The Colonial Culture

RonPaulCurriculum History Essay Week 32

Today I will write about the lifestyle, culture, and occupations of the early American colonists.


The cities were organized either as harbor towns or as a seat of government. The big cities were organized as harbors like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and  Charleston.

Harbors were important because the cities relied on trade with Europe.

Features of any colonial city included:

  • Church Buildings(often many)
  • Government Buildings(at least a town hall/courthouses
  • Open Squares(gathering places)
  • Grid like streets
  • Market
  • Tradesmen Section
  • Houses


The government has 2 branches the Governor’s Council and the House of Burgesses.

The governor’s council is a group of advisors who helped the governor run the colony, and the governor was just a representative of the king of England.

Then the House of Burgesses was made up of representatives elected by the colonists, they serve generally for 1 year, and would come for meetings to discuss the needs of the people.


The occupations in colonial America were

  • Barber(responsible for cutting hair and blood letting)
  • Blacksmith(he works with iron)
  • Cabinetmaker(worked with anything that was pretty much fine furniture)
  • Clockmaker(make clocks)
  • Cobbler(made shoes)
  • Cooper(made barrels)
  • Doctor(made sure people were healthy also served as the towns pharmacist)
  • Grocer(sold food)
  • Hatter(made hats)
  • Miller(would ground the farmers meat and corn)
  • Sailor(went on different journeys on the ocean)
  • Silversmith(worked with silver)
  • Tailor(made clothes)
  • Tanner(worked with leather)
  • Wigmaker(made wigs)


The early homes were made out of wood and only had 1 room, the keeping room. The family cooked, ate, slept, bathed, and lived in that one room. Sometimes theres an attic for extra storage or space for 1 more bed.

The houses were called saltbox houses because of the shape.



People ate what the farmers grew, or whatever they could trade with Europe. The common foods were corn, squash, fruits and vegetables, bean porridge, and fish or meat. They drank cider, beer, milk, and water.

Growing up

Growing up during the colonial times were a bit different, but some things are still the same like wanting to play games, helping with chores, and learning to grow up.

Children were considered babies until the age of 6. At that age they would wear “big kid”  clothes, go to dame school to learn to read and write, and began helping with chores.

Clothes for the children would be dresses and aprons for girls, and shorts or pants with a long shirt for boys.

They had chores like, fetching water, take care of pets, clean the house, doing the dishes, shake out the mattresses, laundry by hand,  and also had to help their father with his work(whatever that may be, ex. farmer, blacksmith, cobbler, etc.)

Apprenticeship was a way where a young man would learn a trade from an experienced tradesman. The boy or the father would sign a contract for the boy to work for the tradesman in exchange for a room and board. Later, the apprentice will likely take over the business.

They had games like checkers, 9 bowl(which is like bowling), jacks, whoop and stick, cup and ball.

Becoming a grown-up meant different things for boys and girls.

A young lady becomes a woman when she gets married and moved out of her parents house, sometimes early as the age of 15.

Young men reached adulthood when they were ready to support themselves in a career, depending on the career. It could be as early as the age of 13 or as late as the age of 20.


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