Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Step Back to the Early 1800's

Yesterday we went to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge Massachusetts. This museum re-creates life as it was in rural new England back in the years (1790-1840). I had a nice long talk with one of the farmers while he was showing me his root cellar. It was interesting to hear that there has been a large interest in the farming activities in the Village of late, where as 5 years ago no one cared how food was obtained or stored by our ancestors. The thing that stood out the most to me was the lack of chickens. Was chicken keeping not common or popular practice? There were sheep, pigs, and cows; the dishes being prepared contained ground beef or pork and lard or suet. No chickens or eggs in sight aside from the two I saw roaming with the sheep. One of the villagers did mention practically everyone had a cow, just an acre or two would do.

Now I am curious to know if chickens were out of fashion in New England at that time. Here are a couple of pictures I took along the way:

My son kept asking where all the cars were, he just couldn't conceptualize that weren't any. He is very happy to have modern day plumbing after seeing the chamber pots and out houses, and of course the Oxen were his favorite part. Once we were home he asked where the toilet paper was, that would have been a good question for the villagers as I have no knowledge of colonial hygiene aside from wash bins and rare use of soap. We left with some fun souvenirs- a gun, a broom, money from the first 13 States, a drop spindle and some wool, and The United States School Primer (New York, 1850's), a school book for a one room schoolhouse.


Annie's Granny said...

How interesting! I have no idea what they used for toilet paper, but when I was little (around 1945) my grandparents had an outhouse (and a chamber pot) and we used the pages of the Montgomery Ward catalog!

Erin said...

Sounds like your kids came away with an appreciation of today's life - rare to see in kids nowdays! good job mom, interesting about the lack of chickens! I guess the village doesn't have internet, or we could ask them LOL!

Kelly said...

AG- That is too funny, and good to know! Maybe they used old print as well.

Erin- Yup, too bad the villagers don't carry their i-pods when at work!

Thomas said...

I'm not trying to be facetious here but I thought I read somewhere that they used to use corn cobs as a kind of "toilet paper" you could say. OUCH! Hence the modern slang "corn h*l*".

Oh how I do enjoy some modern conveniences.