There were the 13 original British colonies located along the eastern coast of the United States. These 13 colonies decided to start their own country. The citizens revolted against the British, which resulted in the Revolutionary War between the colonies and England. Before the war, though, between 1585 and 1776, it was called the Colonial Times, and men, women, and children had different experiences.
The roles of men and women depended on whether they were living on farms or in the city. If a man in the city was not a tradesman, he may have been a professional, working as a lawyer, doctor, or a merchant. The merchant was the owner of a store who ran his own business, but he spent many hours on the job, sometimes traveling to other countries, and trading products to be sold in his shop.
Women on the other hand, stayed home and took care of the children. They made their own clothing, soap, candles, and many other goods and products. In addition, they had to cook and serve the meals sometimes with food from small gardens they tended. Farm life was harder than city life.
Some children had a chance to go to school, especially those living in the cities. Many farm children would learn to read or write from their father or a minister. However, city boys normally attended a place called the Dame school or a Latin Grammar school to learn how to read or write or learn Latin, Greek and some basic math. The wealthier families with children might hire special tutors for their children, or send them to schools located in England. Girls did not have the same opportunities for learning as the boys, and many of them never learned to read or write.
Boys as young as six or seven would spend nearly 7 years learning a trade such as a blacksmith, tailor, Cooper, wheelwright, or shoemaker. These young boys were called apprentices. Once they learned the trade, they would become journeymen, but they would still work for a master and earn regular wages. During busy times, they might work up to 16 hours a day, six days a week. Because children on farms did not go to school so often, they were expected to work on the farm just like any other adult. A day on the farm began with a breakfast of porridge and beer. Their days would last from sunrise to sunset, doing most of the work by hand or with the help of an ox or horse. They had to tend the fields, take care of livestock, chop wood, mend fences, and repair the barn or house.
The central meeting place for many people during colonial times was their church. Religion was very important to the people. Everyone was expected to attend church every Sunday, and that included farmers, professionals, and tradesman, who attended church each Sunday.
Slavery was also very common throughout the 13 colonies during the 1700s. Before slavery though, there were indentured servants who were laborers brought over from Britain. These were people who agreed to work for about 7 years in return for their passage to America. Slavery grew in the colonies because the indentured servants were hard to get and it was costly. Many of the slaves lived in tiny houses near the fields where they worked. Life for slaves was very difficult as they were treated badly.
Most houses were small and contained a single room. Frames were wooden, roofs were dried grasses, floors of dirt, and windows covered with paper. There was a fireplace inside for cooking and heat. There was very little furniture and beds were simply straw turned into a mattress on the floor.
Living during the Colonial Times was quite different and much more difficult than today, but the people worked hard, and did the best they could.
South Carolina Colony Facts
Georgia Colony Facts
Pennsylvania Colony Facts
Delaware Colony Facts
New York Colony Facts
New Jersey Colony Facts
Rhode Island Colony Facts
North Carolina Colony Facts
The American Colonies Quiz
Maryland Colony Facts
To link to this Colonial Times page, copy the following code to your site: