Archive for December, 2019

The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love and Death in Plymouth Colony (book #168)

22 December 2019


James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz, 2001.

I read In Small Things Forgotten, the seminal book on historical archaeology, years ago, but hadn’t read anything else by James Deetz.

I read this at this time because locally there is a lot of attention to the Mayflower anniversary which will be next year – some of what’s said and written about it being at best naïve, and at worst offensive.

The inventories of the colonists’ possessions which were made at their deaths give a huge amount of insight into their material culture, as in this one:

An Inventory of the goods & Chattels of Will Wright late of Plym. deceased as it was taken by Manasseh Kempton & Joh. ffans the sixth of Novbr 1633 & presented in Court the 2d of January 1633.

In the first Roome.
Inpr [First] one chest wth one sad [deep] coloured sute & cloake, one other sute the brieches being wthout lining, one red bay wastcoate & one white cotten wastcoate one old black stuffe doublet, 2 hats, a black one & a white one, 1 peece of loome-work. 4 knots of white tape. 2 pre of boothose & 2 paprs of hookes & eies 2 lb of colored thried, 2 doz. of lases, & 2 pr of old knit stockins wth some other smale things at 6£

It[em] one smale Table wth a carpet, one Cupboard & a chaire wth a sifting trough £1 10s 0d

It[em] six kettles 3 yron potts & a dripping panne £2 3s 0d

It[em] 7 pewter platters 3 great ones & 4 little ones. 1 smale brasse morter & pestle 2 pint potts & one pewter candlestick. 1 pewter flaggon 2 pewter cups, 1 wine & one other beere bowle. 1 beaker & one Cadle cup. 1 dram cup & a little bottle 2 salt sellers 3 porrengers. J doz. old spoones, 3 pr of pot hookes. 1 old pr of tongues & an old fireshovell. 1 pr of pot hangers. 2 smale old yron hookes. 1 pr of andyrons. 2 old yron Candlesticks, & a pressing yron. 2 basons 1 smale one & another great one all at 2 £

It[em] one fowling peece £2 0s 0d

It[em] 2 pr of boot brieches an old pr of Cotten drawers an old blew coate. 2 pr of old yrish stockins. 2 pr of cloath stockins 1 pr of wadmore stockins. 1 old red wastcoate an old black Coate
£2 0s 0d

It[em] one little old fflock bed & an old fether bolster, wth a pre of worne sheets, an old greene Rugge £1 10s 0d

In the Buttery
Two old barrels one full of salt, the other halfe full, 1 bucking tub, 1 washing tub & 2 empty runlets wth smale trifling things. £1 0s 0d

In the loft over the first roome.
One old halfe headed bedsteed. 1 old bagge of ffeathers. 1 old white Rugge 2 hogsheads & a barrell £0 16s 0d

In the bedchamber
One bedsteed one warming pan. 1 fether bed & bolster. 2 pillowes, wth 2 Rugges 1 green one & one white one. 1 truncke & a little chaire table, wth a small carpet & a curtaine & valence for the bed. 1 smale cushen five pr of sheets 4 pr of pillowbeers [pillowcases] 2 table cloathes & 15 napkins. 4 towels & 7 shirts. 3 pr of linnen drawers & 2 wrought [embroidered] silke caps & one white holland cap & one dymety [patterned cotton] wastcoat 3 bands & 4 pr of linnen stockins
£13 8s 0d

It[em] one great Bible & a little bible. 1 Greenhams works. 1 salme [psalm] booke wth 17 other smale books £1 3s 0d

In the loft over the bedchamber
One broade axe & 2 felling axes & 2 hand sawes, 1 thwart saw w th a wrest to it. 3 augurs 2 chisels 1 gouge. I drawing knife. 1 prser 1 gimlet. 2 hamers. 1 prof old hinges. 2 chest locks. 1 padlocke. 1 splitting knife 1 old spade. 2 old howes. 2 fishing lines 1 old hogshead. 1 smale runlet halfe full of powder. 1 garden rake. 1 pitch forke. 1 tiller of a whipsaw. 3 yron wedges wth some smale implements 15 & other luber [lumber] of smale value
£2 7s 0d

It[em] the howse & garden £10 0s 0d
It[em] the Cattle being one Cow & a steere calfe £20 0s 0d
It[em] 2 Ewe goates & 1 ewe lamb £7 10 0d
It[em] one old Sow. 1 hogg. 1 young sow of 1 yeere old. 1 shote [piglet]. 1 bore 1 Canoe & a churne £7 0s 0d

Debts due unto him as apprs pr booke £20 0s 0d

Suma £99 12s 0d

Prisilla Wright allowed the Executrix & Administratrix of her deceased husband.

Mr Will Bradford bound wth her in an hundred & ninty pownds for discharge of the Court.

The Deetzes quote another inventory, for a widow, Judith Smith, which is here.

There is an account at the end of the book of the development of the Plimoth Plantation heritage site. It was begun in 1957, and the Deetzes joined it in 1959, bringing up their 9 children whilst based at the site. They rejected the “squeaky clean” appearance of the houses and developed a living history programme, with cooking, costumes made using seventeenth century techniques, and livestock. They also involved Native Americans in interpretation. There was some criticism of the changes, such as a letter saying “get rid of the realism, so-called, and give people some ideals to live up to. Clear out the radicals in command and get some 100% Americans”.

The Vote: The Organ of the Women’s Freedom Movement, 13th December 1929 (part 1)

15 December 2019

First three pages only.

The first article describes a discussion about enslaved women at a meeting of the Minerva Club. “Mrs Pethick-Lawrence said that it was generally believed that we had got rid of slavery. We needed Miss Boyle to remind us that this was not the case.”

Not all women carried off during the War have been allowed to return to their homes. Women in Africa and India are the property of their fathers or brothers and can be given to other men. A woman in Morocco went out with her head uncovered and therefore no man would buy her, so her father shaved her head, put her in chains, and took her along the streets to be mocked.

However, Miss Boyle pointed out that women’s status as property can be a safeguard for them too, particularly as children.

“The whole question is one bristling with difficulties. Miss Boyle did not claim that she was going to make these women happier. She was going to set them free, so that they could then work out their happiness as other women had done. What she claimed was, that it was wrong. This slavery must be abolished, and we must begin to abolish it now. “When people start working for a thing that is right, they always succeed.””

The paper notes women who have recently achieved something:

Women called to the Bar:
Jessie Edson Hendrick and Katherine Mumford Hendrick, sisters from New York, both with BAs from Oxford
Doris Tempest, BA, Newnham
Dorothy Rae Lever
Kathleen Bruce Anderson

Women inspectors of elementary schools:
Miss KM Thomas
Miss T Smith

Civic duties:
Alice Hudson has become the first woman alderman at Eastbourne.
Miss AS Murray has been elected as the first woman county councillor for Moray County Council.
Councillor G Elsie Taylor, the only woman on Batley Town Council, has been appointed vice-chairman of the Batley Education Committee.
Councillor Mrs Barwick has been appointed Chairman of the Parks and Pleasure Grounds Committee of Morecambe Council, the first time a woman has been appointed to a chair in Morecambe.

Four women have been appointed as assistant tax inspectors. “These women will perform exactly the same work as the men in assessing income tax and dealing with abatements, allowances, and all the other intricate and responsible duties of an inspector.” Doubt they were paid the same though.

Dr Dorothy Catchpole has been appointed as Senior Medical Officer of Health for Friern Barnett, the first woman in that post in the Greater London District Councils.

An article says that the first Negro woman has been elected to an education board in America, Mrs Mary Martin Brown to the Cleveland Board of Education. “Mrs Martin is the daughter of slave parents, and her education and training were obtained under great handicaps.” She is also the Chairman of the Cleveland Federation of Coloured Women’s Clubs, active in the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and a trustee of the Phillis Wheatley Association.

There is an article headed “In Parliament” which contains quite a bit of data. Firstly, George Sinkinson, the Labour MP for Berwick and Haddington, asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the average number of children on the school roll per number of teachers in Scottish schools. The answer was 35 for primary schools, 24 for secondary schools and 18 for special schools. Jennie Lee, Labour MP for New Lanark, asked specifically about average class sizes in Scottish elementary schools. The response was “The particulars desired by my Hon. friend are not available, and could not be obtained without disproportionate expenditure of time and labour.” He added that the number of classes of more than 50 children habitually under the charge of one teacher has gone down from 143 in February 1929 to 98 in October 1929.

Secondly, Arthur Heneage, the Tory MP for Louth, asked the Postmaster-General if he was ware that girls leaving secondary schools at age 16 are not able to apply for Girl Probationer posts in the Post Office, as the age limit for that is 15. The PMG confirmed that this is deliberate and that 16-year-old girls leaving school can apply for other posts in the PO.

Sir Nicholas Grattan-Doyle, a Tory MP for Newcastle, asked about the planned increase in the nuber of wmen police officers in the Met. This was confirmed as an increase from 50 to 100.

James Lovat-Fraser, the Labour member for Lichfield, asked about girls and women who are placed on probation in the 468 courts which have no women probabtion officers. The Home Secretary is aware of this problem and plans to issue a circular to magistrates pointing out the need for women probation officers.

Major John Hills, the Tory member for Ripon (and the widower of Stella Duckworth, half-sister of Vanessa and Virginia Stephen), asked what action is being taken about maternal mortality and injuries to mothers. The Minister for Health said “I have these matters under close consideration, but cannot at present give any date for the introduction of legislation.”

Cecil Malone, the Labour member for Northampton, asked about promotions of women civil servants. The answer was that 3 men and no women were promoted to the administrative grade in 1927, and 10 men and 1 woman in 1928.

Finally, the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to consider abolishing capital punishment. The committee has 15 members including one woman, Dr Ethel Bentham.