PDF/EPUB Jane De Forest Shelton ✓ PDF/EPUB The Salt-Box House: Eighteenth Century Life In A New ✓ construyamos.co

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14 thoughts on “The Salt-Box House: Eighteenth Century Life In A New England Hill Town

  1. says:

    Revive Books publishes “great American books from the past” and The Salt Box House Eighteenth Century Life in a New England Hill Town by Jane de Forest Shelton is one of them Shelton is an unsung pioneer in the tradition of microhistory which focuses on a limited place object or time In this case she is writing about the house in Connecticut where her ancestors lived Shelton’s family and other families at that time lived isolated and independent She treasures the character of these families relating it to the unfolding of uniuely American history “Fear was not cultivated To be brave to be skillful in whatever one set a hand to to accomplish everything undertaken to surmount difficulty gave life a perpetual goal Nothing was clearly demonstrated in the later conflict the American Revolution with disciplined armies than that he that had been faithful in little would be faithful also in much That the hour of emergency must be the hour of triumph is one of the great underlying principles for the success of a venture or a country”She describes in detail the life lived in the salt box houses of New England and the temperament that grew out of such homes “Simple and direct as the life was it was also interdependent each life was a thread in a cable and when the call to arms came it was that sense of individual responsibility through standing shoulder to shoulder each one acting as if he were the whole that gave the untrained militia a power far beyond that of men who fear to step until they have fitted their feet to their neighbors’ footsteps” An example of a highly trained militia was the arrival in the neighborhood of troops led by the French Count Rochambeau on their way to reinforce the troops of General Washington The townspeople were spellbound by the “array of six hundred men with all the splendor of gold lace and nodding plumes the horses bravely caparisoned” It was “a rare sight to those whose knowledge of military display had been limited to the ‘training’ of one small company of men not even in uniform” The Shelton boys under the influence of their Tory family “hardly knew which side would claim their allegiance under the beauty of French uniforms and the glitter of their accoutrements It seemed far like leading to a successful issue than a company of men in every day dress supplemented by muskets and canteens”The French soldiers had never seen tobacco and “finally with true French instinct concluded it must be something to put in soup”In 1900 when Shelton was writing the book Connecticut was still full of farming communities living in salt box houses heated by fireplaces driving shays and carriages communicating only by post or personal visit She writes with an easy familiarity about many of the customs and objects in the book because between 1750 and 1900 daily life did not change much and families remained rooted in placeEspecially in the early days each house was self sustaining Surpluses were exported through the local ship’s captain whose ships sailed to the West Indies Luxury items such as molasses sugar fine cloth coffee and tea and later chinaware were brought back when he returned For the clothes they wore every day women spun flax into linen and carded the wool from their own sheep They smoked their own meats churned their own butter and grew their own vegetablesChurch was where family and neighbors met Hymns were tuned with a pitch pipe then the tuning fork was invented giving place in the early 19th century to the bassoon and bass viol “until organs supplanted both” The preacher who was the community’s intellectual leader stitched together his notes for the sermon with thread of linen or blue yarn At first children were educated by their mothers using the Bible and a library of only a few books Later when town schools were established the law reuired that slaves be taught to read and write in the South the law said that no slave should learn to read and write Until the “invention” of the American dictionary by Samuel Webster first published in 1828 spelling was phonetic a matter of personal taste Sometimes “kitchen” was spelled “Cichon” Makes senseFor entertainment they told stories and recited doggerel and verses which were passed from person to person Mothers created balls out of unraveled stockings tightly wound and covered with soft leather They were used to play a form of baseball called “four holey crack” or “round ball” The girls had homemade rag dolls They played tag hide and seek blindman’s buff and fox and geese They fished in areas of the nearby river formally allocated to each family except for Saturday when fishing was free to everyone Idle hands led to mischief and in the evenings they rushed chairs and made baskets mops doormats and straw hats using cattails local reeds or corn husksThe ladies had occasional “tea drinkings” at which it was customary for each guest to bring her own cup and teaspoon In the early years these teacups had no handles “A spoon left in the cup and against its edge made a rest for the forefinger placed in front of it; while the other fingers back of it held the cup itself” Later generations enjoyed teacups with handles They ate off of pewter plates which shined “like silver” I have never seen pewter shining like silver maybe because we no longer know how to shine itHouses stood far from neighbors and perforce solitude and hospitality were prized Every passerby was granted shelter and food It could not have been otherwise in a time of such great distances There was a tavern in most towns which served multiple purposes including post office but out in the country travelers had to depend on the hospitality of strangersSlavery is never comfortable or preferable but slavery was different in Connecticut than in the South In the Shelton family compound the slaves had their own house just a few footsteps away from the main house; they worked ate went to school and attended church together There was in other words slavery but not segregation After the American Revolution Connecticut’s legislature declared all slaves born after 1784 free at 25 years of age and gradually slavery disappeared altogether In 1777 six hundred persons were ill with smallpox at one time in their town Pest houses were built and victims had to stay there until they were healed By 1799 the population began to be inoculated with virus taken from a human being Cows were not used as virus donors until much later The mileposts of life were observed with rituals Babies were christened immediately for fear they might die unblessed Women embroidered spun and wove sheets uilts clothes tablecloths and other such for their dowry In my own mother’s time it was called a Hope Chest When a person died everything in the house was covered in white linen including pictures and mirrors The coffin lay on a narrow table and was born to the cemetery by pallbearers even if a horse was available If the cemetery was far away there were relays of pallbearers Today we think of ourselves as modern; yet there is much to learn from the people who lived in salt box houses They thought they were modern too


  2. says:

    Recommended in the book Tolstoy and the Purple Chair