« PrécédentContinuer »
poorer classes and negroes in Baltimore buried their “deceased relations and acquaintances in several streets and allies” of the town, and that not until 1792 was a special section set apart for their use. A suicide was interred at a crossroads and a stake was driven through the body. Usually, except among the Quakers, stones, table monuments, and headpieces were erected over the dead and often bore elaborate and curious inscriptions and carvings more or less crude. The commonest materials, freestone, syenite, and slate, were usually quarried in the colonies, though marble was always brought from England. Martha Custis procured in London a marble tomb for her first husband, and William Beverley directed that a stone of this material be imported for his father's grave. Vaults were constructed by those who could afford them and were widely used in the North in the eighteenth century.
EVERYDAY NEEDS AND DIVERSIONS
THERE was no want of food in colonial households and little scarcity or threatened famine in the land of our forefathers. Though the Southern and West Indian colonists paid but little attention to the raising of the more important food staples, they were able to obtain an adequate supply through channels of distribution which remained almost unchanged throughout the colonial period. The provisions of New England and the flour, beef, pork, and peas of New York and Pennsylvania were carried wherever they were wanted and satisfied the demands of those who were otherwise absorbed in the cultivation of tobacco, rice, indigo, and sugar. The greatest difficulty lay in the preservation of perishable foods, for the colonists had as yet no adequate means of keeping fresh their meats and provisions. In the outlying districts, where supplies were irregular, many a family lived
on smoked, salted, and pickled foods and during the winter were entirely without the fresh meats and green vegetables which were available in the summer and autumn seasons."
This need was partly satisfied by the plentiful supply of venison obtained from the forests, for the colonists were great hunters. Fowling pieces, powderflasks. shot bags, worms, and ramrods were a part of every country householder's equipment. Though deer and wild birds were less plentiful in the eighteenth than in the seventeenth century, their number was still large; and wild turkeys, 14 geese, pigeons, hares, and squirrels were always to be found. Fish abounded in the rivers ; lobsters were obtainable off the shores in considerable numbers; clams were always plentiful; and oysters were eaten not only along the seacoast from Maine to Georgia but even in the back country as far as the Shenandoah, whither they were sent packed in old
Just wher and where ice first began to be housed for summer use it is difficult to discover but the following extract from a manuscript journal of Epaphrus Hoyt, who journeyed from Deerfield to Philadelphia and back in 1790, is suggestive. Writing on the 6th of August, he said:“After we got through Hell Gate we drunk a bowl of Punch made with Ice which Mr. Yates a passenger had took on board at N. York. This was very curious to see Ice at this season of the year — which is kept (as Mr. Yates informed us) through the summer in houses built on purpose."
barrels and flour casks “lest the waggoners get foul of 'em.” Turtles caught in the neighborhood or sent from the West Indies were frequently served up on the tables of the richer families in all the colonies. Even buffalo steaks were eaten, for John Rowe records a dinner in 1768 at which venison, buffalo steaks, perch, trout, and salmon were placed before the guests.
Nearly all the meats, vegetables, and fruits familiar to housekeepers of today were known to the colonial dames. In the better houses, beef, mutton, lamb, pork, ham, bacon, and smoked and dried fish were eaten, as well as sausages, cheese, and butter, which were usually homemade in New England, though in the Middle Colonies and the South cheese was frequently imported from Rhode Island. It is related that once when Beekman of New York could not sell some Rhode Island cheese that “was loosing in weight and spoiling with maggots,” he proposed to have it hawked about the town by a cartman: As for vegetables, the New Englander was familiar with cabbages, radishes, lettuce, turnips, green corn carrots, parsnips, spinach, onions, beets, parsley savory, mustard, peppergrass, celery, cauliflower, squashes, pumpkins, beans, peas, and asparagus; but only the
more prosperous householders pretended to cultivate even a majority of these in their gardens. In the rural districts, only cabbages, beans, pump-. kins, and other vegetables of the coarser varieties were grown. Potatoes were not introduced until after the advent of the Scotch-Irish in 1720, and they did not for some time become a common vegetable. Dr. McSparran of Rhode Island made a record in his diary in 1743 that potatoes were being dug, and Birket speaks of them as being "plentifully produced” by the year 1750. Tomatoes were hardly yet deemed edible, and only an occasional mention of cucumbers can be found. In the South sweet potatoes early became popular, and watermelons and muskmelons were raised in large quantities, though they were grown in the North also to some extent. Every Southern plantation, notably in Virginia, had its vegetable and flower garden, and familiar items in the lists of articles ordered from England are the seeds and roots which the planter wanted.
Fruit was abundant everywhere. Apples, pears, 1 peaches, apricots, damsons, plums, quinces, cherries, and crab apples were all raised in the orchards, North and South, while oranges, probably small and very sour, were grown in South