(We challenge you to do these history activities each week! If you decide to do the challenge, share it with us through our Facebook and Instagram pages and use the hashtag #HistoryisAliveChallenge.
This weeks lesson will be on Colonial Virginia: Occupation, Housing, and Food
Words you need to know:
Apothecary: The apothecaries of colonial times were similar to today's pharmacists. They made medicines from various minerals, plants, and herbs and sold them in their store. Sometimes they acted as doctors, prescribing medicines for the sick and even performing minor surgeries. Like some drug stores today, the apothecary often sold items besides medicines such as tobacco and cooking spices.
Blacksmith: The blacksmith was one of the most important tradesmen of any colonial settlement. They used a forge to make and fix all sorts of iron items such as horseshoes, tools, axe heads, hammers, nails, and plowshares.
Cabinetmaker: When the first settlers arrived in America they made their own furniture. However, as the colonies grew and became wealthy, cabinetmakers became a specialized trade that made high quality furniture. Popular items included tables, chairs, and desks
Chandler: The chandler was a merchant who specialized in making candles. Candles were an important item in Colonial America because they didn't have electricity for lights. Candles were usually made from tallow, but could also be made from bayberry or myrtle wax. To make a candle, the candlemaker would repeatedly dip a wick into heated tallow or wax until the candle reached the desired size. The early settlers made their own candles.
Cobbler: An important trade during colonial times was the cobbler who made and repaired shoes. Some larger towns would have multiple different cobblers. Cobblers would often specialize in different types of shoes. They might make just men's shoes or just women's shoes. The most prestigious shoemakers made men's boots.
Cooper: The cooper made different containers such as barrels, casks, and buckets. These containers were important in colonial times for storing all sorts of items including ale, wine, flour, gunpowder, and tobacco. The cooper was a skilled trade as these containers needed to be durable and watertight for a long time.
Gunsmith: The gunsmith made and repaired firearms for the town. Gunsmiths had to be skilled in working with both wood and metal. Most of the gunsmiths in colonial times spent their time fixing existing guns rather than making new guns. New guns were usually imported from England.
Milliner: The milliner was the owner of the local clothing store. They sold items for sewing such as cloth and thread. They also made all sorts of clothing accessories including hats, shirts, aprons, hoods, cloaks, and shifts. The milliner was often a woman and was one of the few trades that could be owned and operated by a woman during colonial times.
Printer: The printer during colonial times printed all sorts of items including legal documents, newspapers, books, proclamations, and pamphlets. Setting up the type for each printing was done by hand and could take hours of work. Each page was set up and then ran through the printer. It was important that they didn't have any errors or typos.
Tailor: The tailors of colonial times made custom clothing of all types for both men and women. Most tailors were men, and while they made clothing for women, they made most of their money making coats and breeches for men. Tailors generally did not carry or sell cloth or ready-made clothing. Their customers would buy the cloth elsewhere and bring it to the tailor for the clothing to be made.
Wheelwright: The wheelwright specialized in making and repairing wheels for vehicles such as carriages and wagons. Wheelwrights were skilled craftsman who needed to be able to work with wood and iron in order to make a round and durable wheel that could withstand the rough roads of the colonies.
Wigmaker: Wigs were an important fashion statement during colonial times. Men of wealth and stature wore large powdered wigs. The wigmaker used human and animal hair to create wigs of various sizes and styles. The wigmaker usually offered other services such as shaving beards or dressing hair.
Activity #1: There were many different occupations during colonial times, much like it is today. Look at the different occupations in green above. Read each one and think about what you would do if you lived in the Colonial Era. Then write a story about someone who works in that position.
When writing the story think of these three questions:
1. How did they get their job? Did they inherit it or did they decide to pursue it on their own?
2. How much money do they make at their job?
3. Why do they need this job?
Activity #2: Click each button below. Watch each video about each occupation. Then draw a picture of a tool used in one of the occupations.
Activity #3: Colonists lived in different types of homes than what we live in today.
The houses built by the first English settlers in America were small single room homes. Many of these homes were "wattle and daub" homes. They had wooden frames which were filled in with sticks. The holes were then filled in with a sticky "daub" made from clay, mud, and grass. The roof was usually a thatched roof made from dried local grasses. The floors were often dirt floors and the windows were covered with paper.
Inside the single room home was a fireplace used for cooking and to keep the house warm during the winter. The early settlers didn't have a lot of furniture. They may have had a bench to sit on, a small table, and some chests where they stored items such as clothes. The typical bed was a straw mattress on the floor.
As the colonies grew, wealthy landowners in the south built large farms called plantations. The homes on the plantations also grew in size. They had many rooms including a separate living room and dining room. They also had glass windows, multiple fireplaces, and plenty of furniture. Many of these homes were built in a style that reflected the architecture of the owner's homeland. There were German, Dutch, Spanish, and English colonial styles built in different regions of the colonies.
City homes were typically smaller than the plantation homes. Just like homes in the city today, they often didn't have the space for a large garden. However, many city homes were very nice. They had wooden floors covered with rugs and paneled walls. They had plenty of well-built furniture including chairs, couches, and large beds with feather mattresses. They often were two or three stories tall.
Although most people lived in small one or two room homes during colonial times, the wealthy and powerful were able to live in large mansions. One example of this is the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg, Virginia. It was home to the governor of Virginia for most of the 1700s. The mansion had three stories with around 10,000 square feet. The governor had around 25 servants and slaves to help keep the house in order. A reconstruction of this impressive home can be visited today at Colonial Williamsburg.
In this activity we are going to be making a colonial home.
You will need:
Click the button below to see the video on how to make a popsicle home.
Activity #4: In this activity we are going to look at different meals that were used in Colonial Virginia. Think of how the types of food are different than what you see in your own cabinet/ pantry. Compare and Contrast what their meals are during the day and what your meals are.
Breakfast - A typical breakfast might be a bowl of porridge (with some maple syrup, if they were lucky) or some bread and a cup of beer. The porridge might be made from cornmeal, oats, or beans.
Lunch - Lunch might include some meat, bread, vegetables, and beer.
Dinner - Dinner could include a meat stew or perhaps a meat pie, porridge, and beer or cider.
Activity #5: Read the recipes below. Have your parents ever made something similar to the recipes below? Draw what you think each of the recipes would look like in the end, when they have all been cooked. Would you eat what you drew?
Recipe #1: Succotash
2 cups fresh or frozen baby Lima beans
2 ounces salt pork
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1/3 cup light cream
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
In saucepan combine beans, pork, water, salt, sugar and pepper. Cover; simmer until beans are almost tender. Stir in corn. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove salt pork. Blend cream slowly into flour. Stir into vegetables. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Serves 6.
Recipe #2: Johnny Cakes
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup milk
Mix the cornmeal and salt.
Add the boiling water, stirring until smooth.
Add the milk. Stir well.
Grease a heavy, 12-inch frying pan. Set over medium-low heat.
Drop teaspoons of the batter onto the pan. Cook until golden, about five minutes. Turn the cakes carefully with a metal spatula.
Cook the other side five minutes.
Serve the cakes hot with butter and maple syrup. Makes 12-15 cakes.
Recipe #3: Brown Sugar Cookies
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. shortening
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2-1 c. raisins
1/2-1 c. nuts, chopped
In a large bowl cream together the sugar, shortening, egg, nutmeg and salt. Add the flour, soda, baking powder and sour cream, mixing well. Stir in the raisins and nuts.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes at 325 degrees
BONUS ACTIVITY: Make one of the recipes above! This is a fun time to learn how to cook! If you do not want to do any of the recipes above, click on the link below to see more Colonial recipes. When you are finished, take a picture of your finished product and tag us @clarkehistory and put the hashtag #historyisalivechallenge! We hope you enjoyed this weeks #historyisalivechallenge
Next Week's Lesson: Colonial Virginia: Daily Life, Clothing, and Children
Don't forget to share! Post your completed activities on Facebook and tag us @clarkehistory or on Instagram @clarke_history and use the hashtag #HistoryisAliveChallenge.
Do you have a topic you would love us to do? Email Taylor Coumes at email@example.com to share your ideas!