Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century

Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century

Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century

Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century

Synopsis

Morgan sketches the day-to-day life of colonial Virginians. From the planters of the Tidewater to the Scotch-Irish and German farmers in the Shenandoah Valley, he explores such matters as childhood, marriage, servants and slaves, homes, and holidays in the complex society of eighteenth-century Virginia.

Excerpt

Virginia in 1776 had grown and changed in many ways since her founding in in 1607. She was no longer a small settlement huddled around a swampy little town; rich plantations lined the banks of her rivers for a hundred miles into the interior, until the first waterfalls interrupted navigation. the planters maintained their own wharves, and ocean-going ships moved up and down the rivers collecting tobacco for English and European smokers and bringing back in return the English manufactures which helped to make life in the Virginia Tidewater a provincial counterpart of life in England.

Beyond the Tidewater rose the Virginia Piedmont, gentle, rolling slopes which were already covered with farms and plantations. Here there were no convenient waterways to connect the settlers directly with England. the tobacco and wheat grown in the Piedmont had to be carted laboriously over rough roads to reach the ships which would carry them to market. Life was not as easy as in the Tidewater. Settlers were more isolated from each other, and had to rely more on themselves than the planters who could step aboard a ship and travel from their own doorsteps to any place in the world.

Even more isolated was the Shenandoah Valley, which lay beyond the Great Blue Ridge. the Valley had been . . .

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