Archive for the ‘Daily life’ Category

“Was took With The measles”

You may recall JEMIMA CONDICT from previous posts here and here. She lived in Pleasantdale, New Jersey and kept a journal from the age of eighteen (1772) until she died in childbirth at twenty-five. (She was married to Aaron Harrison.) Much of the journal concerns her religious life: there are texts of scripture, verses of hymns, descriptions of sermons, notes on her attendance at the Church of Newark Mountain (which became the Presbyterian Church of Orange which still stands), and her inner struggles of conscience. But there are other entries as well which provide a glimpse into Jemima’s life and those in her circle as well as events during the Revolutionary War. Herewith a selection of entries.

May the 10 [1772] Rose in the morning tho not very early and Went to weaving yet not very willingly for tho I Love that yet it likes not me and I am in the Mind that I never shall be well as long as I Weave. this spring is a very sickly time, the Measles spreads very fast Beside other Disorders. they are sick each side of us Yet the Lord is still throwing mercy To us, he has given us Health whilst others have sickness & is spareing our lives Whilst Others are taken away. . . .

June the 10 I went to Newark I and my Sisters. We thought to Have had A good Deal of pleasure that Day But before I got Home I had a like to have Had my Neck broke I rid a young Horse and it Was a very windy day and the Dirt flew and there Was chairs and Waggons a rattling and it scared the horse so that he started and flung me of[f] and sprained my arm and now I am forced to write with one [illegible]. . . .

Sunday August 16 Was took With The measles and on Monday Night I broke out in My face and Hand. on Tuesday I was a Red as a Chery And I Was of a fine Coular. My measles turned on Wednesday But still felt very Mean all that week and a Sunday. yet is Great Mercy Shown to me I want so bad As Some.

Jemima spent some time with friends from West Branch who urged her to visit them.

They told me there was young men Plenty there for me But I thought I was In no hurry for a husband at Present. And if I was I thought it was too far to go upon uncertaintys. So I concluded to Stay where I was & I Believe I shan’t Repent it. A Husband or Not, for I am best of[f] in this spot. . . .

thursday I had some Discourse with Mr. Chandler. he asked me why I Did not marry I told him I want in no hurry. Well Said he I wish I was maried to you. I told him he would Soon with himself on maried agin. Why So? Because says I you will find that I am a crose ill contrived Pese of Stuf I told him I would advise all the men to remain as they was for the women was Bad & the men so much worse that It was a wonder if they agreed. So I scard the poor fellow & he is gone. . . .

More from Jemima’s journal in the next post.

Jemima Condict, Her Book: Being a Transcript of the Diary of an Essex County Maid During the Revolutionary War (Orange N.J.: Jemima Condict Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1930). The original of Jemima Condict’s diary is in the archives of the New Jersey Historical Society.

posted March 9th, 2017 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Condict, Jemima,Daily life,Illness,Marriage,New Jersey

“I see every prospect of our being comfortable”

ANN HEAD WARDER went back to England in July 1787 and returned to live permanently in the United States in October 1788. She describes the house she and her family were to occupy.

10 mo. 5th.—. . . . The house pleased me, being exceedingly convenient, though larger than I wished, it having four rooms on a floor—Kitchen, counting house and two parlors on the first floor, eight bedrooms and two garrets. Many handy closets. A small yard and beyond it another grass plot, good stable and chaise house, so that I see every prospect of our being comfortable. . . .

10 mo. 11th.—Went to market, at six o’clock to procure provisions towards housekeeping. . . . The difference in prices of things here and London is striking. . . . After breakfast purchased hand [?and] irons, to use for burning wood, all the chimneys being too low for stoves; some glass ware &c.

10 mo. 14th.—Arose early and sent off the balance of our things at mother’s, and after breakfast went to our house. We had for dinner a rump of beef, apple pie and vegetables. My husband seemed to think he had not for a long time eat a sweeter morsel, and I also felt comfortable, but not so much as hope to be when things are more settled. Only one bed up so the children had to sleep on the floor in the same room with us.

10th mo. 27th.—Today at dinner I entertained by fellow passengers. We had roast turkey, a tongue laid in mashed potatoes, whip’d sallybubs, oyster pie, boiled leg of pork, bread pudding and tarts. We had an early dish of tea for the old folks who left escorted by my husband.

Ann Warder lived in Philadelphia until her death in 1829. She and her husband had ten children, seven of whom lived to adulthood. Thanks to her we have an idea of what life in Philadelphia was like in the years 1786-88.

“Extracts from the Diary of Mrs. Ann Warder,” 62-63, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XVII, 1893, No. 1.

posted October 20th, 2016 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Daily life,Food,Philadelphia,Quakers,Warder, Ann Head

“Such a general use of fans . . . “

British-born ANN HEAD WARDER was the wife of American John Warder, a merchant with a base in London and a branch in Philadelphia. When family affairs required John’s presence he returned to Philadelphia in 1786 accompanied by Ann who kept a diary and wrote letters to her sister Elizabeth. (See an earlier post focusing on food and a Christmas feast.) The twenty-eight-year-old commented in a lively fashion on her experiences, gave her opinions on the city, its social life and customs, the climate, the food, and more. A Quaker, she noted that some practices of the Friends in Philadelphia differed from what she was used to. When the Warders first arrived they stayed at the home of John’s mother.

6 mo. 7th.—I rested well in mother’s best bed the room large and house spacious. Below are the shop and counting house in front; one large and one small parlor back, a delightful entry from the street to the yard. Up stairs is a good drawing room and three large chambers, with the same size cool passage. . . We dined at mother’s with only our own family, which fills a long table. I have mentioned those present except some of the younger branches. . . . they have fine hair and wear no caps, but handkerchiefs close up to their throats with a frill around the neck, in which dress much inconsistency appears to me. . . .

6 mo. 9th.—A crowded house began at 10 o’clock. Sometimes the recollection of you would make me ready to burst out with laughter, such new scenes are presented. Many in their own carriages have honored me with their company—Friends and others. Such a general use of fans my eyes never beheld, you scarcely see a woman without one, and in Winter I am told they visit with them as a plaything. . . .

6 mo. 12th.—Breakfasted at home comfortably, but it would be more so if the family were more attentive to the summons. . . . In the evening we took a nice walk, which gave me a clearer idea of the town, that it is in my opinion far superior to New York as Westminster to the city. The regularity of the streets and buildings with their entire plainness I much admire. . . .

6 mo.13th.—. . . . The family dined at Billy Morris’s. We had a very genteel dinner, indeed I think from my present observation that people here are more superb in their entertainments than with us. Provisions of every kind are cheaper, but the greatest luxury is the abundance of fruit. We have pineapples, strawberries, cherries, peas. . . .

6 mo. 14th.—In the afternoon, the weather being cool . . . in a phaeton . . . [we] took a ride of ten miles along the banks of the Schuylkill, with which I was much pleased. Several friends called iin during the evening, which I find is occasioned by the intense heat of the Summer—they walk most after dark and sit much on their porches, which as a mother I think expose girls too early to the acquaintance of men.

6 mo. 11th.—In this forenoon went to Market Street Meeting which I think is full double the size of Gracechurch street. It has five doors, one on each side of the minister’s gallery; near which I sit though much courted by beckoners to come under it. . . . At six went again to meeting, the day being so warm it was omitted in the afternoon. Returned home to supper when we met Brother and Sister Vaux with their only two children. The mode of dressing children here is not so becoming as with us, and I have scarcely seen a white frock since my arrival; their colored ones are very inferior to what we use, which with blue and yellow skirts and their necks entirely covered to preserve them, complete a dress very inconsistent with mothers’ appearance when from home, for not a woman has visited me but what was elegant enough for any bride. Indeed we could almost persuade ourselves that was the case from so much saluting—which is a practice here considerably out of use. A young girl esteems it an insult for a man to offer any such thing—the strictest delicacy subsists, beyond what I ever expected to find, particularly as they are more and much earlier exposed to men’s company. . . .

More of Ann Warder’s observations in the next post.

“Extracts from the Diary of Mrs. Ann Warder” 444-448, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XVII, 1893, No. 1.

posted October 3rd, 2016 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Daily life,Food,Philadelphia,Quakers,Warder, Ann Head

“I am very lonesome”

Phebe Folger Coleman (1771-1857) of Nantucket was the wife of whaling vessel captain Samuel Coleman. Well educated by her older brother, Phoebe was able to teach Samuel the mathematical and navigational skills that enabled him to qualify as captain.
Being married to a the captain of a whaler was, to say the least, difficult. Imagine Phoebe having to take care of the family and manage domestic affairs, not knowing where her husband’s vessel was or when (or if) it would return, receiving letters only sporadically when ships communicated with each other. And the physical and psychological loneliness—how hard was that to bear. Phoebe and Samuel were married 27 years and had three children but Samuel spent only eight of those years at home with her! While her husband was away Phoebe kept a school to supplement the family income and to relieve her loneliness.
In 1797 she began a commonplace book called Un Recueil which included poems, paintings, mathematical exercises, and translations of French literature. On the left is a painting by Phoebe titled “Autumn.”

Nantucket 9th mo. 19th 1808Dear Husband,
I have felt a little guilty that I have deferred so long to write: but I had nothing worth communicating, nothing but what thou might reasonably suppose, that is, that I am very lonesome. Why should so much of our time be spent apart, why do we refuse the happiness that is within our reach? Is the acquisition of wealth an adequate compensation for the tedious hours of absence? To me it is not. The enjoyment of riches alone could give no satisfaction to me. In company I am not happy, I feel as if a part of my self was gone. Thy absence grows more insupportable than it used to be. I want for nothing but thy company: but there is nothing but what I could do better without….

Article “I feel as if a part of myself were gone…” : Whalers’ Letters by Elizabeth Shure Originally published in Historic Nantucket, Vol 44, no. 2 (Fall 1995), p. 90-92. Also this reference.

posted November 9th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Coleman, Phoebe Folger,Daily life,Ocean Voyages

“poor sheep who are dismantled to make us comfortable”

How could I not post this Journal entry by Quaker Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker on a cold day in January! (See other posts by her here, here, here, and here.)

Jan. 13 [1799]. Putting on a pair of warm worsted stockings this morning—having worn cotton hitherto this winter, it led me to think of the poor sheep who are dismantled to make us comfortable; not that ye sheep suffer much while shearing, and it is a convenience to them if they fall into feeling and tender hands: but sometimes a rough clown, who has a poor sheep tied down on his knees, if it stirs, gives it a hard blow, and very frequently cuts out a piece of flesh with his shears. Then if he condescends to apply a bit of tar and grease to the wound, the matter is settled. One thought brings on another; a fine quarter of mutton hangs now in our washhouse, with Turkey, Geese, Ducks, Fowls, &c. An idea struck me, which has frequently occurred to me from my youth to this day—that there are very few things which daily happen, so humbling as the death of so many of the animal creation for our support OR/OF satisfaction. A query has arisen; why do they suffer pain in death? The Almighty hand which created them, could if it was His will, so order it, that they should die without suffering. That it is otherwise, is apparent; tho’ perhaps they do not feel so much as we think they do. Be that as it may, why do they suffer at all? if it is not to humble mankind, “and shall they suffer, shall they die in vain?”

Source: pages 338-39 in the Journal of Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker which can be found online HERE.

posted January 12th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Clothes,Daily life,Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith

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