Saturday, June 7, 2014

Notes toward Childhood in the Gorham-Phelps Purchase

This is just an enumeration of quotes and references that give particular insights about what a childhood---according to the Turner History of the Pioneer Settlement of the Gorham-Phelps---looked like in Upstate New York in the 1800s. More work is needed here.
  • Children helped to dress fruit, pearing pumpkins for drying and helping to make apple sauce (p.191). 
  • Looking after the cows was boys work, and could be dangerous: "It was not uncommon for boys to see bears when after the cows, ...." (p.191)
  • Girls stayed home with their moms, but their tasks might include scaring the bears away from the hogs (p.192). 
  • Children would go barefoot in the summer and with wraps (p.193) or moccasins (usually from deer hide) through-out the winter (p.192), esp to school (p.192), and esp in the winter [the agricultural off-season], often walking three miles (p.193); though the farmers apparently never sent all children thence. 
  • We learn that children could get lost in the woods given this open habitat: "I think it was in the summer of 1802, that a little daughter of one of our neighbors, Sewal Boyd, three years old, was lost in the woods. A lively sympathy was created in the neighborhood, the woods were scoured, the out- let waded, and the flood wood removed ; on the third day, she was found in the woods alive, having some berries in her hand, which the instincts of hunger had caused her to pick. The musquetoes had preyed upon her until they had caused running sores upon her face and arms, and the little wanderer had passed through a terrific thunder storm." (p.203)
  • Sometimes the neighbors were so far away that no one could perform the funeral rites for a dead parent (p.265).

No comments:

Post a Comment