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irregular form, the streets generally running diagonally and ending in the Town House, others on a house that was built for the Governor, but never was finished.” This “Governor's House" afterwards became the main building of St. John's College. A majority of the residences were of brick, substantially built within brick walls enclosing gardens in true English fashion.
Across the Potomac was Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia and the seat of William and Mary College, built partly of brick and partly of wood, and resembling, it seemed to Lord Adam Gordon, a good country town in England. Norfolk, which was built chiefly of brick, was a mercantile center, with warehouses, ropewalks, wharves, and shipyards, while Fredericksburg, at the head of navigation on the Rappahannock, was constructed of wood and brick, its houses roofed with shingles painted to resemble slate. Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley was described in 1755 as “a town built of limestone and covered with slate with which the hills abound.” It was the center of a settled farming country and its inhabitants enjoyed most of the necessities but few of the luxuries of life and had almost no books. It is described as being "inhabited by a spurious race of mortals known by the appellation of Scotch-Irish.” In all
of these towns were one or more churches, the | market house, prison, and pillory, and in the chief
city at the usual place of execution was the gallows í of the colony.
The older towns of North Carolina, Edenton, . Bath, Halifax, and New Bern, were all small, and
in 1760 were either stationary or declining. Their houses were built of wood and, except for Tryon's palace at New Bern — an extravagant structure, considering the resources of the colony – the public buildings were of no significance. Brunswick, too, was declining and was but a poor town, “with a few scattered houses on the edge of a wood," inhabited by merchants. Wilmington was now rapidly advancing to the leading place in the province, because of its secure harbor, easy communication with the back country, accessibility to the other parts of the colony, fresh water, and improved postal facilities. In 1760 it had about eight hundred people; its houses, though not spacious, were in general very commodious and well furnished. Peter du Bois wrote of Wilmington in 1757: “It has greatly the preference in my esteem to New Bern ... the regularity of its streets is equal to that of Philadelphia and the buildings
are in general very good. Many of brick, two or three stories high with double piazzas, which make a good appearance.”
Charleston, or Charles Town as the name was always written in colonial times, was the leading city of the South and is thus described by Pelatiah Webster, who visited it in 1765: "It contains abt 1000 houses with inhabitants 5000 whites and 20,000 blacks, has eight houses for religious worship ... the streets run N. & S. & E. & W. intersecting each other at right angles, they are not paved, except the footways within the posts abt 6 feet wide, which are paved with brick in the princi- : pal streets.” According to a South Carolina law all buildings had to be of brick, but the law was not observed and many houses were of cypress and yellow pine. Laurens said in 1756 that "none but the better class glaze their houses.” The sanitary condition of all colonial towns was bad enough, but the grand jury presentments for Charleston and Savannah which constantly found fault with the condition of the streets, the sewers, and necessary houses, and the insufficient scavenging, leave the impression on the mind of the reader that these towns especially were afflicted with many offensive smells and odors. The total absence of any proper
health precautions explains in part the terrible epidemics, chiefly of smallpox, which scourged the colonists in the eighteenth century. za. www--
Taking the colonial area through its entire length and breadth, we find individual houses of almost every description, from the superb mansions of the Carters in Virginia and of the Vassalls in Massachusetts to the small wooden frame buildings, forty by twenty feet or thereabouts, "with a shade on the backside and a porch on the front,” and the simple houses of the country districts or the western frontier, hundreds of which were small, of one story, unpainted, covered with roughhewn or sawn flat boards, weather-stained, with few windows and no panes of glass, and without adornment or architectural taste. One traveler speaks of the small plantation houses in Maryland as “very bad, and ill contrived, there furniture mean, their cooks and housewifery worse if possible," : and another says that an apartment to sleep in and another for domestic purposes, with a contiguous storehouse and conveniences for their live stock gratified the utmost ambition of the settlers in Frederick County.? Many a colonist north of the Potomac lived in nothing better than the “crib” or “block” house which was made of squared logs and roofed with clapboards. In contrast to the typical square-built houses of New England, the Dutch along the Hudson and even to the eastward in Litchfield County, Connecticut, built quaint, low structures which they frequently placed on a hillside in order to utilize the basement as living rooms for the family.
* Birket, Cursory Remarks, 1750. Eddis, Letters, 1769–1777.
The better colonial houses were wainscoted and paneled or plastered and whitewashed, and the woodwork— trim, cornices, stair railings, and newel posts - was often elaborately carved. Floors were sometimes of double thickness and were laid so that . “the seam or joint of the upper course shall fall upon the middle of the lower plank which prevents the air from coming thro' the floor in winter or the water falling down in summer when they wash
their houses.” Roofs were covered with tile, slate, | shingles, and lead, though much of the last was re: moved for bullets at the time of the Revolution. Flat tiles, made in Philadelphia and elsewhere, were used for paving chimney hearths and for adorning mantels, and firebacks imported from England were widely introduced. Among the Pennsylvania Germans wood stoves were generally used, but soft coal brought as ballast from Newcastle,