FEMALE WHITE INEDENTURED SERVANTS
Lived in a dwelling of 18ft by 25ft as big as two car garage
Skirts and aprons fashioned of blend of coarsest linen and wool
Diet was “somewhat indigestible” soup of ground corn.
Were very prone to disease: malaria, pellagra, dysentery, and many fevers and illnesses killed off many during first 6 months of seasoning, getting used to the climate
Forbidden to marry
marriage had to wait until the end of lengthy indenture, many women of that time were well over 25 before they wed.
Marriage meant a change of residence
As a wife, more clearly a subordinate
Her marriage vows would have included pledges to “obey” and serve her husband-promises he was not asked to make to her. The husband never put the wife’s word above his own.
Married women could not vote, and they could not without special arrangements own property. They could not stand for office, or serve in the militia or become ministers. They were not even encouraged to speak in public. They were subordinate to men within and beyond their families
POORER PLANTERS WIVES
they could not afford to center their labors around the household, her work was needed in the fields
Work in the fields. Had to take their infants and toddlers into the fields with them.
Always helped to sustain the tobacco culture with her daily chores, like every white women in Maryland and Virginia at the time
Tobacco required constant attention
By preparing food and washing linens, she freed up the men and boys to work outdoors. By tending a vegetable garden constantly, she supplemented the family’s diet and maybe even made a lil cash to pay for imported items like cloth and iron ware
Women, like men, worked sunrise to sunset with time off during the heat of the day during warmer months
In the winter, beginning of tobacco cycle, would have spent hours helping master or help husband plant crops and enrich the seed beds.
By late April, might have been called upon to transplant seeds to main fields, a very delicate task that required labor from whole plantation labor force over course of several months.
In June, July, august, she would hoe and weed the tiny hills surrounding each plant and keep plants free from worms
Even though the cutting and curing the mature leaves was mostly a mans job. Women led a hand in the stripping, stemming, curing and packing that followed later that fall.
As time passed, would become more increasingly involved in informal networks of female trade, swamping her yarn for neighbors knitted goods, some butter for some peas. She might also, during hard times put in long days in the fields.
AFRICAN AMERICAN SERVANTS
Had to take infants and toddlers into the fields with them. On large farms and plantations, slave women might be allowed to return home to breastfeed their infants at certain times of the day, or a baby might be brought to them for nursing.
At a very early age, black children had to learn to be independent of their mothers for most of the day. Only...