New Hampshire Life in 1815

In 1815 travel was mostly on horseback, the mail being so carried in many places. Hotels were found in every four to eight miles. Feed for travelers' teams was, half baiting of hay, four cents; whole baiting, eight cents; two quarts of oats, six cents. The bar-room fire-place was furnished with a 'loggerhead,' not, at all times, for making 'flip.' The flip was made of beer made from pumpkin dried on the crane in the kitchen fire-place, and a few dried apple skins and a little bran.  Half a mug of flip, or half gill 'sling,' six cents.  On the table was to be found a 'shortcake,' the manufacture of which is now among the lost arts; our 'book' cooks can't make them. Woman's labor was fifty cents per week. They spun and wove most of the cloth that was worn. Flannel that was dressed at the mill, for women's wear, was fifty cents a yard; men's wear, one dollar.

  Farmers hired their help for nine or ten dollars a month–some clothing and the rest cash. Carpenter's wages, one dollar a day; journeymen carpenters, fifteen dollars a month; and apprentices, to serve six or seven years, had ten dollars the first year, twenty the second, and so on, and to clothe themselves. Breakfast generally consisted of potatoes roasted in the ashes, a 'bannock' made of meal and water and baked on a maple chip set before the fire. Pork was plenty. If  'hash' was had for breakfast, all ate from the platter, without plates or table-spread.  Apprentices and farm boys had for supper a bowl of scalded milk and a brown crust, or bean porridge, or pop-robin. There was no such thing as tumblers, nor were they asked if they would have tea or coffee; it was “please pass the mug'”

The housewife had charge both of the dairy and kitchen, besides spinning and weaving, sewing and knitting, washing and mending for the “men folks.”  The best room, often called “the square room” contained a bed, a bureau or desk, or a chest of drawers, a clock, and possibly a brass fire-set. Its walls were as naked of ornaments as the cave of Macpelah. We are describing a period which antedates the advent of pictures, pianos, carpets, lace curtains and Venetian blinds. It was an age of simple manners, industrious habits and untarnished morals.

–From the NH Patriot in the “History of New Hampshire to the Year 1830,” by Edwin David Sanborn and Channing Harris Cox, Published 1875, J.B. Clarke.

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