called
it, it turned inside out and was "white and floury within"; and to think
that then little English children were at that time learning what
pop-corn was, and how it looked when it was parched, or popped.

Hasty pudding had been made in England of wheat-flour or oatmeal and
milk, and the name was given to boiled puddings of corn-meal and water.
It was not a very suitable name, for corn-meal should never be cooked
hastily, but requires long boiling or baking. The hard Indian pudding
slightly sweetened and boiled in a bag was everywhere made. It was told
that many New England families had three hundred and sixty-five such
puddings in a year.

The virtues of "jonny-cake" have been loudly sung in the interesting
pages of _Shepherd Tom_. The way the corn should be carried to the mill,
the manner in which it should be ground, the way in which the stones
should revolve, and the kind of stones, receive minute description, as
does the mixing and the baking, to the latter of which the middle board
of red oak from the head of a flour-barrel is indispensable as a
bakeboard, while the fire to bake with must be of walnut logs. Hasty
pudding, corn dumplings, and corn-meal porridge, so eminently good that
it was ever mentioned with respect in the plural, as "them porridge,"
all are described with the exuberant joyousness of a happy, healthful
old age in remembrance of a happy, high-spirited, and healthful youth.

The harvesting of the corn afforded one of the few scenes of gayety in
the lives of the colonists. A diary of one Ames, of Dedham,
Massachusetts, in the year 1767, thus describes a corn-husking, and most
ungallantly says naught of the red ear and attendant osculation:--

     "Made a husking Entertainm't. Possibly this leafe may last a
     Century and fall into the hands of some inquisitive Person for
     whose Entertainm't I will inform him that now there is a Custom
     amongst us of making an Entertainm't at husking of Indian Corn
     whereto all the neighboring Swains are invited and after the Corn
     is finished they like the Hottentots give three Cheers or huzza's
     but cannot carry in the husks without a Rhum bottle; they feign
     great Exertion but do nothing till Rhum enlivens them, when all is
     done in a trice, then after a hearty Meal about 10 at Night they go
     to their pastimes."

There was one way of eating corn which was spoken of by all the early
writers and travellers which we should not be very well satisfied with
now, but it shows us how useful and necessary corn was at that time, and
how much all depended on it. This preparation of corn was called nocake
or nookick. An old writer named Wood thus defined it:--

     "It is Indian corn parched in the hot ashes, the ashes being sifted
     from it; it is afterwards beaten to powder and put into a long
     leatherne bag trussed at the Indian's backe like a knapsacke, out
     of which they take three spoonsful a day."

It was held to be the most nourishing food known, and in the smallest
and most condensed form. Both Indians and white men usually carried it
in a pouch when they went on long journeys, and mixed it with snow in
the winter and water in summer. Gookin says it was sweet, toothsome, and
hearty. With only this nourishment the Indians could carry loads "fitter
for elephants than men." Roger Williams says a spoonful of this meal and
water made him many a good meal. When we read this we are not surprised
that the Pilgrims could keep alive on what is said was at one time of
famine their food for a day,--five kernels of corn apiece. The apostle
Eliot, in his Indian Bible, always used the word nookick for the English
words flour or meal.

We ought to think of the value of food in those days; and we may be sure
the governor and his council thought corn of value when they took it for
taxes and made it a legal currency just like gold and silver, and
forbade any one to feed it to pigs. If you happen to see the price of
corn during those years down to Revolutionary times, you will, perhaps,
be surprised to see how much the price varied. From ten shillings a
bushel in 1631, to two shillings in 1672, to twenty in 1747, to two in
1751, and one hundred shillings at the opening of the Revolution. In
these prices of corn, as in the price of all other articles at this
time, the difference was in the money, which had a constantly changing
value, not in the article itself or its usefulness. The corn had a
steady value, it always furnished just so much food; and really was a
standard itself rather than measured and valued by the poor and shifting
money.

There are many other interesting facts connected with the early culture
of corn: of the finding hidden in caves or "caches" in the ground the
Indian's corn which he had stored for seed; of the sacred "corn-dances"
of the Indians; that the first patent granted in England to an American
was to a Philadelphia woman for a mill to grind a kind of hominy; of
the great profit to the colonists in corn-raising, for the careless and
greedy Indians always ate up all their corn as soon as possible, then
had to go out and trap beavers in the woods to sell the skins to the
colonists for corn to keep them from starving. One colonist planted
about eight bushels of seed-corn. He raised from this eight hundred and
sixty-four bushels of corn, which he sold to the Indians for beaver
skins which gave him a profit of £327.

Many games were played with the aid of kernels of corn: fox and geese,
checkers, "hull gull, how many," and games in which the corn served as
counters.

The ears of corn were often piled into the attic until the floor was a
foot deep with them. I once entered an ell bedroom in a Massachusetts
farmhouse where the walls, rafters, and four-post bedstead were hung
solid with ears of yellow corn, which truly "made a sunshine in a shady
place."

Some of the preparation of corn fell upon the boys; it was their regular
work all winter in the evening firelight to shell corn from the ears by
scraping them on the iron edge of the wooden shovel or on the fire-peel.
My father told me that even in his childhood in the first quarter of
this century many families of moderate means fastened the long-handled
frying-pan across a tub and drew the corn ears across the sharp edge of
the handle of the pan. I note in Peter Parley's reminiscences of his
childhood a similar use of a frying-pan handle in his home. Other
farmers set the edge of a knife blade in a piece of wood and scraped on
the back of the blade. In some households the corn was pounded into
hominy in wooden mortars. An old corn-sheller used in western
Massachusetts is here shown.

When the corn was shelled, the cobs were not carelessly discarded or
disregarded. They were stored often in a lean-to or loft in the kitchen
ell; from thence they were brought down in skepes or boxes about a
bushel at a time; and after being used by the children as playthings to
build "cob-houses," were employed as light wood for the fire. They had a
special use in many households for smoking hams; and their smoke was
deemed to impart a specially delightful flavor to hams and bacon.

One special use of corn should be noted. By order of the government of
Massachusetts Bay in 1623, it was used as ballots in public voting. At
annual elections of the governors' assistants in each town, a kernel of
corn was deposited to signify a favorable vote upon the nominee, while a
bean signified a negative vote; "and if any free-man shall put in more
than one Indian corn or bean he shall forfeit for every such offence Ten
Pounds."

The choice of a national flower or plant is much talked about to-day.
Aside from the beauty of maize when growing and its wonderful
adaptability in every part for decoration, would not the noble and
useful part played by Indian corn in our early history entitle it to be
our first choice?



CHAPTER VII

MEAT AND DRINK


The food brought in ships from Europe to the colonists was naturally
limited by the imperfect methods of transportation which then existed.
Nothing like refrigerators were known; no tinned foods were even thought
of; ways of packing were very crude and careless; so the kinds of
provisions which would stand the long voyage on a slow sailing-vessel
were very few. The settlers turned at once, as all settlers in a new
land should, to the food-supplies found in the new home; of these the
three most important ones were corn, fish, and game. I have told of
their plenty, their value, and their use. There were many other
bountiful and good foods, among them pumpkins or pompions, as they were
at first called.

The pumpkin has sturdily kept its own place on the New England farm,
varying in popularity and use, but always of value as easy of growth,
easy of cooking, and easy to keep in a dried form. Yet the colonists did
not welcome the pumpkin with eagerness, even in times of great want.
They were justly rebuked for their indifference and dislike by Johnson
in his _Wonder-working Providence_, who called the pumpkin "a fruit
which the Lord fed his people with till corn and cattle increased"; and
another pumpkin-lover referred to "the times wherein old Pompion was a
saint." One colonial poet gives the golden vegetable this tribute:--

    "We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
    If it were not for pumpkins we should be undone."

I am very sure were I living on dried corn and scant shell-fish, as the
Pilgrims were forced to do, I should have turned with delight to
"pompion-sause" as a change of diet. Stewed pumpkins and pumpkin bread
were coarse ways of using the fruit for food. Pumpkin bread--made of
half Indian meal--was not very pleasing in appearance. A traveller in
1704 called it an "awkward food." It is eaten in Connecticut to this
day. The Indians dried pumpkins and strung them for winter use, and the
colonists followed the Indian custom.

In Virginia pumpkins were equally plentiful and useful. Ralph Hamor, in
his _True Discourse_, says they grew in such abundance that a hundred
were often observed to spring from one seed. The Virginia Indians boiled
beans, peas, corn, and pumpkins together, and the colonists liked the
dish. In the trying times at "James-Citty," the plentiful pumpkins
played a great part in providing food-supplies for the starving
Virginians.

Squashes were also native vegetables. The name is Indian. To show the
wonderful and varied way in which the English spelt Indian names let me
tell you that Roger Williams called them askutasquashes; the Puritan
minister Higginson, squantersquashes; the traveller Josselyn,
squontorsquashes, and the historian Wood, isquoukersquashes.

Potatoes were known to New Englanders, but were rare and when referred
to were probably sweet potatoes. It was a long time before they were
much liked. A farmer at Hadley, Massachusetts, had what he thought a
very large crop in 1763--it was eight bushels. It was believed by many
persons that if a man ate them every day, he could not live seven years.
In the spring all that were left on hand were carefully burned, for many
believed that if cattle or horses ate these potatoes they would die.
They were first called, when carried to England, Virginia potatoes; then
they became much liked and grown in Ireland; then the Irish settlers in
New Hampshire brought them back to this continent, and now they are
called, very senselessly, Irish potatoes. Many persons fancied the balls
were what should be eaten, and said they "did not much desire them." A
fashionable way of cooking them was with butter, sugar, and grape-juice;
this was mixed with dates, lemons, and mace; seasoned with cinnamon,
nutmeg, and pepper; then covered with a frosting of sugar--and you had
to hunt well to find the potato among all these other things.

In the Carolinas the change in English diet was effected by the sweet
potato. This root was cooked in various ways: it was roasted in the
ashes, boiled, made into puddings, used as a substitute for bread, made
into pancakes which a foreigner said tasted as though composed of sweet
almonds; and in every way it was liked and was so plentiful that even
the slaves fed upon it.

Beans were abundant, and were baked by the Indians in earthen pots just
as we bake them to-day. The settlers planted peas, parsnips, turnips,
and carrots, which grew and thrived. Huckleberries, blackberries,
strawberries, and grapes grew wild. Apple-trees were planted at once,
and grew well in New England and the Middle states. Twenty years after
the Roman Catholic settlement of Maryland the fruitful orchards were
conspicuously flourishing.

Johnson, writing in 1634, said that all then in New England could have
apple, pear, and quince tarts instead of pumpkin-pies. They made
apple-slump, apple-mose, apple-crowdy, apple-tarts, mess apple-pies, and
puff apple-pies. The Swedish parson, Dr. Acrelius, writing home in 1758
an account of the settlement of Delaware, said:--

     "Apple-pie is used through the whole year, and when fresh apples
     are no longer to be had, dried ones are used. It is the evening
     meal of children. House-pie, in country places, is made of apples
     neither peeled nor freed from their cores, and its crust is not
     broken if a wagon wheel goes over it."

The making of a portion of the autumn's crop of apples into dried
apples, apple-sauce, and apple-butter for winter was preceded in many
country homes by an apple-paring. The cheerful kitchen of a farmhouse
was set with an array of empty pans, tubs, and baskets; of sharp knives
and heaped-up barrels of apples. A circle of laughing faces completed
the scene, and the barrels of apples were quickly emptied by the many
skilful hands. The apples intended for drying were strung on linen
thread and hung on the kitchen and attic rafters. The following day the
stout crane in the open fireplace was hung with brass kettles which were
filled with the pared apples, sweet and sour in proper proportions, the
sour at the bottom since they required more time to cook. If quinces
could be had, they were added to give flavor, and molasses, or
boiled-down pungent "apple-molasses," was added for sweetening. As there
was danger that the sauce would burn over the roaring logs, many
housewives placed clean straw at the bottom of the kettle to keep the
apples from the fiercest heat. Days were spent in preparing the winter's
stock of apple-sauce, but when done and placed in barrels in the cellar,
it was always ready for use, and when slightly frozen was a keen relish.
Apple-butter was made of the pared apples boiled down with cider.

Wheat did not at first ripen well, so white bread was for a time rarely
eaten. Rye grew better, so bread made of "rye-an'-injun," which was half
rye-meal, half corn-meal, was used instead. Bake-shops were so many in
number in all the towns that it is evident that housewives in towns and
villages did not make bread in every home as to-day, but bought it at
the baker's.

At the time when America was settled, no European peoples drank water as
we do to-day, for a constant beverage. The English drank ale, the Dutch
beer, the French and Spanish light wines, for every-day use. Hence it
seemed to the colonists a great trial and even a very dangerous
experiment to drink water in the New World. They were forced to do it,
however, in many cases; and to their surprise found that it agreed with
them very well, and that their health improved. Governor Winthrop of
Massachusetts, who was a most sensible and thoughtful man, soon had
water used as a constant drink by all in his household.

As cows increased in number and were cared for, milk of course was added
to the every-day fare. Rev. Mr. Higginson wrote in 1630 that milk cost
in Salem but a penny a quart; while another minister, John Cotton, said
that milk and ministers were the only things cheap in New England. At
that time milk cost but a penny and a quarter a quart in old England.

Milk became a very important part of the food of families in the
eighteenth century. In 1728 a discussion took place in the Boston
newspapers as to the expense of keeping a family "of middling figure."
These writers all named only bread and milk for breakfast and supper.
Ten years later a minister, calculating the expenses of his family, set
down bread and milk for both breakfast and supper. Milk and hasty
pudding, milk and stewed pumpkin, milk and baked apples, milk and
berries, were variations. In winter, when milk was scarce, sweetened
cider diluted with water was used instead. Sometimes bread was soaked
with this mixture. It is said that children were usually very fond of
it.

As comparatively few New England families in the seventeenth century
owned churns, I cannot think that many made butter; of course families
of wealth ate it, but it was not common as to-day. In the inventories of
the property of the early settlers of Maine there is but one churn
named. Butter was worth from threepence to sixpence a pound. As cattle
increased the duties of the dairy grew, and soon were never-ceasing and
ever-tiring. The care of cream and making of butter was in the
eighteenth century the duty of every good wife and dame in the country,
and usually in the town.

Though the shape and ease of action of churns varied, still
butter-making itself varied little from the same work to-day. Several
old-time churns are shown, the revolving one being the most unusual.

Cheese was plentiful and good in all the Northern colonies. It was also
an unending care from the time the milk was set over the fire to warm
and then to curdle; through the breaking of the curds in the
cheese-basket; through shaping into cheeses and pressing in the
cheese-press, placing them on the cheese-ladders, and constantly turning
and rubbing them. An old cheese-press, cheese-ladder, and cheese-basket
from Deerfield Memorial Hall are shown in the illustration.

In all households, even in those of great wealth and many servants,
assistance was given in all housewifery by the daughters of the
household. In the South it was chiefly by superintendence and teaching
through actual exposition the negro slaves; in the North it was by the
careful performance of the work.

The manuscript cooking receipt-book of many an ancient dame shows the
great care they took in family cooking. English methods of cooking at
the time of the settlement of this country were very complicated and
very laborious.

It was a day of hashes, ragouts, soups, hotch-pots, etc. There were no
great joints served until the time of Charles the First. In almost every
sixteenth-century receipt for cooking meat, appear some such directions
as these: "Y-mynce it, smyte them on gobbets, hew them on gobbets, chop
on gobbets, hew small, dyce them, skern them to dyce, kerf it to dyce,
grind all to dust, smyte on peces, parcel-hem; hew small on morselyen,
hack them small, cut them on culpons." Great amounts of spices were
used, even perfumes; and as there was no preservation of meat by ice,
perhaps the spices and perfumes were necessary.

Of course the colonists were forced to adopt simpler ways of cooking,
but as towns and commerce increased there were many kitchen duties which
made much tedious work. Many pickles, spiced fruits, preserves, candied
fruits and flowers, and marmalades were made.

Preserving was a very different art from canning fruit to-day. There
were no hermetically sealed jars, no chemical methods, no quick work
about it. Vast jars were filled with preserves so rich that there was no
need of keeping the air from them; they could be opened, that is, the
paper cover taken off, and used as desired; there was no fear of
fermentation, souring, or moulding.

The housewives pickled samphire, fennel, purple cabbage,
nasturtium-buds, green walnuts, lemons, radish-pods, barberries,
elder-buds, parsley, mushrooms, asparagus, and many kinds of fish and
fruit. They candied fruits and nuts, made many marmalades and
quiddonies, and a vast number of fruit wines and cordials. Even their
cakes, pies, and puddings were most complicated, and humble households
were lavish in the various kinds they manufactured and ate.

They collared and potted many kinds of fish and game, and they salted
and soused. Salted meat was eaten, and very little fresh meat; for there
were no means of keeping meat after it was killed. Every well-to-do
family had a "powdering-tub," in which meat was "powdered," that is,
salted and pickled. Many families had a smoke-house, in which beef, ham,
and bacon were smoked.

Perhaps the busiest month of the year was November,--called "killing
time." When the chosen day arrived, oxen, cows, and swine which had been
fattened for the winter's stock were slaughtered early in the morning,
that the meat might be hard and cold before being put in the pickle.
Sausages, rolliches, and head-cheese were made, lard tried out, and
tallow saved.

A curious and quaint domestic implement or utensil found hanging on the
walls of some kitchens was what was known as a sausage-gun. One here is
shown with the piston detached, and also ready for use. The sausage-meat
was forced out through the nozzle into the sausage-cases. A simpler form
of sausage-stuffer has also been seen, much like a tube-and-piston
garden-syringe; though I must add a suspicion which has always lingered
in my mind that the latter utensil was really a syringe-gun, such as
once was used to disable humming-birds by squirting water upon them.

Sausage-meat was thus prepared in New York farmhouses. The meat was cut
coarsely into half-inch pieces and thrown into wooden boxes about three
feet long and ten inches deep. Then its first chopping was by men using
spades which had been ground to a sharp edge.

There were many families that found all their supply of sweetening in
maple sugar and honey; but housewives of dignity and elegance desired to
have some supply of sugar, certainly to offer visitors for their dish of
tea. This sugar was always loaf-sugar, and truly loaf-sugar; for it was
purchased ever in great loaves or cones which averaged in weight about
nine to ten pounds apiece. One cone would last thrifty folk for a year.
This pure clear sugar-cone always came wrapped in a deep blue-purple
paper, of such unusual and beautiful tint and so color-laden that in
country homes it was carefully saved and soaked, to supply a dye for a
small amount of the finest wool, which was used when spun and dyed for
some specially choice purpose. The cutting of this cone of sugar into
lumps of equal size and regular shape was distinctly the work of the
mistress and daughters of the house. It was too exact and too dainty a
piece of work to be intrusted to clumsy or wasteful servants. Various
simply shaped sugar-shears or sugar-cutters were used. An ordinary form
is shown in the illustration. I well recall the only family in which I
ever saw this solemn function of sugar-cutting take place--it was about
thirty years ago. An old Boston East India merchant, one of the last to
cling to a residence in what is known now as the "Burnt District,"
always desired (and his desire was law) to use these loaves of sugar in
his household. I don't know where he got them so long after every one
else had apparently ceased buying them--he may have specially imported
them; at any rate he had them, and to the end of her life it was the
morning duty of his wife "to cut the sugar." I can see my old cousin
still in what she termed her breakfast room, dressed very handsomely,
standing before a bare mahogany table on which a maid placed the
considerable array of a silver salver without legs, which was set on a
folded cloth and held the sugar-loaf and the sugar-cutter; and another
salver with legs that bore various bowls and one beautiful silver
sugar-box which was kept filled high for her husband's toddy. It seemed
an interminably tedious work to me and a senseless one, as I chafingly
waited for the delightful morning drive in delightful Boston. It was in
this household that I encountered the sweetest thing of my whole life; I
have written elsewhere its praises in full; a barrel, a small one, to be
sure, but still a whole teak-wood barrel full of long strings of
glistening rock-candy. I had my fill of it at will, though it was not
kept as a sweetmeat, but was a kitchen store having a special use in
the manufacture of rich brandy sauces for plum puddings, and of a kind
of marchepane ornamentation for desserts.

All the spices used in the household were also ground at home, in
spice-mortars and spice-mills. These were of various sizes, including
the pepper-mills, which were set on the table at meal-times, and the
tiny ornamental graters which were carried in the pocket.

The entire food of a household was the possible production of a farm. In
a paper published in the American Museum in 1787 an old farmer says:--

     "At this time my farm gave me and my whole family a good living on
     the produce of it, and left me one year with another one hundred
     and fifty silver dollars, for I never spent more than ten dollars a
     year which was for salt, nails, and the like. Nothing to eat, drink
     or wear was bought, as my farm provided all."

The farm food was not varied, it is true, as to-day; for articles of
luxury came by importation. The products of tropical countries, such as
sugar, molasses, tea, coffee, spices, found poor substitutes in home
food-products. Dried pumpkin was a poor sweetening instead of molasses;
maple sugar and honey were not esteemed as was sugar; tea was
ill-replaced by raspberry leaves, loosestrife, hardhack, goldenrod,
dittany, blackberry leaves, yeopon, sage, and a score of other herbs;
coffee was better than parched rye and chestnuts; spices could not be
compensated for or remotely imitated by any substitutes.

So though there was ample quantity of food, the quality, save in the
town, was not such as English housewives had been accustomed to; there
were many deprivations in their kitchens which tried them sorely. The
better cooks they were, the more trying were the limitations. Every
woman with a love for her fellow-woman must feel a thrill of keen
sympathy for the goodwife of Newport, New Hampshire, who had to make her
Thanksgiving mince-pies with a filling of bear's meat and dried
pumpkins, sweetened with maple sugar, and her crust of corn-meal. Her
husband loyally recorded that they were the best mince-pies he ever ate.

As years passed on and great wealth came to individuals, the tables of
the opulent, especially in the Middle colonies, rivalled the luxury of
English and French houses of wealth. It is surprising to read in Dr.
Cutler's diary that when he dined with Colonel Duer in New York in 1787,
there were fifteen kinds of wine served besides cider, beer, and porter.

John Adams probably lived as well as any New Englander of similar
position and means. A Sunday dinner at his house was thus described by
a visitor: the first course was a pudding of Indian meal, molasses, and
butter; then came a course of veal and bacon, neck of mutton, and
vegetables. When the New Englander went to Philadelphia, his eyes opened
wide at the luxury and extravagance of fare. He has given in his diary
some accounts of the lavishness of the Philadelphia larder. Such entries
as these are found:--

     (Of the home of Miers Fisher, a young Quaker lawyer.) "This plain
     Friend, with his plain but pretty wife with her Thees and Thous,
     had provided us a costly entertainment; ducks, hams, chickens,
     beef, pig, tarts, creams, custards, jellies, fools, trifles,
     floating islands, beer, porter, punch, wine and a long, etc."

     (At the home of Chief Justice Chew.) "About four o'clock we were
     called to dinner. Turtle and every other thing, flummery, jellies,
     sweetmeats of twenty sorts, trifles, whipped sillabubs, floating
     islands, fools, etc., with a dessert of fruits, raisins, almonds,
     pears, peaches."

     "A most sinful feast again! everything which could delight the eye
     or allure the taste; curds and creams, jellies, sweetmeats of
     various sorts, twenty kinds of tarts, fools, trifles, floating
     islands, whipped sillabubs, etc. Parmesan cheese, punch, wine,
     porter, beer."

By which lists may plainly be seen that our second President had
somewhat of a sweet tooth.

The Dutch were great beer-drinkers and quickly established breweries at
Albany and New York. But before the century had ended New Englanders had
abandoned the constant drinking of ale and beer for cider. Cider was
very cheap; but a few shillings a barrel. It was supplied in large
amounts to students at college, and even very little children drank it.
President John Adams was an early and earnest wisher for temperance
reform; but to the end of his life he drank a large tankard of hard
cider every morning when he first got up. It was free in every farmhouse
to all travellers and tramps.

A cider-mill was usually built on a hillside so the building could be
one story high in front and two in the back. Thus carts could easily
unload the apples on the upper level and take away the barrels of cider
on the lower. Standing below on the lower floor you could see two
upright wooden cylinders, set a little way apart, with knobs, or nuts as
they were called, on one cylinder which fitted loosely into holes on the
other. The cylinders worked in opposite directions and drew in and
crushed the apples poured down between them. The nuts and holes
frequently clogged with the pomace. Then the mill was stopped and a boy
scraped out with a stick or hook the crushed apples. A horse walking in
a small circle moved a lever which turned the motor wheel. It was slow
work; it took three hours to grind a cart-load of apples; but the
machinery was efficient and simple. The pomace fell into a large shallow
vat or tank, and if it could lie in the vat overnight it was a benefit.
Then the pomace was put in a press. This was simple in construction. At
the bottom was a platform grooved in channels; a sheaf of clean straw
was spread on the platform, and with wooden shovels the pomace was
spread thick over it. Then a layer of straw was laid at right angles
with the first, and more pomace, and so on till the form was about three
feet high; the top board was put on as a cover; the screw turned and
blocks pressed down, usually with a long wooden hand-lever, very slowly
at first, then harder, until the mass was solid and every drop of juice
had trickled into the channels of the platform and thence to the pan
below. Within the last two or three years I have seen those cider-mills
at work in the country back of old Plymouth and in Narragansett, sending
afar their sourly fruity odors. And though apple orchards are running
out, and few new trees are planted, and the apple crop in those
districts is growing smaller and smaller, yet is the sweet cider of
country cider-mills as free and plentiful a gift to any passer-by as the
water from the well or the air we breathe. Perry was made from pears,
as cider is from apples, and peachy from peaches. Metheglin and mead,
drinks of the old Druids in England, were made from honey, yeast, and
water, and were popular everywhere. In Virginia whole plantations of the
honey-locust furnished locust beans for making metheglin. From
persimmons, elderberries, juniper berries, pumpkins, corn-stalks,
hickory nuts, sassafras bark, birch bark, and many other leaves, roots,
and barks, various light drinks were made. An old song boasted:--

    "Oh, we can make liquor to sweeten our lips
    Of pumpkins, of parsnips, of walnut-tree chips."

Many other stronger and more intoxicating liquors were made in large
quantities, among them enormous amounts of rum, which was called often
"kill-devil." The making of rum aided and almost supported the
slave-trade in this country. The poor negroes were bought on the coast
of Africa by New England sea-captains and merchants and paid for with
barrels of New England rum. These slaves were then carried on
slave-ships to the West Indies, and sold at a large profit to planters
and slave-dealers for a cargo of molasses. This was brought to New
England, distilled into rum, and sent off to Africa. Thus the circle of
molasses, rum, and slaves was completed. Many slaves were also landed
in New England, but there was no crop there that needed negroes to raise
it. So slavery never was as common in New England as in the South, where
the tropical tobacco and rice fields needed negro labor. But New
England's share in promoting negro slavery in America was just as great
as was Virginia's.

Besides all the rum that was sent to Africa, much was drunk by Americans
at home. At weddings, funerals, christenings, at all public meetings and
private feasts, New England rum was ever present. In nothing is more
contrast shown between our present day and colonial times than in the
habits of liquor-drinking. We cannot be grateful enough for the
temperance reform, which began at the early part of this century, and
was so sadly needed.

For many years the colonists had no tea, chocolate, or coffee to drink;
for those were not in use in England when America was settled. In 1690
two dealers were licensed to sell tea "in publique" in Boston. Green and
bohea teas were sold at the Boston apothecaries' in 1712. For many years
tea was also sold like medicine in England at the apothecaries' and not
at the grocers'.

Many queer mistakes were made through ignorance of its proper use. Many
colonists put the tea into water, boiled it for a time, threw the
liquid away, and ate the tea-leaves. In Salem they did not find the
leaves very attractive, so they put butter and salt on them.

In 1670 a Boston woman was licensed to sell coffee and chocolate, and
soon coffee-houses were established there. Some did not know how to cook
coffee any more than tea, but boiled the whole coffee-beans in water,
ate them, and drank the liquid; and naturally this was not very good
either to eat or drink.

At the time of the Stamp Act, when patriotic Americans threw the tea
into Boston harbor, Americans were just as great tea-drinkers as the
English. Now it is not so. The English drink much more tea than we do;
and the habit of coffee-drinking, first acquired in the Revolution, has
descended from generation to generation, and we now drink more coffee
than tea. This is one of the differences in our daily life caused by the
Revolution.

Many home-grown substitutes were used in Revolutionary times for tea:
ribwort was a favorite one; strawberry and currant leaves, sage,
thorough-wort, and "Liberty Tea," made from the four-leaved loosestrife.
"Hyperion tea" was raspberry leaves, and was said by good patriots to be
"very delicate and most excellent."



CHAPTER VIII

FLAX CULTURE AND SPINNING


In recounting the various influences which assisted the Americans to
success in the War for Independence, such as the courage and integrity
of the American generals, the generosity of the American people, the
skill of Americans in marksmanship, their powers of endurance, their
acclimatization, their confidence and faith, etc., we must never forget
to add their independence in their own homes of any outside help to give
them every necessity of life. No farmer or his wife need fear any king
when on every home farm was found food, drink, medicine, fuel, lighting,
clothing, shelter. Home-made was an adjective that might be applied to
nearly every article in the house. Such would not be the case under
similar stress to-day. In the matter of clothing alone we could not now
be independent. Few farmers raise flax to make linen; few women can spin
either wool or flax, or weave cloth; many cannot knit. In early days
every farmer and his sons raised wool and flax; his wife and daughters
spun them into thread and yarn, knit these into stockings and mittens,
or wove them into linen and cloth, and then made them into clothing.
Even in large cities nearly all women spun yarn and thread, all could
knit, and many had hand-looms to weave cloth at home. These home
occupations in the production of clothing have been very happily termed
the "homespun industries."

Nearly every one has seen one of the pretty foot-wheels for spinning
flax thread for linen, which may yet be found in the attics of many of
our farmhouses, as well as in some of our parlors, where, with a bunch
of flax wound around and tied to the spindle, they have within a few
years been placed as a relic of the olden times.

If one of these flax-wheels could speak to-day, it would sing a tale of
the patient industry, of the tiring work of our grandmothers, even when
they were little children, which ought never to be forgotten.

As soon as the colonists had cleared their farms from stones and stumps,
they planted a field, or "patch" of flax, and usually one of hemp. The
seed was sown broadcast like grass-seed in May. Flax is a graceful plant
with pretty drooping blue flowers; hemp has but a sad-colored blossom.

Thomas Tusser says in his _Book of Housewifery_:--

    "Good flax and good hemp to have of her own,
    In May a good huswife will see it be sown.
    And afterwards trim it to serve in a need;
    The fimble to spin, the card for her seed."

When the flax plants were three or four inches high, they were weeded by
young women or children who had to work barefoot, as the stalks were
very tender. If the land had a growth of thistles, the weeders could
wear three or four pairs of woollen stockings. The children had to step
facing the wind, so if any plants were trodden down the wind would help
to blow them back into place. When the flax was ripe, in the last of
June or in July, it was pulled up by the roots and laid out carefully to
dry for a day or two, and turned several times in the sun; this work was
called pulling and spreading, and was usually done by men and boys. It
then was "rippled." A coarse wooden or heavy iron wire comb with great
teeth, named a ripple-comb, was fastened on a plank; the stalks of flax
were drawn through it with a quick stroke to break off the seed-bolles
or "bobs," which fell on a sheet spread to catch them; these were saved
for seed for the next crop, or for sale.

Rippling was done in the field. The stalks were then tied in bundles
called beats or bates and stacked. They were tied only at the seed end,
and the base of the stalks was spread out forming a tent-shaped stack,
called a stook. When dry, the stalks were watered to rot the leaves and
softer fibres. Hemp was watered without rippling. This was done
preferably in running water, as the rotting flax poisoned fish. Stakes
were set in the water in the form of a square, called a steep-pool, and
the bates of flax or hemp were piled in solidly, each alternate layer at
right angles with the one beneath it. A cover of boards and heavy stones
was piled on top. In four or five days the bates were taken up and the
rotted leaves removed. A slower process was termed dew-retting; an old
author calls it "a vile and naughty way," but it was the way chiefly
employed in America.

When the flax was cleaned, it was once more dried and tied in bundles.
Then came work for strong men, to break it on the ponderous flax-brake,
to separate the fibres and get out from the centre the hard woody "hexe"
or "bun." Hemp was also broken.

A flax-brake is an implement which is almost impossible to describe. It
was a heavy log of wood about five feet long, either large enough so the
flat top was about three feet from the ground, or set on heavy logs to
bring it to that height. A portion of the top was cut down leaving a
block at each end, and several long slats were set in lengthwise and
held firm at each end with edges up, by being set into the end blocks.
Then a similar set of slats, put in a heavy frame, was made with the
slats set far enough apart to go into the spaces of the lower slats. The
flax was laid on the lower slats, the frame and upper slats placed on
it, and then pounded down with a heavy wooden mallet weighing many
pounds. Sometimes the upper frame of slats, or knives as they were
called, were hinged to the big under log at one end, and heavily
weighted at the other, and thus the blow was given by the fall of the
weight, not by the force of the farmer's muscle. The tenacity of the
flax can be seen when it would stand this violent beating; and the cruel
blow can be imagined, which the farmer's fingers sometimes got when he
carelessly thrust his hand with the flax too far under the descending
jaw--a shark's maw was equally gentle.

Flax was usually broken twice, once with an "open-tooth brake," once
with a "close or strait brake," that is, one where the long, sharp-edge
strips of wood were set closely together. Then it was scutched or
swingled with a swingling block and knife, to take out any small
particles of bark that might adhere. A man could swingle forty pounds
of flax a day, but it was hard work. All this had to be done in clear
sunny weather when the flax was as dry as tinder.

The clean fibres were then made into bundles called strikes. The strikes
were swingled again, and from the refuse called swingle-tree hurds,
coarse bagging could be spun and woven. After being thoroughly cleaned
the rolls or strikes were sometimes beetled, that is, pounded in a
wooden trough with a great pestle-shaped beetle over and over again
until soft.

Then came the hackling or hetcheling, and the fineness of the flax
depended upon the number of hacklings, the fineness of the various
hackles or hetchels or combs, and the dexterity of the operator. In the
hands of a poor hackler the best of flax would be converted into tow.
The flax was slightly wetted, taken hold of at one end of the bunch, and
drawn through the hackle-teeth towards the hetcheller, and thus fibres
were pulled and laid into continuous threads, while the short fibres
were combed out. It was dusty, dirty work. The threefold process had to
be all done at once; the fibres had to be divided to their fine
filaments, the long threads laid in untangled line, and the tow
separated and removed. After the first hackle, called a ruffler, six
other finer hackles were often used. It was one of the surprises of
flax preparation to see how little good fibre would be left after all
this hackling, even from a large mass of raw material, but it was
equally surprising to see how much linen thread could be made from this
small amount of fine flax. The fibres were sorted according to fineness;
this was called spreading and drawing. So then after over twenty
dexterous manipulations the flax was ready for the wheel, for
spinning,--the most dexterous process of all,--and was wrapped round the
spindle.

Seated at the small flax-wheel, the spinner placed her foot on the
treadle, and spun the fibre into a long, even thread. Hung on the wheel
was a small bone, wood, or earthenware cup, or a gourd-shell, filled
with water, in which the spinner moistened her fingers as she held the
twisting flax, which by the movement of the wheel was wound on bobbins.
When all were filled, the thread was wound off in knots and skeins on a
reel. A machine called a clock-reel counted the exact number of strands
in a knot, usually forty, and ticked when the requisite number had been
wound. Then the spinner would stop and tie the knot. A quaint old ballad
has the refrain:--

    "And he kissed Mistress Polly when the clock-reel ticked."

That is, the lover seized the rare and propitious moments of Mistress
Polly's comparative leisure to kiss her.

Usually the knots or lays were of forty threads, and twenty lays made a
skein or slipping. The number varied, however, with locality. To spin
two skeins of linen thread was a good day's work; for it a spinner was
paid eight cents a day and "her keep."

These skeins of thread had to be bleached. They were laid in warm water
for four days, the water being frequently changed, and the skeins
constantly wrung out. Then they were washed in the brook till the water
came from them clear and pure. Then they were "bucked," that is,
bleached with ashes and hot water, in a bucking-tub, over and over
again, then laid in clear water for a week, and afterwards came a grand
seething, rinsing, beating, washing, drying, and winding on bobbins for
the loom. Sometimes the bleaching was done with slaked lime or with
buttermilk.

These were not the only bleaching operations the flax went through;
others will be detailed in the chapter on hand-weaving.

One lucrative product of flax should be mentioned--flaxseed. Flax was
pulled for spinning when the base of the stalk began to turn yellow,
which was usually the first of July. An old saying was, "June brings the
flax." For seed it stood till it was all yellow. The flaxseed was used
for making oil. Usually the upper chambers of country stores were filled
a foot deep with flaxseed in the autumn, waiting for good sleighing to
convey the seed to town.

In New Hampshire in early days, a wheelwright was not a man who made
wagon-wheels (as such he would have had scant occupation), but one who
made spinning-wheels. Often he carried them around the country on
horseback selling them, thus adding another to the many interesting
itineracies of colonial days. Spinning-wheels would seem clumsy for
horse-carriage, but they were not set up, and several could be compactly
carried when taken apart; far more ticklish articles went on
pack-horses,--large barrels, glazed window-sashes, etc. Nor would it
seem very difficult for a man to carry spinning-wheels on horseback,
when frequently a woman would jump on horseback in the early morning,
and with a baby on one arm and a flax-wheel tied behind, would ride
several miles to a neighbor's to spend the day spinning in cheerful
companionship. A century ago one of these wheelwrights sold a fine
spinning-wheel for a dollar, a clock-reel for two dollars, and a
wool-wheel for two dollars.

Few persons are now living who have ever seen carried on in a country
home in America any of these old-time processes which have been
recounted. As an old antiquary wrote:--

     "Few have ever seen a woman hatchel flax or card tow, or heard the
     buzzing of the foot-wheel, or seen bunches of flaxen yarn hanging
     in the kitchen, or linen cloth whitening on the grass. The
     flax-dresser with the shives, fibres, and dirt of flax covering his
     garments, and his face begrimed with flax-dirt has disappeared; the
     noise of his brake and swingling knife has ended, and the boys no
     longer make bonfires of his swingling tow. The sound of the
     spinning-wheel, the song of the spinster, and the snapping of the
     clock-reel all have ceased; the warping bars and quill wheel are
     gone, and the thwack of the loom is heard only in the factory. The
     spinning woman of King Lemuel cannot be found."

Frequent references are made to flax in the Bible, notably in the Book
of Proverbs; and the methods of growing and preparing flax by the
ancient Egyptians were precisely the same as those of the American
colonist a hundred years ago, of the Finn, Lapp, Norwegian, and Belgian
flax-growers to-day. This ancient skill was not confined to
flax-working. Rosselini, the eminent hierologist, says that every modern
craftsman may see on Egyptian monuments four thousand years old,
representations of the process of his craft just as it is carried on
to-day. The paintings in the Grotto of El Kab, shown in Hamilton's
_Ægyptica_, show the pulling, stocking, tying, and rippling of flax
going on just as it is done in Egypt now. The four-tooth ripple of the
Egyptian is improved upon, but it is the same implement. Pliny gives an
account of the mode of preparing flax: plucking it up by the roots,
tying it in bundles, drying, watering, beating, and hackling it, or, as
he says, "combing it with iron hooks." Until the Christian era linen was
almost the only kind of clothing used in Egypt, and the teeming banks of
the Nile furnished flax in abundance. The quality of the linen can be
seen in the bands preserved on mummies. It was not, however, spun on a
wheel, but on a hand-distaff, called sometimes a rock, on which the
women in India still spin the very fine thread which is employed in
making India muslins. The distaff was used in our colonies; it was
ordered that children and others tending sheep or cattle in the fields
should also "be set to some other employment withal, such as spinning
upon the rock, knitting, weaving tape, etc." I heard recently a
distinguished historian refer in a lecture to this colonial statute, and
he spoke of the children _sitting upon a rock_ while knitting or
spinning, etc., evidently knowing naught of the proper signification of
the word.

The homespun industries have ever been held to have a beneficent and
peace-bringing influence on women. Wordsworth voiced this sentiment when
he wrote his series of sonnets beginning:--

    "Grief! thou hast lost an ever-ready friend
    Now that the cottage spinning-wheel is mute."

Chaucer more cynically says, through the _Wife of Bath_:--

    "Deceite, weepynge, spynnynge God hath give
    To wymmen kyndely that they may live."

Spinning doubtless was an ever-ready refuge in the monotonous life of
the early colonist. She soon had plenty of material to work with.
Everywhere, even in the earliest days, the culture of flax was
encouraged. By 1640 the Court of Massachusetts passed two orders
directing the growth of flax, ascertaining what colonists were skilful
in breaking, spinning, weaving, ordering that boys and girls be taught
to spin, and offering a bounty for linen grown, spun, and woven in the
colony. Connecticut passed similar measures. Soon spinning-classes were
formed, and every family ordered to spin so many pounds of flax a year,
or to pay a fine. The industry received a fresh impulse through the
immigration of about one hundred Irish families from Londonderry. They
settled in New Hampshire on the Merrimac about 1719, and spun and wove
with far more skill than prevailed among those English settlers who had
already become Americans. They established a manufactory according to
Irish methods, and attempts at a similar establishment were made in
Boston.

There was much public excitement over spinning, and prizes were offered
for quantity and quality. Women, rich as well as poor, appeared on
Boston Common with their wheels, thus making spinning a popular holiday
recreation. A brick building was erected as a spinning-school costing
£15,000, and a tax was placed on carriages and coaches in 1757 to
support it. At the fourth anniversary in 1749 of the "Boston Society for
promoting Industry and Frugality," three hundred "young spinsters" spun
on their wheels on Boston Common. And a pretty sight it must have been:
the fair young girls in the quaint and pretty dress of the times, shown
to us in Hogarth's prints, spinning on the green grass under the great
trees. In 1754, on a like occasion, a minister preached to the
"spinsters," and a collection of £453 was taken up. This was in currency
of depreciated value. At the same time premiums were offered in
Pennsylvania for weaving linen and spinning thread. Benjamin Franklin
wrote in his _Poor Richard's Almanac_:--

    "Many estates are spent in the getting,
    Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting."

But the German colonists long before this had been famous flax-raisers.
A Pennsylvania poet in 1692 descanted on the flax-workers of
Germantown:--

    "Where live High German people and Low Dutch
    Whose trade in weaving linen cloth is much,
    There grows the flax as also you may know,
    That from the same they do divide the tow."

Father Pastorius, their leader, forever commemorated his interest in his
colony and in the textile arts by his choice for a device for a seal.
Whittier thus describes it in his _Pennsylvania Pilgrim_:--

    "Still on the town-seal his device is found,
    Grapes, flax, and thread-spool on a three-foil ground
    With _Vinum, Linum, et Textrinum_ wound."

Virginia was earlier even in awakening interest in manufacturing flax
than Massachusetts, for wild flax grew there in profusion, ready for
gathering. In 1646 two houses were ordered to be erected at Jamestown as
spinning-schools. These were to be well built and well heated. Each
county was to send to these schools two poor children, seven or eight
years old, to be taught carding, spinning, and knitting. Each child was
to be supplied by the county authorities on admission to the school with
six barrels of Indian corn, a pig, two hens, clothing, shoes, a bed,
rug, blanket, two coverlets, a wooden tray, and two pewter dishes or
cups. This plan was not wholly carried out. Prizes in tobacco (which was
the current money of Virginia in which everything was paid) were given,
however, for every pound of flax, every skein of yarn, every yard of
linen of Virginia production, and soon flax-wheels and spinners were
plentiful.

Intelligent attempts were made to start these industries in the South.
Governor Lucas wrote to his daughter, Mrs. Pinckney, in Charleston,
South Carolina, in 1745:--

     "I send by this Sloop two Irish servants, viz.: a Weaver and a
     Spinner. I am informed Mr. Cattle hath produced both Flax and Hemp.
     I pray you will purchase some, and order a loom and spinning-wheel
     to be made for them, and set them to work. I shall order Flax sent
     from Philadelphia with seed, that they may not be idle. I pray you
     will also purchase Wool and sett them to making Negroes clothing
     which may be sufficient for my own People.

     "As I am afraid one Spinner can't keep a Loom at work, I pray you
     will order a Sensible Negroe woman or two to learn to spin, and
     wheels to be made for them; the man Servant will direct the
     Carpenter in making the loom and the woman will direct the Wheel."

The following year Madam Pinckney wrote to her father that the woman had
spun all the material they could get, so was idle; that the loom had
been made, but had no tackling; that she would make the harness for it,
if two pounds of shoemaker's thread were sent her. The sensible negro
woman and hundreds of others learned well to spin, and excellent cloth
has been always woven in the low country of Carolina, as well as in the
upper districts, till our own time.

In the revolt of feeling caused by the Stamp Act, there was a constant
social pressure to encourage the manufacture and wearing of goods of
American manufacture. As one evidence of this movement the president and
first graduating class of Rhode Island College--now Brown
University--were clothed in fabrics made in New England. From
Massachusetts to South Carolina the women of the colonies banded
together in patriotic societies called Daughters of Liberty, agreeing to
wear only garments of homespun manufacture, and to drink no tea. In
many New England towns they gathered together to spin, each bringing her
own wheel. At one meeting seventy linen-wheels were employed. In Rowley,
Massachusetts, the meeting of the Daughters is thus described:--

     "A number of thirty-three respectable ladies of the town met at
     sunrise with their wheels to spend the day at the house of the
     Rev'd Jedediah Jewell, in the laudable design of a spinning match.
     At an hour before sunset, the ladies there appearing neatly
     dressed, principally in homespun, a polite and generous repast of
     American production was set for their entertainment. After which
     being present many spectators of both sexes, Mr. Jewell delivered a
     profitable discourse from Romans xii. 2: "Not slothful in business,
     fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

Matters of church and patriotism were never far apart in New England; so
whenever the spinners gathered at New London, Newbury, Ipswich, or
Beverly, they always had an appropriate sermon. A favorite text was
Exodus xxxv. 25: "And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with
their hands." When the Northboro women met, they presented the results
of their day's work to their minister. There were forty-four women and
they spun 2223 knots of linen and tow, and wove one linen sheet and two
towels.

By Revolutionary times General Howe thought "Linen and Woollen Goods
much wanted by the Rebels"; hence when he prepared to evacuate Boston he
ordered all such goods carried away with him. But he little knew the
domestic industrial resources of the Americans. Women were then most
proficient in spinning. In 1777 Miss Eleanor Fry of East Greenwich,
Rhode Island, spun seven skeins one knot linen yarn in one day, an
extraordinary amount. This was enough to weave twelve linen
handkerchiefs. At this time when there were about five or six skeins to
a pound of flax, the pay for spinning was sixpence a skein. The Abbé
Robin wondered at the deftness of New England spinners.

In 1789 an outcry was raised against the luxury said to be eating away
the substance of the new country. The poor financial administration of
the government seemed deranging everything; and again a social movement
was instituted in New England to promote "Oeconomy and Household
Industries." "The Rich and Great strive by example to convince the
Populace of their error by Growing their own Flax and Wool, having some
one in the Family to dress it, and all the Females spin, several weave
and bleach the linen." The old spinning-matches were revived. Again the
ministers preached to the faithful women "Oeconomists," who thus
combined religion, patriotism, and industry. Truly it was, as a
contemporary writer said, "a pleasing Sight: some spinning, some
reeling, some carding cotton, some combing flax," as they were preached
to.

Within a few years attempts have been made in England and Ireland to
encourage flax-growing, as before it is spun it gives employment to
twenty different classes of laborers, many parts of which work can be
done by young and unskilled children. In Courtrai, where hand spinning
and weaving of flax still flourish, the average earnings of a family are
three pounds a week. In Finland homespun linen still is made in every
household. The British Spinning and Weaving School in New Bond Street is
an attempt to revive the vanished industry in England. In our own
country it is pleasant to record that the National Association of Cotton
Manufacturers is planning to start on a large scale the culture and
manufacture of flax in our Eastern states; this is not, however, with
any thought of reviving either the preparation, spinning, or weaving of
flax by old-time hand processes.



CHAPTER IX

WOOL CULTURE AND SPINNING

_With a Postscript on Cotton_


The art of spinning was an honorable occupation for women as early as
the ninth century; and it was so universal that it furnished a legal
title by which an unmarried woman is known to this day. Spinster is the
only one of all her various womanly titles that survives; webster,
shepster, litster, brewster, and baxter are obsolete. The occupations
are also obsolete save those indicated by shepster and baxter--that is,
the cutting out of cloth and baking of bread; these are the only duties
among them all that she still performs.

The wool industry dates back to prehistoric man. The patience, care, and
skill involved in its manufacture have ever exercised a potent influence
on civilization. It is, therefore, interesting and gratifying to note
the intelligent eagerness of our first colonists for wool culture. It
was quickly and proudly noted of towns and of individuals as a proof of
their rapid and substantial progress that they could carry on any of the
steps of the cloth industry. Good Judge Sewall piously exulted when
Brother Moody started a successful fulling-mill in Boston. Johnson in
his _Wonder-working Providence_ tells with pride that by 1654 New
Englanders "have a fulling-mill and caused their little ones to be very
dilligent in spinning cotton-woole, many of them having been clothiers
in England." This has ever seemed to me one of the fortunate conditions
that tended to the marked success of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, that
so many had been "clothiers" or cloth-workers in England; or had come
from shires in England where wool was raised and cloth made, and hence
knew the importance of the industry as well as its practical workings.

As early as 1643 the author of _New England's First Fruits_ wrote: "They
are making linens, fustians, dimities, and look immediately to woollens
from their own sheep." Johnson estimated the number of sheep in the
colony of Massachusetts, about 1644, as three thousand. Soon the great
wheel was whirring in every New England house. The raising of sheep was
encouraged in every way. They were permitted to graze on the commons; it
was forbidden to send them from the colony; no sheep under two years old
could be killed to sell; if a dog killed a sheep, the dog's owner must
hang him and pay double the cost of the sheep. All persons who were not
employed in other ways, as single women, girls, and boys, were required
to spin. Each family must contain one spinner. These spinners were
formed into divisions or "squadrons" of ten persons; each division had a
director. There were no drones in this hive; neither the wealth nor high
station of parents excused children from this work. Thus all were
levelled to one kind of labor, and by this levelling all were also
elevated to independence. When the open expression of revolt came, the
homespun industries seemed a firm rock for the foundation of liberty.
People joined in agreements to eat no lamb or mutton, that thus sheep
might be preserved, and to wear no imported woollen cloth. They gave
prizes for spinning and weaving.

Great encouragement was given in Virginia in early days to the raising
and manufacture of wool. The Assembly estimated that five children not
over thirteen years of age could by their work readily spin and weave
enough to keep thirty persons clothed. Six pounds of tobacco was paid to
any one bringing to the county court-house where he resided a yard of
homespun woollen cloth, made wholly in his family; twelve pounds of
tobacco were offered for reward for a dozen pair of woollen hose
knitted at home. Slaves were taught to spin; and wool-wheels and
wool-cards are found by the eighteenth century on every inventory of
planters' house furnishings.

The Pennsylvania settlers were early in the encouragement of wool
manufacture. The present industry of hosiery and knit goods long known
as Germantown goods began with the earliest settlers of that
Pennsylvania town. Stocking-weavers were there certainly as early as
1723; and it is asserted there were knitting-machines. At any rate, one
Mack, the son of the founder of the Dunkers, made "leg stockings" and
gloves. Rev. Andrew Burnaby, who was in Germantown in 1759, told of a
great manufacture of stockings at that date. In 1777 it was said that a
hundred Germantown stocking-weavers were out of employment through the
war. Still it was not till 1850 that patents for knitting-machines were
taken out there.

Among the manufactures of the province of Pennsylvania in 1698 were
druggets, serges, and coverlets; and among the registered tradesmen were
dyers, fullers, comb-makers, card-makers, weavers, and spinners. The
Swedish colony as early as 1673 had the wives and daughters "employing
themselves in spinning wool and flax and many in weaving." The fairs
instituted by William Penn for the encouragement of domestic
manufactures and trade in general, which were fostered by Franklin and
continued till 1775, briskly stimulated wool and flax manufacture.

In 1765 and in 1775 rebellious Philadelphians banded together with
promises not to eat or suffer to be eaten in their families any lamb or
"meat of the mutton kind"; in this the Philadelphia butchers, patriotic
and self-sacrificing, all joined. A wool-factory was built and fitted up
and an appeal made to the women to save the state. In a month four
hundred wool-spinners were at work. But the war cut off the supply of
raw material, and the manufacture languished. In 1790, after the war,
fifteen hundred sets of irons for spinning-wheels were sold from one
shop, and mechanics everywhere were making looms.

New Yorkers were not behindhand in industry. Lord Cornbury wrote home to
England, in 1705, that he "had seen serge made upon Long Island that any
man might wear; they make very good linen for common use; as for Woollen
I think they have brought that to too great perfection."

In Cornbury's phrase, "too great perfection," may be found the key for
all the extraordinary and apparently stupid prohibitions and
restrictions placed by the mother-country on colonial wool manufacture.
The growth of the woollen industry in any colony was regarded at once by
England with jealous eyes. Wool was the pet industry and principal
staple of Great Britain; and well it might be, for until the reign of
Henry VIII. English garments from head to foot were wholly of wool, even
the shoes. Wool was also received in England as currency. Thomas Fuller
said, "The wealth of our nation is folded up in broadcloth." Therefore,
the Crown, aided by the governors of the provinces, sought to maintain
England's monopoly by regulating and reducing the culture of wool in
America through prohibiting the exportation to England of any American
wool or woollen materials. In 1699 all vessels sailing to England from
the colonies were prohibited taking on board any "Wool, Woolfells,
Shortlings, Moslings, Wool Flocks, Worsteds, Bays, Bay or Woollen Yarn,
Cloath, Serge, Kersey, Says, Frizes, Druggets, Shalloons, etc."; and an
arbitrary law was passed prohibiting the transportation of home-made
woollens from one American province to another. These laws were never
fully observed and never checked the culture and manufacture of wool in
this country. Hence our colonies were spared the cruel fate by which
England's same policy paralyzed and obliterated in a few years the
glorious wool industry of Ireland. Luckily for us, it is further across
the Atlantic Ocean than across St. George's Channel.

The "all-wool goods a yard wide," which we so easily purchase to-day,
meant to the colonial dame or daughter the work of many weeks and
months, from the time when the fleeces were first given to her deft
hands. Fleeces had to be opened with care, and have all pitched or
tarred locks, dag-locks, brands, and feltings cut out. These cuttings
were not wasted, but were spun into coarse yarn. The white locks were
carefully tossed and separated and tied into net bags with tallies to be
dyed. Another homely saying, "dyed in the wool," showed a process of
much skill. Blue, in all shades, was the favorite color, and was dyed
with indigo. So great was the demand for this dye-stuff that
indigo-pedlers travelled over the country selling it.

Madder, cochineal, and logwood dyed beautiful reds. The bark of red oak
or hickory made very pretty shades of brown and yellow. Various flowers
growing on the farm could be used for dyes. The flower of the goldenrod,
when pressed of its juice, mixed with indigo, and added to alum, made a
beautiful green. The juice of the pokeberry boiled with alum made
crimson dye, and a violet juice from the petals of the iris, or
"flower-de-luce," that blossomed in June meadows, gave a delicate light
purple tinge to white wool.

The bark of the sassafras was used for dyeing yellow or orange color,
and the flowers and leaves of the balsam also. Fustic and copperas gave
yellow dyes. A good black was obtained by boiling woollen cloth with a
quantity of the leaves of the common field-sorrel, then boiling again
with logwood and copperas.

In the South there were scores of flowers and leaves that could be used
for dyes. During the Revolutionary War one enterprising South Carolinian
got a guinea a pound for a yellow dye he made from the sweet-leaf or
horse-laurel. The leaves and berries of gall-berry bush made a good
black much used by hatters and weavers. The root of the barberry gave
wool a beautiful yellow, as did the leaves of the devil's-bit. The
petals of Jerusalem artichoke and St.-John's-wort dyed yellow. Yellow
root is a significant name and reveals its use: oak, walnut, or maple
bark dyed brown. Often the woven cloth was dyed, not the wool.

The next process was carding; the wool was first greased with rape oil
or "melted swine's grease," which had to be thoroughly worked in; about
three pounds of grease were put into ten pounds of wool. Wool-cards were
rectangular pieces of thin board, with a simple handle on the back or
at the side; to this board was fastened a smaller rectangle of strong
leather, set thick with slightly bent wire teeth, like a coarse brush.
The carder took one card with her left hand, and resting it on her knee,
drew a tuft of wool across it several times, until a sufficient quantity
of fibre had been caught upon the wire teeth. She then drew the second
wool-card, which had to be warmed, across the first several times, until
the fibres were brushed parallel by all these "tummings." Then by a
deft and catchy motion the wool was rolled or carded into small fleecy
rolls which were then ready for spinning.

Wool-combs were shaped like the letter T, with about thirty long steel
teeth from ten to eighteen inches long set at right angles with the top
of the T. The wool was carefully placed on one comb, and with careful
strokes the other comb laid the long staple smooth for hard-twisted
spinning. It was tedious and slow work, and a more skilful operation
than carding; and the combs had to be kept constantly heated; but no
machine-combing ever equalled hand-combing. There was a good deal of
waste in this combing, that is, large clumps of tangled wool called noil
were combed out. They were not really wasted, we may be sure, by our
frugal ancestors, but were spun into coarse yarn.

An old author says: "The action of spinning must be learned by practice,
not by relation." Sung by the poets, the grace and beauty of the
occupation has ever shared praise with its utility.

Wool-spinning was truly one of the most flexible and alert series of
movements in the world, and to its varied and graceful poises our
grandmothers may owe part of the dignity of carriage that was so
characteristic of them. The spinner stood slightly leaning forward,
lightly poised on the ball of the left foot; with her left hand she
picked up from the platform of the wheel a long slender roll of the soft
carded wool about as large round as the little finger, and deftly wound
the end of the fibres on the point of the spindle. She then gave a
gentle motion to the wheel with a wooden peg held in her right hand,
and seized with the left the roll at exactly the right distance from the
spindle to allow for one "drawing." Then the hum of the wheel rose to a
sound like the echo of wind; she stepped backward quickly, one, two,
three steps, holding high the long yarn as it twisted and quivered.
Suddenly she glided forward with even, graceful stride and let the yarn
wind on the swift spindle. Another pinch of the wool-roll, a new turn of
the wheel, and _da capo_.

The wooden peg held by the spinner deserves a short description; it
served the purpose of an elongated finger, and was called a driver,
wheel-peg, etc. It was about nine inches long, an inch or so in
diameter; and at about an inch from the end was slightly grooved in
order that it might surely catch the spoke and thus propel the wheel.

It was a good day's work for a quick, active spinner to spin six skeins
of yarn a day. It was estimated that to do that with her quick backward
and forward steps she walked over _twenty miles_.

The yarn might be wound directly upon the wooden spindle as it was spun,
or at the end of the spindle might be placed a spool or broach which
twisted with the revolving spindle, and held the new-spun yarn. This
broach was usually simply a stiff roll of paper, a corn-cob, or a roll
of corn-husk. When the ball of yarn was as large as the broach would
hold, the spinner placed wooden pegs in certain holes in the spokes of
her spinning-wheel and tied the end of the yarn to one peg. Then she
took off the belt of her wheel and whirred the big wheel swiftly round,
thus winding the yarn on the pegs into hanks or clews two yards in
circumference, which were afterwards tied with a loop of yarn into knots
of forty threads; while seven of these knots made a skein. The
clock-reel was used for winding yarn, also a triple reel.

The yarn might be wound from the spindle into skeins in another way,--by
using a hand-reel, an implement which really did exist in every
farmhouse, though the dictionaries are ignorant of it, as they are of
its universal folk-name, niddy-noddy. This is fortunately preserved in
an every-day domestic riddle:--

    "Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy,
    Two heads and one body."

The three pieces of these niddy-noddys were set together at curious
angles, and are here shown rather than described in words. Holding the
reel in the left hand by seizing the central "body" or rod, the yarn was
wound from end to end of the reel, by an odd, waving, wobbling motion,
into knots and skeins of the same size as by the first process
described. One of these niddy-noddys was owned by Nabby Marshall of
Deerfield, who lived to be one hundred and four years old. The other
was brought from Ireland in 1733 by Hugh Maxwell, father of the
Revolutionary patriot Colonel Maxwell. As it was at a time of English
prohibitions and restrictions of American manufactures, this
niddy-noddy, as an accessory and promoter of colonial wool manufacture,
was smuggled into the country.

Sometimes the woollen yarn was spun twice; especially if a close,
hard-twisted thread was desired, to be woven into a stiff, wiry cloth.
When there were two, the first spinning was called a roving. The single
spinning was usually deemed sufficient to furnish yarn for knitting,
where softness and warmth were the desired requisites.

It was the pride of a good spinster to spin the finest yarn, and one
Mistress Mary Prigge spun a pound of wool into fifty hanks of
eighty-four thousand yards; in all, nearly forty-eight miles. If the
yarn was to be knitted, it had to be washed and cleansed. The wife of
Colonel John May, a prominent man in Boston, wrote in her diary for one
day:--

     "A large kettle of yarn to attend upon. Lucretia and self rinse,
     scour through many waters, get out, dry, attend to, bring in, do up
     and sort 110 score of yarn; this with baking and ironing. Then went
     to hackling flax."

It should be remembered that all those bleaching processes, the wringing
out and rinsing in various waters, were far more wearisome then than
they would be to-day, for the water had to be carried laboriously in
pails and buckets, and drawn with pumps and well-sweeps; there were no
pipes and conduits. Happy the household that had a running brook near
the kitchen door.

Of course all these operations and manipulations usually occupied many
weeks and months, but they could be accomplished in a much shorter time.
When President Nott of Union College, and his brother Samuel, the famous
preacher, were boys on a stony farm in Connecticut, one of the brothers
needed a new suit of clothes, and as the father was sick there was
neither money nor wool in the house. The mother sheared some half-grown
fleece from her sheep, and in less than a week the boy wore it as
clothing. The shivering and generous sheep were protected by wrappings
of braided straw. During the Revolution, it is said that in a day and a
night a mother and her daughters in Townsend, Massachusetts, sheared a
black and a white sheep, carded from the fleece a gray wool, spun, wove,
cut and made a suit of clothes for a boy to wear off to fight for
liberty.

The wool industry easily furnished home occupation to an entire family.
Often by the bright firelight in the early evening every member of the
household might be seen at work on the various stages of wool
manufacture or some of its necessary adjuncts, and varied and cheerful
industrial sounds fill the room. The old grandmother, at light and easy
work, is carding the wool into fleecy rolls, seated next the fire; for,
as the ballad says, "she was old and saw right dimly." The mother,
stepping as lightly as one of her girls, spins the rolls into woollen
yarn on the great wheel. The oldest daughter sits at the clock-reel,
whose continuous buzz and occasional click mingles with the humming rise
and fall of the wool-wheel, and the irritating scratch, scratch, of the
cards. A little girl at a small wheel is filling quills with woollen
yarn for the loom, not a skilled work; the irregular sound shows her
intermittent industry. The father is setting fresh teeth in a wool-card,
while the boys are whittling hand-reels and loom-spools.

One of the household implements used in wool manufacture, the wool-card,
deserves a short special history as well as a description. In early days
the leather back of the wool-card was pierced with an awl by hand; the
wire teeth were cut off from a length of wire, were slightly bent, and
set and clinched one by one. These cards were laboriously made by many
persons at home, for their household use. As early as 1667 wire was made
in Massachusetts; and its chief use was for wool-cards. By
Revolutionary times it was realized that the use of wool-cards was
almost the mainspring of the wool industry, and £100 bounty was offered
by Massachusetts for card-wire made in the state from iron mined in what
they called then the "United American States." In 1784 a machine was
invented by an American which would cut and bend thirty-six thousand
wire teeth an hour. Another machine pierced the leather backs. This gave
a new employment to women and children at home and some spending-money.
They would get boxes of the bent wire teeth and bundles of the leather
backs from the factories and would set the teeth in the backs while
sitting around the open fire in the evening. They did this work, too,
while visiting--spending an afternoon; and it was an unconscious and
diverting work like knitting; scholars set wool-cards while studying,
and schoolmistresses while teaching. This method of manufacture was
superseded fifteen years later by a machine invented by Amos Whittemore,
which held, cut, and pierced the leather, drew the wire from a reel, cut
and bent a looped tooth, set it, bent it, fastened the leather on the
back, and speedily turned out a fully made card. John Randolph said this
machine had everything but an immortal soul. By this time spinning and
weaving machinery began to crowd out home work, and the machine-made
cards were needed to keep up with the increased demand. At last machines
crowded into every department of cloth manufacture; and after
carding-machines were invented in England--great rollers set with
card-teeth--they were set up in many mills throughout the United States.

Families soon sent all their wool to these mills to be carded even when
it was spun and woven at home. It was sent rolled up in a homespun sheet
or blanket pinned with thorns; and the carded rolls ready for spinning
were brought home in the same way, and made a still bigger bundle which
was light in weight for its size. Sometimes a red-cheeked farmer's lass
would be seen riding home from the carding-mill, through New England
woods or along New England lanes, with a bundle of carded wool towering
up behind her bigger than her horse.

Of the use and manufacture of cotton I will speak very shortly. Our
greatest, cheapest, most indispensable fibre is also our latest one. It
never formed one of the homespun industries of the colonies; in fact, it
was never an article of extended domestic manufacture.

A little cotton was always used in early days for stuffing bedquilts,
petticoats, warriors' armor, and similar purposes. It was bought by the
pound, East India cotton, in small quantities; the seeds were picked
out one by one, by hand; it was carded on wool-cards, and spun into a
rather intractable yarn which was used as warp for linsey-woolsey and
rag carpets. Even in England no cotton weft, no all-cotton fabrics, were
made till after 1760, till Hargreave's time. Sometimes a twisted yarn
was made of one thread of cotton and one of wool which was knit into
durable stockings. Cotton sewing-thread was unknown in England.
Pawtucket women named Wilkinson made the first cotton thread on their
home spinning-wheels in 1792.

Cotton was planted in America, Bancroft says, in 1621, but MacMaster
asserts it was never seen growing here till after the Revolution save as
a garden ornament with garden flowers. This assertion seems oversweeping
when Jefferson could write in a letter in 1786:--

     "The four southermost States make a great deal of cotton. Their
     poor are almost entirely clothed with it in winter and summer. In
     winter they wear shirts of it and outer clothing of cotton and wool
     mixed. In summer their shirts are linen, but the outer clothing
     cotton. The dress of the women is almost entirely of cotton,
     manufactured by themselves, except the richer class, and even many
     of these wear a great deal of homespun cotton. It is as well
     manufactured as the calicoes of Europe."

Still cotton was certainly not a staple of consequence. We were the last
to enter the list of cotton-producing countries and we have surpassed
them all.

The difficulty of removing the seeds from the staple practically thrust
cotton out of common use. In India a primitive and cumbersome set of
rollers called a churka partially cleaned India cotton. A Yankee
schoolmaster, Eli Whitney, set King Cotton on a throne by his invention
of the cotton-gin in 1792. This comparatively simple but inestimable
invention completely revolutionized cloth manufacture in England and
America. It also changed general commerce, industrial development, and
the social and economic order of things, for it gave new occupations and
offered new modes of life to hundreds of thousands of persons. It
entirely changed and cheapened our dress, and altered rural life both in
the North and South.

A man could, by hand-picking, clean only about a pound of cotton a day.
The cotton-gin cleaned as much in a day as had taken the hand-picker a
year to accomplish. Cotton was at once planted in vast amounts; but it
certainly was not plentiful till then. Whitney had never seen cotton nor
cotton seed when he began to plan his invention; nor did he, even in
Savannah, find cotton to experiment with until after considerable
search.

After the universal manufacture and use of the cotton-gin, negro women
wove cotton in Southern houses, sometimes spinning their own cotton
thread; more frequently buying it mill-spun. But, after all, this was in
too small amounts to be of importance; it needed the spinning-jennies
and power-looms of vast mills to use up the profuse supply afforded by
the gin.

A very interesting account of the domestic manufacture of cotton in
Tennessee about the year 1850 was written for me by Mrs. James Stuart
Pilcher, State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution in
Tennessee. A portion of her pleasant story reads:--

     "There were two looms in the loom-room, and two negro women were
     kept busy all the time weaving; there were eight or ten others who
     did nothing but spin cotton and woollen thread; others spooled and
     reeled it into hanks. The spinning was all done on the large wheel,
     from the raw cotton; a corn-shuck was wrapped tightly around the
     steel spindle, then the thread was run and spun on this shuck until
     it was full; then these were reeled off into hanks of thread, then
     spooled on to corn-cobs with holes burned through them. These were
     placed in an upright frame, with long slender rods of hickory wood
     something like a ramrod run through them. The frame held about one
     hundred of these cob-spools; the end of the cotton thread from
     each spool was gathered up by an experienced warper who carried all
     the threads back and forth on the large warping-bars; this was a
     difficult task; only the brightest negro women were warpers. The
     thread had been dyed before spooling and the vari-colored
     cob-spools could be arranged to make stripes lengthwise of the
     cloth; and the hanks had also been dipped in a boiling-hot sizing
     made of meal and water. The warp-threads were carefully taken from
     the bars and rolled upon the wooden beam of the loom, the ends
     passed through the sley and tied. The weaver then began her work.
     The thread for the filling (called the woof by the negroes) was
     reeled from the hank on the winding-blades, upon small canes about
     four inches long which, when full, were placed in the wooden
     shuttles. These women spun and wove all the clothing worn by the
     negroes on the plantation; cotton cloth for women and men in the
     summer time; and jeans for the men; linsey-woolsey for the women
     and children for winter. All were well clothed. The women taught us
     to spin, but the weavers were cross and would not let us touch the
     loom, for they said we broke the threads in the warp. My
     grandmother never interfered with them when they were careful in
     their work. We would say, 'Please make Aunt Rhody let me weave!'
     She answered, 'No, she is managing the loom; if she is willing,
     very well; if not, you must not worry her.' We thought it great fun
     to try to weave, but generally had to pay Aunt Rhody for our
     meddling by giving her cake, ribbons, or candy."

The colonists were constantly trying to find new materials for spinning,
and also used many makeshifts. Parkman, in his _Old Régime_, tells that
in the year 1704, when a ship was lost that was to bring cloth and wool
to Quebec, a Madame de Rèpentigny, one of the aristocrats of the
French-Canadian colony, spun and wove coarse blankets of nettle and
linden bark. Similar experiments were made by the English colonists.
Coarse thread was spun out of nettle-fibre by pioneers in western New
York. Levi Beardsley, in his _Reminiscences_, tells of his mother at the
close of the last century, in her frontier home at Richfield Springs,
weaving bags and coarse garments from the nettles which grew so rankly
everywhere in that vicinity. Deer hair and even cow's hair was collected
from the tanners, spun with some wool, and woven into a sort of felted
blanket.

Silk-grass, a much-vaunted product, was sent back to England on the
first ships and was everywhere being experimented with. Coarse wicking
was spun from the down of the milkweed--an airy, feathery material that
always looks as if it ought to be put to many uses, yet never has seemed
of much account in any trial that has been made of it.



CHAPTER X

HAND-WEAVING


Any one who passed through a New England village on a week day a century
ago, or rode up to the door of a Pennsylvania or Virginia house, would
probably be greeted with a heavy thwack-thwack from within doors, a
regular sound which would readily be recognized by every one at that
time as proceeding from weaving on a hand-loom. The presence of these
looms was, perhaps, not so universal in every house as that of their
homespun companions, the great and little wheels, for they required more
room; but they were found in every house of any considerable size, and
in many also where they seemed to fill half the building. Many
households had a loom-room, usually in an ell part of the house; others
used an attic or a shed-loft as a weaving-room. Every farmer's daughter
knew how to weave as well as to spin, yet it was not recognized as
wholly woman's work as was spinning; for there was a trade of
hand-weaving for men, to which they were apprenticed. Every town had
professional weavers. They were a universally respected class, and
became the ancestors of many of the wealthiest and most influential
citizens to-day. They took in yarn and thread to weave on their looms at
their own homes at so much a yard; wove their own yarn into stuffs to
sell; had apprentices to their trade; and also went out working by the
day at their neighbors' houses, sometimes carrying their looms many
miles with them.

Weavers were a universally popular element of the community. The
travelling weaver was, like all other itinerant tradesmen of the day, a
welcome newsmonger; and the weaver who took in weaving was often a
stationary gossip, and gathered inquiring groups in his loom-room; even
children loved to go to his door to beg for bits of colored
yarn--thrums--which they used in their play, and also tightly braided to
wear as shoestrings, hair-laces, etc.

The hand-loom used in the colonies, and occasionally still run in
country towns to-day, is an historic machine, one of great antiquity and
dignity. It is, perhaps, the most absolute bequest of past centuries
which we have had, unchanged, in domestic use till the present time. You
may see a loom like the Yankee one shown here in Giotto's famous fresco
in the Campanile, painted in 1335; another, still the same, in Hogarth's
_Idle Apprentice_, painted just four hundred years later. Many tribes
and nations have hand-looms resembling our own; but these are exactly
like it. Hundreds of thousands of men and women of the generations of
these seven centuries since Giotto's day have woven on just such looms
as our grandparents had in their homes.

This loom consists of a frame of four square timber posts, about seven
feet high, set about as far apart as the posts of a tall four-post
bedstead, and connected at top and bottom by portions of a frame. From
post to post across one end, which may be called the back part of the
loom, is the yarn-beam, about six inches in diameter. Upon it are wound
the warp-threads, which stretch in close parallels from it to the
cloth-beam at the front of the loom. The cloth-beam is about ten inches
in diameter, and the cloth is wound as the weaving proceeds.

The yarn-beam or yarn-roll or warp-beam was ever a very important part
of the loom. It should be made of close-grained, well-seasoned wood. The
iron axle should be driven in before the beam is turned. If the beam is
ill-turned and irregular in shape, no even, perfect woof can come from
it. The slightest variation in its dimensions makes the warp run off
unevenly, and the web never "sets" well, but has some loose threads.

We have seen the homespun yarn, whether linen or woollen, left in
carefully knotted skeins after being spun and cleaned, bleached, or
dyed. To prepare it for use on the loom a skein is placed on the swift,
an ingenious machine, a revolving cylindrical frame made of strips of
wood arranged on the principle of the lazy-tongs so the size can be
increased or diminished at pleasure, and thus take on and hold firmly
any sized skein of yarn. This cylinder is supported on a centre shaft
that revolves in a socket, and may be set in a heavy block on the floor
or fastened to a table or chair. A lightly made, carved swift was a
frequent lover's gift. I have a beautiful one of whale-ivory,
mother-of-pearl, and fine white bone which was made on a three years'
whaling voyage by a Nantucket sea-captain as a gift to his waiting
bride; it has over two hundred strips of fine white carved bone. Both
quills for the weft and spools for the warp may be wound from the swift
by a quilling-wheel, small wheels of various shapes, some being like a
flax-wheel, but more simple in construction. The quill or bobbin is a
small reed or quill, pierced from end to end, and when wound is set in
the recess of the shuttle.

When the piece is to be set, a large number of shuttles and spools are
filled in advance. The full spools are then placed in a row one above
the other in a spool-holder, sometimes called a skarne or scarne. As I
have not found this word in any dictionary, ancient or modern, its
correct spelling is unknown. Sylvester Judd, in his _Margaret_, spells
it skan. Skean and skayn have also been seen. Though ignored by
lexicographers, it was an article and word in established and universal
use in the colonies. I have seen it in newspaper advertisements of
weavers' materials, and in inventories of weavers' estates, spelled _ad
libitum_; and elderly country folk, both in the North and South, who
remember old-time weaving, know it to-day.

It seems to me impossible to explain clearly in words, though it is
simple enough in execution, the laying of the piece, the orderly placing
the warp on the warp-beam. The warping-bars are entirely detached from
the loom, are an accessory, not a part of it. They are two upright bars
of wood, each holding a number of wooden pins set at right angles to
the bars, and held together by crosspieces. Let forty full spools be
placed in the skarne, one above the other. The free ends of threads from
the spools are gathered in the hand, and fastened to a pin at the top of
the warping-bars. The group of threads then are carried from side to
side of the bars, passing around a pin on one bar, then around a pin on
the opposite bar, to the extreme end; then back again in the same way,
the spools revolving on wires and freely playing out the warp-threads,
till a sufficient length of threads are stretched on the bars. Weavers
of olden days could calculate exactly and skilfully the length of the
threads thus wound. You take off twenty yards of threads if you want to
weave twenty yards of cloth. Forty warp-threads make what was called a
bout or section. A warp of two hundred threads was designated as a warp
of five bouts, and the bars had to be filled five times to set it unless
a larger skarne with more spools was used. From the warping-bars these
bouts are carefully wound on the warp-beam.

Without attempting to explain farther, let us consider the yarn-beam
neatly wound with these warp-threads and set in the loom--that the
"warping" and "beaming" are finished. The "drawing" or "entering" comes
next; the end of each warp-thread in regular order is "thumbed" or drawn
in with a warping-needle through the eye or "mail" of the harness, or
heddle.

The heddle is a row of twines, cords, or wires called leashes, which are
stretched vertically between two horizontal bars or rods, placed about a
foot apart. One rod is suspended by a pulley at the top of the loom; and
to the lower rod is hitched the foot-treadle. In the middle of each
length of twine or wire is the loop or eye, through which a warp-thread
is passed. In ordinary weaving there are two heddles, each fastened to a
foot-treadle.

There is a removable loom attachment which when first shown to me was
called a raddle. It is not necessary in weaving, but a convenience and
help in preparing to weave. It is a wooden bar with a row of closely
set, fine, wooden pegs. This is placed in the loom, and used only during
the setting of the warp to keep the warp of proper width; the pegs keep
the bouts or sections of the warp disentangled during the "thumbing in"
of the threads through the heddle-eyes. This attachment is also called a
ravel or raivel; and folk-names for it (not in the dictionary) were
wrathe and rake; the latter a very good descriptive title.

The warp-threads next are drawn through the interspaces between two
dents or strips of the sley or reed. This is done with a wire hook
called a sley-hook or reed-hook. Two warp-threads are drawn in each
space.

The sley or reed is composed of a row of short and very thin parallel
strips of cane or metal, somewhat like comb-teeth, called dents, fixed
at both ends closely in two long, strong, parallel bars of wood set two
or three or even four inches apart. There may be fifty or sixty of these
dents to one inch, for weaving very fine linen; usually there are about
twenty, which gives a "bier"--a counting out of forty warp-threads to
each inch. Sleys were numbered according to the number of biers they
held. The number of dents to an inch determined the "set of the web,"
the fineness of the piece. This reed is placed in a groove on the lower
edge of a heavy batten (or lay or lathe). This batten hangs by two
swords or side bars and swings from an axle or "rocking tree" at the top
of the loom. As the heavy batten swings on its axle, the reed forces
with a sharp blow every newly placed thread of the weft into its proper
place close to the previously woven part of the texture. This is the
heavy thwacking sound heard in hand-weaving.

On the accurate poise of the batten depends largely the evenness of the
completed woof. If the material is heavy, the batten should be swung
high, thus having a good sweep and much force in its blow. The batten
should be so poised as to swing back itself into place after each blow.

The weaver, with foot on treadle, sits on a narrow, high bench, which is
fastened from post to post of the loom. James Maxwell, the weaver-poet,
wrote under his portrait in his _Weaver's Meditations_, printed in
1756:--

    "Lo! here 'twixt Heaven and Earth I swing,
      And whilst the Shuttle swiftly flies,
    With cheerful heart I work and sing
      And envy none beneath the skies."

There are three motions in hand-weaving. First: by the action of one
foot-treadle one harness or heddle, holding every alternate warp-thread,
is depressed from the level of the entire expanse of warp-threads.

The separation of the warp-threads by this depression of one harness is
called a shed. Some elaborate patterns have six harnesses. In such a
piece there are ten different sheds, or combinations of openings of the
warp-threads. In a four-harness piece there are six different sheds.

Room is made by this shed for the shuttle, which, by the second motion,
is thrown from one side of the loom to the other by the weaver's hand,
and thus goes over every alternate thread. The revolving quill within
the shuttle lets the weft-thread play out during this side-to-side
motion of the shuttle. The shuttle must not be thrown too sharply else
it will rebound and make a slack thread in the weft. By the third motion
the batten crowds this weft-thread into place. Then the motion of the
other foot-treadle forces down the other warp-threads which pass through
the second set of harnesses, the shuttle is thrown back through this
shed, and so on.

In order to show the amount of work, the number of separate motions in a
day's work in weaving of close woollen cloth like broadcloth (which was
only about three yards), we must remember that the shuttle was thrown
over three thousand times, and the treadles pressed down and batten
swung the same number of times.

A simple but clear description of the process of weaving is given in
Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, thus Englished in 1724:--

                        "The piece prepare
    And order every slender thread with care;
    The web enwraps the beam, the reed divides
    While through the widening space the shuttle glides,
    Which their swift hands receive, then poised with lead
    The swinging weight strikes close the inserted thread."

A loom attachment which I puzzled over was a tomble or tumble, the word
being seen in eighteenth-century lists, etc., yet absolutely
untraceable. I at last inferred, and a weaver confirmed my inference,
that it was a corruption of temple, an attachment made of flat, narrow
strips of wood as long as the web is wide, with hooks or pins at the end
to catch into the selvage of the cloth, and keep the cloth stretched
firmly an even width while the reed beats the weft-thread into place.

There were many other simple yet effective attachments to the loom.
Their names have been upon the lips of scores of thousands of
English-speaking people, and the words are used in all treatises on
weaving; yet our dictionaries are dumb and ignorant of their existence.
There was the pace-weight, which kept the warp even; and the bore-staff,
which tightened the warp. When a sufficient length of woof had been
woven (it was usually a few inches), the weaver proceeded to do what was
called drawing a bore or a sink. He shifted the temple forward; rolled
up the cloth on the cloth bar, which had a crank-handle and ratchets;
unwound the warp a few inches, shifted back the rods and heddles, and
started afresh.

Looms and their appurtenances were usually made by local carpenters; and
it can plainly be seen that thus constant work was furnished to many
classes of workmen in every community,--wood-turners, beam-makers,
timber-sawyers, and others. The various parts of the looms were in
unceasing demand, though apparently they never wore out. The sley was
the most delicate part of the mechanism. Good sley-makers could always
command high prices for their sleys. I have seen one whole and good,
which has been in general use for weaving rag carpets ever since the War
of 1812, for which a silver dollar was paid. Spools were turned and
marked with the maker's initials. There were choice and inexplicable
lines in the shape of a shuttle as there are in a boat's hull. When a
shuttle was carefully shaped, scraped, hollowed out, tipped with steel,
and had the maker's initials burnt in it, it was a proper piece of
work, of which any craftsman might be proud. Apple-wood and boxwood were
the choice for shuttles.

Smaller looms, called tape-looms, braid-looms, belt-looms, garter-looms,
or "gallus-frames," were seen in many American homes, and useful they
were in days when linen, cotton, woollen, or silk tapes, bobbins, and
webbings or ribbons were not common and cheap as to-day. Narrow bands
such as tapes, none-so-pretty's, ribbons, caddises, ferretings,
inkles, were woven on these looms for use for garters, points,
glove-ties, hair-laces, shoestrings, belts, hat-bands, stay-laces,
breeches-suspenders, etc.

These tape-looms are a truly ancient form of appliance for the
hand-weaving of narrow bands,--a heddle-frame. They are rudely primitive
in shape, but besides serving well the colonists in all our original
states, are still in use among the Indian tribes in New Mexico and in
Lapland, Italy, and northern Germany. They are scarcely more than a
slightly shaped board so cut in slits that the centre of the board is a
row of narrow slats. These slats are pierced in a row by means of a
heated wire and the warp-threads are passed through the holes.

A common form of braid-loom was one that was laid upon a table. A still
simpler form was held upright on the lap, the knees being firmly
pressed into semicircular indentations cut for the purpose on either
side of the board which formed the lower part of the loom. The top of
the loom was steadied by being tied with a band to the top of a chair,
or a hook in the wall. It was such light and pretty work that it seemed
merely an industrial amusement, and girls carried their tape-looms to a
neighbor's house for an afternoon's work, just as they did their
knitting-needles and ball of yarn. A fringe-loom might also be
occasionally found, for weaving decorative fringes; these were more
common in the Hudson River valley than elsewhere.

I have purposely given minute, but I trust not tiresome, details of the
operation of weaving on a hand-loom, because a few years more will see
the last of those who know the operation and the terms used. The fact
that so many terms are now obsolete proves how quickly disuse brings
oblivion. When in a country crowded full of weavers, as was England
until about 1845, the knowledge has so suddenly disappeared, need we
hope for much greater memory or longer life here? When what is termed
the Westmoreland Revival of domestic industries was begun eight or ten
years ago, the greatest difficulty was found in obtaining a hand-loom.
No one knew how to set it up, and it was a long time before a weaver
could be found to run it and teach others its use.

The first half of this century witnessed a vital struggle in England,
and to an extent in America, between hand and power machinery, and an
interesting race between spinning and weaving. Under old-time conditions
it was calculated that it took the work of four spinners, who spun
swiftly and constantly, to supply one weaver. As spinning was ever what
was known as a by-industry,--that is, one that chiefly was done by being
caught up at odd moments,--the supply both in England and America did
not equal the weavers' demands, and ten spinners had to be calculated to
supply yarn for one weaver. Hence weavers never had to work very hard;
as a rule, they could have one holiday in the week. What with Sundays,
wakes, and fairs, Irish weavers worked only two hundred days in the
year. In England the weaver often had to spend one day out of the six
hunting around the country for yarn for weft. So inventive wits were set
at work to enlarge the supply of yarn, and spinning machinery was the
result. Thereafter the looms and weavers were pushed hard and had to
turn to invention. The shuttle had always simply been passed from one
hand to the other of the weaver on either side of the web. The
fly-shuttle was now invented, which by a simple piece of machinery,
worked by one hand, threw the shuttle swiftly backward and forward, and
the loom was ahead in the race. Then came the spinning-jenny, which spun
yarn with a hundred spindles on each machine. But this was for weft
yarns, and did not make strong warps. Finally Arkwright supplied this
lack in water-twist or "throstle-spun" yarn. All these inventions again
overcrowded the weavers; all attempts at hand-spinning of cotton had
become quickly extinct. Wool-spinning lingered longer. Five Tomlinson
sisters,--the youngest forty years old,--with two pair of wool-cards and
five hand-wheels, paid the rent of their farm, kept three cows, one
horse, had a ploughed field, and made prime butter and eggs. One sister
clung to her spinning till 1822. Power-looms were invented to try to use
up the jenny's supply of yarn, but these did not crowd out hand-looms.
Weavers never had so good wages. It was the Golden Age of Cotton. Some
families earned six pounds a week; good clothes, even to the extent of
ruffled shirts, good furniture, even to silver spoons, good food,
plentiful ale and beer, entered every English cottage with the weaving
of cotton and wool. A far more revolutionary and more hated machine than
the power-loom was the combing-machine called Big Ben.

    "Come all ye Master Combers, and hear of our Big Ben.
    He'll comb more wool than fifty of your men
    With their hand-combs, and comb-pots, and such old-fashioned way."

Flax-spinning and linen-weaving by power machinery were slower in being
established. Englishmen were halting in perfecting these machines.
Napoleon offered in 1810 a million francs for a flax-spinning machine. A
clever Frenchman claimed to have invented one in response in a single
day, but similar clumsy machines had then been running in England for
twenty years. By 1850 men, women, and children--combers, spinners, and
weavers--were no longer individual workers; they had become part of that
great monster, the mill-machinery. Riots and misery were the first
result of the passing of hand weaving and spinning.

In the _Vision of Piers Ploughman_ (1360) are these lines:--

    "Cloth that cometh fro the wevyng
    Is nought comly to were
    Till it be fulled under foot
    Or in fullyng stokkes
    Wasshen wel with water
    And with taseles cracched,
    Y-touked and y-tented
    And under taillours hande."

Just so in the colonies four centuries later, cloth that came from the
weaving was not comely to wear till it was fulled under foot or in
fulling-stocks, washed well in water, scratched and dressed with
teazels, dyed and tented, and put in the tailor's hands. Nor did the
roll of centuries bring a change in the manner of proceeding. If grease
had been put on the wool when it was carded, or sizing in the warp for
the weaving, it was washed out by good rinsing from the woven cloth.
This became now somewhat uneven and irregular in appearance, and full of
knots and fuzzes which were picked out with hand-tweezers by burlers
before it was fulled or milled, as it was sometimes called. The
fulling-stocks were a trough in which an enormous oaken hammer was made
to pound up and down, while the cloth was kept thoroughly wet with warm
soap and water, or fullers' earth and water. Naturally this thickened
the web much and reduced it in length. It was then teazelled; that is, a
nap or rough surface was raised all over it by scratching it with
weavers' teazels or thistles. Many wire brushes and metal substitutes
have been tried to take the place of nature's gift to the cloth-worker,
the teazel, but nothing has been invented to replace with full
satisfaction that wonderful scratcher. For the slender recurved bracts
of the teazel heads are stiff and prickly enough to roughen thoroughly
the nap of the cloth, yet they yield at precisely the right point to
keep from injuring the fabric.

If the cloth were to be "y-touked," that is, dyed, it was done at this
period, and it was then "y-tented," spread on the tenter-field and
caught on tenter-hooks, to shrink and dry.

Nowadays, we sometimes cut or crop the nap with long shears, and boil
the web to give it a lustre, and ink it to color any ill-dyed fibres,
and press it between hot plates before it goes to the tailor's hands;
but these injurious processes were omitted in olden times. Worsted
stuffs were not fulled, but were woven of hand-combed wool.

Linen webs after they were woven had even more manipulations to come to
them than woollen stuffs. In spite of all the bleaching of the linen
thread, it still was light brown in color, and it had to go through at
least twoscore other processes, of bucking, possing, rinsing, drying,
and bleaching on the grass. Sometimes it was stretched out on pegs with
loops sewed on the selvage edge. This bleaching was called crofting in
England, and grassing in America. Often it was thus spread on the grass
for weeks, and was slightly wetted several times a day; but not too wet,
else it would mildew. In all, over forty bleaching operations were
employed upon "light linens." Sometimes they were "soured" in buttermilk
to make them purely white. Thus at least sixteen months had passed since
the flaxseed had been sown, in which, truly, the spinster had not eaten
the bread of idleness. In the winter months the fine, white, strong
linen was made into "board cloths" or tablecloths, sheets, pillow-biers,
aprons, shifts, shirts, petticoats, short gowns, gloves, cut from the
spinner's own glove pattern, and a score of articles for household use.
These were carefully marked, and sometimes embroidered with home-dyed
crewels, as were also splendid sets of bed-hangings, valances, and
testers for four-post bedsteads.

The homespun linens that were thus spun and woven and bleached were one
of the most beautiful expressions and types of old-time home life. Firm,
close-woven, and pure, their designs were not greatly varied, nor was
their woof as symmetrical and perfect as modern linens--but thus were
the lives of those who made them; firm, close-woven in neighborly
kindness, with the simplicity both of innocence and ignorance; their
days had little variety, and life was not altogether easy, and, like the
web they wove, it was sometimes narrow. I am always touched when
handling these homespun linens with a consciousness of nearness to the
makers; with a sense of the energy and strength of those enduring women
who were so full of vitality, of unceasing action, that it does not seem
to me they can be dead.

The strong, firm linen woven in many struggling country homes was too
valuable and too readily exchangeable and salable to be kept wholly for
farm use, especially when there were so few salable articles produced on
the farm. It was sold or more frequently exchanged at the village store
for any desired commodity, such as calico, salt, sugar, spices, or tea.
It readily sold for forty-two cents a yard. Therefore the boys and even
the fathers did not always have linen shirts to wear. From the tow
which had been hatchelled out from harl a coarse thread was spun and
cloth was woven which was made chiefly into shirts and smocks and tow
"tongs" or "skilts," which were loose flapping summer trousers which
ended almost half-way from the knee to the ankle. This tow stuff was
never free from prickling spines, and it proved, so tradition states, an
absolute instrument of torture to the wearer, until frequent washings
had worn it out and thus subdued its knots and spines.

A universal stuff woven in New Hampshire by the Scotch-Irish
linen-weavers who settled there, and who influenced husbandry and
domestic manufactures and customs all around them, was what was known as
striped frocking. It was worn also to a considerable extent in
Connecticut and Massachusetts. The warp was strong white cotton or tow
thread, the weft of blue and white stripes made by weaving alternately a
shuttleful of indigo-dyed homespun yarn and one of white wool or tow.
Many boys grew to manhood never wearing, except on Sundays, any kind of
coat save a long, loose, shapeless jacket or smock of this striped
frocking, known everywhere as a long-short. The history of the old town
of Charmingfare tells of the farmers in that vicinity tying tight the
two corners of this long-short at the waist and thus making a sort of
loose bag in which various articles could be carried. Sylvester Judd, in
his _Margaret_, the classic of old New England life, has his country
women dressed also in long-shorts, and tells of the same fabric.

Another material which was universal in country districts had a flax or
tow warp, and a coarser slack-twisted cotton or tow filling. This cloth
was dyed and pressed and was called fustian. It was worth a shilling a
yard in 1640. It was named in the earliest colonial accounts, and was in
truth the ancient fustian, worn throughout Europe in the Middle Ages for
monks' robes and laborers' dress, not the stuff to-day called fustian.
We read in _The Squier of Low Degree_, "Your blanketts shall be of
fustayne."

Another coarse cloth made in New England, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and
the Carolinas was crocus. The stuff is obsolete and the name is
forgotten save in a folk-saying which lingers in Virginia--"as coarse as
crocus." Homespun stuff for the wear of negroes was known and sold as
"Virginia cloth." Vast quantities of homespun cloth was made on
Virginian plantations, thousands of yards annually at Mount Vernon for
slave-wear, and for the house-mistress as well.

It is told of Martha Washington that she always carefully dyed all her
worn silk gowns and silk scraps to a desired shade, ravelled them with
care, wound them on bobbins, and had them woven into chair and
cushion covers. Sometimes she changed the order of things. To a group of
visitors she at one time displayed a dress of red and white striped
material of which the white stripes were cotton, and the red, ravelled
chair covers and silk from the General's worn-out stockings.

Checked linen, with bars of red or blue, was much used for bedticks,
pillow-cases, towelling, aprons, and even shirts and summer trousers. In
all the Dutch communities in New York it was woven till this century.
When Benjamin Tappan first attended meeting in Northampton,
Massachusetts, in 1769, he was surprised to find that all the men in the
church but four or five wore checked shirts. Worcester County men always
wore white shirts, and deemed a checked shirt the mark of a Connecticut
River man.

It is impossible to overestimate the durability of homespun materials. I
have "flannel sheets" a hundred years old, the lightest, most healthful,
and agreeable summer covering for children's beds that ever any one was
blessed with. Cradle sheets of this thin, closely woven, white worsted
stuff are not slimsy like thin flannel, yet are softer than flannel.
Years of use with many generations of children have left them firm and
white.

Grain-bags have been seen that have been in constant and hard use for
seventy years, homespun from coarse flax and hemp. I have several
delightful bags about four feet long and two feet wide, of rather
closely woven pure white homespun linen, not as heavy, however, as
crash. They have the date of their manufacture, 1789, and the initials
of the weaver, and have linen tapes woven in at each side. They are used
every spring--packed with furs and blankets and placed in cedar chests,
and with such usage will easily round out another century.

The product of these hand-looms which has lingered longest in country
use, especially in the Northern states, and which is the sole product of
all the hand-looms that I know to be set up and in use in New England
(except one notable example to which I will refer hereafter), is the rag
carpet. It is still in constant demand and esteem on farms and in small
villages and towns, and is an economical and thrifty, and may be a
comely floor-covering. The accompanying illustration of a woman weaving
rag carpet on an old hand-loom is from a fine photograph taken by Mrs.
Arthur Sewall of Bath, Maine, and gives an excellent presentment of the
machine and the process.

The warp of these carpets was, in olden times, a strong, heavy flaxen
thread. To-day it is a heavy cotton twine bought machine-spun in balls
or hanks. The weft or rilling is narrow strips of all the clean and
vari-colored rags that accumulate in a household.

The preparing of this filling requires considerable judgment. Heavy
woollen cloth should be cut in strips about half an inch wide. If there
were sewn with these strips of light cotton stuff of equal width, the
carpet would prove a poor thing, heavy in spots and slimsy in others.
Hence lighter stuffs should be cut in wider strips, as they can then be
crowded down by the batten of the loom to the same width and substance
as the heavy wools. Calicoes, cottons, all-wool delaines, and lining
cambrics should be cut in strips at least an inch wide. These strips, of
whatever length they chance to be, are sewn into one continuous strip,
which is rolled into a hard ball weighing about a pound and a quarter.
It is calculated that one of these balls will weave about a yard of
carpeting. The joining must be strongly and neatly done and should not
be bunchy. An aged weaver who had woven many thousand yards of carpeting
assured me the prettiest carpets were always those in which every
alternate strip was white or very light in color. Another thrifty way of
using old material is the cutting into inch-wide strips of woven ingrain
or three-ply carpet. This, through the cotton warp, makes a really
artistic monochrome floor-covering.

In one of the most romantic and beautiful spots in old Narragansett
lives the last of the old-time weavers; not a weaver who desultorily
weaves a run of rag carpeting to earn a little money in the intervals of
other work, or to please some importunate woman-neighbor who has saved
up her rags; but a weaver whose lifelong occupation, whose only means of
livelihood, has always been, and is still, hand-weaving. I have told his
story at some length in my book, _Old Narragansett_,--of his kin, his
life, his work. His home is at the cross-roads where three townships
meet, a cross-roads where has often taken place that curious and
senseless survival of old-time tradition and superstition--shift
marriages. A widow, a cousin of the Weaver Rose's father, was the last
to undergo this ordeal; clad only in her shift, she thrice crossed the
King's Highway and was thus married to avoid payment of her first
husband's debts. It is not far from the old Church Foundation of St.
Paul's of Narragansett, and the tumble-down house of Sexton Martin Read,
the prince of Narragansett weavers in ante-Revolutionary days. Weaver
Rose learned to weave from his grandfather, who was an apprentice of
Weaver Read.

In the loom-room of Weaver Rose a veritable atmosphere of the past still
lingers. Everything appertaining to the manufacture of homespun
materials may there be found. Wheels, skarnes, sleys, warping-bars,
clock-reels, swifts, quilling-wheels, vast bales of yarns and
thread--for he no longer spins his thread and yarn. There are piles of
old and new bed coverlets woven in those fanciful geometric designs,
which are just as the ancient Gauls wove them in the Bronze Age, and
which formed a favorite bed-covering of our ancestors, and of country
folk to-day. These coverlets the weaver calls by the good old English
name of hap-harlot, a name now obsolete in England, which I have never
seen used in text of later date than Holinshead's _Survey of London_,
written four hundred years ago. His manuscript pattern-book is over a
hundred years old, and has the rules for setting the harnesses. They
bear many pretty and odd names, such as "Rosy Walk," "Baltimore
Beauty," "Girl's Love," "Queen's Fancy," "Devil's Fancy," "Everybody's
Beauty," "Four Snow Balls," "Five Snow Balls," "Bricks and Blocks,"
"Gardener's Note," "Green Vails," "Rose in Bloom," "Pansies and Roses in
the Wilderness," "Flag-Work," "Royal Beauty," "Indian March," "Troy's
Beauty," "Primrose and Diamonds," "Crown and Diamonds," "Jay's Fancy,"
"In Summer and Winter," "Boston Beauty," and "Indian War." One named
"Bony Part's March" was very pretty, as was "Orange Peel," and "Orange
Trees"; "Dog Tracks" was even checkerwork, "Blazing Star," a
herring-bone design. "Perry's Victory" and "Lady Washington's Delight"
show probably the date of their invention, and were handsome designs,
while the "Whig Rose from Georgia," which had been given to the weaver
by an old lady a hundred years old, had proved a poor and ugly thing.
"Kapa's Diaper" was a complicated design which took "five harnesses" to
make. "Rattlesnake's Trail," "Wheels of Fancy," "Chariot Wheels and
Church Windows," and "Bachelor's Fancy" were all exceptionally fine
designs.

Sometimes extremely elaborate patterns were woven in earlier days. An
exquisitely woven coverlet as fine as linen sheeting, a corner of which
is here shown, has an elaborate border of patriotic and Masonic
emblems, patriotic inscriptions, and the name of the maker, a Red Hook,
Hudson valley, dame of a century ago, who wove this beautiful bedspread
as the crowning treasure of her bridal outfit. The "setting-up" of such
a design as this is entirely beyond my skill as a weaver to explain or
even comprehend. But it is evident that the border must have been woven
by taking up a single warp-thread at a time, with a wire needle, not by
passing a shuttle, as it is far too complicated and varied for any
treadle-harness to be able to make a shed for a shuttle.

Hand-weaving in Weaver Rose's loom-room to-day is much simplified in
many of its preparatory details by the employment of machine-made
materials. The shuttles and spools are made by machinery; and more
important still, both warp and weft is purchased ready-spun from mills.
The warp is simply a stout cotton twine or coarse thread bought in balls
or hanks; while various cheap mill-yarns or what is known as worsteds or
coarse crewels are used as filling. These, of course, are cheap, but
alas! are dyed with fleeting or garish aniline dyes. No new blue yarn
can equal either in color or durability the old indigo-dyed, homespun,
hard-twisted yarn made on a spinning-wheel. Germantown, early in the
field in American wool manufacture, still supplies nearly all the yarn
for his hand-looms.

The transition half a century or more ago from what Horace Bushnell
called "mother and daughter power to water and steam power," was a
complete revolution in domestic life, and indeed of social manners as
well. When a people spin and weave and make their own dress, you have in
this very fact the assurance that they are home-bred, home-living,
home-loving people. You are sure, also, that the lives of the women are
home-centred. The chief cause for women's intercourse with any of the
outside world except neighborly acquaintance, her chief knowledge of
trade and exchange, is in shopping, dressmaking, etc. These causes
scarcely existed in country communities a century ago. The daughters who
in our days of factories leave the farm for the cotton-mill, where they
perform but one of the many operations in cloth manufacture, can never
be as good home-makers or as helpful mates as the homespun girls of our
grandmothers' days; nor can they be such co-workers in great public
movements.

In the summer of 1775, when all the preparations for the War of the
Revolution were in a most unsettled and depressing condition, especially
the supplies for the Continental army, the Provincial Congress made a
demand on the people for thirteen thousand warm coats to be ready for
the soldiers by cold weather. There were no great contractors then as
now to supply the cloth and make the garments, but by hundreds of
hearthstones throughout the country wool-wheels and hand-looms were
started eagerly at work, and the order was filled by the handiwork of
patriotic American women. In the record book of some New England towns
may still be found the lists of the coat-makers. In the inside of each
coat was sewed the name of the town and the maker. Every soldier
volunteering for eight months' service was given one of these homespun,
home-made, all-wool coats as a bounty. So highly were these "Bounty
Coats" prized, that the heirs of soldiers who were killed at Bunker Hill
before receiving their coats were given a sum of money instead. The list
of names of soldiers who then enlisted is known to this day as the "Coat
Roll," and the names of the women who made the coats might form another
roll of honor. The English sneeringly called Washington's army the
"Homespuns." It was a truthful nickname, but there was deeper power in
the title than the English scoffers knew.

The starting up of power-looms and the wonderful growth of woollen
manufacture did not crowd out homespun as speedily in America as in
England. When the poet Whittier set out from the Quaker farmhouse to go
to Boston to seek his fortune, he wore a homespun suit every part of
which, even the horn buttons, was of domestic manufacture. Many a man
born since Whittier has grown to manhood clothed for every-day wear
wholly with homespun; and many a boy is living who was sent to college
dressed wholly in a "full-cloth" suit, with horn buttons or buttons made
of discs of heavy leather.

During the Civil War spinning and weaving were revived arts in the
Confederate cities; and, as ever in earlier days, proved a most valuable
economic resource under restricted conditions. In the home of a friend
in Charleston, South Carolina, an old, worm-eaten loom was found in a
garret where it had lain since the embargo in 1812. It was set up in
1863, and plantation carpenters made many like it for neighbors and
fellow-citizens. All women in the mountain districts knew how to use the
loom, and taught weaving to many others, both white and black. A portion
of the warp, which was cotton, was spun at home; more was bought from a
cotton-factory. My friend sacrificed a great number of excellent
wool-mattresses; this wool was spun into yarn and used for weft, and
formed a most grateful and dignified addition to the varied, grotesque,
and interesting makeshifts of the wardrobe of the Southern Confederacy.

Though weaving on hand-looms in our Northern and Middle states is
practically extinct, save as to the weaving of rag carpets (and that
only in few communities), in the South all is different. In all the
mountain and remote regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, the
Carolinas, and I doubt not in Alabama, both among the white and negro
mountain-dwellers, hand-weaving is still a household art. The
descendants of the Acadians in Louisiana still weave and wear homespun.
The missions in the mountains encourage spinning and weaving; and it is
pleasant to learn that many women not only pursue these handicrafts for
their home use, but some secure a good living by hand-weaving, earning
ten cents a yard in weaving rag carpets. The coverlet patterns resemble
the ones already described. Names from Waynesville, North Carolina, are
"Washington's Diamond Ring," "Nine Chariot Wheels"; from Pinehurst come
"Flowery Vine," "Double Table," "Cat Track," "Snow Ball and Dew Drop,"
"Snake Shed," "Flowers in the Mountains." At Pinehurst the old settlers,
of sturdy Scotch stock, all weave. They make cloth, all cotton; cloth of
cotton warp and wool filling called drugget; dimity, a heavy cotton used
for coverlets; a yarn jean which has wool warp and filling, and cotton
jean which is cotton warp and wool filling; homespun is a heavy cloth,
of cotton and wool mixed. All buy cotton warp or "chain," as they call
it, ready-spun from the mills. This is known by the name of
bunch-thread. These Pinehurst weavers still use home-made dyes. Cotton
is dyed black with dye made by steeping the bark of the "Black Jack" or
scrub-oak mixed with red maple bark. Wool is dyed black with a mixture
of gall-berry leaves and sumac berries; for red they use a moss which
they find growing on the rocks, and which may be the lichen _Roccella
tinctoria_ or dyer's-moss; also madder root, and sassafras bark. Yellow
is dyed with laurel leaves, or "dye-flower," a yellow flower of the
sunflower tribe; laurel leaves and "dye-flower" together made
orange-red. Blue is obtained from the plentiful wild indigo; and for
green, the cloth or yarn is first dyed blue with indigo, then boiled in
a decoction of hickory bark and laurel leaves. A bright yellow is
obtained from a clay which abounds in that neighborhood, probably like a
red ferruginous limestone found in Tennessee, which gives a splendid,
fast color; when the clay is baked and ground it gives a fine, artistic,
dull red. Purple dye comes from cedar tops and lilac leaves; brown from
an extract of walnut hulls.

The affectionate regard which all good workmen have for their tools and
implements in handcrafts is found among these Southern weavers. One
assures me that her love for her loom is as for a human companion. The
machines are usually family heirlooms that have been owned for several
generations, and are treasured like relics.



CHAPTER XI

GIRLS' OCCUPATIONS


Hatchelling and carding, spinning and reeling, weaving and bleaching,
cooking, candle and cheese making, were not the only household
occupations of our busy grandmothers when they were young; a score of
domestic duties kept ever busy their ready hands.

Some notion of the qualifications of a housekeeper over a century ago
may be obtained from this advertisement in the _Pennsylvania Packet_ of
September 23, 1780:

     "Wanted at a Seat about half a day's journey from Philadelphia, on
     which are good improvements and domestics, A single Woman of
     unsullied Reputation, an affable, cheerful, active and amiable
     Disposition; cleanly, industrious, perfectly qualified to direct
     and manage the female Concerns of country business, as raising
     small stock, dairying, marketing, combing, carding, spinning,
     knitting, sewing, pickling, preserving, etc., and occasionally to
     instruct two young Ladies in those Branches of Oeconomy, who, with
     their father, compose the Family. Such a person will be treated
     with respect and esteem, and meet with every encouragement due to
     such a character."

Respect and esteem, forsooth! and due encouragement to such a miracle of
saintliness and capacity; light terms indeed to apply to such a
character.

There is, in the library of the Connecticut Historical Society, a diary
written by a young girl of Colchester, Connecticut, in the year 1775.
Her name was Abigail Foote. She set down her daily work, and the entries
run like this:--

     "Fix'd gown for Prude,--Mend Mother's Riding-hood,--Spun short
     thread,--Fix'd two gowns for Welsh's girls,--Carded tow,--Spun
     linen,--Worked on Cheese-basket,--Hatchel'd flax with Hannah, we
     did 51 lbs. apiece,--Pleated and ironed,--Read a Sermon of
     Doddridge's,--Spooled a piece,--Milked the cows,--Spun linen, did
     50 knots,--Made a Broom of Guinea wheat straw,--Spun thread to
     whiten,--Set a Red dye,--Had two Scholars from Mrs. Taylor's,--I
     carded two pounds of whole wool and felt Nationly,--Spun harness
     twine,--Scoured the pewter."

She tells also of washing, cooking, knitting, weeding the garden,
picking geese, etc., and of many visits to her friends. She dipped
candles in the spring, and made soap in the autumn. This latter was a
trying and burdensome domestic duty, but the soft soap was important for
home use.

All the refuse grease from cooking, butchering, etc., was stored through
the winter, as well as wood-ashes from the great fireplaces. The first
operation was to make the lye, to "set the leach." Many families owned a
strongly made leach-barrel; others made a sort of barrel from a section
of the bark of the white birch. This barrel was placed on bricks or set
at a slight angle on a circular groove in a wood or stone base; then
filled with ashes; water was poured in till the lye trickled or leached
out through an outlet cut in the groove, into a small wooden tub or
bucket. The water and ashes were frequently replenished as they wasted,
and the lye accumulated in a large tub or kettle. If the lye was not
strong enough, it was poured over fresh ashes. An old-time receipt
says:--

     "The great Difficulty in making Soap come is the want of Judgment
     of the Strength of the Lye. If your Lye will bear up an Egg or a
     Potato so you can see a piece of the Surface as big as a Ninepence
     it is just strong enough."

The grease and lye were then boiled together in a great pot over a fire
out of doors. It took about six bushels of ashes and twenty-four pounds
of grease to make a barrel of soap. The soft soap made by this process
seemed like a clean jelly, and showed no trace of the repulsive grease
that helped to form it. A hard soap also was made with the tallow of the
bayberry, and was deemed especially desirable for toilet use. But little
hard soap was purchased, even in city homes.

It was a common saying: "We had bad luck with our soap," or good luck.
The soap was always carefully stirred one way. The "Pennsylvania Dutch"
used a sassafras stick to stir it. A good smart worker could make a
barrel of soap in a day, and have time to sit and rest in the afternoon
and talk her luck over, before getting supper.

This soft soap was used in the great monthly washings which, for a
century after the settlement of the colonies, seem to have been the
custom. The household wash was allowed to accumulate, and the washing
done once a month, or in some households once in three months.

Thomas Tusser's rhymed instructions to good housekeepers as to the
washing contain chiefly warnings to the housekeeper against thieves,
thus:--

              "Dry sun, dry wind,
              Safe bind, safe find.
    Go wash well, saith summer, with sun I shall dry;
    Go wring well, saith winter, with wind so shall I.
    To trust without heed is to venture a joint,
    Give tale and take count is a housewifely point."

Abigail Foote wrote of making a broom of Guinea wheat. This was not
broom-corn, for that useful plant was not grown in Connecticut for the
purpose of broom-making till twenty years or more after she wrote her
diary. Brooms and brushes were made of it in Italy nearly two centuries
ago. Benjamin Franklin, who was ever quick to use and develop anything
that would benefit his native country, and was ever ready to take a
hint, noted a few seeds of broom-corn hanging on an imported brush. He
planted these seeds and raised some of the corn; and Thomas Jefferson
placed broom-corn among the productions of Virginia in 1781. By this
time many had planted it, but no systematic plan of raising broom-corn
abundantly for the manufacture of brooms was planned till 1798, when
Levi Dickenson, a Yankee farmer of Hadley, Massachusetts, planted half
an acre. From this he made between one and two hundred brooms which he
peddled in a horse-cart in neighboring towns. The following year he
planted an acre; and the tall broom-corn with its spreading panicles
attracted much attention. Though he was thought visionary when he
predicted that broom manufacture would be the greatest industry in the
county, and though he was sneeringly told that only Indians ought to
make brooms, he persevered; and his neighbors finally planted and made
brooms also. He carried brooms soon to Pittsfield, to New London, and in
1805 to Albany and Boston. So rapid was the increase of manufacture that
in 1810 seventy thousand brooms were made in the county. Since then
millions of dollars' worth have gone forth from the farms and villages
in his neighborhood.

Mr. Dickenson at first scraped the seed from the brush with a knife;
then he used a sort of hoe; then a coarse comb like a ripple-comb. He
tied each broom by hand, with the help of a negro servant. Much of this
work could be done by little girls, who soon gave great help in broom
manufacture; though the final sewing (when the needle was pressed
through with a leather "palm" such as sailors use) had to be done by the
strong hands of grown women and men.

Doubtless Abigail Foote made many an "Indian broom," as well as her
brooms of Guinea wheat, which may have been a special home manufacture
of her neighborhood; for many fibres, leaves, and straws were used
locally in broom-making.

Another duty of the women of the old-time household was the picking of
domestic geese. Geese were raised for their feathers more than as food.
In some towns every family had a flock, and their clanking was heard all
day and sometimes all night. They roamed the streets all summer, eating
grass by the highways and wallowing in the puddles. Sometimes they were
yoked with a goose-yoke made of a shingle with a hole in it. In
midwinter they were kept in barnyards, but the rest of the year they
spent the night in the street, each flock near the home of its owner. It
is said that one old goose of each flock always kept awake and stood
watch; and it was told in Hadley, Massachusetts, that if a young man
chanced to be out late, as for instance a-courting, his return home
wakened the geese throughout the village, who sounded the unseasonable
hour with a terrible clamor. They made so much noise on summer Sundays
that they seriously disturbed church services; and became such nuisances
that at last the boys killed whole flocks.

Goose-picking was cruel work. Three or four times a year were the
feathers stripped from the live birds. A stocking was pulled over the
bird's head to keep it from biting. Sometimes the head was thrust into a
goose basket. The pickers had to wear old clothes and tie covers over
the hair, as the down flew everywhere. The quills, used for pens, were
never pulled but once from a goose. Palladius, _On Husbondrie_, written
in the fourth century, and Englished in the fifteenth century, tells of
goose-picking:--

    "Twice a yere deplumed may they be,
    In spryngen tyme and harvest tyme."

The old Latin and English times for picking were followed in the New
World. Among the Dutch, geese were everywhere raised; for feather-beds
were, if possible, more desired by the Dutch than the English.

In a work entitled _Good Order established in Pennsylvania and New
Jersey_, written by a Quaker in 1685, he urges that schools be provided
where girls could be instructed in "the spinning of flax, sewing, and
making all sorts of useful needle work, knitting of gloves and
stockings, making of straw-works, as hats, baskets, etc., or any other
useful art or mystery." It was a century before his "making of
straw-works" was carried out, not till larger importations of straw hats
and bonnets came to this country.

When the beautiful and intricate straw bonnets of Italian braid,
Genoese, Leghorn, and others, were brought here, they were too costly
for many to purchase; and many attempts, especially by country-bred
girls, were made to plait at home straw braids to imitate these envied
bonnets. Many towns claim the first American straw bonnet; in fact, the
attempts were almost simultaneous. To Betsey Metcalf of Providence,
Rhode Island, is usually accorded the honor of starting the straw-hat
business in America. The earliest recorded effort to manufacture straw
head-wear is shown in a patent given to Mrs. Sibylla Masters of
Philadelphia, for using palmetto and straw for hats. This Mrs. Masters
was the first American, man or woman, ever awarded a patent in England.
The first patent issued by the United States to a woman was also for an
invention in straw-plaiting. A Connecticut girl, Miss Sophia Woodhouse,
was given a prize for "leghorn hats" which she had plaited; and she took
out a patent in 1821 for a new material for bonnets. It was the stalks,
above the upper joint, of spear-grass and redtop grass growing so
profusely in Weathersfield. From this she had a national reputation,
and a prize of twenty guineas was given her the same year by the London
Society of Arts. The wife of President John Quincy Adams wore one of
these bonnets, to the great pride of her husband.

When the bonnet was braided and sewed into shape, it had to be bleached,
for it was the dark natural straw. I don't know the domestic process in
general use, but an ingenious family of sisters in Newburyport thus
accomplished their bleaching. They bored holes in the head of a barrel;
tied strings to each new bonnet; passed the strings through the holes
and carefully plugged the openings with wood. This left the bonnets
hanging inside the barrel, which was set over an old-fashioned
foot-stove filled with hot coals on which sulphur had been placed. The
fumes of the burning sulphur arose and filled the barrel, and were
closely retained by quilts wrapped around it. When the bonnets were
taken out, they were clear and white. The base of a lignum-vitæ mortar
made into the proper shape with layers of pasteboard formed the mould on
which the bonnet crown was pressed.

Even before they could spin girls were taught to knit, as soon as their
little hands could hold the needles. Sometimes girls four years of age
could knit stockings. Boys had to knit their own suspenders. All the
stockings and mittens for the family, and coarse socks and mittens for
sale, were made in large numbers. Much fine knitting was done, with many
intricate and elaborate stitches; those known as the "herring-bone" and
"fox and geese" were great favorites. By the use of curious stitches
initials could be knit into mittens; and it is said that one young New
Hampshire girl, using fine flaxen yarn, knit the whole alphabet and a
verse of poetry into a pair of mittens; which I think must have been
long-armed mitts for ladies' wear, to have space enough for the poetry.

To knit a pair of double mittens was a sharp and long day's work. Nancy
Peabody's brother of Shelburne, New Hampshire, came home one night and
said he had lost his mittens while chopping in the woods. Nancy ran to a
bundle of wool in the garret, carded and spun a big hank of yarn that
night. It was soaked and scoured the next morning, and in twenty-four
hours from the time the brother announced his loss he had a fine new
pair of double mittens. A pair of double hooked and pegged mittens would
last for years. Pegging, I am told, was heavy crocheting.

An elaborate and much-admired form of knitting was the bead bags and
purses which were so fashionable in the early years of this century,
though I have seen some knitted bags of colonial days.

Great variety and ingenuity were shown in these bags and purses. Some
bore landscapes and figures; others were memorials done in black and
white and purple beads, having so-called "mourning designs," such as
weeping willows, gravestones, urns, etc., with the name of the deceased
person and date of death. Beautiful bags were knitted to match
wedding-gowns. Knitted purses were a favorite token and gift from fair
hands to husband or lover. Watch chains were more unusual; they were
knit in a geometrical design, were about a yard long and about
three-eighths of an inch in diameter. One I saw had in tiny letters in
gilt beads the date and the words "Remember the Giver." In all these
knitted and crocheted bags the beads had to be strung by a rule in
advance; in an elaborate pattern of many colors it may easily be seen
that the mistake of a single bead in the stringing would spoil the
entire design. They were therefore never a cheap form of decorative
work. Five dollars was often paid for knitting a single bag. A varied
group from the collection of Mr. J. Howard Swift of Chicago is here
shown.

Netting was another decorative handiwork. Netted fringes for edging the
coverlets, curtains, testers, and valances of high-post bedsteads
were usually made of cotton thread or twine, and when tufted or
tasselled were a pretty finish. A finer silk or cotton netting was used
for trimming sacks and petticoats. A letter written by Mrs. Carrington
from Mount Vernon in 1799 says of Mrs. President Washington:--

     "Her netting is a source of great amusement to her and is so neatly
     done that all the younger part of the family are proud of trimming
     their dresses with it, and have furnished me with a whole suit so
     that I shall appear 'a la domestique' at the first party we have
     when I get home."

Netted purses and work-bags also were made similar to the knitted ones.
A homelier and heavier netting of twine was often done at home for small
fishing-nets.

Previous to the Revolution there was a boarding-school kept in
Philadelphia in Second Street near Walnut, by a Mrs. Sarah Wilson. She
thus advertised:--

     "Young ladies may be educated in a genteel manner, and pains taken
     to teach them in regard to their behaviour, on reasonable terms.
     They may be taught all sorts fine needlework, viz., working on
     catgut or flowering muslin, sattin stitch, quince stitch, tent
     stitch, cross-stitch, open work, tambour, embroidering curtains or
     chairs, writing and cyphering. Likewise waxwork in all its several
     branches, never as yet particularly taught here; also how to take
     profiles in wax, to make wax flowers and fruits and pin-baskets."

There was no limit to the beauty and delicacy of the embroidery of those
days. I have seen the beautiful needlework cap and skirt worn by
Governor Thomas Johnson of Maryland, when he was christened. The coat of
arms of both the Lux and Johnson families, the name Agnes Lux and Anne
Johnson, and the words "God bless the Babe" are embroidered upon them in
most delicate fairy stitches. The babe grew up to be the governor of his
state in Revolutionary times.

In an old book printed in 1821, a set of rules is given for teaching
needlework, and it is doubtless exactly what had been the method for a
century. The girls were first shown how to turn a hem on a piece of
waste paper; then they proceeded to the various stitches in this order:
to hem, to sew and fell a seam, to draw threads and hemstitch, to gather
and sew on gathers, to make buttonholes, to sew on buttons, to do
herring-bone stitch, to darn, to mark, to tuck, whip, and sew on a
frill. There is also a long and tedious set of questions and answers
like a catechism, explaining the various stitches.

There was one piece of needlework which was done by every little girl
who was carefully brought up: she sewed a sampler. These were worked in
various beautiful and difficult stitches in colored silks and wool on a
strong, loosely woven canvas.

In English collections, the oblong samplers, long and narrow, are as a
rule older than the square samplers; and it is safe to believe the same
of American samplers. Fortunately, many of them are dated, but this
ancient one from the Quincy family has no date. The oldest sampler I
have ever seen is in the collection of antique articles now in Pilgrim
Hall at Plymouth. It was made by a daughter of the Pilgrims. The verse
embroidered on it reads:--

    "Lorea Standish is My Name.
      Lord Guide my Heart that I may do thy Will,
      And fill my Hands with such convenient skill
    As will conduce to Virtue void of Shame,
    And I will give the Glory to thy Name."

Similar verses, and portions of hymns, are often found on these
samplers. A favorite rhyme was:--

    "When I was young and in my Prime,
    You see how well I spent my Time.
    And by my sampler you may see
    What care my Parents took of me."

A very spirited verse is:--

    "You'll mend your life to-morrow still you cry.
    In what far Country does To-morrow lie?
    It stays so long, is fetch'd so far, I fear
    'Twill prove both very old, and very dear."

Strange trees and fruits and birds and beasts, wonderful vines and
flowers, were embroidered on these domestic tapestries.

In the hands of a skilful worker, the sampler might become a thing of
beauty and historical interest; and the stitches learned and practised
on it might be used on more ambitious pieces of work, which often took
the shape of the family coat of arms. Such was the work of Mary Salter
(Mrs. Henry Quincy), who was born in 1726, and died in 1755. It is the
arms of Salter and Bryan party per pale upon a shield. Rich in embossed
work in gold and silver thread, it is a beautiful testimonial to the
deft and proficient hand of the young needlewoman who embroidered it.

Sometimes pretentious pictures representing events in public or family
history, were embroidered in crewels on sampler linen. The largest and
funniest one I have ever seen was the boarding-school climax of glory
of Miss Hannah Otis, sister of the patriot James Otis. It is a view of
the Hancock House, Boston Common, and vicinity, as they appeared from
1755 to 1760. Across its expanse Governor Hancock rides triumphantly;
and the fair maid looking over the garden wall at the Charles River is
Dorothy Quincy, afterwards Madam Hancock. This triumph of school-girl
affection and needle-craft, wholly devoid of perspective or proportion,
made a great sensation in Boston, in its day.

Another large piece of similar work is here represented. The original is
in the library of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester,
Massachusetts. It is a view of the Old South Church, Boston; and with
its hooped dames and coach and footman, has a certain value as
indicating the costume of the times. It is dated 1756.

Familiar to the descendants of old New England families, are the
embroidered mourning pieces. These are seldom more than a century old.
On them weeping willows and urns, tombs and mourning figures, names of
departed friends with dates of their deaths, and epitaphs were worked
with vast skill, and were so much admired and were such a delightful
home decoration, that it is no unusual thing to find these elaborate
memento moris with empty spaces for names and dates, waiting for some
one to die, and still unfilled, unfinished, blankly commemorative of no
one, while the industrious embroiderer has long since gone to the tomb
she so deftly and eagerly pictured, and her name, too, is forgotten.

Tambour work was a favorite form of embroidery. In 1788 Madam Hesselius
wrote thus in jest of her daughter, a Philadelphia miss:--

    "To tambour on crape she has a great passion,
    Because here of late it has been much the fashion.
    The shades are dis-sorted, the spangles are scattered
    And for want of due care the crape has got tattered."

Tambouring with various stitches on different kinds of net made pretty
laces; and these were apparently the laces usually worked and worn. In
the form of rich veils and collars scores of intricate and beautiful
stitches were used, and exquisite articles of wear were manufactured.

A strip of net footing pinned and sewn to paper, with reels of fine
linen thread and threaded needle attached, is shown in the accompanying
illustration just as it was left by the deft and industrious hands that
have been folded for a century in the dust. The pattern and stitches in
this design are simple; the design was first pricked in outline with a
pin, then worked in. Other stitches and patterns, none of them the most
elaborate and difficult, are shown in the infant's cap and collars, and
the strips of lace and "modesty-piece."

In the seventeenth century lace-making with bobbins was taught; it is
referred to in Judge Sewall's diary; and a friend has shown me the
cushion and bobbins used by her far-away grandmother who learned the
various stitches in London at a guinea a stitch.

The feminine love of color, the longing for decoration, as well as pride
in skill of needle-craft, found riotous expansion in quilt-piecing. A
thrifty economy, too, a desire to use up all the fragments and bits of
stuffs which were necessarily cut out in the shaping, chiefly of women's
and children's garments, helped to make the patchwork a satisfaction.
The amount of labor, of careful fitting, neat piecing, and elaborate
quilting, the thousands of stitches that went into one of these
patchwork quilts, are to-day almost painful to regard. Women revelled in
intricate and difficult patchwork; they eagerly exchanged patterns with
one another; they talked over the designs, and admired pretty bits of
calico, and pondered what combinations to make, with far more zest than
women ever discuss art or examine high art specimens together to-day.
There was one satisfactory condition in the work, and that was the
quality of the cottons and linens of which the patchwork was made. They
were none of the slimsy, composition-filled, aniline-dyed calicoes of
to-day. A piece of "chaney," "patch," or "copper-plate" a hundred years
old will be as fresh to-day as when woven. Real India chintzes and
palampours are found in these quilts, beautiful and artistic stuffs, and
the firm, unyielding, high-priced, "real" French calicoes.

A sense of the idealization of quilt-piecing is given also by the quaint
descriptive names applied to the various patterns. Of those the
"Rising-sun," "Log Cabin," and "Job's Trouble" are perhaps the most
familiar. "Job's Trouble" was simply honeycomb or hexagonal blocks. "To
set a Job's Trouble," was to cut out an exact hexagon for a pattern
(preferably from tin, otherwise from firm cardboard); to cut out from
this many hexagons in stiff brown paper or letter paper. These were
covered with the bits of calico with the edges turned under; the sides
were sewed carefully together over and over, till a firm expanse
permitted the removal of the papers.

The name of the pattern seldom gave an expression of its character.
"Dove in the Window," "Rob Peter to Pay Paul," "Blue Brigade,"
"Fan-mill," "Crow's Foot," "Chinese Puzzle," "Fly-wheel," "Love-knot,"
"Sugar-bowl," are simply whims of fancy. Floral names, such as "Dutch
Tulip," "Sunflower," "Rose of Sharon," "Bluebells," "World's Rose,"
might suggest a love of flowers. Sometimes designs are appliqued on with
some regard for coloring. I once saw a quilt that was a miracle of
tedious work. The squares of white cotton each held a slender stem with
two leaves of green or light brown calico, surmounted by a four-petalled
flower of high-colored calico,--pink, red, blue, etc. This design was
all carefully hemmed down. The effect was surprisingly Oriental.

When the patchwork was completed, it was laid flatly on the lining
(often another expanse of patchwork), with layers of wool or cotton
wadding between, and the edges were basted all around. Four bars of
wood, about ten feet long, "the quiltin'-frame," were placed at the four
edges, the quilt was sewed to them with stout thread, the bars crossed
and tied firmly at corners, and the whole raised on chairs or tables to
a convenient height. Thus around the outstretched quilt a dozen quilters
could sit running the whole together with fanciful set designs of
stitching. When about a foot on either side was wholly quilted, it was
rolled upon its bar, and the work went on; thus the visible quilt
diminished, like Balzac's Peau de Chagrin, in a united and truly
sociable work that required no special attention, in which all were
facing together and all drawing closer together as the afternoon passed
in intimate gossip. Sometimes several quilts were set up. I know of a
ten days' quilting-bee in Narragansett in 1752.

In early days calicoes were not common, but every one had woollen
garments and pieces, and the quilts made of these were of grateful
warmth in bleak New England. All kinds of commonplace garments and
remnants of decayed gentility were pressed into service in these quilts:
portions of the moth-eaten and discarded uniforms of militia-men,
worn-out flannel sheets dyed with some brilliant home-dye, old coat and
cloak linings, well-worn petticoats. A magnificent scarlet cloak worn by
a lord mayor of London and brought to America by a member of the Merritt
family of Salisbury, Massachusetts, went through a series of adventures
and migrations, and ended its days as small bits of vivid color casting
a grateful glory and variety on a patchwork quilt in the Saco valley of
Maine. To this day at vendues or sales of old country households in New
England, there will be handed out great rolls of woollen pieces to be
used for patchwork quilts or rag carpets, and they find purchasers.

These woollen quilts had a thin wadding, and were usually very closely
quilted, so they were quite flat. They were called "pressed quilts." An
old farm wife said to me in New Hampshire, "Girls won't take the trouble
to make pressed quilts nowadays, it's as much as they'll do to tack a
puff," that is, make a light quilt with thick wadding only tacked
together from front to back, at regular intervals. A pressed quilt which
I saw was quilted in inch squares. Another had a fan-pattern with
sunflower leaf border; another was quilted in the elaborate pattern
known as "feather-work."

As much ingenuity was exercised in the design of the quilting as in the
pattern of the patchwork, and the marking for the quilt design was
exceedingly tedious, since, of course, no drawings could be used. I
remember seeing one quilt marked by chalking strings which were
stretched tightly across at the desired intervals, and held up and
snapped smartly down on the quilt, leaving a faint chalky line to guide
the eye and needle. Another simple design was to quilt in rounds, using
a saucer or plate to form a perfect circle.

The most elaborate quilt I know of is of silk containing portions of the
wedding-dress of Esther Powel, granddaughter of Gabriel Bernon; she was
married to James Helme in 1738. When her granddaughter was married in
1795, the quilt was still unfinished, and a woman was hired who worked
on it for six months, putting a miracle of fine stitches in the
quilting. I think she must have been very old and very slow, for the
wages paid her were but twenty cents a week and "her keep," which was
very small pay even in that day of small wages. When Washington came to
Newport, this splendid quilt was sent to grace the bed upon which the
hero slept.

I said a few summers ago to a farmer's wife who lived on the outskirts
of a small New England hill-village: "Your home is very beautiful. From
every window the view is perfect." She answered quickly: "Yes, but it's
awful lonely for me, for I was born in Worcester; still I don't mind as
long as we have plenty of quiltings." In answer to my questions she told
me that the previous winter she had "kept count," and she had helped at
twenty-eight "regular" quiltings, besides her own home patchwork and
quilt-making, and much informal help of neighbors on plain quilts. Any
one who has attended a county fair (one not too modernized and spoiled)
and seen the display of intricate patchwork and quilting still made in
country homes, can see that it is not an obsolete accomplishment.

A form of decorative work in which many women took great delight and
became astonishingly skilful was what was known, or at any rate
advertised, by the ambitious title of Papyrotamia. It was simply the
cutting out of stiff paper of various decorative and ornamental designs
with scissors. At the time of the Revolution it was evidently deemed a
very high accomplishment, and the best pieces of work were carefully
cherished, mounted on black paper, framed and glazed, and given to
friends or bequeathed by will. One old lady is remembered as using her
scissors with extraordinary deftness, and amusing herself and delighting
her friends by occupying the hours of every afternoon visit with cutting
out entirely by her trained eye various pretty and curious designs.
Valentines in exceedingly delicate and appropriate patterns, wreaths and
baskets of varied flowers, marine views, religious symbols, landscapes,
all were accomplished. Coats of arms and escutcheons cut in black paper
and mounted on white were highly prized. Portrait silhouettes were cut
with the aid of a machine which marked and reduced mechanically a sharp
shadow cast by the sitter's profile through candle-light on a sheet of
white paper. Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney wrote in rhyme of a revered friend
of her youth, Mrs. Lathrop, of a period about a century ago:--

    "Thy dextrous scissors ready to produce
    The flying squirrel or the long-neck'd goose,
    Or dancing girls with hands together join'd,
    Or tall spruce-trees with wreaths of roses twin'd,
    The well-dress'd dolls whose paper form display'd,
    Thy penknife's labor and thy pencil's shade."

I once found in an old lacquered box in a cupboard a paper packet
containing all the cut-paper designs mentioned in this rhyme--and many
more. The workmanship of the "spruce-trees with wreaths of roses twin'd"
was specially marvellous. I plainly saw in that design a derivative of
the English Maypole and encircling wreaths. This package was marked with
the name of the paper-cutter, a Revolutionary dame who died at the
beginning of this century. Her home was remote from the Norwich home of
Mrs. Lathrop, and I know she never visited in Connecticut, yet she made
precisely the same designs and indeed all the designs. This is but a
petty proof among many other more decided ones of the fact that even in
those days of scant communication and infrequent and contracted travel,
there were as in our own times waves of feminine fancy work, of attempts
at artistic expression, which flooded every home, and receding, left
behind much decorative silt of varying but nearly universal uselessness
and laborious commonplaceness.

One of the cut-paper landscapes of Madam Deming, a Boston lady who was a
famous "papyrotamist," is here shown. It is now owned by James F. Trott,
Esq., of Niagara Falls. It is a view of Boston streets just previous to
the Revolution. In that handsome volume, the _Ten Broeck Genealogical
Record_, are reproductions of some of the landscape views by Albertina
Ten Broeck at the same date. They show the house and farm surroundings
of the old Ten Broeck "Bouwerie," the ancestral home in New York, and
give a wonderfully good idea of it. These are not in dead silhouette,
for an appearance of shading is afforded by finely cut lines and
intervening spaces. The highest form of cut-paper reproduction and
decoration ever reached was by the English woman, Mrs. Delaney, who died
in 1788, the friend of the Duchess of Portland, and intimate of George
III. and his queen. She reproduced in colored paper, in what she called
"paper mosaics," the entire flora of the United Kingdom, and it is said
it was impossible at first sight to distinguish these flowers from the
real ones.



CHAPTER XII

DRESS OF THE COLONISTS


At the time America was settled, rich dress was almost universal in
Europe among persons of any wealth or station. The dress of plain people
also, such as yeomen and small farmers and work-people, was plentiful
and substantial, and even peasants had good and ample clothing.
Materials were strongly and honestly made, clothing was sewed by hand,
and lasted long. The fashions did not change from year to year, and the
rich or stout clothes of one generation were bequeathed by will and worn
by a second and even a third and fourth generation.

In England extravagance in dress in court circles, and grotesqueness in
dress among all educated folk, had become abhorrent to that class of
persons who were called Puritans; and as an expression of their dislike
they wore plainer garments, and cut off their flowing locks, and soon
were called Roundheads. The Massachusetts settlers who were Puritans
determined to discourage extravagance in dress in the New World, and
attempted to control the fashions.

The Massachusetts magistrates were reminded of their duties in this
direction by sanctimonious spurring from gentlemen and ministers in
England. One such meddler wrote to Governor Winthrop in 1636: "Many in
your plantacions discover too much pride." Another stern moralist
reproved the colonists for writing to England "for cut work coifes, for
deep stammel dyes," to be sent to them in America. Others, prohibited
from wearing broad laces, were criticised for ordering narrow ones, for
"going as farr as they may."

In 1634 the Massachusetts General Court passed restricting sumptuary
laws. These laws forbade the purchase of woollen, silk, or linen
garments, with silver, gold, silk, or thread lace on them. Two years
later a narrow binding of lace was permitted on linen garments. The
colonists were ordered not to make or buy any slashed clothes, except
those with one slash in each sleeve and another slash in the back. "Cut
works, imbroidd or needle or capps bands & rayles," and gold or silver
girdles, hat-bands, belts, ruffs, and beaver hats were forbidden.
Liberty was thriftily given, however, to the colonists to wear out any
garments they chanced to have unless in the form of inordinately slashed
apparel, immoderate great sleeves and rails, and long wings, which could
not possibly be endured.

In 1639 men's attire was approached and scanned, and "immoderate great
breeches" were tabooed; also broad shoulder-bands, double ruffles and
capes, and silk roses, which latter adornment were worn on the shoes.

In 1651 the Court again expressed its "utter detestation that men and
women of meane condition, education, and calling, should take vppon them
the garbe of gentlemen by wearinge of gold or silver lace, or buttons or
poynts at their knees, or walke in great boots, or women of the same
ranke to wear silke or tiffany hoods or scarfs."

Many persons were "presented" under this law, men boot-wearers as well
as women hood-wearers. In Salem, in 1652, a man was presented for
"excess in bootes, ribonds, gould and silver lace."

In Newbury, in 1653, two women were brought up for wearing silk hoods
and scarfs, but they were discharged on proof that their husbands were
worth £200 each. In Northampton, in the year 1676, a wholesale attempt
was made by the magistrates to abolish "wicked apparell." Thirty-eight
women of the Connecticut valley were presented at one time for various
degrees of finery, and as of too small estate to wear silk. A young girl
named Hannah Lyman was presented for "wearing silk in a fflaunting
manner, in an offensive way and garb not only before but when she stood
presented." Thirty young men were also presented for silk-wearing, long
hair, and other extravagances. The calm flaunting of her silk in the
very eyes of the Court by sixteen-year-old Hannah was premonitory of the
waning power of the magistrates, for similar prosecutions at a later
date were quashed. By 1682 the tables were turned and we find the Court
arraigning the selectmen of five towns for not prosecuting offenders
against these laws as in previous years. In 1675 the town of Dedham had
been similarly warned and threatened, but apparently was never
prosecuted. Connecticut called to its aid in repressing extravagant
dress the economic power of taxation by ordering that whoever wore gold
or silver lace, gold or silver buttons, silk ribbons, silk scarfs, or
bone lace worth over three shillings a yard should be taxed as worth
£150.

Virginia fussed a little over "excess in cloathes." Sir Francis Wyatt
was enjoined not to permit any but the Council and the heads of Hundreds
to wear gold on their clothes, or to wear silk till they made it--which
was intended more to encourage silk-making than to discourage
silk-wearing. And it provided that unmarried men should be assessed
according to their apparel, and married men according to that of their
family. In 1660 Virginia colonists were ordered to import no "silke
stuffe in garments or in peeces except for whoods and scarfs, nor silver
or gold lace, nor bone lace of silk or threads, nor ribbands wrought
with gold or silver in them."

The ministers did not fail in their duty in attempting to march with the
magistrates in the restriction and simplification of dress. They
preached often against "intolerable pride in clothes and hair." Even
when the Pilgrims were in Holland the preachers had been deeply
disturbed over the dress of their minister's wife, Madam Johnson, who
wore "lawn coives" and busks, and a velvet hood, and "whalebones in her
petticoat bodice," and worst of all, "a topish hat." One of the earliest
interferences of Roger Williams was when he instructed the women of
Salem parish always to wear veils in public. But John Cotton preached to
them the next Sunday, and he proved to the dames and goodwives that
veils were a sign and symbol of undue subjection to their husbands, and
Salem women soon proved their rights by coming barefaced to meeting.

Mr. Davenport preached about men's head-gear, that men must take off
their hats, and stand up at the announcement of the text. And if New
Haven men wore their hats in meeting, I can't see why they fussed so
over the Quakers' broadbrims.

After a while the whole church interfered. In 1769 the church at Andover
put it to vote whether "the parish Disapprove of the female sex sitting
with their Hats on in the Meeting-house in time of Divine Service as
being Indecent." In the town of Abington, in 1775, it was voted that it
was "an indecent way that the female sex do sit with their hats and
bonnets on to worship God." Still another town voted that it was the
"Town's Mind" that the women should take their bonnets off in meeting
and hang them "on the peggs." We do not know positively, but I suspect
that the bonnets continued to grace the heads instead of the pegs in
Andover, Abington, and other towns.

To know how the colonists were dressed, we have to learn from the lists
of their clothing which they left by will, which lists are still
preserved in court records; from the inventories of the garments
furnished to each settler who came by contract; from the orders sent
back to England for new clothing; from a few crude portraits, and from
some articles of ancient clothing which are still preserved.

When Salem was settled the Massachusetts Bay Company furnished clothes
to all the men who emigrated and settled that town. Every man had four
pairs of shoes, four pairs of stockings, a pair of Norwich garters, four
shirts, two suits of doublet and hose of leather lined with oiled skin,
a woollen suit lined with leather, four bands, two handkerchiefs, a
green cotton waistcoat, a leather belt, a woollen cap, a black hat, two
red knit caps, two pairs of gloves, a mandillion or cloak lined with
cotton, and an extra pair of breeches. Little boys just as soon as they
could walk wore clothes made precisely like their fathers': doublets
which were warm double jackets, leather knee-breeches, leather belts,
knit caps. The outfit for the Virginia planters was not so liberal, for
the company was not so wealthy. It was called a "Particular of
Apparell." It had only three bands, three pairs stockings, and three
shirts instead of four. The suits were of canvas, frieze, and cloth. The
clothing was doubtless lighter, because the climate of Virginia was
warmer. There were no gloves, no handkerchiefs, no hat, no red knit
caps, no mandillion, no extra pair of breeches. They had "a dozen
points," which were simply tapes to hold up the clothing and fasten it
together. The clothing of the Piscataquay planters varied but little
from the others. They had scarlet waistcoats and cassocks of cloth, not
of leather. We are apt to think of the Puritan settlers of New England
as sombre in attire, wearing "sad-colored" garments, but green and
scarlet waistcoats and scarlet caps certainly afforded a gay touch of
color.

A young boy, about ten years old, named John Livingstone, was sent from
New York to school in New England at the latter part of the seventeenth
century. An "account of his new linen and clothes" has been preserved,
and it gives an excellent idea of the clothing of a son of wealthy
people at that time. It reads thus, in the old spelling:--

     "Eleven new shirts,
     4 pair laced sleves,
     8 Plane Cravats,
     4 Cravats with Lace,
     4 Stripte Wastecoats with black buttons,
     1 Flowered Wastecoat,
     4 New osenbrig britches,
     1 Gray hat with a black ribbon,
     1 Gray hat with a blew ribbon,
     1 Dousin black buttons,
     1 Dousin coloured buttons,
     3 Pair gold buttons,
     3 Pair silver buttons,
     2 Pair Fine blew Stockings,
     1 Pair Fine red Stockings,
     4 White Handkerchiefs,
     2 Speckled Handkerchiefs,
     5 Pair Gloves,
     1 Stuff Coat with black buttons,
     1 Cloth Coat,
     1 Pair blew plush britches,
     1 Pair Serge britches,
     2 Combs,
     1 Pair new Shooes,
     Silk & Thred to mend his Cloathes."

Osenbrig was a heavy, strong linen. This would seem to be a summer
outfit, and scarcely warm enough for New England winters. Other
schoolboys at that date had deerskin breeches.

Leather was much used, especially in the form of tanned buckskin
breeches and the deerskin hunters' jackets, which have always and
deservedly been a favorite wear, since they are one of the most
appropriate, useful, comfortable, and picturesque garments ever worn by
men in any active outdoor life.

Soon in the larger cities and among wealthy folk a much more elaborate
and varied style of dress became fashionable. The dress of little girls
in families of wealth was certainly almost as formal and elegant as the
dress of their mammas, and it was a very hampering and stiff dress. They
wore vast hoop-petticoats, heavy stays, and high-heeled shoes. Their
complexions were objects of special care; they wore masks of cloth or
velvet to protect them from the tanning rays of the sun, and long-armed
gloves. Little Dolly Payne, who afterwards became the wife of President
Madison, went to school wearing "a white linen mask to keep every ray of
sunshine from the complexion, a sunbonnet sewed on her head every
morning by her careful mother, and long gloves covering the hands and
arms." Our present love of outdoor life, of athletic sports, and our
indifference to being sunburned, makes such painstaking vanity seem most
unbearably tiresome.

In 1737 Colonel John Lewis sent from Virginia to England for a wardrobe
for a young miss, a school-girl, who was his ward. The list reads
thus:--

     "A cap ruffle and tucker, the lace 5 shillings per Yard,
     1 pair White Stays,
     8 pair White Kid gloves,
     2 pair coloured kid gloves,
     2 pair worsted hose,
     3 pair thread hose,
     1 pair silk shoes laced,
     1 pair morocco shoes,
     1 Hoop Coat,
     1 Hat,
     4 pair plain Spanish shoes,
     2 pair calf shoes,
     1 mask,
     1 fan,
     1 necklace,
     1 Girdle and buckle,
     1 piece fashionable Calico,
     4 yards ribbon for knots,
     1½ yard Cambric,
     A mantua and coat of lute-string."

In the middle of the century George Washington also sent to England for
an outfit for his stepdaughter, Miss Custis. She was four years old, and
he ordered for her, pack-thread stays, stiff coats of silk, masks, caps,
bonnets, bibs, ruffles, necklaces, fans, silk and calamanco shoes, and
leather pumps. There were also eight pairs of kid mitts and four pairs
of gloves; these with the masks show that this little girl's complexion
was also to be well guarded.

A little New England Miss Huntington, when twelve years old, was sent
from Norwich, Connecticut, to be "finished" in a Boston boarding-school.
She had twelve silk gowns, but her teacher wrote home that she must have
another gown of "a recently imported rich fabric," which was at once
bought for her because it was "suitable for her rank and station."

Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there was a constant
succession of rich and gay fashions; for American dress was carefully
modelled upon European, especially English modes. Men's wear was as rich
as women's. An English traveller said that Boston women and men in 1740
dressed as gay every day as courtiers in England at a coronation. But
with all the richness there was no wastefulness. The sister of the rich
Boston merchant, Peter Faneuil, who built Faneuil Hall, sent her gowns
to London to be turned and dyed, and her old ribbons and gowns to be
sold. But her gowns, which are still preserved, are of magnificent
stuffs.

New Yorkers were dressed in gauzes, silks, and laces; even women Quakers
in Pennsylvania had to be warned against wearing hoop-petticoats,
scarlet shoes, and puffed and rolled hair.

The family of so frugal a man as Benjamin Franklin did not escape a
slight infection of the prevailing love for gay dress. In the
_Pennsylvania Gazette_ this advertisement appeared in 1750:--

     "Whereas on Saturday night last the house of Benjamin Franklin of
     this city, Printer, was broken open, and the following things
     feloniously taken away, viz., a double necklace of gold beads, a
     womans long scarlet cloak almost new, with a double cape, a womans
     gown, of printed cotton of the sort called brocade print, very
     remarkable, the ground dark, with large red roses, and other large
     and yellow flowers, with blue in some of the flowers, with many
     green leaves; a pair of womens stays covered with white tabby
     before, and dove colour'd tabby behind, with two large steel hooks
     and sundry other goods, etc."

Southern dames, especially of Annapolis, Baltimore, and Charleston, were
said to have the richest brocades and damasks that could be bought in
London. Every sailing-vessel that came from Europe brought boxes of
splendid clothing. The heroes of the Revolution had a high regard for
dress. The patriot, John Hancock, was seen at noonday wearing a scarlet
velvet cap, a blue damask gown lined with velvet, white satin
embroidered waistcoat, black satin small-clothes, white silk stockings,
and red morocco slippers. George Washington was most precise in his
orders for his clothing, and wore the richest silk and velvet suits.

A true description of a Boston printer just after the Revolution shows
his style of dress:--

     "He wore a pea-green coat, white vest, nankeen small clothes, white
     silk stockings, and pumps fastened with silver buckles which
     covered at least half the foot from instep to toe. His small
     clothes were tied at the knees with ribbon of the same colour in
     double bows, the ends reaching down to the ancles. His hair in
     front was well loaded with pomatum, frizzled or craped and
     powdered. Behind, his natural hair was augmented by the addition of
     a large queue called vulgarly a false tail, which, enrolled in some
     yards of black ribbon, hung half-way down his back."

Many letters still exist written by prominent citizens of colonial times
ordering clothing, chiefly from Europe. Rich laces, silk materials,
velvet, and fine cloth of light and gay colors abound. Frequently they
ordered nightgowns of silk and damask. These nightgowns were not a
garment worn at night, but a sort of dressing-gown. Harvard students
were in 1754 forbidden to wear them. Under the name of banyan they
became very fashionable, and men had their portraits painted in them,
for instance the portrait of Nicholas Boylston, now in Harvard Memorial
Hall.

With the increase of trade with China many Chinese and East Indian goods
became fashionable, with hundreds of different names. A few were of silk
or linen, but far more of cotton; among them nankeens were the most
imported and even for winter wear.

Both men and women wore for many years great cloaks or capes, known by
various names, such as roquelaures, capuchins, pelisses, etc. Women's
shoes were of very thin materials, and paper-soled. They wore to protect
these frail shoes, when walking on the ill-paved streets, various forms
of overshoes, known as goloe-shoes, clogs, pattens, etc. When riding,
women in the colonies wore, as did Queen Elizabeth, a safeguard, a long
over-petticoat to protect the gown from mud and rain. This was sometimes
called a foot-mantle, also a weather-skirt. A traveller tells of seeing
a row of horses tied to a fence outside a Quaker meeting. Some carried
side saddles, some men's saddles and pillions. On the fence hung the
muddy safeguards the Quaker dames had worn outside their drab
petticoats. Men wore sherry-vallies or spatter-dashes to protect their
gay breeches.

There was one fashion which lasted for a century and a half which was so
untidy, so uncomfortable, so costly, and so ridiculous that we can only
wonder that it was endured for a single season--I mean the fashion of
wig-wearing by men. The first colonists wore their own natural hair. The
Cavaliers had long and perfumed love-locks; and though the Puritans had
been called Roundheads, their hair waved, also, over the band or collar,
and often hung over the shoulder. The Quakers, also, wore long locks, as
the lovely portrait of William Penn shows. But by 1675 wigs had become
common enough to be denounced by the Massachusetts government, and to be
preached against by many ministers; while other ministers proudly wore
them. Wigs were called horrid bushes of vanity, and hundreds of other
disparaging names, which seemed to make them more popular. They varied
from year to year; sometimes they swelled out at the sides, or rose in
great puffs, or turned under in heavy rolls, or hung in braids and curls
and pig-tails; they were made of human hair, of horsehair, goat's-hair,
calves' and cows' tails, of thread, silk, and mohair. They had scores of
silly and meaningless names, such as "grave full-bottom," "giddy
feather-top," "long-tail," "fox-tail," "drop-wig," etc. They were bound
and braided with pink, green, red, and purple ribbons, sometimes all
these colors on one wig. They were very heavy, and very hot, and very
expensive, often costing what would be equal to a hundred dollars
to-day. The care of them was a great item, often ten pounds a year for a
single wig, and some gentlemen owned eight or ten wigs. Little children
wore them. I have seen the bill for a wig for William Freeman, dated
1754; he was a child seven years old. His father paid nine pounds for
it, and the same for wigs for his other boys of nine and ten. Even
servants wore them; I read in the _Massachusetts Gazette_ of a runaway
negro slave who "wore off a curl of hair tied around his head with a
string to imitate a wig," which must have been a comical sight. After
wigs had become unfashionable, the natural hair was powdered, and was
tied in a queue in the back. This was an untidy, troublesome fashion,
which ruined the clothes; for the hair was soaked with oil or pomatum to
make the powder stick.

Comparatively little jewellery was worn. A few men had gold or silver
sleeve-buttons; a few women had bracelets or lockets; nearly all of any
social standing had rings, which were chiefly mourning-rings. As these
gloomy ornaments were given to all the chief mourners at funerals, it
can be seen that a man of large family connections, or of prominent
social standing, might acquire a great many of them. The minister and
doctor usually had a ring at every funeral they attended. It is told of
an old Salem doctor, who died in 1758, that he had a tankard full of
mourning-rings which he had secured at funerals. Men sometimes wore
thumb-rings, which seems no queerer than the fact that they carried
muffs. Old Dr. Prince of Boston carried an enormous bearskin muff.

Gloves also were gifts at funerals, sometimes in large numbers. At the
funeral of the wife of Governor Belcher, in 1738, over a thousand pairs
were given away. Rev. Andrew Eliot, who was pastor of the North Church
in Boston, had twenty-nine hundred pair of gloves given him in
thirty-two years; many of these he sold. In all the colonies, whether
settled by Dutch, English, French, German, or Swedes, gloves were
universally given at funerals.

The early watches were clumsy affairs, often globose in shape, with a
detached outer case.

To show how few of the first colonists owned either watches or clocks,
we have the contemporary evidence of Roger Williams. When he rowed
thirty miles down the bay, and disputed with the "Foxians" at Newport in
1672, it was agreed that each party should be heard in turn for a
quarter of an hour. But no clock was available in Newport; and among the
whole population that flocked to the debate, there was not a single
watch. Williams says, "unless we had Clocks and Watches and Quarter
Glasses (as in some Ships) it was impossible to be exactly punctual," so
they guessed at the time.

Sun-dials were often set in the street in front of houses; and
noon-marks on the threshold of the front door or window-sill helped to
show the hour of the day.



CHAPTER XIII

JACK-KNIFE INDUSTRIES


Chepa Rose was one of those old-time chap-men known throughout New
England as "trunk pedlers." Bearing on his back by means of a harness of
stout hempen webbing two oblong trunks of thin metal,--probably
tin,--for forty-eight years he had appeared at every considerable
farmhouse throughout Narragansett and eastern Connecticut, at intervals
as regular as the action and appearance of the sun, moon, and tides; and
everywhere was he greeted with an eager welcome.

Chepa was, as he said, "half Injun, half French, and half Yankee." From
his Indian half he had his love of tramping which made him choose the
wandering trade of trunk pedler; his French half made him a good trader
and talker; while his Yankee half endowed him with a universal Yankee
trait, a "handiness," which showed in scores of gifts and
accomplishments and knacks that made him as warmly greeted everywhere
as were his attractive trunks.

He was a famous medicine-brewer; from the roots and herbs and barks that
he gathered as he tramped along the country roads he manufactured a
cough medicine that was twice as effective and twice as bitter as old
Dr. Greene's; he made famous plasters, of two kinds,--plasters to stick
and plasters to crawl, the latter to follow the course of the disease or
pain; he concocted wonderful ink; he showed Jenny Greene how to bleach
her new straw bonnet with sulphur fumes; he mended umbrellas, harnesses,
and tinware; he made glorious teetotums which the children looked for as
eagerly and unfailingly as they did for his tops and marbles, his
ribbons and Gibraltars.

One day he came through the woods to John Helme's house carrying in his
hand a stout birchen staff or small tree-trunk, which he laid down on
the flat millstone imbedded in the grass at the back door, while he
displayed and sold his wares and had his dinner. He then went out to the
dooryard with little Johnny Helme, sat down on the millstone, lighted
his pipe, opened his jack-knife, and discoursed thus:--

     "Johnny, I'm going to tell you how to make an Injun broom. Fust,
     you must find a big birch-tree. There ain't so many big ones now
     of any kind as there useter be when we made canoes and plates and
     cradles, and water spouts, and troughs, and furnitoor out of the
     bark. But you must get a yallow birch-tree as straight as H and
     edzactly five inch acrost. Now, how kin ye tell how fur it is
     acrost a tree afore ye cut it off? I kin tell by the light of my
     eye, but that's Injun larnin'. Lemme tell you by book-larnin'.
     Measure it round, and make the string in three parts, and one
     part'll be what it is acrost. If it's nine inch round, it'll be
     three inch acrost, and so on. Now don't you forgit that. Wal! you
     must get a straight birch-tree five inch acrost where you cut it
     off, just like this one. Then make the stick six foot long. Then
     one foot and two inch from the big end cut a ring round the bark;
     wal! say two inch wide just like this. Then you take off all the
     bark below that ring. Then you begin a-slivering with a sharp
     jack-knife, leetle teeny flat slivers way up to the bark ring. When
     it's all slivered up thin and flat there'll be a leetle hard core
     left inside at the top, and you must cut it out careful. Then you
     take off the bark above the ring and begin slivering down. Leave a
     stick just big enough for a handle. Then tie this last lot of
     slivers down tight over the others with a hard-twisted tow string,
     and trim 'em off even. Then whittle off and scrape off a good
     smooth handle with a hole in the top to put a loop of cowhide in,
     to hang it up by orderly.

     "Yes, Johnny, I've got just enough Injun in me to make a good
     broom; not enough to be ashamed of and not enough to be proud of.
     But you mustn't forgit this; a moccasin's the best cover a man
     ever had on his feet in the woods; the easiest to get stuff for,
     the easiest to make, the easiest to wear. And a birch-bark canoe's
     the best boat a man can have on the river. It's the easiest to get
     stuff for, easiest to carry, the fastest to paddle. And a
     snowshoe's the best help a man can have in the winter. It's the
     easiest to get stuff for, the easiest to walk on, the easiest to
     carry. And just so a birch broom is the best broom a man or at any
     rate a woman can have; four best things and all of 'em is Injun.
     Now you just slip in and take that broom to Phillis. I see her the
     last time I was here a-using a mizrable store broom to clean her
     oven--and just ask her if I can't have a mug of apple-jack afore I
     go to bed."

If this scene had been laid in New Hampshire or Vermont instead of
Narragansett, the Indian broom would have been no novelty to any boy or
house-servant. For in the northern New England states, heavily wooded
with yellow birch, every boy knew how to make the Indian brooms, and
every household in country or town had them. There was a constant demand
in Boston for them, and sometimes country stores had several hundred of
the brooms at a time. Throughout Vermont seventy years ago the uniform
price paid for making one of these brooms was six cents; and if the
splints were very fine and the handle scraped with glass, it took
nearly three evenings to finish it. Indian squaws peddled them
throughout the country for ninepence apiece. Major Robert Randolph told
in fashionable London circles about the year 1750, that when he was a
boy in New Hampshire he earned his only spending-money by making these
brooms and carrying them on his back ten miles to town to sell them.
Girls could whittle as well as boys, and often exchanged the birch
brooms they made for a bit of ribbon or lace.

A simpler and less durable broom was made of hemlock branches. A local
rhyme says of them:--

    "Driving at twilight the waiting cows,
    With arms full-laden with hemlock boughs,
    To be traced on a broom ere the coming day
    From its eastern chambers should dance away."

The hemlock broom was simply a bunch of close-growing, full-foliaged
hemlock branches tied tightly together and wound around with hempen
twine, "traced," the rhyme says, with a sharply pointed handle, which
the boys had shaped and whittled, driven well into the bound portion.
This making of brooms for domestic use is but an example of one of the
many score of useful domestic and farm articles which were furnished by
the natural resources of every wood-lot, adapted by the Yankee
jack-knife and a few equally simple tools, of which the gimlet might
take the second place.

It was so emphatically a wooden age in colonial days that it seemed
almost that there were no hard metals used for any articles which to-day
seem so necessarily of metal. Ploughs were of wood, and harrows;
cart-wheels were often wholly of wood without tires, though sometimes
iron plates called strakes held the felloes together, being fastened to
them by long clinch-pins. The dish-turner and cooper were artisans of
importance in those days; piggins, noggins, runlets, keelers, firkins,
buckets, churns, dye-tubs, cowles, powdering-tubs, were made with chary
or no use of metal.

The forests were the wealth of the colonies in more ways than one; and
it may be said that they furnished both domestic winter employment and
toys for the boys. The New England forests were full of richly varied kinds
of wood, suitable for varied uses, with varied qualities--pliability,
stiffness, durability, weight, strength; and it is surprising to see how
quickly the woods were assigned to fixed uses, even for toys; in every
state pop-guns were made from elder; bows and arrows of hemlock; whistles
of chestnut or willow.

The Rev. John Pierpont wrote thus of the whittling of his childhood
days:--

    "The Yankee boy before he's sent to school
    Well knows the mysteries of that magic tool--
    The pocket-knife. To that his wistful eye
    Turns, while he hears his mother's lullaby.
    And in the education of the lad,
    No little part that implement hath had.
    His pocket-knife to the young whittler brings
    A growing knowledge of material things,
    Projectiles, music, and the sculptor's art.
    His chestnut whistle, and his shingle dart,
    His elder pop-gun with its hickory rod,
    Its sharp explosion and rebounding wad,
    His corn-stalk fiddle, and the deeper tone
    That murmurs from his pumpkin-leaf trombone
    Conspire to teach the boy. To these succeed
    His bow, his arrow of a feathered reed,
    His windmill raised the passing breeze to win,
    His water-wheel that turns upon a pin.
    Thus by his genius and his jack-knife driven
    Ere long he'll solve you any problem given;
    Make you a locomotive or a clock,
    Cut a canal or build a floating dock:
    Make anything in short for sea or shore,
    From a child's rattle to a seventy-four.
    Make it, said I--ay, when he undertakes it,
    He'll make the thing and make the thing that makes it."

The boy's jack-knife was a possession so highly desired, so closely
treasured in those days when boys had so few belongings, that it is
pathetic to read of many a farm lad's struggles and long hours of weary
work to obtain a good knife. Barlow knives were the most highly prized
for certainly sixty years, and had, I am told, a vast popularity for
over a century. May they forever rest in glorious memory, as they lived
the happiest of lots! To be the best beloved of a century of Yankee
boys is indeed an enviable destiny. A few battered old soldiers of this
vast army of Barlow jack-knives still linger to show us the homely
features borne by the century's well beloved: the Smithsonian
Institution cherishes some of colonial days; and from Deerfield Memorial
Hall are shown three Barlow knives whose picture should appear to every
American something more than the presentment of dull bits of wood and
rusted metal. These Yankee jack-knives were, said Daniel Webster, the
direct forerunners of the cotton-gin and thousands of noble American
inventions; the New England boy's whittling was his alphabet of
mechanics.

In this connection, let us note the skilful and utilitarian adaptation
not only of natural materials for domestic and farm use, but also
natural forms. The farmer and his wife both turned to Nature for
implements and utensils, or for parts adapted to shape readily into the
implements and utensils of every-day life. When we read of the first
Boston settlers that "the dainty Indian maize was eat with clam-shells
out of wooden trays," we learn of a primitive spoon, a clam-shell set in
a split stick, which has been used till this century. Large flat
clam-shells were used and highly esteemed by housewives, as
skimming-shells in the dairy, to skim cream from the milk. Gourd-shells
made capital bowls, skimmers, dippers, and bottles; pumpkin-shells, good
seed and grain holders. Turkey-wings made an ever-ready hearth-brush. In
the forests were many "crooked sticks" that were more useful than any
straight ones could be. When the mower wanted a new snathe or snead, as
he called it, for his scythe, he found in the woods a deformed sapling
that had grown under a log or twisted around a rock in a double bend,
which made it the exact shape desired. He then whittled it, dressed it
with a draw-shave, fastened the nebs with a neb-wedge, hung it with an
iron ring, and was ready for the mowing-field.

Sled-runners were made from saplings bent at the root. The best thills
for a cart were those naturally shaped by growth. The curved pieces of
wood in the harness of a draught-horse, called the hames, to which the
traces are fastened, could be found in twisted growths, as could also
portions of ox-yokes. The gambrels used in slaughtering times,
hay-hooks, long-handled pothooks for brick ovens, could all be cut
ready-shaped.

The smaller underbrush and saplings had many uses. Sled and cart stakes
were cut from some; long bean-poles from others; specially straight
clean sticks were saved for whip-stocks. Sections of birch bark could be
bottomed and served for baskets, or for potash cans, while capital
feed-boxes could be made in the same way of sections cut from a hollow
hemlock. Elm rind and portions of brown ash butts were natural
materials for chair-seats and baskets, as were flags for door-mats.
Forked branches made geese and hog yokes. Hogs that ran at large had to
wear yokes. It was ordered that these yokes should measure as long as
twice and a half times the depth of the neck, while the bottom piece was
three times the width of the neck.

In the shaping of heavy and large vessels such as salt-mortars, pig
troughs, maple-sap troughs, the jack-knife was abandoned and the methods
of the Indians adopted. These vessels were burnt and scraped out of a
single log, and thus had a weighty stability and permanence. Wooden
bread troughs were also made from a single piece of wood. These were
oblong, trencher-shaped bowls about eighteen inches long; across the
trough ran lengthwise a stick or rod on which rested the sieve, searse,
or temse, when flour was sifted into the trough. The saying "set the
Thames (or temse) on fire," meant that hard work and active friction
would set the wooden temse on fire.

Sometimes the mould for an ox-bow was dug out of a log of wood. Oftener
a plank of wood was cut into the desired shape as a frame or mould, and
fastened to a heavy backboard. The ox-bow was steamed, placed in the
bow-mould, pinned in, and then carefully seasoned.

The boys whittled cheese-ladders, cheese-hoops, and red-cherry
butter-paddles for their mothers' dairy; also many parts of
cheese-presses and churns. To the toys enumerated by Rev. Mr. Pierpont,
they added box-traps and "figure 4" traps of various sizes for catching
vari-sized animals.

Many farm implements other than those already named were made, and many
portions of tools and implements; among them were shovels,
swingling-knives, sled-neaps, stanchions, handles for spades and
bill-hooks, rake-stales, fork-stales, flails. A group of old farm
implements from Memorial Hall, at Deerfield, is here given. The
handleless scythe-snathe is said to have come over on the _Mayflower_.

The making of flails was an important and useful work. Many were broken
and worn out during a great threshing. Both parts, the staff or handle,
and the swingle or swiple, were carefully shaped from well-chosen wood,
to be joined together later by an eelskin or leather strap.

The flail is little seen on farms to-day. Threshing and winnowing
machines have taken its place. The father of Robert Burns declared
threshing with a flail to be the only degrading and stultifying work on
a farm; but I never knew another farmer who deemed it so, though it was
certainly hard work. Last autumn I visited the "Poor Farm" on Quonsett
Point in old Narragansett. In the vast barn of that beautiful and
sparsely occupied country home, two powerful men, picturesque in blue
jeans tucked in heavy boots, in scarlet shirts and great straw hats,
were threshing out grain with flails. Both men were blind, one wholly,
the other partially so--and were "Town Poor." Their strong, bare arms
swung the long flails in alternate strokes with the precision of
clockwork, bringing each blow down on the piled-up wheat-straw which
covered the barn-floor, as they advanced, one stepping backward while
the other stepped forward, and then receded with mechanical and rhythmic
regularity, a step and a blow, from one end of the long barn to the
other. The half-blind thresher could see the outline of the open door
against the sunlight, and his steps and voice guided his sightless
fellow-worker. Thus healthful and useful employment was given to two
stricken waifs through the use of primitive methods, which no modern
machine could ever have afforded; and the blue sky and bay, with
autumnal sunshine on the piled-up golden wheat on floor and in rack,
idealized and even made of the threshers, paupers though they were, a
beautiful picture of old-time farm-life.

Wood for axe-helves was carefully chosen, sawed, split, and whittled
into shape. These were then scraped as smooth as ivory with broken
glass. Some men had a knack that was almost genius in shaping these
axe-helves and selecting the wood for them. In a country where the
broad-axe was so important an implement--used every day by every farmer;
where lumbermen and loggers and shipwrights swung the axe the entire day
for many months, men were ready to pay double price for a well-made
helve, so shaped as to let the heavy blow jar as little as possible the
hand holding the helve. One Maine farmer boasted that he had made and
sold five hundred axe-helves, and received a good price for them all;
that some had gone five hundred miles out west, others a hundred miles
"up country"; and of no one of them which he had set had it ever been
said, as of the axe in Deuteronomy, "When a man goeth into the wood to
hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down a
tree, then the head slippeth from the helve."

A little money might be earned by cutting heel-pegs for shoemakers.
These were made of a maple trunk sawed across the grain, making the
circular board thin enough--a half inch or so--for the correct length of
the pegs. The end was then marked in parallel lines, then grooved across
at right angles, then split as marked into pegs with knife and mallet. A
story is told of a farmer named Meigs, who, on the winter ride to
market in company with a score or more of his neighbors, stole out at
night from the tavern fireside where all were gathered to the barn where
the horses were put up. There he took an oat-bag out of a neighbor's
sleigh and poured out a good feed for his own horse. In the morning it
was found that his horse had not relished the shoe-pegs that had been
put in his manger; and their telltale presence plainly pointed out the
thief. These shoe-pegs were a venture of two farmer boys which their
father was taking to town to sell for them, and in indignation the boys
thrust on the thief the name of Shoe-pegs Meigs, which he carried to the
end of his life.

When the boys had learned to use a few other tools besides their
jack-knives, as they quickly did, they could get sawed staves from the
sawmills and make up shooks of staves bound with hoops of red oak, for
molasses hogsheads. These would be shipped to the West Indies, and form
an important link in the profitable rum and slave round of traffic that
bound Africa, New England, and the West Indies so closely together in
those days. A constant occupation for men and boys was making rived or
shaved shingles. They were split with a beetle and wedge. A smart
workman could by sharp work make a thousand a day. There may still be
occasionally found in what were well-wooded pine regions, in shed or
barn-lofts, or in old wood-houses, a stout oaken frame or rack such as
was at one time found in nearly every house. It was known as a
bundling-mould or shingling-mould. At the bottom of this strong frame
were laid straight sticks and twisted withes which extended up the
sides. Upon these were evenly packed the shingles, two hundred and fifty
in number, known as a "quarter." The withes or "binders" were twisted
strongly around when the number was full. The mould held them firmly in
place while being tied. These were sealed by law and shipped. Cullers of
staves were regularly appointed town officers. The dimensions of the
shingles were given by law and rule; fifteen inches was the length for
one period of time, and the bundling-mould conformed to it.

Daniel Leake of Salisbury, New Hampshire, made during his lifetime and
was paid for a million shingles. During the years he was accomplishing
this colossal work he cleared three hundred acres of land, tapped for
twenty years at least six hundred maple-trees, making sometimes four
thousand pounds of sugar a year. He could mow six acres a day, giving
nine tons of hay; his strong, long arms cut a swath twelve feet wide.
_In his spare time_ he worked as a cooper, and he was a famous
drum-maker. Truly there were giants in those days. I love to read of
such vigorous, powerful lives; they seem to be of a race entirely
different from our own. Still, among our New England forbears I doubt
not many of us had some such giants, who conquered for us the earth and
forests.

One mark the shingling industry left on the household. In the sawing of
blocks there would always be some too knotty or gnarled to split into
shingles. These were what were known in the vernacular as
"on-marchantable shingle-bolts." They formed in many a pioneer's home
and in many a pioneer school-house good solid seats for children and
even grown people to sit on. And even in pioneer meeting-houses these
blocks could sometimes be seen.

Other fittings for the house were whittled out. Long, heavy, wooden
hinges were cut from horn-beam for cupboard and closet doors; even shed
doors were hung on wooden hinges as were house doors in the earliest
colonial days. Door-latches were made of wood, also oblong buttons to
fasten chamber and cupboard doors.

New England housekeepers prized the smooth, close-grained bowls which
the Indians made from the veined and mottled knots of maple-wood. They
were valued at what seems high prices for wooden utensils and were often
named and bequeathed in wills. Maple-wood has been used and esteemed by
many nations for cups and bowls. The old English and German vessel known
as a mazer was made of maple-wood, often bound and tipped with silver.
Spenser speaks in his _Shepheard's Calendar_ of "a mazer yrought of the
maple wood." A well-known specimen in England bears the legend in Gothic
text:--

    "In the Name of the Trinitie
    Fille the kup and drinke to me."

Sometimes a specially skilful Yankee would rival the Indians in shaping
and whittling out these bowls. I have seen two really beautiful ones
carved with double initials, and one with a Scriptural reference, said
to be the work of a lover for his bride. Another token of affection and
skill from the whittler were carved busks, which were the broad and
strong strips of wood placed in corsets or stays to help to form and
preserve the long-waisted, stiff figure then fashionable. One carved
busk bears initials and an appropriately sentimental design of arrows
and hearts.

On the rim of spinning-wheels, on shuttles, swifts, and on niddy-noddys
or hand-reels I have seen lettering by the hands of rustic lovers. A
finely carved legend on a hand-reel reads:--

    "POLLY GREENE, HER REEL.
      Count your threads right
      If you reel in the night
      When I am far away.
                          June, 1777."

Perhaps some Revolutionary soldier gave this as a parting gift to his
sweetheart on the eve of battle.

On his powder-horn the rustic carver bestowed his best and daintiest
work. Emblem both of war and of sport, it seemed worthy of being shaped
into the highest expression of his artistic longing. A chapter, even a
book, might be filled with the romantic history and representations of
American powder-horns; patriotism, sentiment, and adventure shed equal
halos over them. Months of the patient work of every spare moment was
spent in beautifying them, and their quaintness, variety, and
individuality are a never-ceasing delight to the antiquary. Maps, plans,
legends, verses, portraits, landscapes, family history, crests, dates of
births, marriages, and deaths, lists of battles, patriotic and religious
sentiments, all may be found on powder-horns. They have in many cases
proved valuable historical records, and have sometimes been the only
records of events. Mr. Rufus A. Grider, of Canajoharie, has made colored
drawings of about five hundred of these powder-horns, and of canteens or
drinking-horns. It is unfortunate that the ordinary processes of
book-illustration give too scant suggestion of the variety, beauty, and
delicacy of their decoration, to permit the reproduction of some of
these powder-horns in these pages.

These habits of employing the spare moments of farm-life in the
manufacture from wood of farm implements and various aids to domestic
comfort, were not peculiar to New England farmers, nor invented by them.
The old English farmer-author, Thomas Tusser, in his rhymed book, _Five
Hundred Points of Good Husbandry_, written in the sixteenth century
(which Southey declared to be one of the most curious and formerly one
of the most popular books in our language), was careful to give
instructions in his "remembrances" and "doings" as to similar industries
on the English farm and manor house. He says:--

    "Yokes, forks, and such other let bailie spy out
    And gather the same as he walketh about;
    And after, at leisure, let this be his hire,
    To beath them and trim them at home by the fire."

_To beath_ is to heat unseasoned wood to harden and straighten it.

    "If hop-yard or orchard ye mean for to have,
    For hop-poles and crotches in lopping go save.

    "Save elm, ash, and crab tree for cart and for plow,
    Save step for a stile of the crotch of a bough;
    Save hazel for forks, save sallow for rake:
    Save hulver and thorn, thereof flail for to make."

The Massachusetts Bay settlers came chiefly from the vicinity, many from
the same county, where Tusser lived and farmed, and where his points of
good husbandry were household words; so they had in their English homes
as had their grandfathers before them, the knowledge and habit of saving
and utilizing the various woods on the farm, and of occupying every
spare minute with the useful jack-knife. The varied and bountiful trees
of the New World stimulated and emphasized the whittling habit until it
became universally accepted as a distinguishing New England
characteristic, a Yankee trait.

This constant employment of every moment of the waking hours contributed
to impart to New Englanders a regard and method of life which is spoken
of by many outsiders with contempt, namely, a closely girded and
invariable habit of economy. Children brought up in this way knew the
value of everything in the household, knew the time it took to produce
it, for they had labored themselves, and they grew to take care of small
things, not to squander and waste what they had been so long at work on.
This, instead of being a thing to sneer at, is one of the very best
elements in a community, one of the best securities of character. For
sudden leaps to fortune are given to but few, and are seldom lasting,
and the results of sudden inflations are more disastrous even to a
community than to isolated individuals, as may be abundantly proved by
the early history of Virginia. It was not meanness that made the wiry
New England farmer so cautious and exacting in trade, when the pennies
he saved sent his son through college. It was not meanness which made
him refuse to spend money; he had no money to spend, and it was a high
sense of honor that kept him from running in debt. It was not meanness
which so justly ordered conditions and cared for the unfortunate that
even in those days of horrible drunkenness often there would not be a
pauper in the entire village. It has been a reproach that in some towns
the few town poor were vendued out to be cared for; the mode was harsh
in its wording, and unfeeling in method, but in reality the pauper found
a home. I have known cases where the pauper was not only supported but
cherished in the families to whose lot she fell.



CHAPTER XIV

TRAVEL, TRANSPORTATION, AND TAVERNS


Wherever the earliest colonists settled in America, they had to adopt
the modes of travel and the ways of getting from place to place of their
predecessors and new neighbors, the Indians. These were first--and
generally--to walk on their own stout legs; second, to go wherever they
could by water, in boats. In Maryland and Virginia, where for a long
time nearly all settlers tried to build their homes on the banks of the
rivers and bays, the travel was almost entirely by boats; as it was
between settlements on all the great rivers, the Hudson, Connecticut,
and Merrimac.

Between the large settlements in Massachusetts--Boston, Salem, and
Plymouth--travel was preferably, when the weather permitted, in boats.
The colonists went in canoes, or pinnaces, shaped and made exactly like
the birch-bark canoes of the Canadian Indians to-day; and in dugouts,
which were formed from hollowed pine-logs, usually about twenty feet
long and two or three feet wide; both of these were made for them by the
Indians. It was said that one Indian, working alone, felling the
pine-tree by the primitive way of burning and scraping off the charred
parts with a stone tool called a celt (for the Indians had no iron or
steel axes), then cutting off the top in the same manner, then burning
out part of the interior, then burning and scraping and shaping it
without and within, could make one of these dugouts in three weeks. The
Indians at Onondaga still make the wooden mortars they use in the same
tedious way.

When the white men came to America in great ships, the Indians marvelled
much at the size, thinking they were hollowed out of tree-trunks as were
the dugouts, and wondered where such vast trees grew.

The Swedish scientific traveller, Kalm, who was in America in 1748, was
delighted with the Indian canoes and dugouts. He found the Swede
settlers using them constantly to go long distances to market. He
said:--

     "They usually carry six persons who however by no means must be
     unruly, but sit at the bottom of the canoe in the quietest manner
     possible lest the boat upset. They are narrow, round below, have no
     keel and may be easily overset. So when the wind is brisk the
     people make for the land. Larger dugouts were made for war-canoes
     which would carry thirty or forty savages."

These boats usually kept close to the shore, both in calm and windy
weather, though the natives were not afraid to go many miles out to sea
in the dugouts.

The lightness of the birch-bark canoe made it specially desirable where
there were such frequent overland transfers. It was and is a beautiful
and perfect expression of natural and wild life; as Longfellow wrote:--

        "... the forest's life was in it,
    All its mystery and magic,
    All the lightness of the birch tree,
    All the toughness of the cedar,
    All the larch's supple sinews,
    And it floated on the river
    Like a yellow leaf in autumn."

The French governor and missionaries all saw and admired these
birch-bark canoes. Father Charlevoix wrote a beautiful and vivid
description of them. All the early travellers noted their ticklish
balance. Wood, writing in 1634, said, "In these cockling fly-boats an
Englishman can scarce sit without a fearful tottering," and Madam
Knights a century later said in her vivid English of a trip in one:--

     "The Cannoo was very small and shallow, which greatly terrify'd me
     and caused me to be very circumspect, sitting with my hands fast on
     each side, my eyes steady, not daring so much as to lodge my tongue
     a hair's bredth more on one side of my mouth than tother, nor so
     much as think on Lott's wife, for a very thought would have
     oversett our wherry."

When boats and vessels were built by the colonists, they were in forms
or had names but little used to-day. Shallop, ketch, pink, and snow are
rarely heard. Sloops were early built, but schooner is a modern term.
Batteau and periagua still are used; and the gundalow, picturesque with
its lateen sail, still is found on our northern New England shores.

The Indians had narrow foot-paths in many places through the woods. On
them foot-travel was possible, though many estuaries and rivers
intersected the coast; for the narrow streams could be crossed on
natural ford-ways, or on rude bridges of fallen trees, which the English
government ordered to be put in place.

As late as 1631 Governor Endicott would not go from Salem to Boston to
visit Governor Winthrop because he was not strong enough to wade across
the fords. He might have done as Governor Winthrop did the next year
when he went to Plymouth to visit Governor Bradford (and it took him two
days to get there); he might have been carried across the fords
pickaback by an Indian guide.

The Indian paths were good, though only two or three feet wide, and in
many places the savages kept the woods clear from underbrush by burning
over large tracts. When King Philip's War took place, all the land
around the Indian settlements in Narragansett and eastern Massachusetts
was so free of brush that horsemen could ride everywhere freely through
the woods. Some of the old paths are famous in our history. The most so
was the Bay Path, which ran from Cambridge through Marlborough,
Worcester, Oxford, Brookfield, and on to Springfield and the Connecticut
River. Holland's beautiful story called by the name of the path gives
its history, its sentiment, and much that happened on it in olden times.

When new paths were cut through the forests, the settlers "blazed" the
trees, that is, they chopped a piece of the bark off tree after tree
standing on the side of the way. Thus the "blazes" stood out clear and
white in the dark shadows of the forests, like welcome guide-posts,
showing the traveller his way. In Maryland roads turning off to a church
were marked by slips or blazes cut near the ground.

In Maryland and Virginia what were known as, and indeed are still
called, rolling-roads were cut through the forest. They were narrow
roads adown which hogsheads of tobacco, fitted with axles, could be
drawn or rolled from inland plantations to the river or bay side;
sometimes the hogsheads were simply rolled by human propulsion, not
dragged on these roads.

The broader rivers soon had canoe-ferries. The first regular
Massachusetts ferry from Charlestown to Boston was in 1639. It carried
passengers for threepence apiece. From Chelsea to Boston was fourpence.
In 1636 the Cambridge ferryman charged but half a penny, as so many
wished to attend the Thursday lecture in the Boston churches. We learn
from the Massachusetts Laws that often a rider had to let his horse
cross by swimming over, being guided from the ferry-boat; he then paid
no ferriage for the horse. After wheeled vehicles were used, these
ferries were not large enough to carry them properly. Often the carriage
had to be taken apart, or towed over, while the horse had his fore feet
in one canoe-ferry and his hind feet in another, the two canoes being
lashed together. The rope-ferry lingered till our own day, and was ever
a picturesque sight on the river. As soon as roads were built there
were, of course, bridges and cart-ways, but these were only between the
closely neighboring towns. Usually the bridges were merely
"horse-bridges" with a railing on but one side.

After the period of walking and canoe-riding had had its day, nearly all
land travel for a century was on horseback, just as it was in England at
that date. In 1672 there were only six stage-coaches in the whole of
Great Britain; and a man wrote a pamphlet protesting that they
encouraged too much travel. Boston then had one private coach. Women and
children usually rode seated on a pillion behind a man. A pillion was a
padded cushion with straps which sometimes had on one side a sort of
platform-stirrup. One way of progress which would help four persons ride
part of their journey was what was called the ride-and-tie system. Two
of the four persons who were travelling started on their road on foot;
two mounted on the saddle and pillion, rode about a mile, dismounted,
tied the horse, and walked on. When the two who had started on foot
reached the waiting horse, they mounted, rode on past the other couple
for a mile or so, dismounted, tied, and walked on; and so on. It was
also a universal and courteous as it was a pleasant custom for friends
to ride out on the road a few miles with any departing guest or friend,
and then bid them God speed agatewards.

In 1704 a Boston schoolmistress named Madam Knights rode from Boston to
New York on horseback. She was probably the first woman to make the
journey, and it was a great and daring undertaking. She had as a
companion the "post." This was the mail-carrier, who also rode on
horseback. One of his duties was to assist and be kind to all persons
who cared to journey in his company. The first regular mail started from
New York to Boston on January 1, 1673. The postman carried two
"portmantles," which were crammed with letters and parcels. He did not
change horses till he reached Hartford. He was ordered to look out and
report the condition of all ferries, fords, and roads. He had to be
"active, stout, indefatigable, and honest." When he delivered his mail
it was laid on a table at an inn, and any one who wished looked over all
the letters, then took and paid the postage (which was very high) on any
addressed to himself. It was usually about a month from this setting out
of "the post" in winter, till his return. As late certainly as 1730 the
mail was carried from New York to Albany in the winter by a "foot-post."
He went up the Hudson River, and lonely enough it must have been;
probably he skated up when the ice was good. This mail was only sent at
irregular intervals.

In 1760 there were but eight mails a year from Philadelphia to the
Potomac River, and even then the post-rider need not start till he had
received enough letters to pay the expenses of the trip. It was not till
postal affairs were placed in the capable and responsible hands of
Benjamin Franklin that there were any regular or trustworthy mails.

The journal and report of Hugh Finlay, a post-office surveyor in 1773 of
the mail service from Quebec to St. Augustine, Florida, tells of the
vicissitudes of mail-matter even at that later day. In some places the
deputy, as the postmaster was called, had no office, so his family rooms
were constantly invaded. Occasionally a tavern served as post-office;
letters were thrown down on a table and if the weather was bad, or
smallpox raged, or the deputy were careless, they were not forwarded for
many days. Letters that arrived might lie on the table or bar-counter
for days for any one to pull over, until the owner chanced to arrive and
claim them. Good service could scarcely be expected from any deputy, for
his salary was paid according to the number of letters coming to his
office; and as private mail-carriage constantly went on, though
forbidden by British law, the deputy suffered. "If an information were
lodg'd but an informer wou'd get tar'd and feather'd, no jury wou'd find
the fact." The government-riders were in truth the chief offenders. Any
ship's captain, or wagon-driver, or post-rider could carry merchandise;
therefore small sham bundles of paper, straw, or chips would be tied to
a large sealed packet of letter, and both be exempt from postage paid to
the Crown.

The post-rider between Boston and Newport loaded his carriage with
bundles real and sham, which delayed him long in delivery. He bought and
sold on commission along this road; and in violation of law he carried
many letters to his own profit. He took twenty-six hours to go eighty
miles. Had the Newport deputy dared to complain, he would have incurred
much odium and been declared a "friend of slavery and oppression."

"Old Herd," the rider from Saybrook to New York, had been in the service
forty-six years and had made a good estate. He coolly took postage of
all way-letters as his perquisite; was a money carrier and transferrer,
all advantage to his own pocket; carried merchandise; returned horses
for travellers; and when Finlay saw him he was waiting for a yoke of
oxen he was paid for fetching along some miles. A Pennsylvania
post-rider, an aged man, occupied himself as he slowly jogged along by
knitting mittens and stockings. Not always were mail portmanteaux
properly locked; hence many letters were lost and the pulling in and out
of bundles defaced the letters.

Of course so much horseback riding made it necessary to have
horse-blocks in front of nearly all houses. In course of time stones
were set every mile on the principal roads to tell the distance from
town to town. Benjamin Franklin set milestones the entire way on the
post-road from Boston to Philadelphia. He rode in a chaise over the
road; and a machine which he had invented was attached to the chaise;
and it was certainly the first cyclometer that went on that road, over
which so many cyclometers have passed during the last five years. It
measured the miles as he travelled. When he had ridden a mile he
stopped; from a heavy cart loaded with milestones, which kept alongside
the chaise, a stone was dropped which was afterwards set by a gang of
men.

A number of old colonial milestones are still standing. There is one in
Worcester, on what was the "New Connecticut Path"; one in Springfield on
the "Bay Path," and there are several of Benjamin Franklin's setting,
one being at Stratford, Connecticut.

The inland transportation of freight was carried on in the colonies just
as it was in Europe, on the backs of pack-horses. Very interesting
historical evidence in relation to the methods of transportation in the
middle of the eighteenth century may be found in the ingenious
advertisement and address with which Benjamin Franklin raised
transportation facilities for Braddock's army in 1755. This is one of
his most characteristic literary productions. Braddock's appeals to the
Philadelphia Assembly for a rough wagon-road and wagons for the army
succeeded in raising only twenty-five wagons. Franklin visited him in
his desolate plight and agreed to assist him, and appealed to the public
to send to him for the use of the army a hundred and fifty wagons and
fifteen hundred pack-horses; for the latter Franklin offered to pay two
shillings a day each, as long as used, if provided with a pack-saddle.
Twenty horses were sent with their loads to the camp as gifts to the
British officers. As a good and definite list of the load one of these
pack-horses was expected to carry (as well as a record of the kind of
provisions grateful to an officer of that day) let me give an
inventory:--

     Six pounds loaf-sugar,
     Six pounds muscovado sugar,
     One pound green tea,
     One pound bohea tea,
     Six pounds ground coffee,
     Six pounds chocolate,
     One-half chest best white biscuit,
     One-half pound pepper,
     One quart white vinegar,
     Two dozen bottles old Madeira wine,
     Two gallons Jamaica spirits,
     One bottle flour of mustard,
     Two well-cured hams,
     One-half dozen cured tongues,
     Six pounds rice,
     Six pounds raisins,
     One Gloucester cheese,
     One keg containing 20 lbs. best butter.

The wagons and horses were all lost after Braddock's defeat, or were
seized by the French and Indians, and Franklin had many anxious months
of responsibility for damages from the owners; but I am confident the
officers got all the provisions. Franklin gathered the wagons in York
and Lancaster; no two English shires could have done better at that time
than did these Pennsylvania counties.

In Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and Ohio, pack-horses long were used,
and a pretty picture is drawn by Doddridge and many other local
historians of the trains of these horses with their gay collars and
stuffed bells, as, laden with furs, ginseng, and snakeroot, they filed
down the mountain roads to the towns, and came home laden with salt,
nails, tea, pewter plates, etc. At night the horses were hobbled, and
the clappers of their bells were loosened; the ringing prevented the
horses being lost. The animals started on their journey with two hundred
pounds' burden, of which part was provender for horse and man, which was
left at convenient relays to be taken up on the way home. Two men could
manage fifteen pack-horses, which were tethered successively each to the
pack-saddle of the one in front of him. One man led the foremost horse,
and the driver followed the file to watch the packs and urge on the
laggards. Their numbers were vast; five hundred were counted at one time
in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, going westward. It was a costly method of
transportation. Mr. Howland says that in 1784 the expense of carrying a
ton's weight from Philadelphia to Erie by pack-horses was $249. It is
interesting to note that the routes taken by those men, skilled only in
humble woodcraft, were the same ones followed in later years by the
engineers of the turnpikes and railroads.

As the roads were somewhat better in Pennsylvania than in some other
provinces, and more needed, so wagons soon were far greater in number;
indeed, during the Revolution nearly all the wagons and horses used by
the army came from that state. There was developed in Pennsylvania by
the soft soil of these many roads, as well as by various topographical
conditions, a splendid example of a true American vehicle, one which was
for a long time the highest type of a commodious freight-carrier in this
or any other country--the Conestoga wagon, "the finest wagon the world
has ever known." They were first used in any considerable number about
1760. They had broad wheel-tires, and one of the peculiarities was a
decided curve in the bottom, analogous to that of a galley or canoe,
which made it specially fitted for traversing mountain roads; for this
curved bottom prevented freight from slipping too far at either end when
going up or down hill. This body was universally painted a bright blue,
and furnished with sideboards of an equally vivid red. The wagon-bodies
were arched over with six or eight stately bows, of which the middle
ones were the lowest, and the others rose gradually to front and rear
till the end bows were nearly of equal height. Over them all was
stretched a strong, white, hempen cover, well corded down at the sides
and ends. These wagons could be loaded up to the bows, and could carry
four to six tons in weight. The rates between Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh were about two dollars a hundred pounds. The horses, four to
seven in number, were magnificent, often matched throughout; some were
all dapple-gray, or all bay. The harnesses, of best materials and
appearance, were costly; each horse had a large housing of deerskin or
heavy bearskin trimmed with deep scarlet fringe; while the head-stall
was tied with bunches of gay ribbons. Bell-teams were common; each horse
except the saddle-horse then had a full set of bells tied with
high-colored ribbons.

The horses were highly fed; and when the driver, seated on the
saddle-horse, drew rein on the prancing leader and flourished his fine
bull-hide London whip, making the silk snap and tingle round the
leader's ears, every horse started off with the ponderous load with a
grace and ease that was beautiful to see.

The wagons were first used in the Conestoga valley, and most extensively
used there; and the sleek powerful draught-horses known as the Conestoga
breed were attached to them, hence their name. These teams were objects
of pride to their owners, objects of admiration and attention wherever
they appeared, and are objects of historical interest and satisfaction
to-day.

Often a prosperous teamster would own several Conestoga wagons, and
driving the leading and handsomest team himself would start off his
proud procession. From twenty to a hundred would follow in close row.
Large numbers were constantly passing. At one time ten thousand ran from
Philadelphia to other towns. Josiah Quincy told of the road at
Lancaster being lined with them. The scene on the road between the
Cumberland valley and Greensburg, where there are five distinct and
noble mountain ranges,--Tuscarora, Rays Hill, Alleghany, Laurel Hills,
and Chestnut Ridge,--when a long train of white-topped Conestoga wagons
appeared and wound along the mountain sides, was picturesque and
beautiful with a charm unparalleled to-day.

        "----Many a fleet of them
    In one long upward winding row.
    It ever was a noble sight
    As from the distant mountain height
        Or quiet valley far below,
    Their snow-white covers looked like sail."

There were two classes of Conestoga wagons and wagoners. The "Regulars,"
or men who made it their constant and only business; and "Militia." A
local poet thus describes these outfits:--

    "Militia-men drove narrow treads,
    Four horses and plain red Dutch beds,
       And always carried grub and feed."

They were farmers or common teamsters who made occasional trips, usually
in winter time, and did some carriage for others, and drove but four
horses with their wagons. The "Regulars" had broad tires, carried no
feed for horses nor food for themselves, but both classes of teamsters
carried coarse mattresses and blankets, which they spread side by side,
and row after row, on the bar-room floor of the tavern at which they
"put up." Their horses when unharnessed fed from long troughs hitched to
the wagon-pole. The wagons that plied between the Delaware and the small
city of Pittsburgh were called Pitt-teams.

The life of the Conestoga wagon did not end even with the establishment
of railroads in the Eastern states; farther and farther west it
penetrated, ever chosen by emigrants and travellers to the frontiers;
and at last in its old age it had an equal career of usefulness as the
"prairie-schooner," in which vast numbers of families safely crossed the
prairies of our far West. The white tilts of the wagons thus passed and
repassed till our own day.

Four-wheeled wagons were but little used in New England till after the
War of 1812. Two-wheeled carts and sleds carried inland freight, which
was chiefly transported over the snow in the winter.

The Conestoga wagon of the past century was far ahead of anything in
England at that date; indeed Mr. C. W. Ernst, the best authority I know
on the subject, says we had in every way far better traffic facilities
at that time than England. In other ways we excelled. Though Finlay
found many defects in the postal service in 1773, he also found the
Stavers mail-coach plying between Boston and Portsmouth long before
England had such a thing. Mr. Ernst says: "The Stavers mail-coach was
stunning; used six horses when roads were bad, and never was late. They
had no mail-coaches in England till after the Revolution, and I believe
Massachusetts men introduced the idea in England."

We are apt to grow retrospectively sentimental over the delights,
æsthetic and physical, of ancient stage-coach days. Those days are not
so ancient as many fancy. The first stage-coach which ran directly from
Philadelphia to New York in 1766--and primitive enough it was--was
called "the flying-machine, a good stage-wagon set on springs." Its
swift trip occupied two days in good weather. It was but a year later
than the original stage-coach between Edinburgh and Glasgow. At that
time, in favorable weather, the coach between London and Edinburgh made
the trip in thirteen days. The London mail-coach in its palmiest days
could make this trip in forty-three hours and a half. As early as 1718
Jonathan Wardwell advertised that he would run a stage to Rhode Island.
In 1767 a stage-coach was run during the summer months between Boston
and Providence; in 1770 a stage-chaise started between Salem and Boston
and a post-chaise between Boston and Portsmouth the following year. As
early as 1732 some common-carrier lines had wagons which would carry a
few passengers. Let us hear the testimony of some travellers as to the
glorious pleasure of stage-coach travelling. Describing a trip between
Boston and New York towards the end of the last century President Quincy
of Harvard College said:--

     "The carriages were old and the shackling and much of the harness
     made of ropes. One pair of horses carried us eighteen miles. We
     generally reached our resting-place for the night if no accident
     intervened, at ten o'clock, and after a frugal supper went to bed,
     with a notice that we should be called at three next morning, which
     generally proved to be half-past two, and then, whether it snowed
     or rained, the traveller must rise and make ready, by the help of a
     horn-lantern and a farthing candle, and proceed on his way over bad
     roads, sometimes getting out to help the coachman lift the coach
     out of a quagmire or rut, and arrived in New York after a week's
     hard travelling, wondering at the ease as well as the expedition
     with which our journey was effected."

The _Columbia Centinel_ of April 24, 1793, advertised a new line of
"small genteel and easy stage-carriages" from Boston to New York with
four inside passengers, and smart horses. Many of the announcements of
the day have pictures of the coaches. They usually resemble market
wagons with round, canvas-covered tops, and the driver is seated outside
the body of the wagon with his feet on the foot-board. Trunks were
small, covered with deerskin or pigskin, studded with brass nails; and
each traveller took his trunk under his seat and feet.

The poet, Moore, gives in rhyme his testimony of Virginia roads in
1800:--

    "Dear George, though every bone is aching
            After the shaking
    I've had this week over ruts and ridges,
            And bridges
    Made of a few uneasy planks,
            In open ranks,
    Over rivers of mud whose names alone
    Would make knock the knees of stoutest man."

The traveller Weld, in 1795, gave testimony that the bridges were so
poor that the driver had always to stop and arrange the loose planks ere
he dared cross, and he adds:--

     "The driver frequently had to call to the passengers in the stage
     to lean out of the carriage first on one side then on the other, to
     prevent it from oversetting in the deep roads with which the road
     abounds. 'Now, gentlemen, to the right,' upon which the passengers
     all stretched their bodies half-way out of the carriage to balance
     on that side. 'Now, gentlemen, to the left,' and so on."

The coach in which this pleasure trip was taken is shown in the
illustration entitled "American Stage-wagon." It is copied from a first
edition of _Weld's Travels_.

Ann Warder, in her journey from Philadelphia to New York in 1759, notes
two overturned and abandoned stage-wagons at Perth Amboy; and many other
travellers give similar testimony. In 1796 the trip from Philadelphia to
Baltimore took five days.

The growth in stage-coaches and travel came with the turnpike at the
beginning of this century. In transportation and travel, improvement of
roadways is ever associated with improvement of vehicles. The first
extensive turnpike was the one between Philadelphia and Lancaster, built
in 1792. The growth and the cost of these roads may be briefly mentioned
by quoting a statement from the annual message of the governor of
Pennsylvania in 1838, that that commonwealth then had two thousand five
hundred miles of turnpikes which had cost $37,000,000.

Many of these turnpikes were beautiful and splendid roads; for instance,
the "Mohawk and Hudson Turnpike," which ran in a straight line from
Albany to Schenectady, was ornamented and shaded with two rows of the
quickly growing and fashionable poplar-trees and thickly punctuated with
taverns. On one turnpike there were sixty-five taverns in sixty miles.
The dashing stage-coach accorded well with this fine thoroughfare.

With the splendid turnpikes came the glorious coaching days. In 1827 the
Traveller's Register reported eight hundred stage-coaches arriving, and
as many leaving Boston each week. The forty-mile road from Boston to
Providence sometimes saw twenty coaches going each way. The editor of
the _Providence Gazette_ wrote: "We were rattled from Boston to
Providence in four hours and fifty minutes--if any one wants to go
faster he may go to Kentucky and charter a streak of lightning." There
were four rival lines on the Cumberland road,--the National, Good
Intent, Pioneer, and June Bug. Some spirited races the old stage-road
witnessed between the rival lines. The distance from Wheeling to
Cumberland, one hundred and thirty-two miles, was regularly accomplished
in twenty-four hours. No heavy luggage was carried and but nine
passengers; fourteen coaches rolled off together--one was a mail-coach
with a horn. Relays were every ten miles; teams were changed before the
coach ceased rocking; one driver boasted of changing and harnessing his
four horses in four minutes. Lady travellers were quickly thrust in the
open door and their bandboxes after them. Scant time was there for
refreshment, save by uncorking of bottles. The keen test and acute
rivalry between drivers came in the delivery of the President's Message.
Dan Gordon carried the message thirty-two miles in two hours and thirty
minutes, changing horses three times. Bill Noble carried the message
from Wheeling to Hagerstown, a hundred and eighty-five miles, in fifteen
and a half hours.

In 1818 the Eastern Stage Company was chartered in the state of New
Hampshire. The route was this: a stage started from Portsmouth at 9 A.M.;
passengers dined at Topsfield; thence through Danvers and Salem;
back the following day, dining at Newburyport. The capital stock was
four hundred and twenty-five shares at a hundred dollars par. In 1834
the stock was worth two hundred dollars a share. The company owned
several hundred horses. It was on a coach of this line that Henry Clay
rode from Pleasant Street, Salem, to Tremont House, Boston, in exactly
an hour; and on the route extended to Portland, Daniel Webster was
carried at the rate of sixteen English miles an hour from Boston to
Portland to sign the Ashburton Treaty.

The middle of the century saw the beginning of the end of coaching in
all the states that had been colonies. Further west the old stage-coach
had to trundle in order to exist at all: Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, across
the plains, and then over the Rocky Mountains to Salt Lake. The road
from Carson to Plainville gave the crack ride, and the driver wore
yellow kid gloves. The coach known as the Concord wagon, drawn by six
horses, still makes cheerful the out-of-the-way roads of our Western
states, and recalls the life of olden times. The story of spirited and
gay life still exists in the Wells Fargo Express. The usefulness of the
Concord coach is not limited to the western nor the northern portion of
our continent; in South America it flourishes, banishing all rivals.

Canal travel and transportation were proposed at the close of provincial
days, and a few short canals were built. Benjamin Franklin was early
awake to their practicability and value. Among the stock-owners of the
Dismal Swamp Canal was George Washington, and he was equally interested
in the Potomac Canal.

The Erie Canal, first proposed to the New York legislature in 1768, was
completed in 1825. There was considerable passenger travel on this canal
at "a cent and a half a mile, a mile and a half an hour." Horace Greeley
has given an excellent picture of this leisurely travel; it was asserted
by some that stage-coaches were doomed by the canal-boat, but they
continued to exist till they encountered a more formidable rival.

Until turnpike days all small carriages were two-wheeled; chaises,
chairs, and sulkies were those generally used. The chaise and harness
used by Jonathan Trumbull--"Brother Jonathan"--are here shown. With
regard to private conveyances, whether coaches, chaises, or chairs, the
colonies kept close step from earliest days with the mother-countries.
Randolph noted with envy the Boston coaches of the seventeenth century.
Parson Thatcher was accused and reprehended in 1675 for making visits
with a coach and four. Coaches were taxed both in England and America;
so we know exactly how plentiful they were. There were as many in
Massachusetts in 1750 in proportion to the number of inhabitants as
there were in England in 1830. Judge Sewall's diary often refers to
private coaches; and one of the most amusing scenes it depicts is his
continued and ingenious argument when wooing Madam Winthrop for his
third wife, when she stipulated that he should keep a coach, and his
frugal mind disposed him not to do it.

Coach-building prospered in the colonies; Lucas and Paddock in Boston,
Ross in New York, made beautiful and rich coaches. Materials were ample
and varied in the New World for carriage-building; horseflesh--not
over-choice, to be sure--became over-plentiful; it was said that no man
ever walked in America save a vagabond or a fool. A coach made for Madam
Angelica Campbell of Schenectady, New York, by coach-builder Ross, in
1790, is here shown. It is now owned by Mr. John D. Campbell of
Rotterdam, New York.

Sleighs were common in New York a half-century before they were in
Boston. Madam Knights noted the fast racing in sleighs in New York when
she was there in 1704.

One other curious conveyance of colonial days should be spoken of,--a
sedan-chair. This was a strong covered chair fastened on two bars with
handles like a litter, and might be carried by two or four persons. When
sedan-chairs were so much used in England, they were sure to be somewhat
used in cities in America. One was presented to Governor Winthrop as
early as 1646, portion of a capture from a Spanish galleon. Judge Sewall
wrote in 1706, "Five Indians carried Mr. Bromfield in a chair." This was
in the country, down on Cape Cod, and doubtless four Indians carried him
while one rested. As late as 1789 Eliza Quincy saw Dr. Franklin riding
in a sedan-chair in Philadelphia.

The establishment and building of roads, bridges, and opening of inns
show that mutual interest which marks civilization, and separates us
from the lonely, selfish life of a savage. Soon inns were found
everywhere in the Northern colonies. In New England, New York, and
Pennsylvania an inn was called an ordinary, a victualling, a cook-shop,
or a tavern before we had our modern word hotel.

Board was not very high at early inns; the prices were regulated by the
different towns. In 1633 the Salem innkeeper could only have sixpence
for a meal. This was at the famous Anchor Tavern, which was kept as a
hostelry for nearly two centuries. At the Ship Tavern, board, lodging,
wine at dinner, and beer between meals cost three shillings a day. Great
care was taken by the magistrates to choose responsible men and women to
keep taverns, and they would not permit too many taverns in one town. At
first the tavern-keeper could not sell sack (which was sherry), nor
stronger intoxicating liquor to travellers, but he could sell beer,
provided it was good, for a penny a quart. Nor could he sell cakes or
buns except at a wedding or funeral. He could not allow games to be
played, nor singing or dancing to take place.

We know from Shakespeare's plays that the different rooms in English
inns had names. This was also the custom in New England. The Star
Chamber, Rose and Sun Chamber, Blue Chamber, Jerusalem Chamber, were
some of them. Many of the taverns of Revolutionary days and some of
colonial times are still standing. A few have even been taverns since
first built; others have served many other uses. A well-preserved old
house, built in 1690 in Sudbury, Massachusetts, was originally known as
the Red Horse Tavern, but has acquired greater fame as the Wayside Inn
of Longfellow's Tales. Its tap-room with raftered ceiling and cage-like
bar with swinging gate is a picturesque room, and is one of the few old
tap-rooms left unaltered in New England.

Every inn had a name, usually painted on its swinging sign-board, with
some significant emblem. These names were simply repetitions of old
English tavern-signs until Revolutionary days, when patriotic landlords
eagerly invented and adopted names significant of the new nation. The
scarlet coat of King George became the blue and buff of George
Washington; and the eagle of the United States took the place of the
British lion.

The sign-board was an interesting survival of feudal times, and with its
old-time carved and forged companions, such as vanes and weathercocks,
doorknockers and figureheads, formed a picturesque element of decoration
and symbolism. Many chapters might be written on historic,
commemorative, emblematic, heraldic, biblical, humorous, or significant
signs, nearly all of which have vanished from public gaze, as has
disappeared also the general incapacity to read, which made pictorial
devices a necessity. Gilders, painter-stainers, smiths, and joiners all
helped to make the tavern-sign a thing of varied workmanship if not of
art. It is said that Philadelphia excelled in the quantity and quality
of her sign-boards. With fair roads for colonial days, the best and
amplest system of transportation, and the splendid Conestoga wagons,
great inns multiplied throughout Pennsylvania. In Baltimore both taverns
and signs were many and varied, from the Three Loggerheads to the Indian
Queen with its "two hundred guest-rooms with a bell in every room," and
the Fountain Inn built around a shady court, with galleries on every
story, like the Tabard Inn at Southwark.

The swinging sign-board of John Nash's Tavern at Amherst, Massachusetts,
is here reproduced from the _History of Amherst_. It is a good type of
the ordinary sign-board which was found hanging in front of every tavern
a century ago.

In Virginia and the Carolinas taverns were not so plentiful nor so
necessary; for a traveller might ride from Maryland to Georgia, and be
sure of a welcome at every private house on the way. Some planters,
eager for company and news, stationed negroes at the gate to invite
passers-by on the post-road to come into the house and be entertained.
Berkeley, in his _History of Virginia_, wrote:--

     "The inhabitants are very courteous to travellers, who need no
     other recommendation than being human creatures. A stranger has no
     more to do but to inquire upon the road where any gentleman or
     good housekeeper lives, and then he may depend upon being received
     with hospitality. This good-nature is so general among their
     people, that the gentry, when they go abroad, order their principal
     servants to entertain all visitors with everything the plantation
     affords; and the poor planters who have but one bed, will often sit
     up, or lie upon a form or couch all night, to make room for a weary
     traveller to repose himself after his journey."

So universal was this custom of free entertainment that it was a law in
Virginia that unless there had been a distinct agreement to pay for
board and shelter, no pay could be claimed from any guest, no matter how
long he remained. In the few taverns that existed prices were low, about
a shilling a dinner; and it was ordered that the meal must be wholesome
and good.

The governor of New Netherlands at first entertained all visitors to New
Amsterdam at his house in the fort. But as commerce increased he found
this hospitality burdensome, and a Harberg or tavern was built; it was
later used as a city hall.

In England throughout the seventeenth century, and indeed much later,
traversing the great cities by night was a matter of some danger. The
streets were ill-lighted, were full of holes and mud and filth, and were
infested with thieves. Worse still, groups of drunken and dissipated
young men of wealth, calling themselves Mohocks, Scourers, and other
names, roamed the dark streets armed with swords and bludgeons,
assaulting, tormenting, and injuring every one whom they met, who had
the ill fortune to be abroad at night.

There was nothing of that sort known in American cities; there was
little noise or roistering, no highway robbery, comparatively little
petty stealing. The streets were ill-paved and dirty, but not foul with
the accumulated dirt of centuries as in London. The streets in nearly
all cities were unlighted. In 1697 New Yorkers were ordered to have a
lantern and candle hung out on a pole from every seventh house. And as
the watchman walked around he called out, "Lanthorn, and a whole
candell-light. Hang out your lights." The watchman was called a
rattle-watch, and carried a long staff and a lantern and a large rattle
or klopper, which he struck to frighten away thieves. And all night long
he called out each hour, and told the weather. For instance, he called
out, "Past midnight, and all's well"; "One o'clock and fair winds," or
"Five o'clock and cloudy skies." Thus one could lie safe in bed and if
he chanced to waken could know that the friendly rattle-watch was near
at hand, and what was the weather and the time of night. In 1658 New
York had in all ten watchmen, who were like our modern police; to-day it
has many thousands.

In New England the constables and watch were all carefully appointed by
law. They carried black staves six feet long, tipped with brass, and
hence were called tipstaves. The night watch was called a bell-man. He
looked out for fire and thieves and other disorders, and called the time
of the night, and the weather. The pay was small, often but a shilling a
night, and occasionally a "coat of kersey." In large towns, as Boston
and Salem, thirteen "sober, honest men and householders" were the night
watch. The highest in the community, even the magistrates, took their
turn at the watch, and were ordered to walk two together, a young man
with "one of the soberer sort."



CHAPTER XV

SUNDAY IN THE COLONIES


The first building used as a church at the Plymouth colony was the fort,
and to it the Pilgrim fathers and mothers and children walked on Sunday
reverently and gravely, three in a row, the men fully armed with swords
and guns, till they built a meeting-house in 1648. In other New England
settlements, the first services were held in tents, under trees, or
under any shelter. The settler who had a roomy house often had also the
meeting. The first Boston meeting-house had mud walls, a thatched roof,
and earthen floor. It was used till 1640, and some very thrilling and
inspiring scenes were enacted within its humble walls. Usually the
earliest meeting-houses were log houses, with clay-filled chinks, and
roofs thatched with reeds and long grass, like the dwelling-houses. At
Salem is still preserved one of the early churches. The second and more
dignified form of New England meeting-house was usually a square wooden
building with a truncated pyramidal roof, surmounted often with a
belfry, which served as a lookout station and held a bell, from which
the bell-rope hung down to the floor in the centre of the church aisle.
The old church at Hingham, Massachusetts, still standing and still used,
is a good specimen of this shape. It was built in 1681, and is known as
the "Old Ship," and is a comely and dignified building. As more elegant
and costly dwelling-houses were built, so were better meeting-houses;
and the third form with lofty wooden steeple at one end, in the style
of architecture invented by Sir Christopher Wren, after the great fire
of London, multiplied and increased until every town was graced with an
example. In all these the main body of the edifice remained as bare,
prosaic, and undecorated as were the preceding churches, while all the
ambition of both builders and congregation spent itself in the steeple.
These were so varied and at times so beautiful that a chapter might be
written on New England steeples. The Old South Church of Boston is a
good example of this school of ecclesiastical architecture, and is a
well-known historic building as well.

The earliest meeting-houses had oiled paper in the windows, and when
glass came it was not set with putty, but was nailed in. The windows had
what were termed "heavy current side-shutters." The outside of the
meeting-house was not "colored," or "stained" as it was then termed, but
was left to turn gray and weather-stained, and sometimes moss-covered
with the dampness of the great shadowing hemlock and fir trees which
were usually planted around New England churches. The first
meeting-houses were often decorated in a very singular and grotesque
manner. Rewards were paid by all the early towns for killing wolves; and
any person who killed a wolf brought the head to the meeting-house and
nailed it to the outer wall; the fierce grinning heads and splashes of
blood made a grim and horrible decoration. All kinds of notices were
also nailed to the meeting-house door where all of the congregation
might readily see them,--notices of town-meetings, of sales of cattle or
farms, lists of town-officers, prohibitions from selling guns to the
Indians, notices of intended marriages, vendues, etc. It was the only
meeting-place, the only method of advertisement. In front of the church
was usually a row of stepping-stones or horse-blocks, for nearly all
came on horseback; and often on the meeting-house green stood the
stocks, pillory, and whipping-post.

A verse from an old-fashioned hymn reads thus:

    "New England's Sabbath day
      Is heaven-like, still, and pure,
    When Israel walks the way
      Up to the temple's door.
    The time we tell
      When there to come,
      By beat of drum,
    Or sounding shell."

The first church at Jamestown, Virginia, gathered the congregation by
beat of drum; but while attendants of the Episcopal, Roman Catholic,
and Dutch Reformed churches in the New World were in general being
summoned to divine service by the ringing of a bell hung either over the
church or in the branches of a tree by its side, New England Puritans
were summoned, as the hymn relates, by drum, or horn, or shell. The
shell was a great conch-shell, and a man was hired to blow it--a
mournful sound--at the proper time, which was usually nine o'clock in
the morning. In Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the church-shell was
afterwards used for many years as a signal to begin and stop work in the
haying field. In Windsor, Connecticut, a man walked up and down on a
platform on the top of the meeting-house and blew a trumpet to summon
worshippers. Many churches had a church drummer, who stood on the roof
or in the belfry and drummed; a few raised a flag as a summons, or fired
a gun.

Within the meeting-house all was simple enough: raftered walls, puncheon
and sanded or earthen floors, rows of benches, a few pews, all of
unpainted wood, and a pulpit which was usually a high desk overhung by a
heavy sounding-board, which was fastened to the roof by a slender metal
rod. The pulpit was sometimes called a scaffold. When pews were built
they were square, with high partition walls, and had narrow,
uncomfortable seats round three sides. The word was always spelled
"pue"; and they were sometimes called "pits." A little girl in the
middle of this century attended a service in an old church which still
retained the old-fashioned square pews; she exclaimed, in a loud voice,
"What! must I be shut in a closet and sit on a shelf?" These narrow,
shelf-like seats were usually hung on hinges and could be turned up
against the pew-walls during the long psalm-tunes and prayers; so the
members of the congregation could lean against the pew-walls for support
as they stood. When the seats were let down, they fell with a heavy slam
that could be heard half a mile away in the summer time, when the
windows of the meeting-house were open. Lines from an old poem read:--

    "And when at last the loud Amen
    Fell from aloft, how quickly then
    The seats came down with heavy rattle,
    Like musketry in fiercest battle."

A few of the old-time meeting-houses, with high pulpit, square pews, and
deacons' seats, still remain in New England. The interior of the Rocky
Hill meeting-house at Salisbury, Massachusetts, is here shown. It fully
illustrates the words of the poet:--

    "Old house of Puritanic wood
      Through whose unpainted windows streamed
    On seats as primitive and rude
      As Jacob's pillow when he dreamed,
    The white and undiluted day--"

The seats were carefully and thoughtfully assigned by a church committee
called the Seating Committee, the best seats being given to older
persons of wealth and dignity who attended the church. Whittier wrote of
this custom:--

    "In the goodly house of worship, where in order due and fit,
    As by public vote directed, classed and ranked the people sit.
    Mistress first and good wife after, clerkly squire before the clown,
    From the brave coat lace-embroidered to the gray coat shading down."

Many of the plans for "seating the meeting-house" have been preserved;
the pews and their assigned occupants are clearly designated. A copy is
shown of one now in Deerfield Memorial Hall.

In the early meeting-houses men and women sat on separate sides of the
meeting-house, as in Quaker meetings till our own time. Sometimes a
group of young women or of young men were permitted to sit in the
gallery together. Little girls sat beside their mothers or on footstools
at their feet, or sometimes on the gallery stairs; and I have heard of a
little cage or frame to hold Puritan babies in meeting. Boys did not sit
with their families, but were in groups by themselves, usually on the
pulpit and gallery stairs, where tithing-men watched over them. In
Salem, in 1676, it was ordered by the town that "all ye boyes of ye
towne are appointed to sitt upon ye three paire of stairs in ye
meeting-house, and Wm. Lord is appointed to look after ye boys upon ye
pulpitt stairs."

In Stratford the tithing-man was ordered to "watch over youths of
disorderly carriage, and see they behave themselves comelie, and use
such raps and blows as is in his discretion meet." In Durham any
misbehaving boy was punished publicly after the service was over. We
would nowadays scarcely seat twenty or thirty active boys together in
church if we wished them to be models of attention and dignified
behavior; but after the boys' seats were removed from the pulpit stairs
they were all turned in together in a "boys' pew" in the gallery. There
was a boys' pew in Windsor, Connecticut, as late as 1845, and pretty
noisy it usually was. A certain small boy in Connecticut misbehaved
himself on Sunday, and his wickedness was specified by the justice of
peace as follows:--

     "A Rude and Idel Behaver in the meeting hous. Such as Smiling and
     Larfing and Intiseing others to the Same Evil. Such as Larfing or
     Smiling or puling the hair of his nayber Benoni Simkins in the time
     of Publick Worship. Such as throwing Sister Penticost Perkins on
     the Ice, it being Saboth day, between the meeting hous and his
     plaes of abode."

I can picture well the wicked scene; poor, meek little Benoni Simpkins
trying to behave well in meeting, and not cry out when the young "wanton
gospeller" pulled her hair, and unfortunate Sister Perkins tripped up on
the ice by the young rascal.

Another vain youth in Andover, Massachusetts, was brought up before the
magistrate, and it was charged that he "sported and played, and by
Indecent gestures and wry faces caused laughter and misbehavior in the
beholders." The girls were just as wicked; they slammed down the
pew-seats. Tabatha Morgus of Norwich "prophaned the Lord's daye" by her
"rude and indecent behavior in Laughing and playing in ye tyme of
service." On Long Island godless boys "ran raesses" on the Sabbath and
"talked of vane things," and as for Albany children, they played hookey
and coasted down hill on Sunday to the scandal of every one evidently,
except their parents. When the boys were separated and families sat in
pews together, all became orderly in meeting.

The deacons sat in a "Deacons' Pue" just in front of the pulpit;
sometimes also there was a "Deaf Pue" in front for those who were hard
of hearing. After choirs were established the singers' seats were
usually in the gallery; and high up under the beams in a loft sat the
negroes and Indians.

If any person seated himself in any place which was not assigned to him,
he had to pay a fine, usually of several shillings, for each offence.
But in old Newbury men were fined as high as twenty-seven pounds each
for persistent and unruly sitting in seats belonging to other members.

The churches were all unheated. Few had stoves until the middle of this
century. The chill of the damp buildings, never heated from autumn to
spring, and closed and dark throughout the week, was hard for every one
to bear. In some of the early log-built meeting-houses, fur bags made of
wolfskins were nailed to the seats; and in winter church attendants
thrust their feet into them. Dogs, too, were permitted to enter the
meeting-house and lie on their masters' feet. Dog-whippers or
dog-pelters were appointed to control and expel them when they became
unruly or unbearable. Women and children usually carried foot-stoves,
which were little pierced metal boxes that stood on wooden legs, and
held hot coals. During the noon intermission the half-frozen church
attendants went to a neighboring house or tavern, or to a noon-house to
get warm. A noon-house or "Sabba-day house," as it was often called, was
a long low building built near the meeting-house, with horse-stalls at
one end and a chimney at the other. In it the farmers kept, says one
church record, "their duds and horses." A great fire of logs was built
there each Sunday, and before its cheerful blaze noonday luncheons of
brown bread, doughnuts, or gingerbread were eaten, and foot-stoves were
filled. Boys and girls were not permitted to indulge in idle talk in
those noon-houses, much less to play. Often two or three families built
a noon-house together, or the church built a "Society-house," and there
the children had a sermon read to them by a deacon during the "nooning";
sometimes the children had to explain aloud the notes they had taken
during the sermon in the morning. Thus they throve, as a minister wrote,
on the "Good Fare of brown Bread and the Gospel." There was no nearer
approach to a Sunday-school until this century.

The services were not shortened because the churches were uncomfortable.
By the side of the pulpit stood a brass-bound hour-glass which was
turned by the tithing-man or clerk, but it did not hasten the closing of
the sermon. Sermons two or three hours long were customary, and prayers
from one to two hours in length. When the first church in Woburn was
dedicated, the minister preached a sermon nearly five hours long. A
Dutch traveller recorded a prayer four hours long on a Fast Day. Many
prayers were two hours long. The doors were closed and watched by the
tithing-man, and none could leave even if tired or restless unless with
good excuse. The singing of the psalms was tedious and unmusical, just
as it was in churches of all denominations both in America and England
at that date. Singing was by ear and very uncertain, and the
congregation had no notes, and many had no psalm-books, and hence no
words. So the psalms were "lined" or "deaconed"; that is, a line was
read by the deacon, and then sung by the congregation. Some psalms when
lined and sung occupied half an hour, during which the congregation
stood. There were but eight or nine tunes in general use, and even these
were often sung incorrectly. There were no church organs to help keep
the singers together, but sometimes pitch-pipes were used to set the
key. Bass-viols, clarionets, and flutes were played upon at a later date
in meeting to help the singing. Violins were too associated with dance
music to be thought decorous for church music. Still the New England
churches clung to and loved their poor confused psalm-singing as one of
their few delights, and whenever a Puritan, even in road or field, heard
the distant sound of a psalm-tune he removed his hat and bowed his head
in prayer.

Contributions at first were not collected by the deacons, but the entire
congregation, one after another, walked up to the deacons' seat and
placed gifts of money, goods, wampum, or promissory notes in a box. When
the services were ended, all remained in the pews until the minister and
his wife had walked up the aisle and out of the church.

The strict observance of Sunday as a holy day was one of the
characteristics of the Puritans. Any profanation of the day was
severely punished by fine or whipping. Citizens were forbidden to fish,
shoot, sail, row, dance, jump, or ride, save to and from church, or to
perform any work on the farm. An infinite number of examples might be
given to show how rigidly the laws were enforced. The use of tobacco was
forbidden near the meeting-house. These laws were held to extend from
sunset on Saturday to sunset on Sunday; for in the first instructions
given to Governor Endicott by the company in England, it was ordered
that all in the colony cease work at three o'clock in the afternoon on
Saturday. The Puritans found support of this belief in the Scriptural
words, "The evening and the morning were the first day."

A Sabbath day in the family of Rev. John Cotton was thus described by
one of his fellow-ministers:--

     "He began the Sabbath at evening, therefore then performed family
     duty after supper, being longer than ordinary in exposition. After
     which he catechized his children and servants, and then returned to
     his study. The morning following, family worship being ended, he
     retired into his study until the bell called him away. Upon his
     return from meeting (where he had preached and prayed some hours),
     he returned again into his study (the place of his labor and
     prayer), unto his favorite devotion; where having a small repast
     carried him up for his dinner, he continued until the tolling of
     the bell. The public service of the afternoon being over, he
     withdrew for a space to his pre-mentioned oratory for his sacred
     addresses to God, as in the forenoon, then came down, repeated the
     sermon in the family, prayed, after supper sang a Psalm, and toward
     bedtime betaking himself again to his study he closed the day with
     prayer. Thus he spent the Sabbath continually."

The Virginia Cavaliers were strict Church of England men and the first
who came to the colony were strict Sunday-keepers. Rules were laid down
to enforce Sunday observance. Journeys were forbidden, boat-lading was
prohibited, also all profanation of the day by sports, such as shooting,
fishing, game-playing, etc. The offender who broke the Sabbath laws had
to pay a fine and be set in the stocks. When that sturdy watch-dog of
religion and government--Sir Thomas Dale--came over, he declared absence
from church should be punishable by death; but this severity never was
executed. The captain of the watch was made to play the same part as the
New England tithing-man. Every Sunday, half an hour before service-time,
at the last tolling of the bell, the captain stationed sentinels, then
searched all the houses and commanded and forced all (except the sick)
to go to church. Then, when all were driven churchwards before him, he
went with his guards to church himself.

Captain John Smith, in his _Pathway to erect a Plantation_, thus vividly
described the first places of divine worship in Virginia:--

     "Wee did hang an awning, which is an old saile, to three or foure
     trees to shadow us from the Sunne; our walls were railes of wood;
     our seats unhewed trees till we cut plankes; our Pulpit a bar of
     wood nailed to two neighbouring trees. In foul weather we shifted
     into an old rotten tent; this came by way of adventure for new.
     This was our Church till we built a homely thing like a barne set
     upon Cratchets, covered with rafts, sedge, and earth; so also was
     the walls; the best of our houses were of like curiosity, that
     could neither well defend from wind nor rain.

     "Yet we had daily Common Prayer morning and evening; every Sunday
     two sermons; and every three months a holy Communion till our
     Minister died: but our Prayers daily with an Homily on Sundays we
     continued two or three years after, till more Preachers came."

A timber church sixty feet long took the place of this mud and clay
chapel, and this was in turn replaced by the brick one whose ruined
arches are still standing. The wooden church saw the most pompous
ceremony of the day when the governor, De La Warre, or Delaware as we
now call it, in full dress, attended by all his councillors and officers
and fifty halbert-bearers in scarlet cloaks, filed within its
flower-decked walls.

This decoration of flowers was significant of the difference between the
church edifices of the Puritans and of the Cavaliers. The churches of
the Southern colonies were, as a rule, much more richly furnished. Many
were modelled in shape after the old English churches and were built of
stone, though Jonathan Boucher, the colonial clergyman, could write that
the greater number of the Southern churches were, at the time of the
Revolution, "composed of wood, without spires, or towers or steeples or
bells, placed in retired and solitary spots and contiguous to springs or
wells." Many of the churches and the chapels-of-ease stood by the
waterside, and to the services came the church attendants in canoes,
periaugers, dugouts, etc. It made an animated scene upon the water, as
the boats came rowing in and as they departed after the service.

Sometimes the seats were comfortably cushioned, and they were carefully
assigned as in the Puritan meetings. In some Virginia churches seats in
the galleries were deemed the most dignified. There was a pew for the
magistrates, another for the magistrates' ladies; pews for the
representatives and church-wardens, vestrymen, etc. Persons crowded into
pews above their stations, just as in New England, and were promptly
displaced. Groups of men built pews together, and there were schoolboys'
galleries and pews.

The first clergyman in Virginia, Robert Hunt, a true man of God, came as
a missionary, and he and others were men of marked intellect and
religion, but in the eighteenth century the pay was too small and
uncertain to attract any great men from the Church of England, and
church attendance dwindled and became irregular. For in Virginia the
parish was expected to receive any clergyman sent them from England, a
rule which often proved unsatisfactory; and deservedly so, since some
very disreputable offshoots of English families were thrust upon the
Virginia churches. In the Carolinas, where the church chose its own
clergyman, harmony and affection prevailed in the parishes as it did
among the New England Puritans. Though the Virginians did not always
love their clergymen, still they were ever steadfast in their affection
to their church, and regarded it as the only church.

Sunday was not observed with as much rigidity in New Netherland as in
New England, but strict rules and laws were made for enforcing quiet
during service-time. Fishing, gathering berries or nuts, playing in the
streets, working, going on pleasure trips, all were forbidden. On Long
Island shooting of wild fowl, carting of grain, travelling for pleasure,
all were punished. In Revolutionary times a cage was set up in City Hall
Park, near the present New York Post-office, in which boys were confined
who did not properly regard the Sabbath.

Before the Dutch settlers had any churches or domines, as they called
their ministers, they had _krankbesoeckers_, or visitors of the sick,
who read sermons to an assembled congregation every Sunday. The first
church at Albany was much like the Plymouth fort, simply a blockhouse
with loop-holes through which guns could be fired. The roof was mounted
with three cannon. It had a seat for the magistrates and one for the
deacons, and a handsome octagonal pulpit which had been sent from
Holland, and which still exists. The edifice had a chandelier and candle
sconces and two low galleries. The first church in New Amsterdam was of
stone, and was seventy-two feet long.

A favorite form of the Dutch churches was six or eight sided, with a
high pyramidal roof, topped with a belfry and a weather-vane. Usually
the windows were so small and of glass so opaque that the church was
very dark. A few of the churches were poorly heated with high stoves
perched up on pillars, the Albany and Schenectady churches among them,
but all the women carried foot-stoves, and some of the men carried
muffs.

Almost as important as the domine was the _voorleezer_ or chorister, who
was also generally the bell-ringer, sexton, grave-digger, funeral
inviter, schoolmaster, and sometimes town clerk. He "tuned the psalm";
turned the hour-glass; gave out the psalms on a hanging board to the
congregation; read the Bible; gave up notices to the domine by sticking
the papers in the end of a cleft stick and holding it up to the high
pulpit.

The deacons had control of all the church money. In the middle of the
sermon they collected contributions by passing _sacjes_. These were
small cloth or velvet bags hung on the end of a pole six or eight feet
long. A French traveller told that the Dutch deacons passed round "the
old square hat of the preacher" on the end of a stick for the
contributions. Usually there was a little bell on the _sacje_ which rung
when a coin was dropped in.

In many Dutch churches the men sat in a row of pews around the wall
while the women were seated on chairs in the centre of the church. There
were also a few benches or pews for persons of special dignity, or for
the minister's wife.

There were many other colonists of other religious faiths: the Roman
Catholics in Maryland and the extreme Southern colonies; the Quakers in
Pennsylvania; the Baptists in Rhode Island; the Huguenots, Lutherans,
Moravians; but all enjoined an orderly observance of the Sabbath day.
And it may be counted as one of the great blessings of the settlement of
America, one of the most ennobling conditions of its colonization, that
it was made at a time when the deepest religious feeling prevailed
throughout Europe, when devotion to some religion was found in every
one, when the Bible was a newly found and deeply loved treasure; when
the very differences of religious belief and the formation of new sects
made each cling more lovingly and more earnestly to his own faith.



CHAPTER XVI

COLONIAL NEIGHBORLINESS


If the first foundation of New England's strength and growth was
godliness, its next was neighborliness, and a firm rock it proved to
build upon. It may seem anomalous to assert that while there was in
olden times infinitely greater independence in each household than at
present, yet there was also greater interdependence with surrounding
households.

It is curious to see how completely social ethics and relations have
changed since olden days. Aid in our families in times of stress and
need is not given to us now by kindly neighbors as of yore; we have
well-arranged systems by which we can buy all that assistance, and pay
for it, not with affectionate regard, but with current coin. The
colonist turned to any and all who lived around him, and never turned in
vain for help in sickness, or at the time of death of members of his
household; for friendly advice; for culinary aids to a halting appetite;
for the preparation for feasting an exceptional number of persons; in
short, in any unusual emergency, as well as in frequent every-day
coöperation in log-rolling, stone-piling, stump-pulling, wall-building,
house-raising, etc.,--all the hard and exhausting labor on the farm.

The word "coöperation" is modern, but the thing itself is as old as
civilization. In a new country where there was much work to be done
which one man or one family could not do, under the mechanical
conditions which then existed, a working together, or union of labor was
necessary for progress, indeed, almost for obtaining a foothold.

The term "log-rolling" is frequently employed in its metaphorical sense
in politics, both by English and American writers who have vague
knowledge of the original meaning of the word. A log-rolling in early
pioneer days, in the Northern colonies and in western Virginia and the
central states, was a noble example of generous coöperation, where each
gave of his best--his time, strength, and good will; and where all
worked to clear the ground in the forest for a home-farm for a neighbor
who might be newly come and an entire stranger, but who in turn would
just as cheerfully and energetically give his work for others when it
was needed.

With the vanishing of the log-rolling, and a score of similar kindly
usages and customs, has gone from our communities all traces of the
old-time exalted type of neighborliness. We nowadays have generalized
our sentiments; we have more philanthropy and less neighborliness; we
have more love for mankind and less for men. We are independent of our
neighbors, but infinitely more dependent on the world at large. The
personal element has been removed to a large extent from our social
ethics. We buy nursing and catering just as we hire our houses built and
buy our corn ready ground. Doubtless everything we buy is infinitely
better; nevertheless, our loss in affectionate zeal is great.

The plantation was the unit in Virginia; in New England it was the town.
The neighborly helpfulness of the New England settlers extended from
small to great matters; it formed communal privileges and entered into
every department of town life. For instance, the town of Gloucester in
1663 granted a right to a citizen for running a small sawmill for
twenty-one years. In return for this right the grantee was to sell
boards to Gloucester men at "one shilling per hundred better cheape than
to strangers"--and was to receive pay "raised in the towne." Saco and
Biddeford, in Maine, ordered that fellow-townsmen should have preference
in every employment. Other towns ordered certain persons to buy
provisions "of the towns-men in preference." Reading would not sell any
of its felled timber out of the town. Thus the social compact called a
town extended itself also into all the small doings of daily life, and
the mutual helpfulness made mutual interests that proved no small
element of the force which bound all together in 1776 in a successful
struggle for independence.

In outlying settlements and districts this feeling of mutual dependence
and assistance was strong enough to give a name which sometimes lingered
long. "The Loomis Neighborhood," "The Mason Neighborhood," "The Robinson
Neighborhood" were names distinctive for half a century, and far more
distinguishing and individual than the Greenville, Masontown, and
Longwood that succeeded them.

There was one curious and contradictory aspect of this neighborliness,
this kindliness, this thought for mutual welfare, and that was its
narrowness, especially in New England, as regards the limitations of
space and locality. It is impossible to judge what caused this restraint
of vision, but it is certain that in generality and almost in
universality, just as soon as any group of settlers could call
themselves a town, these colonists' notions of kindliness and
thoughtfulness for others became distinctly and rigidly limited to their
own townspeople. The town was their whole world. Without doubt this was
partly the result of the lack of travelling facilities and ample
communication, which made townships far more separated and remote from
each other than states are to-day, and made difficult the possibility of
speedy or full knowledge of strangers.

This caused a constant suspicion of all newcomers, especially those who
chanced to enter with scant introduction, and made universal a custom of
"warning out" all strangers who arrived in any town. This formality was
gone through with by the sheriff or tithing-man. Thereafter should the
warned ones prove incapable or unsuccessful or vicious, they could not
become a charge upon the town, but could be returned whence they came
with despatch and violence if necessary. By this means, and by various
attempts to restrict the powers of citizens to sell property to
newcomers, the town kept a jealous watch over the right of entry into
the corporation.

Dorchester in 1634 enacted that "no man within the Plantation shall sell
his house or lott to any man without the Plantation whome they shall
dislike off." Providence would not permit a proprietor to sell to any
"but to an Inhabitant" without consent of the town. New Haven would
neither sell nor let ground to a stranger. Hadley would sell no land to
any until after three years' occupation, and then only with approval of
the "Town's Mind." In 1637 the General Court very reasonably questioned
whether towns could legally restrain individuals from disposal of their
own property, but the custom was so established, so in touch with the
narrow exclusiveness of the colonists, that it still prevailed. The
expression of the town of Watertown when it would sell lots only to
freemen of the congregation, because it wished no strange neighbors, but
only "to sitt down there close togither," was the sentiment of all the
towns. One John Stebbins, who had twice served as a soldier of Watertown
and lived there seven years, could not get a town lot.

The legal process of warning out of town had an element of the absurd in
it, and in one case that of mystery, namely: a sheriff appeared before
the woebegone intruder, and said, half laughing, "I warn you off the
face of the earth." "Let me get my hat before I go," stammered the
terrified wanderer, who ran into the house for his hat and was never
seen by any mortal eye in that town afterwards. It has become a
tradition of local folk-lore that he literally vanished from the earth
at the command of the officer of the law.

The harboring of strangers, even of relatives who were not local
residents, was a frequent source of bickering between citizens and
magistrates, as well as a constant cause of arbitration between towns. A
widow in Dorchester was not permitted to entertain her own son-in-law
from another town, and her neighbor was fined in 1671 "under distress"
for housing his own daughter. She was a married woman, and alleged she
could not return to her husband on account of the inclement weather.

As time passed on and immigration continued, freemen clung closely to
their right to keep out strangers and outsiders. From the Boston Town
Records of 1714 we find citizens still prohibited from entertaining a
stranger without giving notice to the town authorities, and a
description of the stranger and his circumstances. Boston required that
all coming from Ireland should be registered "lest they become
chargeable." Warnings and whippings out of town still continued. All
this was so contrary to the methods of colonies in other countries, such
as the Barbadoes, Honduras, etc., where extraordinary privileges were
offered settlers, free and large grants of land, absolvment from past
debts, etc., that it makes an early example of the curious absorbing and
assimilating power of American nationality, which ever grew and grew
even against such clogs and hampering restrictions.

In the Southern colonies the same kindliness existed as in the North,
but the conditions differed. John Hammond, of Virginia, wrote in 1656,
in his _Leah and Rachel_:--

     "The Country is not only plentifull, but pleasant and profitable,
     pleasant in regard of the extraordinary good neighbourhood and
     loving conversation they have one with another.

     "The inhabitants are generally affable, courteous, and very
     assistant to Strangers (for what but plenty makes hospitality and
     good neighbourhood) and no sooner are they settled, but they will
     be visiting, presenting and advising the strangers how to improve
     what they have, how to better their way of livelihood."

In summer when fresh meat was killed, the neighbors shared the luxury,
and in turn gave of their slaughter. Hammond adds:--

     "If any fall sick and cannot compass to follow his crops which
     would soon be lost, the adjoining neighbour, or upon request more
     joyn together and work it by spells, until he recovers; and that
     gratis, so that no man may by sickness loose any part of his year's
     work.

     "Let any travell, it is without charge and at every house is
     entertainment as in a hostelry."

It was the same in the Carolinas. Ramsay, the early historian of South
Carolina, said that hospitality was such a virtue that innkeepers
complained that their business was not worth carrying on. The doors of
citizens were open to all decent travellers, and shut to none.

The plantations were in many counties too far apart for any coöperative
labor, and the planters were not men of such vast strength or so great
personal industry, even in their own affairs, as were the Yankees. There
were slaves on each plantation to do all the hard work of lifting, etc.
But in out-of-the-way settlements the Virginia planters' kindliness was
shown in a vast and unbounded hospitality, a hospitality so insatiable
that it watched for and waylaid travellers to expend a welcome and
lavish attentions upon. Negroes were stationed at the planter's gate
where it opened on the post-road or turnpike, to hail travellers and
assure them of a hearty welcome at the "big house up yonder." One writer
says of the planters:--

     "Their manner of living is most generous and open: strangers are
     sought after with Greediness to be invited."

The _London Magazine_ of the year 1743 published a series of papers
entitled _Itinerant Observations in America_. It was written with a
spirited pen which thus pleasantly describes simple Maryland
hospitality, not of men of vast wealth but of very poor folk:--

     "With the meaner Sort you find little else to drink but Water
     amongst them when their Cyder is spent, but the Water is presented
     you by one of the barefooted Family in a copious Calabash, with an
     innocent Strain of good Breeding and Heartiness, the Cake baking on
     the Hearth, and the prodigious Cleanliness of everything around you
     must needs put you in Mind of the Golden Age, the Times of ancient
     Frugality and Purity. All over the Colony a universal Hospitality
     reigns, full Tables and open Doors; the kind Salute, the generous
     Detention speak somewhat like the roast-Beef Ages of our
     Forefathers."

There came a time when this Southern hospitality became burdensome. With
the exhaustion of the soil and competition in tobacco-raising, the great
wealth of the Virginians was gone. But visitors did not cease; in fact,
they increased. The generous welcome offered to kinsmen, friends, and
occasional travellers was sought by curiosity-hunters and tourists who
wanted to save a tavern-bill. Nothing could be more pathetic than the
impoverishment of Thomas Jefferson through these impositions. Times and
conditions had changed, but Jefferson felt bound in honor to himself and
his state to keep the same open hand and ready welcome as of yore. His
overseer describes his own hopeless efforts to keep these travelling
friends and admirers from eating his master out of house and home:--

     "They were there all times of the year; but about the middle of
     June the travel would commence from the lower part of the State to
     the Springs, and then there was a perfect throng of visitors. They
     travelled in their own carriages and came in gangs, the whole
     family with carriage and riding horses and servants, sometimes
     three or four such gangs at a time. We had thirty-six stalls for
     horses and only used ten of them for the stock we kept there. Very
     often all the rest were full, and I had to send horses off to
     another place. I have often sent a wagon-load of hay up to the
     stable, and the next morning there would not be enough left to make
     a bird's nest. I have killed a fine beef, and it would all be eaten
     up in a day or two."

The final extinction of old-time hospitality in Virginia came not from a
death of hospitable intent, but from an entire vanishing of the means to
furnish entertainment. And the Civil War drove away even the lingering
ghost.

Many general customs existed in the early colonies which were simply
exemplifications of neighborliness put in legal form. Such were the
systems of common lands and herding. This was an old Aryan custom which
existed many centuries ago, and has ever been one of the best ways of
uniting any settlement of people, especially a new settlement; for it
makes the interest of one the interest of all, and promotes union rather
than selfishness. Common lands were set off and common herds existed in
many of the Northern colonies; cowherds or "cow-keeps" were appointed
and paid by the town to care throughout the summer for all the cattle
owned by the inhabitants. This was an intelligent provision; for it
saved much work of individuals during the months when farmers had so
much hard work to do, and so short a time to do it in. In Albany and New
York the cowherd and "a chosen proper youngster"--in other words, a
good, steady boy--went through the town at sunrise sounding a horn,
which the cattle heard and knew; and they quickly followed him to green
pastures outside the town. There they lingered till nearly sunset, when
they were brought home to the church, and the owners were again warned
by the horn of the safe return of their cattle, and that it was milking
time. Sometimes the cowherd received part of his pay in butter or
cheese. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cowherd Rice, in 1635, agreed to
take charge of one hundred cows for three months for ten pounds. The
town also paid two men or boys to help him the first two weeks, and one
man a week longer; he kept the cows alone after that, for the
intelligent cattle had fallen into habits of order and obedience to his
horn. He had to pay threepence fine each time he failed to bring in all
the cattle at night.

On Long Island and in Connecticut there were cowherds, calf-keepers, and
pound-keepers. The calf-keepers' duties were to keep the calves away
from the cows, water them, protect them, etc. In Virginia and Maryland
there were cow-pens in early days, and cowherds; but in the South the
cattle generally roamed wild through the forests, and were known to
their owners by earmarks. In all communities earmarks and other brands
of ownership on cattle, horses, sheep, and swine were very important,
and rigidly regarded where so much value was kept in domestic cattle.
These earmarks were registered by the town clerk in the town records,
and were usually described both in words and rude drawings. One of my
great-great-grandfather's earmarks for his cows was a "swallow-fork slit
in both ears"; another was a slit under the ear and a "half-penny mark
on the foreside of the near ear." This custom of herding cattle in
common lasted in some out-of-the-way places to this century, and even
lingered long in large cities such as Boston, where cows were allowed to
feed on Boston Common till about 1840. In Philadelphia until the year
1795 a cowherd stood every morning at the corner of Dock and Second
streets, blew his horn, tramped off to a distant pasture followed by all
the cows of his neighborhood, who had run out to him as soon as they
heard the familiar sound. He led them back to the same place at night,
when each returned alone to her own home.

Sheep-herds or shepherds in colonial days also took charge of the sheep
of many owners in herd-walks, or ranges, by day, and by night in
sheep-folds built with fences and gates.

Fence-viewers were men who were appointed by the town for common benefit
to take charge of building and keeping in repair the fences that
surrounded the "great lotts" or commons; that is, the enclosed fields
which were the common property of each town, in which all farmers living
near could place their cattle. The fence-viewers saw that each man
worked a certain amount each year on these "pales" as the fences were
called, or paid his share for the work of others. Each farmer or
cow-owner usually built about twenty feet of fence for each cow which he
pastured in the "great lotts." The fence-viewers also examined the
condition of fences around private lands; noted breaks and ordered
repairs. For if cattle broke through a poorly made fence, and did damage
to crops, the fence-owner had to stand the loss, while if the fences
were good and strong, proving the cattle unruly and destructive, the
owner of the cattle had to pay. All the colonies were watchful over the
safe-keeping of fences. In 1659 the Dutch rulers of New Amsterdam (now
New York) ordered that for "stripping fences of rails and posts" the
offender should be whipped and branded, and for a second offence he
could be punished by death. This seems cruelly severe, but that year
there was a great scarcity of grain and other food, and if the fences
were pulled down, cattle could get into fields and eat up the growing
crops, and famine and death might result.

Sometimes a common field was fenced in and planted with Indian corn. In
this case the fence served to keep the cattle out, not in. This was
always the case in Virginia.

Hay-wards were, as the name indicates, men to keep watchful care over
the growing hay. For instance, in Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1661,
Goodman Montague was chosen hay-ward by the town. He was to have
twelvepence for each cow or hog, two shillings for each horse, and
twenty pence for each twenty sheep that he found loose in any field or
meadow, and successfully turned out. The owner of the animal was to pay
the fine. At a later date these hay-wards were called field-drivers.
They are still appointed in many towns and cities, among them Boston.

Hog-reeves were men appointed by the citizens to look after their hogs
that roamed the roads and streets, to see that all those swine had
rings in their noses, were properly marked, and did not do damage to
crops. Many towns had hog-reeves till this century; for until seventy
years ago hogs ran freely everywhere, even in the streets of our great
cities. It was a favorite jest to appoint a newly married man hog-reeve.
When Ralph Waldo Emerson was married and became a householder in
Concord, the young philosopher was appointed to that office. Sometimes a
single swineherd was hired to take care of the roving swine. The two
Salem swineherds or swine-keepers in 1640 were to have sixpence for each
hog they drove daily to pasture from April to November. These and many
other public offices were simply a form of legalized coöperation; a
joining together of neighbors for public good.

The neighborly assistance given to new settlers began with the clearing
of the ground for occupancy. The girdling of trees was easy and speedy,
but it was discountenanced as dangerous and hideous, and was not
frequently practised. A chopping-bee was a universal method among
pioneers of clearing ground in newly settled districts, or even in older
townships in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where great tracts of
land were left for many years in the original growth. Sometimes this bee
was held to clear land for a newly married man, or a new neighbor, or
one who had had bad luck; but it was just as freely given to a
prosperous farmer, though plentiful thanks and plentiful rum were the
only rewards of the willing workers.

All the strong men of the township repaired at an early hour to the
tract to be cleared, and with powerful blows attacked the great trees. A
favorite way of bringing the day's work and the day's excitement to a
climax was by a "drive." This was made by chopping half-way into the
trunks of a great group or circle of trees--under-cutting it was
called--so that by a few powerful and well-driven blows at the monarch
of the group, and perhaps a few well-concerted pulls on a rope, the
entire group could be felled together, the leader bringing down with his
spreading branches in his mighty fall his fellows in front of him, and
they in turn their neighbors, with a crash that shook the earth and made
the mountains ring. It was dangerous work; accidents were frequent; the
records of death at log-rollings are pathetic to read and to think of,
in a country where the loss of a sturdy man meant so much to some
struggling household. A heavy and sudden gust of wind might blow down a
small tree, which had been carelessly "under-cut," and thus give an
unexpected and premature collapse of the simple machinery of the grand
finale.

A century ago a New Hampshire woman and her husband went out into the
forest primeval; he cut down a few trees, made a little clearing termed
a cut-down wherein a tiny patch of sky and cloud and scant sunlight
could be seen overhead, but no sunrise or sunset, and built a log house
of a single room--a home. With the opening spring came one day a group
of kindly settlers from distant clearings and settlements, some riding
from ten miles away the previous day. In front of the log house they
chopped all the morning long with sturdy arms and swinging blows, yet
felled nothing, till in the afternoon when all was ready for the final
blow at the towering leader, which by its fall should lay low a great
sloping tract for a dooryard and home field. As the noble trees fell at
last to the earth with a resounding crash, lo! in the opening there
appeared to the startled eyes of the settler's wife, as if rising out of
heaven, a neighbor in her loneliness--Mount Kearsage, grand, serene, and
beautiful, crowned with the glories of the setting sun, standing guard
over a smiling lake at its foot. And every day through her long and
happy life till ninety-six years old, as she looked at the splendid
mountain, standing as it will till time shall be no more, did she thank
God for His gift, for that noble companionship which came so suddenly,
so inspiringly, upon the cramped horizon of her lonely forest home.

After the trees were all felled, it was no longer a "cut-down" but an
"opening." This was made preferably in the spring. The fallen trees were
left some months on the ground to dry in the summer sun, while the
farmer turned to other work on his farm, or, if he were starting in
life, hired out for the summer. In the autumn the tops were set on fire,
and the lighter limbs usually burned out, leaving the great charred
tree-trunks. Then came what was known as a piling-bee, a perfect riot of
hard work, cinders, and dirt. Usually the half-burned tree-trunks were
"niggered off" in Indian fashion, by burning across with a smaller stick
of wood till the long log was in lengths which could be dragged by the
farmers with their oxen and horses into vast piles and again set on
fire. Another treat of rum accompanied this day's work. The word
"log-rolling" was often applied to the latter bee, and occasionally the
felling of trees and dragging into piles for firing was done in a single
log-rolling.

Sometimes before the opening was cleared it was planted. The spring
rains and melting snows carried the fertilizing ashes deep into the
soil. Corn was planted and "dug in"; rye was sowed and "hacked in." The
crops were astonishing; the grain grew among the fallen logs and stumps
in rioting luxuriance. A stump-pulling was another occasion for a
friendly bee, to clear off and put into comely shape the new field.

Another exhibition of coöperation was in a stone-hauling or a stone-bee.
Some of the rocky fields of hard New England would defy a lifetime of
work of one man and a single yoke of oxen. With judicious blasting, many
oxen, strong arms, and willing hearts the boulders and ledges were
tamed. Stone walls eight feet wide, such as may be seen in Hopkinton,
New Hampshire, stand as monuments of the patience, strength, skill, and
coöperation of our forbears.

To show the struggle and hard work willingly done for a home, let me
give the statement in 1870 of a respected citizen, the historian of
Norridgewock, Maine, when he was over ninety years old. He served an
apprenticeship of eight years till he was twenty-one, then bought on
credit a tract of fifty acres in the primeval woods. On eight acres he
felled the trees and left them through the winter. In April, 1801, he
spent three weeks in burning off the logs and clearing as well as
possible by handwork three acres. These he sowed with wheat and rye,
buying the seed on credit. He hired a yoke of oxen for one day and did
what harrowing he could in that short time, grubbing around the stumps
with a hoe for two more days. The crop grew, as did all others on
similar soil, amazingly. The two bushels of seed-wheat yielded fifty-two
bushels, the bushel of rye thirty bushels. On his other five acres among
the fallen trees he planted corn, and raised a hundred and twenty-eight
bushels. He adds:--

     "When I could leave my work on my new land I worked out haying and
     other work. I made shoes in the Fall, taught school in the Winter,
     paid for my board and some clothing, but husbanded my resources to
     pay for my land. At the end of the year found myself worth two
     hundred dollars. I continued to clear up four acres each year till
     I had cleared the fifty acres, planted an orchard and erected
     suitable farm buildings and fences."

Six years later he married and prospered. In eleven years he was worth
two thousand dollars; he filled, during his long life, many, positions
of trust and of profit, and did many and varied good deeds; he continued
in active life till he was ninety years old. At his death he left a
considerable fortune. It is an interesting picture of the value of
honorable economy and thrift; a typical New England picture, with a
certain vigor and stimulus about it that makes it pleasing.

A "raising" might be of a church or a school-house, or of a house or
barn for a neighbor. All the strong men far and near turned out to help,
tools were lent, and many strong hands and arms made quick work. Often
the frame of a whole side of a house--the broadside--was fastened
together on the ground. After it was laid out and pinned together,
shores of long poles were attached to the plates with ox-chains, and it
was literally lifted into place by the united strength of the entire
band of men and boys. Sometimes women pulled on the rope to express
their good will and helpfulness. Then the other sides were put up, and
the cross-beams, braces, and studding all pinned and nailed into place.
Afterwards the huge rafters were raised for the roof. Each man was
assigned in the beginning to his place and work, and worked faithfully
when his turn came. When the ridge-pole was put in place, the building
was christened, as it was called, by breaking over it a bottle of rum.
Often the house was literally given a name. Sitting astride the
ridge-pole, one poet sang:--

    "Here's a mighty fine frame
    Which desarves a good name,
    Say what shall we call it?
    The timbers all straight,
    And was hewed fust rate,
    The frame is well put together.
    It is a good frame
    That desarves a good name,
    Say! what shall we name it?"

Another, a Rochester, New Hampshire, frame was celebrated in verse which
closed thus:--

    "The Flower of the Plain is the name of this Frame,
    We've had exceeding good Luck in raising the Same."

It was not luck that made these raisings a success, it was skill and
strength; skill and powers of endurance which could overcome and
surmount even the quantity of vile New England rum with which the
workmen were plied throughout the day. Accidents were frequent, and
often fatal. A great frame of a meeting-house, or a vast barn with forty
or fifty men at work on it, could not collapse without loss of life and
much injury of limb.

In the work of these raisings the highest as well as the humblest
citizens took part. Truly a man could glow with the warmth of home even
in a bare and scantily furnished house, at the thought that the walls
and rafters were held in place by the kind wishes and deeds of all his
friends and neighbors.

There is nothing in nature so unnatural, so singular in quality, as the
glittering artificiality of the early morning in the country the day
after a heavy, drifting, New England snowstorm. For a day and a night
the wildly whirling snow that "driving o'er the fields seems nowhere to
alight" has restrained the outlook, and every one has turned depressed
from that outside life of loneliness and gloom. The following morning
always opens with an excessively bright and dazzling sunshine which is
not like any other sunshine in any place or season, but is wholly
artificial, like the lime-light of a theatre. We always run eagerly to
the window to greet once more the signs of life and cheerfulness; but
the landscape is more devoid of life and reality than during any storm
of wind and snow and sleet, no matter how dark and lowering. There is a
changed aspect in everything; it is metallic, and everything is made of
the same horrible white metal. Nothing seems familiar; not only are the
wonted forms and outlines vanished, and all their varied textures and
materials and beautiful diversity of color gone also, but there is a
steely immobility restraining everything which is so complete that it
seems as if it were a shell that could never be broken.

    "We look upon a world unknown,
    On nothing we can call our own."

It is no longer a real landscape but an artificial encircling diorama of
meaningless objects made of vast unshaded sheets of white glazed
Bristol-board, painted with white enamel, warranted not to crack; with
the garish high-lights put in crystallized alum or possibly powdered
glass. It is without life, or atmosphere, or reality; it has nothing but
the million reflections of that artificial and repellent sunshine. In a
quarter of an hour, even in a few minutes, it is agonizingly monotonous
to the spirit as it is painful to the eye; then, like a veritable oasis
of color and motion in an unmovable glittering white desert, a sound and
sight of beautiful and active life appears. Around the bend of the road
comes slow and straining down the hill, as has come through the glaring
artificial sunlight after every heavy snowstorm for over a century past,
a long train of oxen with a snow-plough "breaking out" the old
post-road. Beautiful emblems of patient and docile strength, these
splendid creatures are never so grateful to the sight as now. Their slow
progress down the hill has many elements to make it interesting; it is
historic. Ever since the township was thickly settled enough for
families to have any winter communication with each other, whether for
school, church, mail, or doctor, this road has been broken out in
precisely this same way.

In nearly all scattered townships in New England the custom prevails
to-day just as it did a century and more ago even in large towns, and a
description of the present "breaking out" is that of the past also. The
work is now usually done in charge of road-surveyors or the
road-masters, who are often appointed from the remote points of the
township. There is, therefore, much friendly rivalry to see which
surveyor will first reach the centre of the town--and the tavern.
Beginning at sunrise with his own yoke of oxen hitched to a snow-plough,
each road-master breaks through the drift to the nearest neighbor, who
adds his yoke to the other, and so from neighbor to neighbor till
sometimes fifteen or twenty yoke of oxen are hitched in a long line to
the plough. Sometimes a pair of wild young steers are hitched, plunging
and kicking, with the sober elders. By this time the first yoke often
begins to show signs of distress by lolling out the tongue, a sure
symptom of overwork in oxen, and they are left at some farmer's barn to
cool down.

Whittier thus describes the scene of breaking out the winter roads in
his _Snow-Bound_:--

    "Next morn we wakened with the shout
    Of merry voices high and clear;
    And saw the teamsters drawing near
    To break the drifted highways out.
    Down the long hillside treading slow
    We saw the half-buried oxen go,
    Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
    Their straining nostrils white with frost.
    Before our door the straggling train
    Drew up, an added team to gain.
    The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
    Passed, with the cider mug, their jokes
    From lip to lip."

Thus are the white snow-waste and the drifted roads turned by cheerful
coöperation into a midwinter visiting where every neighbor can exchange
greetings with the other, young and old. For of course school does not
keep, and the boys crowd on the snow-plough or try their new snowshoes,
and the men of the various families who do not go with the oxen hitch up
the sleighs, pods, and pungs and follow the snow-plough, and the young
men send a volley of snowballs against every house where any fair maid
lives. And at the tavern in the afternoon is a great sight, greater in
ante-temperance days than now: scores of yoke of oxen at the door, the
horse-sheds full of horses and sleighs, all the lads and men of the
township within. There is rivalry in the method of breaking. One
road-master always used a snow-plough; another lashed an ordinary plough
on either side of a narrow ox-sled; a third used a coarse harrow
weighted down with a group of standing boys. This broke up the drifts in
a wonderful manner. The deeper drifts often have to be shovelled out
partly by hand. After the road to the tavern is broken, the road to the
school-house, the doctor's house, and the meeting-house come next.

The roads thus made were not permitted in former days to be cut up idly
by careless use; many townships forbade by law the use of narrow sleds
and sleighs. The roads were narrow at best; often when two sleighs met
the horses had to be unharnessed, and the sleighs lifted past over each
other. On lonely hill-roads or straight turnpikes, where teamsters could
see some distance ahead, turnouts were made where one sleigh could wait
for another to pass.

After there had been a heavy fall of snow and the roads were well
broken, the time was always chosen where any logging was done to haul
logs to the sawmill on ox-sleds. An interesting sled was used which had
an interesting name,--chebobbin. One writer called it a cross between a
tree and a bobsled. It was made by a close and ingenious adaptation of
natural forms of wood, which made excellent runners, cross-bars, etc.;
they were fastened together so loosely that they readily adjusted
themselves to the inequalities of the wood-roads. The word and article
are now almost obsolete. In some localities chebobbin became tebobbin
and tarboggin, all three being adaptations in nomenclature, as they
were in form, of the Indian toboggan or moose-sled,--a sledge with
runners or flat bottom of wood or bark, upon which the red men drew
heavy loads over the snow. This sledge has become familiar to us in the
light and strong Canadian form now used for the delightful winter sport
of tobogganing.

On these chebobbins great logs were hitched together by chains, and
dragged down from the upland wood-lots. Under these mighty loads the
snow-tracks got an almost icy polish, prime sledding for country
sleighing parties. Sometimes a logging-bee was made to clear a special
lot for a neighbor, and a band of wood-choppers worked all day together.
It was cheerful work, though the men had to stand all day in the snow,
and the thermometer was below zero. But there was no cutting wind in the
forest, and the exercise kept the blood warm. Many a time a hearty man
would drop his axe to wipe the sweat from his brow. Loose woollen
frocks, or long-shorts, two or three over each other, were warm as are
the overlapping feathers of a bird; a few had buckskin or sheepskin
waistcoats; their hands were warmly covered with home-knit mittens. In
later days all had heavy well-greased boots, but in the early years of
such pioneer settlements, as the towns of New Hampshire and Vermont,
all could not afford to wear boots. Their place was well supplied by
heavy woollen stockings, shoes, and an over-covering of old stockings,
or cloth soaked in neat's-foot oil; this was deemed a positive
preventive of frozen feet.

It was the custom both among men and women to join forces on a smaller
scale and have a little neighborly visiting by what was called
"change-work." For instance, if two neighbors both were to make soap, or
both to make apple-butter, or both to make up a rag carpet, instead of
each woman sitting at home alone sewing and fitting the carpet, one
would take her thimble and go to spend the day, and the two would sew
all day long, finish and lay the carpet at one house. In a few days the
visit would be returned, and the second carpet be finished. Sometimes
the work was easier when two worked together. One man could load logs
and sled them down to the sawmill alone, but two by "change-work" could
accomplish the task much more rapidly and with less strain.

Even those evil days of New England households, the annual
house-cleaning, were robbed of some of their dismal terrors by what was
known as a "whang," a gathering of a few friendly women neighbors to
assist one another in that dire time, and thus speed and shorten the
hours of misery.

For any details of domestic life of colonial days the reader has ever to
turn to the diary of Judge Samuel Sewall of Boston, just as the student
of English life of the same date turns to the diary of Samuel Pepys.
Sewall was a Puritan of the narrow type of the later days of Puritanism;
and there is little of warmth or beauty in his pages, save that
throughout them there shines with gentle radiance the unconscious record
of a pure and never-dying neighborliness, the neighborliness of an
upright and reserved but deeply tender Christian. No thoughtful person
can read the simple and meagre, but wholly self-forgetful entries which
reveal this trait of character without a feeling of profound respect and
even affection for Sewall. He was the richest man in town, and one of
the most dignified of citizens, a busy man full of many cares and plans.
But he watched by the bedside of his sick and dying neighbors, those of
humble station as well as his friends and kinsfolk, nursing them with
tender care, praying with them, bringing appetizing gifts, and also
giving pecuniary aid to the household. He afforded even more homely
examples of neighborly feeling; he sent "tastes of his dinner" many
times to friends and neighbors. This pleasant custom lingered till the
present day in New England; I saw last summer, several times, covered
treasures of housewifery being carried in petty amounts, literally "a
taste," to tempt tired appetites or lonely diners. The gift of a portion
of the over-bountiful supply for the supper of a wedding, a reception,
etc., went by the expressive name of "cold party."

In rural Pennsylvania a charming and friendly custom prevailed among
country folk of all nationalities--the "metzel-soup," the "taste" of
sausage-making. This is the anglicized form of _Metzelsuppe_; _metzeln_
means to kill and cut to pieces--especially for sausage meat. When each
farmer butchered and made sausage, a great dish heaped with eight or ten
pounds of the new sausages was sent to each intimate friend. The
recipient would in turn send metzel-soup when his family killed and made
sausage. If the metzel-soup were not returned, the minister promptly
learned of it and set at work to effect a reconciliation between the
offended parties. The custom is dying out, and in many towns is wholly
vanished.

Sewall seemed to regard it as a duty, and doubtless it was also a
pleasure, to pray for and with dying friends. His is not the only
old-time diary that I have read in which those long prayers are
recorded, nor are his surprised occasional records of the impatience of
dying friends the only ones I have seen. A very sick man, even though he
were a Puritan, might occasionally tire of the prayers of laymen.

Sewall was ever ready to signify his good will and interest in his
neighbors' advancing fortunes, by driving a nail at a ship-building or a
pin at a house-raising, by laying a stone in a wall or a foundation of a
house, the latter, apparently, in the case of some very humble homes.
He, the Judge of the Supreme Court, served on the watch, walking and
guarding the streets and his neighbors' safety just as faithfully as did
the humblest citizen.



CHAPTER XVII

OLD-TIME FLOWER GARDENS


Adjoining the street through which I always, in my childhood, walked
slowly each Sunday, on my way to and from church, was a spot to detain
lingering footsteps--a beautiful garden laid out and tenanted like the
gardens of colonial days, and serene with the atmosphere of a worthy old
age; a garden which had been tended for over half a century by a
withered old man and his wife, whose golden wedding was spent in the
house they had built, and in the garden they had planted when they were
bride and groom. His back was permanently bowed with constant weeding
and pruning and planting and hoeing, and his hands and face were brown
as the soil he cultivated. The "hot-glowing" crimson peonies, seedlings
which the wife had sown in her youth, had become great shrubs, fifteen
or twenty feet in circumference. The flowering shrubs were trees.
Vigorous borders of box crowded across the paths and towered on either
side, till one could scarcely walk through them. There were beautiful
fairy groves of fox gloves "gloriously freckled, purple, and white," and
tall Canterbury bells; and at stiffly regular intervals were set
flowering almonds, St. Peter's wreath, Persian lilacs, "Moses in the
burning bush," which shrub was rare in our town, and "laburnums rich in
streaming gold, syringas ivory pure." At the lower ends of the flower
borders were rows of "honey-blob" gooseberries, and aged currant bushes,
gray with years, overhung by a few patriarchal quince and crab-apple
trees, in whose low-spreading gnarled branches I spent many a summer
afternoon, a happy visitor, though my own home garden was just as
beautiful, old-fashioned, and flower-filled.

The varying grades of city streets had gradually risen around the garden
until it lay depressed several feet below the level of the adjoining
streets, a pleasant valley,--like Avalon,--

    "Deep-meadowed, happy, fair, with orchard lawns,
    And bowery hollows crown'd with summer seas."

A flight of stone steps led down to it,--steps very steep, narrow, and
slippery with green moss, and ladies'-delights that crowded and
blossomed in every crack and crevice of the stones. On each side arose
terraces to the street, and in the spring these terraces flushed a mass
of vivid, glowing rose-color from blooming moss-pink, forming such a
glory that pious church-going folk from the other end of the town did
not think it wicked to walk thither, on a Sunday morn in May, to look at
the rosy banks that sloped to the valleyed garden, as they had walked
there in February or March to see

      "Winter, slumbering in the open air,
    Wear on his smiling face a dream of spring,"

in the shape of the first crocuses and snowdrops that opened beside a
snow-drift still lingering on a shaded bank; and to watch the first
benumbed honey-bees who greeted every flower that bloomed in that
cherished spot, and who buzzed in bleak March winds over the purple
crocus and "blue flushing" grape-hyacinth as cheerfully as though they
were sipping the scarlet poppies in sunny August.

The garden edges and the street were overhung by graceful larches and by
thorny honey-locust trees that bore on their trunks great clusters of
powerful spines and sheltered in their branches an exceedingly
unpleasant species of fat, fuzzy caterpillars, which always chose Sunday
to drop on my garments as I walked to church, and to go with me to
meeting, and in the middle of the long prayer to parade on my neck, to
my startled disgust and agitated whisking away, and consequent reproof
for being noisy in meeting.

What fragrances arose from that old garden, and were wafted out to
passers-by! The ever-present, pungent, dry aroma of box was overcome or
tempered, through the summer months, by a succession of delicate
flower-scents that hung over the garden-vale like an imperceptible mist;
perhaps the most perfect and clear among memory's retrospective
treasures was that of the pale fringed "snow-pink," and later, "sweet
william with its homely cottage smell." Phlox and ten-weeks stock were
there, as everywhere, the last sweet-scented flowers of autumn.

At no time was this old garden sweeter than in the twilight, the
eventide, when all the great clumps of snowy phlox, night-rockets, and
luminous evening primrose, and all the tangles of pale yellow and white
honeysuckle shone irradiated; when,

    "In puffs of balm the night air blows
    The burden which the day foregoes,"

and scents far richer than any of the day--the "spiced air of
night"--floated out in the dusky gloaming.

Though the old garden had many fragrant leaves and flowers, their
delicate perfume was sometimes fairly deadened by an almost mephitic
aroma that came from an ancient blossom, a favorite in Shakespeare's
day--the jewelled bell of the noxious crown-imperial. This stately
flower, with its rich color and pearly drops, has through its evil scent
been firmly banished from our garden borders.

One of the most cheerful flowers of this and of my mother's garden was
the happy-faced little pansy that under various fanciful folk-names has
ever been loved. Like Montgomery's daisy, it "blossomed everywhere." Its
Italian name means "idle thoughts"; the German, "little stepmother."
Spenser called it "pawnce." Shakespeare said maidens called it
"love-in-idleness," and Drayton named it "heartsease." Dr. Prior gives
these names--"Herb Trinity, Three Faces under a Hood, Fancy Flamy, Kiss
Me, Pull Me, Cuddle Me unto You, Tickle my Fancy, Kiss Me ere I Rise,
Jump Up and Kiss Me, Kiss Me at the Garden Gate, Pink of my Joan." To
these let me add the New England folk-names--bird's-eye, garden-gate,
johnny-jump-up, kit-run-about, none-so-pretty, and ladies'-delight. All
these testify to the affectionate and intimate friendship felt for this
laughing and fairly speaking little garden face, not the least of whose
endearing qualities was that, after a half-warm, snow-melting week in
January or February, this bright-some little "delight" often opened a
tiny blossom to greet and cheer us--a true "jump-up-and-kiss-me," and
proved by its blooming the truth of the graceful Chinese verse,--

    "Ere man is aware
    That the spring is here
    The plants have found it out."

Another dearly loved spring flower was the daffodil, the favorite also
of old English dramatists and poets, and of modern authors as well, when
we find that Keats names a daffodil as, the thing of beauty that is a
joy forever. Perhaps the happiest and most poetic picture of daffodils
is that of Dora Wordsworth, when she speaks of them as "gay and
glancing, and laughing with the wind." Perdita, in _The Winter's Tale_,
thus describes them in her ever-quoted list: "Daffodils that come before
the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty." Most
cheerful and sunny of all our spring flowers, they have never lost their
old-time popularity, and they still laugh at our bleak March winds.

Bouncing-bet and her comely hearty cousins of the pink family made
delightsome many a corner of our home garden. The pinks were Jove's own
flowers, and the carthusian pink, china pink, clove pink, snow pink,
plumed pink, mullein pink, sweet william, maltese cross, ragged robin,
catch-fly, and campion, all made gay and sweet the summer. The clove
pink was the ancestor of all the carnations.

The richest autumnal glory came from the cheerful marigold, the "golde"
of Chaucer, and "mary-bud" of Shakespeare. This flower, beloved of all
the old writers, as deeply suggestive and emblematic, has been coldly
neglected by modern poets, as for a while it was banished from modern
town gardens; but it may regain its popularity in verse as it has in
cultivation. In farm gardens it has always flourished, and every autumn
has "gone to bed with the sun and with him risen weeping," and has
given forth in the autumn air its acrid odor, which to me is not
disagreeable, though my old herbal calls its "a very naughty smell."

A favorite shrub in our garden, as in every country dooryard, was
southernwood, or lad's-love. A sprig of it was carried to meeting each
summer Sunday by many old ladies, and with its finely dissected,
bluish-green foliage, and clean pungent scent, it was pleasant to see in
the meeting-house, and pleasant to sniff at. The "virtues of flowers"
took a prominent place in the descriptions in old-time botanies. The
southernwood had strong medicinal qualities, and was used to cure
"vanityes of the head."

     "Take a quantitye of Suthernwood and put it upon kindled coales to
     burn and being made into powder mix it with the oyle of radishes
     and anoynt a balde place and you shall see great experiences."

It was of power as a love charm. If you placed a sprig in each shoe and
wore it through the day when you were in love, you would then also in
some way "see great experiences."

In the tender glamour of happy association, all flowers in the old
garden seem to have been loved save the garish petunias, whose sickish
odor grew more offensive and more powerful at nightfall and made me long
to tear them away from their dainty garden-fellows, and the portulaca
with its fleshy, worm-like stems and leaves, and its aggressively
pushing habits, "never would be missed." Perhaps its close relation to
the "pusley," most hated of weeds, makes us eye it askance.

There was one attribute of the old-time garden, one part of nature's
economy, which added much to its charm--it was the crowding abundance,
the over-fulness of leaf, bud, and blossom. Nature there displayed no
bare expanses of naked soil, as in some too-carefully-kept modern
parterres; the dull earth was covered with a tangle of ready-growing,
self-sowing, lowly flowers, that filled every space left unoccupied by
statelier garden favorites, and crowded every corner with cheerful,
though unostentatious, bloom. And the close juxtaposition, and even
intermingling, of flowers with herbs, vegetables, and fruits gave a
sense of homely simplicity and usefulness, as well as of beauty. The
soft, purple eyes of the mourning-bride were no less lovely to us in
"our garden" because they opened under the shade of currant and
gooseberry bushes; and the sweet alyssum and candytuft were no less
honey-sweet. The delicate, pinky-purple hues of the sweet peas were not
dimmed by their vivid neighbors at the end of the row of poles--the
scarlet runners. The adlumia, or mountain fringe, was a special vine of
our own and known by a special name--virgin's bower. With its delicate
leaves, almost as beautiful as a maidenhair fern, and its dainty pink
flower, it festooned the ripening corn as wantonly and luxuriantly as it
encircled the snowball and lilac bushes.

Though "colored herbs" were cultivated in England in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries as carefully as were flowers,--striped hollies,
variegated myrtles, and bays being the gardener's pride,--yet in our old
American gardens few plants were grown for their variegated or
odd-colored foliage. The familiar and ever-present ribbon-grass, also
called striped grass, canary grass, and gardener's garters,--whose
pretty expanded panicles formed an almost tropical effect at the base of
the garden hedge; the variegated wandering jew, the striped leaves of
some varieties of day-lilies; the dusty-miller, with its "frosty pow"
(which was properly a house plant), fill the short list. The box was the
sole evergreen.

And may I not enter here a plea for the preservation of the box-edgings
of our old garden borders? I know they are almost obsolete--have been
winter-killed and sunburned--and are even in sorry disrepute as having a
graveyard association, and as being harborers of unpleasant and
unwelcome garden visitors. One lover of old ways thus indignantly
mourns their passing:--

     "I spoke of box-edgings. We used to see them in little country
     gardens, with paths of crude earth. Nowadays, it has been
     discovered that box harbours slugs, and we are beginning to have
     beds with tiled borders, while the walks are of asphalt. For a
     pleasure-ground in Dante's _Inferno_ such materials might be
     suitable."

For its beauty in winter alone, the box should still find a place in our
gardens. It grows to great size. Bushes of box in the deserted garden at
Vaucluse in Newport, Rhode Island, are fifteen feet in height, and over
them spread the branches of forest trees that have sprung up in the
garden beds since that neglected pleasaunce was planted, over a century
ago. The beautiful border and hedges of box at Mount Vernon, the home of
Washington, plead for fresh popularity for this old-time favorite.

Our mothers and grandmothers came honestly by their love of gardens.
They inherited this affection from their Puritan, Quaker, or Dutch
forbears, perhaps from the days when the famous hanging gardens of
Babylon were made for a woman. Bacon says: "A garden is the purest of
human pleasures, it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man."
A garden was certainly the greatest refreshment to the spirits of a
woman in the early colonial days, and the purest of her pleasures--too
often her only pleasure.

Quickly, in tender memory of her fair English home, the homesick
goodwife, trying to create a semblance of the birthplace she still
loved, planted the seeds and roots of homely English flowers and herbs
that grew and blossomed under bleak New England skies, and on rocky New
England shores, as sturdily and cheerfully as they had sprung up and
bloomed by the green hedgerows and door-sides in the home beyond the
sea.

In the year 1638, and again in 1663, an English gentleman named John
Josselyn came to New England. He published, in 1672, an account of
these two visits. He was a man of polite reading and of culture, and as
was the high fashion for gentlemen of his day, had a taste for gardening
and botany. He made interesting lists of plants which he noted in
America under these heads:--

     "1. Such plants as are common with us in England.

     "2. Such plants as are proper to the country.

     "3. Such plants as are proper to the country and have no names.

     "4. Such plants as have sprung up since the English planted and
     kept cattle in New England.

     "5. Such Garden-Herbs among us as do thrive there and of such as do
     not."

This last division is the one that specially interests us, since it is
the earliest and the fullest account of the gardens of our forefathers,
after they had tamed the rugged shores of the New World, and made them
obey the rule of English husbandry. They had "good store of garden
vegetables and herbs; lettuce, sorrel, parsley, mallows, chevril,
burnet, summer savory, winter savory, thyme, sage, carrots, parsnips,
beets, radishes, purslain, beans"; "cabbidge growing exceeding well;
pease of all sorts and the best in the world; sparagus thrives
exceedingly, musk mellons, cucumbers, and pompions." For grains there
were wheat, rye, barley, and oats. There were other garden herbs and
garden flowers: spearmint, pennyroyal, ground-ivy, coriander, dill,
tansy; "feverfew prospereth exceedingly; white sattin groweth pretty
well, and so doth lavender-cotton; gillyflowers will continue two years;
horse-leek prospereth notably; hollyhocks; comferie with white flowers;
clary lasts but one summer; sweet-bryer or eglantine; celandine but
slowly; blood-wort but sorrily, but patience and English roses very
pleasantly."

Patience and English roses very pleasantly in truth must have shown
their fair English faces to English women in the strange land. Dearly
loved had these brier-roses or dog-roses been in England, where, says
the old herbalist, Gerard, "children with delight make chains and pretty
gewgawes of the fruit; and cookes and gentlewomen make tarts and
suchlike dishes for pleasure thereof." Hollyhocks, feverfew, and
gillyflowers must have made a sunshine in the shady places in the new
home. Many of these garden herbs are now common weeds or roadside
blossoms. Celandine, even a century ago, was "common by fences and among
rubbish." Tansy and elecampane grow everywhere. Sweet-brier is at home
in New England pastures and roadsides. Spearmint edges our brooks.
Ground-ivy is a naturalized citizen. It is easy to note that the
flowers and herbs beloved in gardens and medicinal waters and kitchens
"at home" were the ones transplanted here. "Clary-water" was a favorite
tonic of Englishmen of that day.

The list of "such plants as have sprung up since the English planted"
should be of interest to every one who has any sense of the sentiment of
association, or interest in laws of succession. The Spanish proverb
says:--

    "More in the garden grows
    Than the gardener sows."

The plantain has a history full of romance; its old Northern
names--_Wegetritt_ in German, _Weegbree_ in Dutch, _Viebred_ in Danish,
and _Weybred_ in Old English, all indicating its presence in the
much-trodden paths of man--were not lost in its new home, nor were its
characteristics overlooked by the nature-noting and plant-knowing red
man. It was called by the Indian "the Englishman's foot," says Josselyn,
and by Kalm also, a later traveller in 1740; "for they say where an
Englishman trod, there grew a plantain in each footstep." Not less
closely did such old garden weeds as motherwort, groundsel, chickweed,
and wild mustard cling to the white man. They are old colonists, brought
over by the first settlers, and still thrive and triumph in every
kitchen garden and back yard in the land. Mullein and nettle, henbane
and wormwood, all are English emigrants.

The Puritans were not the only flower-lovers in the new land. The
Pennsylvania Quakers and Mennonites were quick to plant gardens.
Pastorius encouraged all the Germantown settlers to raise flowers as
well as fruit. Whittier says of him in his _Pennsylvania Pilgrim_:--

                      "The flowers his boyhood knew
    Smiled at his door, the same in form and hue,
    And on his vines the Rhenish clusters grew."

It gives one a pleasant notion of the old Quaker, George Fox, to read
his bequest by will of a tract of land near Philadelphia "for a
playground for the children of the town to play on and for a garden to
plant with physical plants, for lads and lassies to know simples, and
learn to make oils and ointments."

Among Pennsylvanians the art of gardening reached the highest point. The
landscape gardening was a reproduction of the best in England. Our
modern country places cannot equal in this respect the colonial country
seats near Philadelphia. Woodlands and Bush Hill, the homes of the
Hamiltons, Cliveden, of Chief Justice Chew, Fair Hill, Belmont, the
estate of Judge Peters, were splendid examples. An ecstatic account of
the glories and wonders of some of them was written just after the
Revolution by a visitor who fully understood their treasures, the Rev.
Manasseh Cutler, the clergyman, statesman, and botanist.

In Newport, Rhode Island, where flowers ever seem to thrive with
extraordinary luxuriance, there were handsome gardens in the eighteenth
century. A description of Mr. Bowler's garden during the Revolution
reads thus:--

     "It contains four acres and has a grand aisle in the middle. Near
     the middle is an oval surrounded with espaliers of fruit-trees, in
     the centre of which is a pedestal, on which is an armillary sphere
     with an equatorial dial. On one side of the front is a hot-house
     containing orange-trees, some ripe, some green, some blooms, and
     various other fruit-trees of the exotic kind and curious flowers.
     At the lower end of the aisle is a large summer-house, a long
     square containing three rooms, the middle paved with marble and
     hung with landscapes. On the right is a large private library
     adorned with curious carvings. There are espaliers of fruit-trees
     at each end of the garden and curious flowering shrubs. The room on
     the left is beautifully designed for music and contains a spinnet.
     But the whole garden discovered the desolations of war."

In the Southern colonies men of wealth soon had beautiful gardens. In an
early account of South Carolina, written in 1682, we find:--

     "Their Gardens are supplied with such European Plants and Herbs as
     are necessary for the Kitchen, and they begin to be beautiful and
     adorned with such Flowers as to the Smell or Eye are pleasing or
     agreeable, viz.: the Rose, Tulip, Carnation, Lilly, etc."

By the middle of the century many exquisite gardens could be seen in
Charleston, and they were the pride of Southern colonial dames. Those of
Mrs. Lamboll, Mrs. Hopton, and Mrs. Logan were the largest. The latter
flower-lover in 1779, when seventy years old, wrote a treatise on
flower-raising called _The Gardener's Kalendar_, which was read and
used for many years. Mrs. Laurens had another splendid garden. Those
Southern ladies and their gardeners constantly sent specimens to
England, and received others in return. The letters of the day,
especially those of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, ever interested in
floriculture and arboriculture, show a constant exchange with English
flower-lovers.

Beverley wrote of Virginia, in 1720: "A garden is nowhere sooner made
than there." William Byrd and other travellers, a few years later, saw
many beautiful terraced gardens in Virginian homes. Mrs. Anne Grant
writes at length of the love and care the Dutch women of the past
century had for flowers:--

     "The care of plants such as needed peculiar care or skill to rear
     them, was the female province. Every one in town or country had a
     garden. Into the garden no foot of man intruded after it was dug in
     the spring. I think I see yet what I have so often beheld--a
     respectable mistress of a family going out to her garden, in an
     April morning, with her great calash, her little painted basket of
     seeds, and her rake over her shoulders, to her garden of labours. A
     woman in very easy circumstances and abundantly gentle in form and
     manners would sow and plant and rake incessantly."

In New York, before the Revolution, were many beautiful gardens, such
as that of Madam Alexander on Broad Street, where in their proper season
grew "paus bloemen of all hues, laylocks and tall May roses and
snowballs intermixed with choice vegetables and herbs all bounded and
hemmed in by huge rows of neatly clipped box edgings." We have a pretty
picture also, in the letters of Catharine Rutherfurd, of an entire
company gathering rose-leaves in June in Madam Clark's garden, and
setting the rose-still at work to turn their sweet-scented spoils into
rose-water.

A trade in flower and vegetable seeds formed a lucrative and popular
means by which women could earn a livelihood in colonial days. I have
seen in one of the dingy little newspaper sheets of those days, in the
large total of nine advertisements, contained therein, the
announcements, by five Boston seedswomen, of lists of their wares.

The earliest list of names of flower-seeds which I have chanced to note
was in the _Boston Evening Post_ of March, 1760, and is of much interest
as showing to us with exactness the flowers beloved and sought for at
that time. They were "holly-hook, purple Stock, white Lewpins, Africans,
blew Lewpins, candy-tuff, cyanus, pink, wall-flower, double larkin-spur,
venus navelwort, brompton flock, princess feather, balsam, sweet-scented
pease, carnation, sweet williams, annual stock, sweet feabus, yellow
lewpins, sunflower, convolus minor, catch-fly, ten week stock, globe
thistle, globe amaranthus, nigella, love-lies-bleeding, casent hamen,
polianthus, canterbury bells, carnation poppy, india pink, convolus
major, Queen Margrets." This is certainly a very pretty list of flowers,
nearly all of which are still loved, though sometimes under other
names--thus the Queen Margrets are our asters. And the homely old
English names seem to bring the flowers to our very sight, for we do not
seem to be on very friendly intimacy, on very sociable terms with
flowers, unless they have what Miss Mitford calls "decent, well-wearing
English names"; we can have no flower memories, no affections that
cling to botanical nomenclature. Yet nothing is more fatal to an exact
flower knowledge, to an acquaintance that shall ever be more than local,
than a too confident dependence on the folk-names of flowers. Our
bachelor's-buttons are ragged sailors in a neighboring state; they are
corn-pinks in Plymouth, ragged ladies in another town, blue bottles in
England, but cyanus everywhere. Ragged robin is, in the garden of one
friend, a pink, in another it flaunts as London-pride, while the true
glowing London-pride has half a dozen pseudonyms in as many different
localities, and only really recognizes itself in the botany. An American
cowslip is not an English cowslip, an American primrose is no English
primrose, and the English daisy is no country friend of ours in America.

What cheerful and appropriate furnishings the old-time gardens had;
benches full of straw beeskepes and wooden beehives, those homelike and
busy dwelling-places; frequently, also, a well-filled dove-cote.
Sometimes was seen a sun-dial--once the every-day friend and suggestive
monitor of all who wandered among the flowers of an hour; now known,
alas! only to the antiquary. Sentiment and even spirituality seem
suggested by the sun-dial, yet few remain to cast their instructive
shadow before our sight.

One stood for years in the old box-bordered garden at Homogansett Farm,
at Wickford, in old Narragansett. Governor Endicott's dial is in the
Essex Institute, at Salem; and my forbear, Jacob Fairbanks, had one
dated 1650, which is now in the rooms of the Dedham Historical Society.
Dr. Bowditch, of Boston, had a sun-dial which was thus inscribed:--

    "With warning hand I mark Times rapid flight
    From life's glad morning to its solemn night.
    And like God's love I also show
    Theres light above me, by the shade below."

Another garden dial thus gives, "in long, lean letters," its warning
word:--

    "You'll mend your Ways To-morrow
          When blooms that budded Flour?
    Mortall! Lern to your Sorrow
    Death may creep with his Arrow
    And pierce yo'r vitall Marrow
    Long ere my warning Shadow
          Can mark that Hour."

These dials are all of heavy metal, usually lead; sometimes with gnomon
of brass. But I have heard of one which was unique; it was cut in box.

At the edge of the farm garden often stood the well-sweep, one of the
most picturesque adjuncts of the country dooryard. Its successor, the
roofed well with bucket, stone, and chain, and even the homely
long-handled pump, had a certain appropriateness as part of the garden
furnishings.

So many thoughts crowd upon us in regard to the old garden; one is the
age of its flowers. We have no older inhabitants than these garden
plants; they are old settlers. Clumps of flower-de-luce, double
buttercups, peonies, yellow day-lilies, are certainly seventy-five years
old. Many lilac bushes a century old still bloom in New England, and
syringas and flowering currants are as old as the elms and locusts that
shade them.

This established constancy and yearly recurrence of bloom is one of the
garden's many charms. To those who have known and loved an old garden in
which,

    "There grow no strange flowers every year,
    But when spring winds blow o'er the pleasant places,
    The same dear things lift up the same fair faces,"

and faithfully tell and retell the story of the changing seasons by
their growth, blossom, and decay, nothing can seem more artificial than
the modern show-beds of full-grown plants which are removed by assiduous
gardeners as soon as they have flowered, to be replaced by others, only
in turn to bloom and disappear. These seem to form a real garden no more
than does a child's posy-bed stuck with short-stemmed flowers to wither
in a morning.

And the tiresome, tasteless ribbon-beds of our day were preceded in
earlier centuries by figured beds of diverse-colored earths--and of both
we can say with Bacon, "they be but toys, you may see as good sights
many times in tarts."

The promise to Noah, "while the earth remaineth seed-time and harvest
shall not cease," when heeded in the garden, brings various interests.
The seed-time, the springing-up of familiar favorites, and the
cherishing of these favorites through their in-gathering of seeds or
bulbs or roots for another year, bring pleasure as much as does their
inflorescence.

Another pathetic trait of many of the old-time flowers should not be
overlooked--their persistent clinging to life after they had been exiled
from the trim garden borders where they first saw the chill sun of a New
England spring. You see them growing and blooming outside the garden
fence, against old stone walls, where their up-torn roots have been
thrown to make places for new and more popular favorites. You find them
cheerfully spreading, pushing along the foot-paths, turning into
vagrants, becoming flaunting weeds. You see them climbing here and
there, trying to hide the deserted chimneys of their early homes, or
wandering over and hiding the untrodden foot-paths of other days. A
vivid imagination can shape many a story of their life in the interval
between their first careful planting in colonial gardens and their
neglected exile to highways and byways, where the poor bits of
depauperated earth can grow no more lucrative harvest.

The sites of colonial houses which are now destroyed, the trend, almost
the exact line of old roads, can be traced by the cheerful faces of
these garden-strays. The situation of old Fort Nassau, in Pennsylvania,
so long a matter of uncertainty, is said to have been definitely
determined by the familiar garden flowers found growing on one of these
disputed sites. It is a tender thought that this indelible mark is left
upon the face of our native land through the affection of our forbears
for their gardens.

The botany tells us that bouncing-bet has "escaped from
cultivation"--she has been thrust out, but unresentfully lives and
smiles; opening her tender pinky-opalescent flowers adown the dusty
roadsides, and even on barren gravel-beds in railroad cuts.
Butter-and-eggs, tansy, chamomile, spiked loosestrife, velvet-leaf,
bladder-campion, cypress spurge, live-for-ever, star of Bethlehem,
money-vine,--all have seen better days, but now are flower-tramps. Even
the larkspur, beloved of children, the moss-pink, and the grape-hyacinth
may sometimes be seen growing in country fields and byways. The homely
and cheerful blossoms of the orange-tawny ephemeral lily, and the
spotted tiger-lily, whose gaudy colors glow with the warmth of far
Cathay--their early home--now make gay many of our roadsides and crowd
upon the sweet cinnamon roses of our grandmothers, which also are
undaunted garden exiles.

Driving once along a country road, I saw on the edge of a field an
expanse of yellow bloom which seemed to be an unfamiliar field-tint. It
proved to be a vast bed of coreopsis, self-sown from year to year; and
the blackened outlines of an old cellar wall in its midst showed that in
that field once stood a home, once there a garden smiled.

I am always sure when I see bouncing-bet, butter-and-eggs, and tawny
lilies growing in a tangle together that in their midst may be found an
untrodden door-stone, a fallen chimney, or a filled-in well.

Still broader field expanses are filled with old-country plants. In June
a golden glory of bud and blossom covers the hills and fields of Essex
County in Massachusetts from Lynn to Danvers, and Ryal Side to Beverly;
it is the English gorse or woad-wax, and by tradition it was first
brought to this country in spray and seed as a packing for some of the
household belongings of Governor Endicott. Thrown out in friendly soil,
the seeds took root and there remain in the vicinity of their first
American homes. It is a stubborn squatter, yielding only to scythe,
plough, and hoe combined.

Chicory or blue weed was, it is said, brought from England by Governor
Bowdoin as food for his sheep. It has spread till its extended presence
has been a startling surprise to all English visiting botanists. It
hurts no one's fields, for it invades chiefly waste and neglected
land--the "dear common flower"--and it has redeemed many a city suburb
of vacant lots, many a railroad ash heap from the abomination of
desolation.

Whiteweed or ox-eye daisy, a far greater pest than gorse or chicory, has
been carried intentionally to many a township by homesick settlers whose
descendants to-day rue the sentiment of their ancestors.

While the vallied garden of our old neighbors was sweet with blossoms,
my mother's garden bore a still fresher fragrance--that of green growing
things; of "posies," lemon-balm, rose geranium, mint, and sage. I always
associate with it in spring the scent of the strawberry bush, or
calycanthus, and in summer of the fraxinella, which, with its tall stem
of larkspur-like flowers, its still more graceful seed-vessels and its
shining ash-like leaves, grew there in rich profusion and gave forth
from leaf, stem, blossom, and seed a pure, a memory-sweet perfume half
like lavender, half like anise.

Truly, much of our tenderest love of flowers comes from association, and
many are lovingly recalled solely by their odors. Balmier breath than
was ever borne by blossom is to me the pure pungent perfume of ambrosia,
rightly named, as fit for the gods. Not the miserable weed ambrosia of
the botany, but a lowly herb that grew throughout the entire summer
everywhere in "our garden"; sowing its seeds broadcast from year to
year; springing up unchecked in every unoccupied corner, and under every
shrub and bushy plant; giving out from serrated leaf and irregular
raceme of tiny pale-green flowers, a spicy aromatic fragrance if we
brushed past it, or pulled a weed from amongst it as we strolled down
the garden walk. And it is our very own--I have never seen it elsewhere
than at my old home, and in the gardens of neighbors to whom its seeds
were given by the gentle hand that planted "our garden" and made it a
delight. Goethe says, "Some flowers are lovely to the eye, but others
are lovely to the heart." Ambrosia is lovely to my heart, for it was my
mother's favorite.

And as each "spring comes slowly up the way," I say in the words of
Solomon, "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my
garden, that the spices thereof may flow out"--that the balm and mint,
the thyme and southernwood, the sweetbrier and ambrosia, may spring
afresh and shed their tender incense to the memory of my mother, who
planted them and loved their pure fragrance, and at whose presence, as
at that of Eve, flowers ever sprung--

    "And touched by her fair tendance gladlier grew."



Index


Abington, church vote in, 286.

Acrelius, Dr., quoted, 146.

Adams, Abigail, garden of, 435.

Adams, John, quoted, 71, 160;
  Sunday dinner of, 159-160;
  cider-drinking of, 161.

Adams, John Quincy, Mrs., straw bonnet of, 261.

Adams family, homes of, 22.

Albany, houses at, 9;
  deer in, 109;
  beer at, 161;
  bad boys in, 374-375;
  first church in, 385;
  cow-herding in, 399.

Alchymy, 88.

Alewives, in New England waters, 120.

Ambrosia, a flower, 450.

Ames, quoted, 136.

Amherst, sign-board at, 360.

Andirons, 62.

Andover, church vote in, 286;
  bad boy in, 373.

Annapolis, dress in, 293.

Apostle spoons, 90.

Apples, culture of, 145;
  plenty in Maryland, 145;
  modes of cooking, 146;
  in pies, 146.

Apple-butter, 146-147.

Apple-paring, 146-147.

Apple-sauce, 146-147.

Architecture, of churches, 364 _et seq._, 385 _et seq._

Arkamy, 88.

Axe-helves, 314-315.


Back-bar of fireplace, description, 53.

Bacon, quoted, 431.

Bagging, from coarse flax, 172.

Bake-kettle, 66.

Bake-shops, 147.

Ballots, of corn and beans, 141.

Balsam, as dye, 194.

Baltimore, dress in, 293;
  taverns in, 359.

Banyan, 294.

Barberry, root as dye, 194.

Basins, 106.

Bass, in New England waters, 120-121.

Bass-viols, in meeting, 378.

Bates of flax, 169.

Batteau, 329.

Batten, of loom, 220-221.

Baxter, 187.

Bayberry, description, 39;
  candles of, 39;
  wax of, 40;
  laws about, 40;
  soap from, 255.

Bead bags, 263.

Beam. See Warp-beam.

Beaming, in weaving, 218.

Beans, as ballots, 141;
  mode of cooking, 145.

Bed coverlet. See Coverlet.

Bedstead, alcove, 55;
  turn-up, 55-56.

Beer, among Dutch, 161.

Bees, called English flies, 111.

Beehives, 442.

Beetling of flax, 172.

Bell, as summons to meeting, 368.

Belt-loom. See Tape-loom.

Bennet, quoted, 123.

Berkeley, Gov., quoted, 111, 360-361.

Berries, 145.

Betty lamps, 43-44.

Beverages. See Drinks.

Bible, references to flax in, 177.

Biddeford, communal privileges in, 390.

Bier, in weaving, 220.

Birch-bark, doors of, 6;
  plates of, 83;
  baskets of, cans of, 253, 310.

Birch broom, making of, 301-303;
  price of, 302.

Blackjacks, 95-96.

Blazing, of trees, 330.

Bleaching, of flax thread, 175;
  of linen, 234;
  of straw bonnets, 261.

Bleeding-basins, 86.

Block-houses, 26.

Boards, scarcity of, 76.

Board cloth, 76-77.

Boardman Hill House, 22.

Bobbins, for weaving. See Quills.

Bobs, of flax, 168.

Bombards, 96.

Books of etiquette, 79.

Bore-staff of loom, 224.

Boston, fire-engine in, 19;
  early houses of, 19, 27;
  first fork in, 77;
  pigeons in, 110;
  fish in, 123;
  tea in, 164-165;
  coffee in, 165;
  chocolate in, 165;
  spinning schools in, 180;
  fulling-mill in, 187;
  dress in, 292-294;
  coach in, 331;
  stage-travel from, 350-351;
  night watch in, 363;
  meeting-houses in, 364, 366;
  restrictions of settlement in, 394;
  cows in, 400.

Bottles, of wood, 82;
  of pewter, 85;
  of glass, 92-93;
  of leather, 95.

Boucher, Jonathan, quoted, 382.

Bouncing-bet, 427, 447.

Bounty coats, 248.

Bouts, in weaving, 218.

Box-borders, a plea for, 430-431.

Boxing, of maple trees, 112.

Boylston, Nicholas, banyan of, 294.

Boys, clothing of, 287-288;
  wigs of, 297;
  seats in meeting for, 372 _et seq._;
  misbehavior of, 372-373;
  in church, 384.

Braid-loom. See Tape-loom.

Bradford, Governor, quoted, 129-130.

Bread, white, 147;
  rye and Indian, 147

Bread-peel, 67.

Breadtrough, 311.

Breakfast, or bread and milk, 148.

Breaking, of flax, 169-170;
  of hemp, 170.

Breaking out the winter roads, 412 _et seq._

Breweries, in New York, 161.

Brewster, Elder, quoted, 117.

Brick, imported, 21.

British spinning and weaving school, 186.

Broach, 198.

Brooklyn, oysters in, 118-119;
  salting shad in, 124-125.

Brooms, of broom-corn, 256-257;
  of birch, 301-304;
  of hemlock, 304-305.

Broom-corn, 256-257.

Brown University, dress of first graduating class, 183.

Bucking, of flax thread, 175;
  of linen, 234.

Bull's-eye lamp, 45.

Bun, of flax, 169.

Bunch-thread, 251.

Bundling-mould. See Shingling-mould.

Burlers, in weaving, 252.

Bushnell, Horace, quoted, 246.

Busks, carved, 320.

Butter, price of, 149.

Buttermilk, for bleaching, 175.


Caches, for corn, 138.

Cage, for babies, 372;
  for bad boys, 385.

Calash, 289.

Calf-keeper, duties of, 400.

Cambridge, cow-herding in, 399.

Campbell, Madam Angelica, coach of, 335.

Candles, cost of, 34;
  making of, 35-37;
  materials for, 38-39, 42.

Candle-arms, 42.

Candle-beams, 42.

Candle-box, 38.

Candle-dipping, 36.

Candle-moulds, 36-37.

Candle-prongs, 42.

Candle-rods, 36.

Candle-sticks, 42.

Candle-wood, 32.

Canoes, 323-327.

Canteens, of horn, 321.

Captain of the watch, duties of, 380.

Cards. See Wool-cards.

Carding described, 194-196.

Carding-machines, 206.

Card-setting. See Wool-cards.

Capuchins, 295.

Carolinas, sweet potatoes in, 145;
  hand-weaving in, 249-251;
  gardens in, 438-439.

Carpet. See Rag carpet.

Carrots, 145.

Carving, terms in, 104-105;
  of wood, 320;
  of horn, 321-322.

Caves, description of, 2;
  for corn, 138.

Cave-dwellers, 1.

Cedar tops, for dyeing, 251.

Cellar of Dutch houses, 10.

Chain in weaving, 250.

Chair-seats, 310-311.

Chaise of Brother Jonathan, 353.

"Change-work," 417.

Chap-men, 300.

Chargers, 80, 84.

Charleston, flax manufacture in, 182-183;
  dress in, 293;
  gardens in, 438-439.

Charlevoix, Father, on canoes, 327.

Chaucer, quoted, on spinning, 179.

Chebobbin, 415.

Cheese, making of, 150.

Cheese-basket, 150-151.

Cheese-hoop, 312.

Cheese-ladder, 150-151, 312.

Cheese-press, 150-151, 312.

Chesapeake, turkeys on, 109;
  wild fowl on, 125.

Chicory, introduction of, 449.

Children, at table, 101-102;
  occupations of, 179-180, 182, 188-189, 203-204, 261-262;
  dress of, 287;
  in meeting, 372 _et seq._;
  in noon-house, 376.

Chimney, catted, 15, 53;
  size of, 52, 68;
  description, 53;
  in Dutch houses, 55.

China, early use of, 100;
  importation of, 100-101.

Chinese stuffs, 294.

Chinking walls, 5.

Chopping-bee, 403 _et seq._

Chorister, in Dutch churches, 386.

Churches, in Virginia, 381-383;
  in Albany, 385.
  See also Meeting-house.

Churns, few in New England, 149;
  examples of, 149-150;
  whittling of, 312.

Cider, use by children, 148-149, 161;
  use by students, 161;
  price of, 161;
  manufacture of, 161-162;
  generous use of, 161-163.

Clam-shells, use of, 308-309.

Clarionets, in meeting, 378.

Clavell-piece, 54.

Clay, for dyeing, 241.

Clergymen, in Virginia, 384.

Clocks, 299.

Clock-jack, 65.

Clock-reel, 174-175;
  price of, 177;
  for yarn, 200.

Clogs, 295.

Cloth, finishing of, 231-233.

Cloth bar, 224.

Clothes, durability of, 281;
  extravagance in, 281;
  laws about, 281 _et seq._;
  of Massachusetts settlers, 286-287;
  of Virginia planters, 287;
  of children, 288 _et seq._

Coaches, in Boston, 331, 353-354;
  in England, 354;
  Judge Sewall on, 354;
  in New York, 354-355.
  See also Stage-coach.

Coat-of-arms, on sampler, 267.

Coat roll, 248.

Cob irons, 62.

Cocoanut-cups, 96-97.

Codfish, early discoverers on, 115-116;
  plenty of, 115;
  in New England waters, 120-121;
  varieties of, 121;
  for Saturday dinner, 122;
  price in Boston, 123.
  See Fish and Fishing.

Coffee, substitutes for, 159;
  early use of, 165;
  queer mode of cooking, 165.

Colchester, girls' life in, 253.

Cold houses, 70-71.

Cold party, 419.

Colored herbs, 430.

Coloring, 23.

Combing, description of, 196.

Combing machine, 230.

Combs. See Wool-combs.

Comfortier, 69.

Common crops, 130.

Common herds. See Herding.

Common lands, 398.

Communal privileges, 390 _et seq._

Conch-shell, as summons to meeting, 367-368.

Concord coaches, 352-353.

Concordance, 33.

Conestoga wagon, 339-343;
  shape of, 339;
  rates on, 340;
  great number of, 340.

Connecticut, tar-making in, 33;
  pumpkin bread in, 143;
  flax culture in, 179;
  straw manufacture in, 260.

Contributions in New England meetings, 378;
  in Dutch churches, 386-387.

Cooking, influence of Indian methods, 131-136;
  English modes of, 151;
  spices used in, 152;
  limitations in, 158-159.

Coöperation in olden times, 389 _et seq._

Corbel roof, 9.

Coreopsis, persistence of, 448.

Corn, influence on colonists' lives, 126;
  in Virginia, 127-128;
  price of, 128, 138;
  scarcity of, 129;
  mode of cultivating, 130-131;
  Indian foods from, 131;
  Indian modes of preparing, 131;
  modes of cooking, 133-136;
  as currency, 138;
  profits on raising, 139;
  games with, 139;
  shelling of, 139-140;
  as ballots, 141;
  as national flower, 141.

Corn-cobs, use of, 141, 209.

Corn dances, 138.

Corn-husking, description of, 136.

Corn-sheller, 140-141.

Cotton, early use of, 206-207;
  cultivation of, 207;
  rarity of, 207-208;
  domestic manufacture, 209-210;
  Golden Age of, 230.

Cotton-gin, 208.

Cotton, John, quoted, 148, 285.

Coverlets, in Pennsylvania, 190;
  in Narragansett, 242-246.

Cows, herding of, 399-401.

Cowherds, duties of, 399-400;
  pay of, 399.

Cowkeeps, 399.

Cow-pens, 400.

Crabs, in Virginia, 118.

Crane, 53.

Creepers, 62.

Crocus, 237.

Crofting, of linen, 234.

Crown-imperial, 425.

Cups, 85, 90, 93-96.

Currency, corn as, 138.

"Cut-down," of trees, 405.

Cutler, Dr., quoted, 159.

Cut-tails, 122-123.


Daffodils, 426-427.

Dale, Sir Thomas, on corn-growing, 127;
  on Sunday observance, 380.

Danvers, Mass., house in, 30.

Daubing walls, 5.

Daughters of Liberty, 183-184.

Day's work in spinning, 185.

Deacons, in Dutch churches, 386-387.

Deacons' pew, 374.

"Deaconing" the psalm, 378.

Deaf pew, 374.

Dedham, Mass., house in, 22-23.

Deer, abundance of, 108-109;
  description of, 108.

Deerskin, clothing of, 288-289.

De La Warre, church attendance of, 382.

Delaware, house pie in, 146.

Delft ware, 100.

Dents, of sley, 219-220.

Designs, for weaving, 243-244, 250-251;
  of ancient Gauls, 242;
  for quilts, 272-273;
  for paper-cutting, 278-289.

Dew-retting, 169.

Dimity, 250.

Dinner, serving of, 104;
  primitive forms, 105-106;
  for Saturday, 122;
  in New York, 159;
  at John Adams' home, 159-160.

Discomforts of temperature, 70-71.

Distaff, in India, 178.

Dogs, in meeting, 374.

Dog-pelter, 374.

Dog-whipper, 374.

Donnison family, fire buckets of, 18.

Door latch, 11, 318.

Dorchester, windmill at, 133;
  corporation, laws in, 392, 394.

Double string-roaster, 64.

Drawing, in weaving, 219.

Drawing a bore, 224.

Dress. See Clothes.

Dresser, 68.

Drinking-cups, 85-96, 98.

Drinks, from curious materials, 163.

Drinking habits, 93-94, 161, 164.

Drinking-horns, 321.

Driver, 198.

Drugget, 250.

Drum, as summons to meeting, 367, 368.

Duck. See Wild fowl.

Duer, Colonel, dinner of, 159.

Dugouts, 326.

Dunfish, 121-122.
  Also see Codfish.

Durability of homespun, 238-239.

Durham, church discipline in, 372.

Dutch mode of serving meals, 106.

Dutch oven, 65.

Dyes, domestic, 155, 193-194, 250-251.

Dye-flower, 251.


Earmarks, 400.

Eastern Stage Company, 351.

Economy of colonists, 42, 185, 321-324;
  of Martha Washington, 237-238.

Eddis, quoted, 118.

Eels, method of catching, 117.

Egypt, flax in, 177-178; linen in, 178.

Embroidery. See Needlework.

Emerson, R. W., appointed hog-reeve, 403.

Endicott, Governor, sun-dial of, 443;
  his introduction of woad-wax, 448.

Entering, in weaving. See Drawing.

Ernst, C. W., quoted, 343, 345.

Etiquette for children, 100-102;
  of carving, 104-105.

Eye, of harness, 218.

Fairbanks, Jacob, house of, 22-23;
  sun-dial of, 443.

Fairs, instituted by Penn, 190;
  encouraged by Franklin, 191.

Faneuil, Miss, dress of, 292.

Fences, different varieties of, 25;
  common building of, 401-402;
  laws about, 401-402.

Fence-viewers, 401.

Ferries, by canoe, 330-331.

Finlay, Hugh, postal report of, 333-335.

Fireback, 54.

Fire-buckets, description, 16;
  use of, 17;
  of Donnison's, 18;
  of Quincy's, 18;
  of Oliver's, 19.

Fire-dogs, 62.

Fire-engine, first in Boston, 19;
  first in Brooklyn, 19.

Fire-hunting, 108-109.

Fire lanes, 16.

Fire laws, 15.

Fireplace of our fathers, 53.

Fire-plate, 54-55.

Fire-room, 7.

Fire-wardens, 15.

Fish, plenty of, 115-125;
  varieties of, in New England waters, 117;
  in Virginia waters, 119;
  in New York waters, 120;
  salted, 124-125;
  as fertilizer, 130;
  poisoned by flax, 169.

Fishing, King James on, 116;
  ill-success in, 117;
  supplies for, 117;
  in Virginia, 119-120;
  encouragement of, 121;
  laws on, 121;
  division of profit, 122, 123.

Fish-weirs, 121.

Flag, as summons to meeting, 368.

Flails, making of, 312; use of, 313-314.

Flannel sheets, 238.

Flax, patch of, 167;
  blossom of, 167;
  growth of, 168;
  weeding of, 168;
  ripening of, 168;
  pulling of, 168;
  spreading of, 168;
  rippling of, 168-169;
  watering of, 169;
  stacking of, 169;
  breaking of, 169-170;
  tenacity of, 171;
  swingling of, 171-172;
  beetling of, 172;
  hetcheling of, 172-173;
  spreading and drawing, 173;
  many manipulations of, 173;
  spinning of, 174;
  in Bible, 177;
  in Egypt, 177-178;
  in New England, 179-181, 186;
  in Pennsylvania, 181;
  in Virginia, 181, 182;
  in South Carolina, 182-183;
  in Ireland, 186;
  in Courtrai, 186;
  in England, 186.

Flax basket, 173.

Flax-brake, 169-170.

Flax hetchels, 172.

Flaxseed, how sown, 167;
  how gathered, 168, 176;
  how stored, 176.

Flax-thread, spinning of, 174;
  knotting of, 175;
  reeling of, 175;
  bleaching of, 175;
  backing of, 175.

Flax-wheel, revival of, 167;
  use of, 174;
  price of, 177.

Flint and steel, 48.

Flower, a national, 141.

Flowers, in churches, 383;
  old-time, 421 _et seq._;
  folk-names of, 448;
  age of, 443-445;
  persistency of, 447;
  escaped from cultivation, 448.

Flower-seeds, sold by women, 440-441;
  old list of, 441.

Flutes, in meeting, 378.

Flying-machine, 345.

Fly-shuttle, 228.

Food, from forests, 108-114;
  from sea and river, 114-125;
  transportation of, 143;
  entirely from farm, 158;
  substitutes, 158-159.

Foot-mantle, 295.

Foot-paths, 329.

Foot-stoves, 375, 385.

Foot-treadle, of loom, 219.

Foot-wheel. See Flax-wheel.

Foote, Abigail, diary of, 253.

Forefathers' Dinner, 129.

Forests, destruction of, 52;
  riches of, 108-114.

Forms, 101.

Forks, use of, 77;
  first, 77.

Forts, as churches, 365, 385.

Fox, George, bequest of, 437.

Franklin, quoted, 53, 181;
  fairs encouraged by, 191;
  advertisement of, 292-293;
  as postmaster, 333;
  set milestones, 335;
  cyclometer of, 335-336;
  on canals, 353;
  in sedan-chair, 356.

Franklin stove, 70.

Fraxinella, 449.

Fringe-loom, 227.

Frocking, striped, 237.

Fulling-mill, in Boston, 188.

Fulling-stocks, 232.

Fulham jugs, 98.

Funerals, rings at, 298;
  gloves at, 298-299.

Furs, search for, 115.

Fustian, in America, 237;
  in Europe, 237.


Gallows-balke, 53.

Gallows-crooks, 53.

Gallows-frame. See Tape-loom.

Gambrels, 310.

Gambrel roof, description, 22.

Games, with corn, 139.

Garden, an old-time, 419 _et seq._;
  in New England, 419 _et seq._;
  in southern colonies, 438-439;
  in New York, 439-440.

Garnish of pewter, 85.

Garrison house, 26.

Garter-loom. See Tape-loom.

Geese, raising of, 257-258;
  pickings of, 257-259;
  noise of, 258.

Georgia, deer in, 109;
  turkeys in, 110;
  hand-weaving in, 249-251.

Georgius Rex jug, 99.

Germantown, flax-raising at, 181;
  flax-workers at, 181;
  seal of, 181;
  wool manufacture at, 190.

Gibcrokes, 53.

Gimlet, 305.

Giotto, loom of, 213.

Girdling, of trees, 403.

Girls, dress of, 289-292;
  seats in meeting for, 372.

Giskins, 96.

Glass, in windows, 23, 366;
  nailed in, 366;
  for lamps, 46;
  early use of, 92.

Gloucester, old house at, 70;
  fishing at, 122-123;
  communal privileges in, 390.

Gloves, given at funerals, 298-299.

Going a-leafing, 67.

Goldenrod, as dye, 193.

Goloe-shoes, 295.

Gookin, quoted, 137.

Goose-basket, 258.

Goose-neck andirons, 62.

Goose yoke, 258.

Gorse. See Woad-wax.

Gourds, cups of, 96;
  utensils of, 309.

Grant, Mrs. Anne, on Dutch gardens, 439.

Grapes, 145.

Grassing, of linen, 234.

Greeley, Horace, on canal-travel, 353.

Gridirons, 61.

Grist-mill, earliest, 133.

Guinea wheat, 129. See Corn.

Gun, as summons to meeting, 368.

Gundalow, 329.

Gutters of houses, 9.


Hackling. See Hetcheling.

Hadley, shad in, 123-124;
  potatoes in, 144;
  broom-making in, 256-257;
  restrictions of settlement in, 392-393;
  hay-ward in, 402.

Hakes, 53.

Half-faced camp, 3.

Hammond, John, quoted, 395.

Hamor, Ralph, quoted, 143.

Hancock House, knocker of, 28;
  on sampler, 268.

Hancock, John, hatred of pewter, 85;
  drinking cup of, 97;
  dress of, 293.

Hand-distaff. See Distaff.

Hand-loom. See Loom.

Hand-reel. See Niddy-noddy.

Hap-harlot, 242.

Harness. See Heddle.

Harvard College, standing salt of, 78-79;
  trenchers at, 81.

Hasty pudding, 135.

Hats, worn in meeting, 285;
  church votes about, 286.

Hay-wards, 402.

Heddle of loom, 219.

Heddle-frame. See Tape-loom.

Heel-pegs. See Shoe-pegs.

Hemlock, brooms of, 304-305;
  boxes of, 310.

Hemp, blossom of, 167;
  breaking of, 169.

Herding, of cows, 399-401;
  of sheep, 401;
  of swine, 403.

Hetcheling of flax, 172.

Hexe, of flax, 169.

Hides, use of, 109;
  tax on, 109.

Higginson, quoted, 33, 35, 117, 148.

Hind's-foot handle, 90.

Hinges, material of, 9, 318.

Hingham, church at, 365.

Hogarth, loom of, 213-214.

Hogs, as scavengers, 125;
  yokes of, 311;
  laws about, 402-403.

Hog-reeves, 402-403.

Homespun industries, 167;
  beneficent effect of, 179;
  foundation of liberty, 189.

Hominy, 131.

Honey, plenty of, 111.

Honey-locust, 163.

Horn, spoons of, 88;
  cups of, 96;
  as summons to meeting, 368.

Horse-blocks, in front of churches, 367.

Horse-bridges, 331.

Horse-laurel, as dye, 194.

Hose. See Stockings.

Hospitality, in Southern colonies, 395 _et seq._

Hound handle, 100.

Hour-glass, in meeting, 376.

Housekeeper, qualifications of, 252-253.

House pie, 146.

House-raising. See Raising.

Hyperion tea, 165.


India china, 100.

Indians, houses of, 3-4;
  caves of, 138;
  corn dances of, 138;
  cultivation of corn by, 126-131;
  endurance of, 137;
  mode of cooking corn, 131-135;
  names of corn foods, 131-137;
  mode of drying pumpkins, 143;
  spoons of, 88;
  mode of cooking beans, 145;
  brooms of, 301-304;
  four best things, 304;
  modes of travel of, 325;
  boats of, 325;
  paths of, 329-330.

Indian corn. See Corn.

Indian pudding, 135.

Indigo, as dye, 193.

Inns. See Taverns.

Invention, of cotton-gin, 208;
  of fly-shuttle, 228;
  of spinning-jenny, 229;
  of throstle-spun yarn, 229;
  of combing-machine, 230;
  of flax-spinning machine, 230-231.

Ipswich, grist-mill at, 133.

Iris, as dye, 193.

Itineracies, old-time, 176, 300-301.


Jack-knife, 307-308.

Jacks, 64.

James I. on fishing, 116.

Jamestown, spinning-schools at, 182;
  summons to meeting at, 367.

Jeans, 250.

Jefferson, Thomas, quoted, 207, 256;
  hospitality of, 397;
  impoverishment of, 397-398.

Jewellery, slight wear of, 297.

Johnson, quoted, 143, 145, 188.

Johnson, Governor, baby clothes of, 265.

Johnny-cakes, 135.

Josselyn, quoted, 117;
  his list of plants in New England, 432 _et seq._

Judd, Sylvester, quoted, 216, 237.

Jugs, of stoneware, 98.

Jumel, Madame, cave house of, 3.


Kalm, quoted, 39-40;
  on squirrels, 110;
  on bees, 111;
  on maize bread, 134;
  on canoes, 326-327;
  on the plantain, 436.

Kearsarge, Mount, romance of, 405.

Kentucky, hand-weaving in, 249.

Ketch, 328.

Kill-devil. See Rum.

Killing time, 153.

King Hooper house, 30.

Kitchen, description, 52;
  in rhyme, 73-75.

Knife. See Jack-knife.

Knife-racks, 68.

Knights, Madame, quoted, 8;
  on canoes, 327-328;
  journey of, 332;
  on sleighs, 355.

Knitting, 190;
  yarn for, 201;
  by children, 261-262;
  elaborate designs, 262.

Knitting machine, 190.

Knives, of flax brake, 170.

Knocker, Hancock house, 28;
  Winslow house, 29.

Knots, of flax thread, 175.

Krankbesoeckers, 385.


Labadist missionaries, quoted, 118-119.

Lad's lore, 428.

Lamps, 43-45.

Lathe. See Batten.

Latten ware, 58.

Laws, about flax culture, 179-180;
  about dress, 282-284;
  about ferries, 330-331;
  about mail, 334;
  about taverns, 357;
  on observance of Sunday, 378-379;
  of warning out, 392 _et seq._;
  about fences, 401-402.

Lay, of loom. See Batten.

Laying a fire, 74.

Lays, of flax thread, 175.

Lean-to, description, 22.

Leashes, of heddle, 219.

Leather, utensils of, 95-96.

Letters. See Post.

Liberty Tea, 165.

Lincoln, Abraham, early home of, 4;
  rail-splitting, 25.

Linden, fibre from, 211.

Linen, manipulations of, 234;
  clothing of, 234;
  sentiment of, 234;
  price of, 234;
  checked, 238.

Lining the psalm, 378.

Litster, 187.

Livingstone, John, clothing of, 288.

Loaf-sugar. See Sugar-cones.

Lobsters, plenty of, 117;
  vast size of, 118.

Logan, Mrs., on flower-raising, 438.

Log cabin, forms of, 5.

Logging-bee, 416, 417.

Log-rolling, 389, 404, 406.

Longfellow, quoted, 327.

Long Island, bayberries on, 40;
  samp-mortars on, 133;
  wool raising on, 191;
  bad boys on, 373;
  Sunday observance on, 385;
  cow-herding on, 400.

Long-short, 236-237.

Loom, antiquity of, 213-214;
  of Giotto, 213;
  of Hogarth, 213-214;
  description of, 214.
  See Power-loom, Tape-loom.

Loom-room, 212.

Louisiana, corn in, 128;
  petticoat rebellion in, 128;
  hand-weaving in, 250.

Lowell, quoted, 73.

Lucas, Governor, quoted, 182-183.

Lug-pole, 53.

Luxury, after the Revolution, 159-160.

Lye, making of, 254.


MacMaster, quoted, 207.

Madison, Dolly, dress of, 290.

Mail, of heddle, 219.

Mail. See Post.

Mail coaches, 344, 350.

Maine, windows in, 23;
  candle-wood in, 32;
  chums in, 149;
  axe-making in, 315.

Maize. See Corn.

Mandillion, 287.

Manhattan, bark houses on, 4;
  palisados on, 24.

Manners. See Etiquette.

Maple sugar, old description of, 111;
  manufacture of, 111-112.

Maple-wood, bowls of, 82, 318-320.

Marblehead, fishing at, 122-123.

Marigolds, 427.

Marmalades, 152.

Maryland, houses in, 11;
  wild fowl in, 125;
  apples in, 145;
  hospitality in, 396-397.

Masks, 290.

Massachusetts, cave dwellings in, 1;
  palisados in, 24;
  venison in, 109;
  fish in, 123;
  flax culture in, 179-180;
  wool-raising in, 188;
  bounty in, 205;
  sumptuary laws in, 281-284;
  outfit for settlers, 286-287;
  ferries in, 330-331.

Matches, first, 50-51.

Mazer, 319.

Mead, 163.

Meeting-house, in Boston, 364, 366;
  in Salem, 364;
  in Hingham, 365;
  descriptions of, 364, 366-369.

Metheglin, 163.

Metheglin cups, 85.

Metzel-soup, 419.

Milestones, 335-336.

Milford, Conn., palisados in, 24.

Milk, price of, 148; use as food, 148.

Milk pitchers, names of, 106.

Milkweed, for candle wicks, 35, 211.

Mill, Indian, 132.

Mince-pies, pioneer, 159.

Ministers, encourage fisheries, 121.

Mittens, fine knitting of, 262;
  quick knitting of, 262.

Modesty-piece, 270-271.

Molasses, for New England slave-trade, 163.

Monkey spoons, 90.

Moore, Thomas, quoted, 348.

Mortar, Indian, 132.

Morton, quoted, 120-121.

Moss-pink, 423.

Mount Vernon, description of, 13;
  weaving at, 237;
  garden at, 431.

Mourning rings. See Rings.

Mourning samplers, 268-269.

Muffs, worn by men, 298, 386.

Mutton, its disuse previous to Revolution, 189, 191.

Nails, scarcity of, 11.

Napkins, use of, 77.

Narragansett, hand-weaving in, 241-244;
  shift marriages in, 241-242;
  old quilt in, 275-276;
  threshing in, 313-314.

Needlework, stitches in, 264-265;
  delicacy of, 265;
  rules for, 265.

Neighborhood, title of settlement, 391.

Neighbors, old-time, 388 _et seq._, 395 _et seq._

Netting, 263-264.

Nettles, fibre spun, 211.

New Amsterdam, first church in, 385;
  laws about fences in, 401-402.

Newman, Rev. Mr., manner of work, 33.

Newburyport, house at, 27;
  straw bleaching at, 261;
  sumptuary laws in, 283;
  fines in, 374.

New England, houses in, 15;
  candle-wood in, 32;
  lobsters in, 117;
  fisheries in, 117-124;
  Indian corn in, 127-136;
  mills in, 131-133;
  pumpkins in, 142-143;
  potatoes in, 144;
  squashes in, 144;
  milk and ministers in, 148;
  churns in, 149;
  cider in, 161-162;
  rum in, 163-164;
  slavery in, 164;
  wool-raising in, 188-189;
  taverns in, 356-357;
  watchmen in, 363;
  meeting-houses in, 365 _et seq._;
  summons to meeting in, 368;
  Sunday observance in, 378 _et seq._;
  "taste of dinner in," 418;
  old-time gardens in, 421 _et seq._

New Hampshire, candle-wood in, 32;
  potatoes in, 144;
  pioneer mince-pies in, 159;
  wheelwrights in, 176;
  flax manufacture in, 180, 236;
  fine knitting in, 269;
  birch brooms in, 304.

New Haven, restrictions in, 392.

New London, mill at, 133.

Newport, box plants at, 430;
  garden in, 437-438.

New York, houses in, 8;
  candle-wood in, 32;
  first fork in, 78;
  venison in, 109;
  lobsters at, 118;
  fish in, 120;
  salting shad in, 124-125;
  suppawn in, 133;
  ale and beer in, 161;
  wool-raising in, 191;
  dress in, 292;
  turnpikes in, 349-350;
  coaches in, 354-355;
  sleighs in, 355;
  street lighting in, 362;
  watch in, 363;
  Sunday observance in, 384;
  cow-herding in, 399;
  gardens in, 439-440.

Niddy-noddy, 200-201; carved, 320.

Nightgowns, 294.

Nocake, description of, 137;
  use of, 137;
  Eliot's use of word, 137-138.

Noggins, 82.

Noil, 196.

Nokick. See Nocake.

Noon-houses, 374-375.

Noon-marks, 299.

Norridgewock, life-work of a citizen of, 407-408.

Northampton, sumptuary laws in, 283-284.

Northboro, spinning match at, 184.

North Saugus, house in, 21.

Norwich, naughty girl in, 373.

Notices, nailed on church doors, 367.

Nott, President, story of boyhood, 202-203.


Occamy, 88.

Occupations, of children, 179, 180, 182, 186, 437;
  of women, 187.

Oiled paper for windows, 23, 366.

Old South Church, on sampler, 268.

Old Ship, 365.

Old South, 366.

Opening in land, clearing, 406.

Ordinary, name for tavern, 356.

Osenbrigs, 288.

Otis, Hannah, sampler of, 268.

Overhang, in walls, 19-20.

Ovens, 67.

Ox-bows, 311.

Oxen, sign of distress in, 413.

Oysters, in Brooklyn, 118-119;
  in Virginia, 119;
  vast size of, 119.


Pace-weight, of loom, 224.

Pack-horses, use of, 336-339;
  pay for, 337;
  load of, 337-338.

Pails, early, 58.

Paint, not used, 23.

Pales. See Fences.

Palfrey, quoted, 122.

Palisado, description of, 24.

Pansy, folk-names of, 425-426.

Paper-cutting. See Papyrotamia.

Papyrotamia, 277-278.

Parley, Peter, reminiscence of, 140.

Parsnips, 145.

Pastorius, Father, his choice for seal, 181;
  his encouragement of gardening, 436.

Patchwork. See Quilt-piecing.

Patent, first to Americans, 138-139, 260.

Pattens, 295.

Paupers, in Narragansett, 313;
  treatment of, in New England, 324.

Pawn, 55.

Pawtucket, cotton thread in, 207.

Pay, for spinning, 185;
  for weaving, 230, 250;
  for cow-herding, 399;
  of swineherds, 403.

Peabody, Francis, house of, 31.

Peachy, 163.

Peas, 145.

Peel, 67.

Pegging, 262.

Pelisses, 295.

Penn, William, fairs instituted by, 190.

Pennsylvania, cave-dwellers in, 2;
  stoves in, 69;
  squirrels in, 110;
  wool manufacture in, 190;
  dress in, 292-293;
  mail in, 333;
  post-rider, 335;
  transportation in, 335-344;
  roads in, 339;
  turnpikes in, 349;
  coaching in, 350-351;
  metzel-soup in, 419;
  gardens in, 436-437.

Peonies, 421.

Perfumes, in cooking, 152;
  of old garden flowers, 424;
  of sweet-scented leaves, 449 _et seq._

Periagua, 329.

Perry, 163.

Peter, Hugh, encourages fisheries, 121.

Petticoat rebellion, 128.

Petunias, 428.

Pews, described, 368 _et seq._

Pewter, for lamps, 44-45;
  for utensils, 84-85;
  on dresser, 68;
  lids of, 100.

Phoebe-lamps, 44.

Philadelphia, early houses in, 15;
  luxurious dinners in, 160;
  straw manufacture in, 260;
  travel from, 347-350;
  taverns in, 359;
  cow-herding in, 400-401.

Pickling, old-time, 152.

Pierce Garrison House, 26.

Pierpont, Rev. John, verses of, 306-307.

Pies, 146.

Pigeons, plenty of, 110;
  price of, 110.

Pilgrims, starvation of, 129.

Piling-bee, 406.

Pillions, 331-332.

Pillory, location of, 367.

Pinckney, Mrs., exchange of flowers of, 439.

Pinehurst, hand-weaving in, 250-251.

Pine-knots, use of, 32-33.

Pink, name of vessel, 328.

Pinks, varieties of, 427.

Pipe shelves, 68.

Pipe-tongs, 68-69.

Pitch-pipes, in meeting, 378.

Plantain, romance of, 435-436.

Plate-racks, 68.

Plate-warmer, 61.

Plymouth, vacant fields at, 130;
  sampler at, 266.

Pokeberry, as dye, 193.

Pompion. See Pumpkin.

Pones, 134.

Pop-corn, 135.

Poplar wood, use of, 81-82.

Porcelain. See China.

Porringers, 85-86.

Porter's fluid, 45.

Portsmouth, old house at, 21.

Portulaca, 429.

Posnet, 87.

Possing, of linen, 234.

Post, first, 332; duties of, 332-333;
  in Virginia, 333;
  report about, 333-335.

Potatoes, in New England, 144;
  queer modes of cooking, 144-145.
  See Sweet potatoes.

Potato-boiler, 57.

Pot-brakes, 53.

Pot-clips, 53.

Pot-crooks, 53.

Pot-hangers, 53.

Pothooks, 53.

Pots, cost of, 56;
  size of, 56.

Pound-keepers, 400.

Powder-horns, 320-321.

Powdering of hair, 297.

Powdering tub, 153.

Power-loom, 230.

Powhatan, teaches corn-planting, 127.

Prairie-schooner. See Conestoga wagon.

Prayers, length of, 376;
  with the sick, 419.

Preserving, old-time, 152.

Printer, dress of, 293.

Providence, straw manufacture in, 260;
  restrictions in, 392.

Psalm-singing, 376 _et seq._

Puddings, of corn, 135.

Pudding-time, 104, 160.

Pue. See Pews.

Pulling of flax, 168.

Pulpits, 368, 385.

Pumpkin, tributes to, 143;
  modes of cooking, 143;
  their plenty, 143;
  shells of, 309.

Puncheon floor, 6.


Quakers, dress of, 258, 292.

Quarels, of glass, 9.

Quarnes, 133.

Quiddonies, 152.

Quills, for weaving, 216;
  from geese, 259.

Quilling-wheel, 216, 229.

Quilts, piecing of, 270-275;
  materials for, 272-274;
  patterns for, 272-275;
  quilting of, 273-274.

Quince drink, 96.

Quincy family, fire-buckets of, 18;
  samplers of, 266-267.

Quincy, Josiah, quoted, 341-342, 346.


Raddle, of loom, 219.

Rag carpet, 239-240.

Rail-fence, 25.

Raising, of a house, 408 _et seq._

Rake. See Raddle.

Ramsay, quoted, 395-396.

Randolph, John, quoted, 205.

Raspberry leaves for tea, 158, 165.

Rattle-watch, 362.

Ravel. See Raddle.

Reading, communal privileges in, 391.

Recons, 53.

Reed. See Sley.

Reed-hook. See Sley-hook.

Reel, triple, 200.
  See Clock-reel and Niddy-noddy.

Revolution, influences towards success, 166-167, 189.

Rhode Island, stage-coach in, 346.

Rhode Island College. See Brown University.

Ribbon-beds, 445.

Ribbon-grass, 430.

Ride-and-tie system, 332.

Rings, wearing of, 297;
  at funerals, 298.

Rippling of flax, 168-169;
  of hemp, 169.

Rippling-comb, 168;
  of Egyptians, 178.

Roasting ears, 134.

Roasting-kitchens, 65.

Rock for spinning, in Egypt, 178;
  in India, 178;
  in New England, 179.

Rock-candy, 157.

Rocking-tree, of loom, 220.

Rochester, house-raising at, 410.

Rolliches, 154.

Rolling-roads, 330.

Rolling-up a house, 6.

Roof, of Dutch houses, 10;
  gambrel, 22.

Roquelaure, 295.

Rosselini, quoted, 178.

Roving, of yarn, 201.

Rowley, spinning match at, 184.

Ruffler for flax, 172.

Rum, manufacture of, 163;
  in New England, 163;
  in slave-trade, 163-164;
  at house-raisings, 410.

Rush, for scouring, 85.

Rushlight, 38.

Rutland, cave-dwellers in, 3.


Sabba-day house. See Noon-house.

Sabin Hall, 14.

Sack, law of sale, 357.

Sacjes, 386-387.

Saco, communal privileges in, 390.

Safeguards, 295.

Salem, coloring houses at, 23;
  lobsters at, 117;
  fisheries at, 121;
  milk in, 148;
  sumptuary laws in, 283;
  taverns at, 356-357;
  night-watch in, 363;
  meeting-house in, 364;
  seats for boys at meeting in, 372;
  swineherds in, 403.

Saler, 78.

Salisbury, meeting-house at, 369.

Salmon, price in Boston, 123;
  low regard of, 123;
  fishing for, 124.

Salt-cellar, 78-79.

Salting of fish, 124;
  of meat, 153.

Samp, mode of preparing, 131-132, 134;
  porridge of, 134.

Samplers, 265-268.

Samp-mills, 133.

Samp-mortars, 133.

Sap-buckets, 112.

Sap-yoke, 113.

Sassafras, as dye, 194;
  for soap, 255.

Sausages, making of, 154-155.

Sausage-gun, 154.

Save-alls, 42.

Scaffold, name for pulpit, 368.

Scarne. See Skarne.

Sconces, 42.

Scouring-rush, 85.

Scutching. See Swingling.

Scythe snathe, 309-312.

Seal of Germantown, 181.

Seating the meeting, 370-371.

Seats, at table, 101;
  in New England meetings, 369;
  in Virginia churches, 383-384;
  in Dutch churches, 386-387.

Section. See Bout.

Sedan-chairs, 356.

Sermons, length of, 376.

Sewall, Samuel, quoted, 354-356;
  character of, 418.

Shad, low regard of, 123-124;
  price of, 124;
  fishing for, 124;
  salting of, 124.

Shallop, 328.

Shed, in weaving, 221.

Sheep, in Massachusetts, 188;
  laws about, 188, 189;
  herding of, 409.

Sheep-folds, 401.

Sheep-herds, 401.

Sheep-ranges, 401.

Shelburne, girls work in, 262.

Shepster, 187.

Sherry-vallies, 296.

Shingles, making of, 316-317.

Shingle-bolts, 318.

Shingle-mould, 317.

Shoe-pegs, 315-316.

Shuttles, for loom, 224-225.

Sign-boards, name on, 358-359;
  historical value of, 359;
  of Philadelphia, 359;
  of Baltimore, 359.

Sigourney, Mrs., quoted, 277-278.

Silk-grass, 211.

Silver, use of, 89-92.

Skarne, 216-217.

Skeins, of flax thread, 175.

Skillet, 50.

Skilts, 236.

Slave-kitchen, 54.

Slave quarters, 14.

Slavery, in New England, 163;
  in Virginia, 164.

Sleds, 343.

Sleighs, in New York, 355.

Sley, of loom, 219-220;
  price of, 224.

Slice, 67.

Slippings, of flax thread, 175.

Smith, John, quoted, 115-116;
  plants corn, 127;
  description of first Virginia church, 381-382.

Smoke-house, 153.

Smoke-jack, 65.

Smoking tongs, 68-69.

Snake-fence, 25.

Sneak-cups, 106.

Snow, name of vessel, 328.

Snowstorm, in New England, 410 _et seq._

Snuffers, 42.

Snuffers tray, 42.

Soap, making of, 253-255.

Society house, 396.

Sorrel, as dye, 194.

South Carolina. See Carolinas.

Southernwood, 428.

Spatter-dashes, 296.

Spelling, varied, of squashes, 144.

Spenser, quoted, 319.

Spermaceti, 42.

Spices, in cooking, 153;
  ground at home, 158.

Spice-mills, 158.

Spice-mortars, 158.

Spinning, of flax, 174, 230;
  pay for, 175;
  in Egypt, 178;
  in India, 178;
  in New England, 179-180;
  in Pennsylvania, 181;
  in France, 230-231;
  day's work in, 185;
  in modern times, 186;
  of wool, 196-198, 229-230;
  new materials for, 211;
  race between weaving and, 228-229;
  a by-industry, 228.

Spinning classes, 180.

Spinning-cup, 174.

Spinning-jenny, 229.

Spinning-matches, 184-185.

Spinning-school, 180, 182.

Spinning-wheel. See Flax-wheel and Wool-wheel.

Spinster, legal title of women, 187.

Splint brooms. See Birch brooms.

Spool-holder. See Skarne.

Spoons, use of, 87;
  material of, 87-88;
  types of, 89-90.

Spoon-moulds, 87-88.

Spoon-racks, 68.

Spreading of flax, 168.

Spunks, 50.

Squadrons, of spinners, 189.

Squanto, teaches fishing, 117;
  teaches corn-planting, 130.

Squashes, varied names of, 144.

Squirrels, abundance of, 110;
  premium on, 110.

Stage-coaches, in Great Britain, 331, 345-346;
  in America, 345-346.

Stage-wagon, 345.

Staircases, 27.

Standing salt, 78-79.

Standish, Lorea, sampler of, 266.

Starting a fire, 48-50.

Starving times, in Virginia, 127;
  in New England, 129.

Staves, 316.

Stays, 291.

Steeples, 366.

Steep-pool, for flax, 169.

Stepping-stones. See Horse-blocks.

Stitches, names of, 264-265.

St.-John's-wort, as dye, 194.

Stockings, knitting of, 190, 262-263;
  weaving of, 190.

Stocks, location of, 367.

Stone-bee, 407.

Stone-hauling, 407.

Stone walls, 407.

Stoves, first, 69;
  in Dutch churches, 385.

Strachey, quoted, 119.

Strangers, harboring of, forbidden in New England, 393-394.

Stratford, tithing-man in, 372.

Straw manufacture, 259-261.

Streets, condition of, 362;
  lighting of, 362;
  washing of, 363.

Strikes, of flax, 172.

Striking a light, 47.

Stump-pulling, 407.

Sturgeon, great catch of, 120;
  in New York, 120.

Substitutes for imported foods, 158-159.

Succotash, 134.

Sudbury, tavern at, 357-358.

Sugar, substitutes for, 110, 111, 147, 157, 158;
  cutting of, 155-156.

Sugar-bowls, names for, 106.

Sugar-cones, 155.

Sugar-cutters, 155-156.

Summer-piece, 8.

Sunday, observance of, by Puritans, 378 _et seq._;
  by Rev. John Cotton, 379;
  by Virginians, 380;
  by the Dutch, 384;
  duration of, 379.

Sun-dials, 299, 442-443;
  inscriptions on, 443;
  materials of, 443.

Suppawn, use of, 133.

Sweep and mortar mill, 132.

Sweet potatoes, modes of cooking, 145.

Swifts, 215-216.

Swineherds. See Hog-reeves.

Swingling of flax, 171-172.

Swingling block, 171.

Swingling knives, 171, 312.

Swingle-tree hurds, 172.

Swingling tow, bonfires of, 177.

Swing-sign. See Sign-board.


Table, description of, 76.

Table-board, 76, 81.

Table-cloths, 77.

Tallow, lack of, 34.

Tambour work, 269.

Tankards, original meaning, 83;
  of wood, 83-84;
  of silver, 99.

Tapping-gauge, 112.

Tape-loom, various names of, 225;
  described, 225-227.

Tap-room, of Wayside Inn, 357-358.

Tarboggin. See Chebobbin.

Tar-making, 33.

Taste of a dinner, 418.

Tasters, 86-87.

Taverns, establishment of, 356;
  titles for, 356;
  prices at, 357;
  values about, 357;
  names of rooms at, 357;
  in southern colonies, 360;
  in New Netherland, 361.

Tea, substitutes for, 158-159;
  first sales of, 164;
  queer mode of cooking, 165.

Teazels, 232.

Teazeling, of cloth, 232.

Temperature, of houses, 70-71;
  of churches, 374.

Temple, of loom, 223.

Tennessee, hand-weaving in, 249.

Tenting, of cloth, 232.

Terbobbin. See Chebobbin.

Terrapin, 120.

Thatch, for roofs, 15.

Threshing, 313-314.

Thumbing, in weaving, 218.

Thumb-rings, 298.

Tin, slight use of, 58.

Tinder, 48.

Tinder-box, 48.

Tinder-mill, 50.

Tinder-wheel, 49.

Tithing-men, 372, 373.

Titles, old-time, for women, 187.

Toasting-forks, 60.

Tobacco, as currency, 189;
  use forbidden near meeting-house, 379.

Tomble. See Temple.

Tongs, 236.

Tow, garments of, 235-236.

Town, unit in New England, 390;
  narrow feeling of, 391.

Townsend, revolutionary story of, 203.

Toys, of wood, 306.

Trammels, 53.

Transportation, on horseback, 176, 336 _et seq._;
  by wagons, 339 _et seq._

Trees, girdling of, 403;
  drive of, 404;
  under-cutting of, 404.

Trenchers, description, 80;
  material, 82.

Trivets, 60.

Troughs, making of, 311.

Trumbull, Jonathan, chaise of, 353.

Trunks, 348.

Trunk pedler, 300.

Tumble. See Temple.

Tummings, 195.

Turkeys, wild, 109;
  size of, 109-110;
  price of, 110.

Turkey wheat, 129.
  See Corn.

Turkey-wings, 309.

Turnips, 145.

Turnpikes, 349-350.

Turnspit dog, 65.

Tusser, Thomas, quoted, 35, 168, 255, 321-322.

Twifflers, 106.


Van der Donck, quoted, 118, 119, 120.

Van Tienhoven, quoted, 2.

Veils, interference about, 285.

Venison. See Deer.

Vermont, candle-wood in, 32;
  broom-making in, 303.

Victualling, name for tavern, 356.

Violins, in meeting, 378.

Virginia, early houses in, 11;
  palisados in, 24;
  candle-wood in, 32;
  first fork in, 78;
  silver in, 91;
  table furnishings in, 104;
  deer in, 108-109;
  birds and fowl in, 110;
  lobsters in, 118;
  crabs in, 118;
  oysters in, 119;
  plenty of fish in, 118-119;
  corn in, 127;
  massacre in, 127;
  windmills in, 133;
  toll in, 133;
  starvation in, 127, 144;
  pumpkins in, 143;
  locust groves in, 163;
  flax culture in, 181-182;
  wool culture in, 189-190;
  cloths in, 237;
  broom-corn in, 256;
  sumptuary laws in, 285;
  outfit of settlers, 289;
  roads in, 331;
  taverns in, 361;
  Sunday observance in, 380;
  churches in, 381-382;
  cows in, 400;
  fences in, 402.

Virginia fence, 25.

Voiders, 106-107.

Voorleezer, duties of, 386.


Waffle-irons, 61.

Wagon. See Conestoga wagon.

Warming-pans, 72.

Warning out, 392;
  a mystery in, 393.

Warp, 218.

Warp-beam, 214.

Warping, 217-218.

Warping-bars, 217-218.

Warping-needle, 219.

Warp-threads. See Warp.

Washing, domestic, 255.

Washington, George, home of, 13;
  outfit of his stepdaughter, 291;
  dress of, 293;
  as canal promoter, 353.

Washington, Martha, thrift of, 237-238;
  netting of, 265.

Watches, 299.

Watch-chains, 263.

Water, as beverage, 147.

Watering of flax, 169.

Water-fowl, plenty of, 125;
  enumerated, 125.

Watertown, windmill at, 133;
  restrictions of settlement in, 393.

Wax, candles of, 37; bayberry, 39-40.

Waynesville, hand-weaving in, 250.

Wayside Inn, 357-358.

Weather-skirt, 295.

Weavers, status of, 212-213;
  seat of, 221;
  working-hours of, 228;
  in Narragansett, 241-244.

Weaving, noise of, 212, 220;
  three motions in, 221-222;
  disappearance of, 227;
  on tape-looms, 225-227;
  race between spinning and, 228-230;
  of linens, 230-231;
  of rag carpet, 239-240;
  of coverlets, 242-246;
  during Civil War, 249.
  See Loom.

Weaving-room. See Loom-room.

Webster, 187.

Weeds, once garden flowers, 435-436, 447-449.

Weight-timbers, 11.

Weld, quoted, 348-349.

Well-sweep, 443-444.

Westmoreland Revival, 227.

Whale-fishing, 41.

"Whang," 417.

Wheat, planting of, 147.

Wheel. See Flax-wheel and Wool-wheel.

Wheel-peg, 198.

Wheelwrights, early use of wood, 176.

Whipping-post, location of, 367.

White-Ellery House, 19.

Whiteweed, in America, 449.

Whitney, Eli, invention of, 208.

Whittemore, Amos, invention of, 205.

Whittier, quoted, 73-74, 181, 370, 413, 436;
  homespun attire of, 248.

Whittling, 321-323.

Wicks for candles, 34, 45.

Wigs, wearing of, 296-297;
  denounced, 296;
  names of, 296-299;
  cost of, 297.

Wigwams, 3.

William and Mary College, tax for, 109.

Williams, Roger, quoted, 134, 137, 285.

Windmills, Indian fear of, 130;
  first erected, 133;
  of John Winthrop, 133;
  in Virginia, 133.

Windows, of glass, 23;
  of oiled paper, 23.

Windsor, boys' pews in, 372.

Wine-taster, 87.

Winslow house, knocker of, 29.

Winthrop, John, fork of, 77;
  jug of, 98;
  his use of water as beverage, 148;
  pick-a-back, 329;
  sedan-chair of, 356.

Winthrop, John, Jr., quoted, 32; mill of, 133.

Woad-wax, in Massachusetts, 448.

Woburn, long services at, 376.

Wolfskin bags in meeting, 374.

Wolves' heads, nailed on meeting-houses, 364-365.

Wood, trenchers of, 80-81;
  utensils of, 82;
  spoons of, 88;
  for shuttles, 225;
  unusual uses of, 305;
  toys of, 306;
  natural shapes in, 308-311.

Wood, quoted, 32-33, 137.

Wool, an ancient industry, 187;
  early culture of, 187-193;
  manufacture of, 187-193;
  restraints on manufacture, 191-192;
  in England, 192;
  preparation of, 193;
  dyeing of, 193-194;
  carding of, 194-195;
  combing of, 196;
  spinning of, 196-198.
  See Yarn.

Wool-cards, described, 194-195;
  history of, 204-206.

Wool-combs, 196.

Wool-wheel, price of, 177.

Wordsworth, quoted, on spinning, 179.

Worsted stuffs, 233.

Wrathe. See Raddle.


Yarn, spinning of, 197-198, 201, 229;
  winding of, 198;
  skeining of, 199;
  cleansing of, 202;
  water-twist, 229.

Yarn beam. See Warp-beam.

Yarn roll. See Warp-beam.





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