« PrécédentContinuer »
or tobacco, almost everything that the neighborhood needed.
Varied as were the architectural features of colonial houses, they were paralleled by an equal diversity in the household effects with which these dwellings were equipped. It is impossible even to summarize the information given in the thousands of extant wills, inventories, and invoices which reveal the contents and furnishings of these houses. Chairs, bureaus, tables, bedsteads, buffets, cupboards, were in general use. They were made of hickory, pine, maple, cypress, oak, and even mahogany, which began to be used as early as 1730. From the meager dining room outfit of only one chair, a bench, and a table, all rough and homemade, we pass to the furnishings of the richer merchants in the Northern cities and of the wealthier planters in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. But we cannot take the establishments of Wentworth, Hancock, Vassall, Faneuil, Cuyler, Morris, Carter, Beverley, Manigault, or Laurens as typical of conditions which prevailed in the majority of colonial homes. Some people had silver plate, mahogany, fine china, and copper utensils; others owned china, delftware, and furniture of plain wood, with perhaps a few silver spoons, a porringer, and an occasional mahogany chair and table; still others, and these by far the largest number, used only pewter, earthenware, and wooden dishes, with the simpler essentials, spinning wheel, flatirons, pots and kettles, lamps and candlesticks, but no luxuries. There was in addition, of course, the class of the hopelessly poor, but it was not large and need not be reckoned with here comes # The average New England country household was a sort of self-sustaining unit which depended little on the world beyond its own gates. Its equipment included not only the usual chairs, beds, tables, and kitchen utensils and tableware but also shoemakers' tools and shoe leather - frequently tanned in the neighborhood and badly done as a rule, — surgeon's tools and apothecary stuff, salves and ointments, branding irons, pestle and mortar, lamps, guns, and perhaps a sword, harness and fittings, occasionally a still or a cider press, and outfits for carpentering and blacksmithing. The necessary utensils for use in the household or on the farm were more important than upholstery, carved woodwork, fine linen, or silver plate. Everywhere there were hundreds of families which concerned themselves little about ornament or design. They had no money to spend on unessentials, still JOHN HANCOCK'S SOFA In Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, Mass.