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resort to false teeth. There were many individuals in the colonies who made such teeth and fastened them in, though dentistry was as yet hardly a voca- , tion by itself. The apothecaries, the doctors, and even the barbers pulled teeth, and some of them posed as dentists. The goldsmiths advertised false teeth for sale. Spectacles or “spactickels,” as one writer spells them, were ordinarily used when necessary, and ear trumpets were occasionally resorted to by the deaf.
Interesting and picturesque as are these mani- ! fold details of household equipment and personal use in the old colonial days, it is the color and energy of the daily life of the people of that time which make a deeper appeal to the reader of the -twentieth century. Among the poorer colonists, who composed nine-tenths of the colonial population, life was a humdrum round of activities on the farm and in the shop. In the houses of the rich, women concerned themselves with their household duties, dress, and embroidery of all kinds. In some instances they managed the estate, engaged in business, and even took part in politics. In the towns many of the retail stores were conducted by women. Ruth Richardson of Talbot County, Maryland, carried on her husband's affairs after
his death, and Martha Custis, before her marriage with George Washington, continued the correspondence and administered the plantation of her first husband, who died in 1757. Madam Smith, wife of the second landgrave, was another famous manager. In 1732, Mrs. Andrew Galbraith of Donegal, Pennsylvania, took part in her husband's political campaign, mounted her favorite mare, Nelly, and with a spur at her heel and her red cloak flying in the wind scoured the country from one end to the other. Needless to say, Andrew was elected.
Colonial marriages took place at even so early an age as fourteen; and the number of men and women who were married two, three, and four times was large. Instances of a thrice widower marrying a twice or thrice widow are not uncommon. Girls thus became the mothers of children before they were out of their 'teens. Sarah Hext married Dr. John Rutledge when she was fourteen and was the mother of seven children before she was twenty-five. Ursula Byrd, who married Robert Beverley, had a son and died before she was seventeen; Sarah Breck was only sixteen or seventeen when she married Dr. Benjamin Gott; Sarah Pierrepont was seventeen when she married Jonathan Edwards; and Hannah Gardiner was of the same age when she married Dr. McSparran. Large families, even of twenty-six children of a single mother, are recorded, but infant mortality was very great. John Coleman and Judith Hobby had fourteen children, of whom five died at birth, and only four grew up and married, one to the well-known Dr. Thomas Bulfinch of Boston. Though Sarah Hext lived to be sixty-eight, many mothers died early, and often in childbirth. An instance is given of a burying ground near Bath, Maine, in which there were the graves of ten married women, eight of whom had died between the ages of twenty-two and thirty, probably as the result of large families and overwork. Second marriages were the rule, though probably few were as sudden as that of the Sandemanian, Isaac Winslow, who proposed to Ben Davis's daughter on the eve of the day he buried his wife and married her within a week.
The marriage ceremony generally took place at home instead of in the church, and in many of the colonies was followed by a bountiful supper, cards, and dancing. There were often bridesmaids, diamond wedding-rings, and elaborate hospitality. In New England the festivities lasted two or three f' days and visitors stayed a week. In the South one
proposing to marry had to give bond that the marriage would not result in a charge on the community, and usually the banns were read three times in meeting and a license was obtained and fecorded. In Virginia, where the county clerks granted licenses, children under age could not marry without the consent of their parents, and indentured servants could not marry during their servitude. In Connecticut the banns were published but once and protests against a marriage were affixed to the signpost or the church door. Blanks for licenses were distributed by the Governor and could be obtained of the local authorities. A curious custom was that of "bundling" (sometimes also called “tarrying,” though the practices seem to have been different), which Burnaby describes as putting the courting couple into bed with garments on to prevent scandal, when “if the parties agree, it is all very well; the banns are pub
lished and (the two) are married without delay." | Another curious custom, which prevailed from New | England to South Carolina, made the second husband responsible for the debts of the first, unless the bride were married in her chemise in the King's Highway. In one instance the lady stood
in a closet and extended her hand through the door, and in another, well authenticated, both chemise and closet were dispensed with.
Divorces were rare: the Anglican Church refused to sanction them, and the Crown forbade colonial legislatures to pass bills granting them. The matter was therefore left to the courts. As New England courts refused to break a will, so, as a rule, they refused to grant a divorce, though there are a number of exceptions, for divorces were allowed in both Massachusetts and Connecticut." In the case of unhappy marriages, separation by mutual agreement was occasionally resorted to. Sometimes the lady ran away; and, indeed, ad-hi vertisements for runaway wives seem almost as common in Southern newspapers as those for runaway servants. Marriages between colonial women and English officials, missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and even occasional visitors from abroad were not infrequent. Sir William Draper, Knight of the Bath, who made an American tour in 1770, wooed and won during his journey Susanna, daughter of Oliver De Lancey of New York.
?“I was at court al day about geting Sister Mary divorced & obtained it.” Hempstead, Diary, p. 147.