Puritan Family Order

Sneha & Megan

Purpose

  • Further religious beliefs
  • Educate younger generations
  • Maintain societal order
  • Grow population
  • Basic unit of society, economy, and church

A Typical Family

Consists of husband, wife, and 3 or 4 children; possibly 1 servant


Man / Father would sustain family and be one of the following: minister, cooper, hunter, miller, tanner, furrier, surveyor, etc.

Woman / Mother would help in the fields and with animals, and may have a trade such as candle maker, weaver, tailor, or midwife


Familial Responsibilities


  • Raise food
  • Make clothing and furniture
  • Teach children to read and worship
  • Care for each other when sick or old
  • Maintain social order

Women

Patriarchal society


Single women had more independence concerning financial and career-related affairs


Few conducted business outside of the home


Common law gave the use and profit of a woman’s real estate and the ownership of all her personal property and earnings to her husband


Wife abuse not uncommon

Children

"The primary task of child rearing was to break down a child’s sinful will and internalize respect for divinely instituted authority through weekly catechisms, repeated admonitions, physical beatings, and intense psychological pressure”


High Infant Mortality rate: for 8-12 children born, 3-4 survive


Adults / Heads of Family most important


Characteristics


  • Short life
  • Obedient
  • Religious training
  • Work from young age


May be "put out"--sent to live with another family to be a servant or apprentice, cared for by the new family just as if the child were a biological family member

Marriage

Most married


Marriage is a civil contract


Arranged marriage
  • Marry into family of similar trade/status
  • Love develops later
  • Brides give dowries


No adultery


High mortality; remarriages not uncommon


Either party can petition for divorce

Fun Facts

  • Selectmen / tithingmen and constables restored ‘good order’ in households
  • In 1648, there was a Massachusetts law requiring the death penalty for stubborn or rebellious sons over 16 or those who struck or cursed their parents; younger children could be sent to other families
  • In 1638 the Massachusetts Bay Colony required every town to "dispose of all single persons"
  • "The father in early New England felt free to intervene in his children’s lives and to control their behavior. This included the right and duty to take an active role in his child’s selection of a spouse.” (In both courtship and marriage)

Works Cited

Dikes, Jason. "Family Ways." Austin Community College District. Austin Community College District, n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. <http://www.austincc.edu/jdikes/Family%20Ways%20ALL.pdf>.


Klumpp, James F. "Puritan New England." University of Maryland. University System of Maryland, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. <http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~jklumpp/comm460/lecture/ne.html>.


Richards, David. "Puritan Families." SUNY Oneonta. SUNY, n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. <http://employees.oneonta.edu/richards/family%20history/Puritan%20family.ppt>.


Vandergriff, Ken. "The Colonial Family in America." Campbell University. Campbell University, 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. <http://web.campbell.edu/faculty/vandergriffk/FamColonial.html>.