Colonial Work and Jobs

By Haley Burke

What were are some of the most important colonial work?

Farming: The land was the most important job back in Colonial America. In 1774, 3 out of 4 families in America owned their own farm. America offered huge amounts of land, so thats why people from England wanted to come to America. Also, farming crops was very difficult in England, because the soil was poor and unemployment was very high.

Fur Trade: North America had a huge variety of fur-bearing animals. Some colonist's were trappers and others were fur traders. The beaver was a really important animal that the French and English fought over, which lead to the beaver wars. The beavers skin were used for making hats, and Great Britain made over 21 million beaver skin hats through 1700-1770.

Shipbuilding: The shipbuilding was extremely important for the New England colonies, because most trade was conducted on water. American shipbuilding was used for catching fish and trade. Also, large timbers made shipbuilding cheap.

Staves and headings for making barrels: The colonial work and jobs related to staves and headings were extremely important, but were often overlooked. The headings was the lids and the staves were the narrow strips of woods, which were used to make barrels. The barrels were used for transporting products such as, rum, flower, fruit, bread, salted meat and fish. They also used it for their workers to make finished goods.

There were a lot of other jobs in colonial america, including textile industries, mills, yards and distilleries, land and hand-right system, hemp, tobacco, cotton, timber and lumber, fishing and whaling, iron making, and indigo.

What jobs did women have?

Most women did all the house work (homemakers) which was an all day long job. They would cook meals for their family, make clothing, they would nurse their family, and clean up everything, they also made house goods to sell, they would take care of the animals, watch and build the fires.

Colonial housewives started their work day early by modern standards. They built and made the fire, carried the water, picked their fruits and vegetables for meals they were making that day from their garden and chose meats from their smokehouse.

What chore/jobs did the boys and girls have back then?

The women trained the girls on how to be wives by having them do things around the house like cooking, preserving food, caring for children, cleaning the house and gardening. With many more jobs such as clothes making, spinning, knitting, and sewing. Sometimes they would weave the sheep's wool that the men and boys had sheared and flax them. The jobs the girl's had were similar to women's jobs. But remember, in this time girl's were getting married at the age of 13-14, so they were most likely learning their jobs around 5 years old or even younger.

The boys did a lot of hunting and building. Working on the farm was a part of their daily lives. To them they didn't have chores they had work. Boys in the City tended to work in their fathers shop. But school came first for them and they scheduled their work around school.

My Reaction:

I think women deserved to have more education back then, like they do now. I think women could have made a bigger difference in the world, if they got the right education at that time. But instead they had to stay home and cook/sew and do many other jobs.

I wonder why women didn't have the opportunity for education? The website that I was reading said, when the women got married they belonged to the men. So the men could beat their wives and make them do a lot of other things, as well. The women had no land, because it belonged to her husband, including her clothes and other belongings. They couldn't even vote or go to court. So if I was married in this time, I don't think I would have a great life.

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