" Help Wanted, Female Not Afraid To Work ", A Girl's Gotta Eat

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#21
It was interesting in my family research to find from the census records that the Vails of North Salem had a live-in servant -- an Irish girl -- in the 1850s. No other info. I wonder what life must have been like for her...

Guessing grim? It's surprising how many heads of families are listed on the census as ' Gentlemen ' and there's always live in ' help '. This is sheer supposition but anyone describing themselves as ' Gentleman ' would have some awfully strong notions on class distinction IMO, treating servants accordingly. They were on duty most of the day, had a day out, emptied chamber pots and seem to have been the laundress slash nanny slash cook slash general dog's body. Best thing you can say is they at least had their legal freedom compared to those who didn't get paid and would be considered property.

Maybe not though. Found several who married at some point, becoming wives of men who were successful- have feeling our American tendency towards not being so bound by class distinction as some countries at the time was helpful.
 

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
Feb 14, 2012
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18,405
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Central Pennsylvania
#22
Of course I did, I don't want him off thinking of other girls! Also, maybe there was a little more than "let's be pen pals" before he left. :wink: Perhaps some courting and hugging and maybe a bit of kissing. He won't be of much help if he comes back, I'm afraid his family's Georgia plantation's days are numbered. :eek: We're all homeless now! :cry: (Luckily my family member's farm is in Georgia is located out of the way of Sherman's march, so it'll be fine.)

Never can find the right file- in this muddle somewhere is a young girl who married despite the awful conditions she'd been forced to accept. Cool wedding with a small Southern community entering into the spirit of the celebration. One woman offered up her family table linen, so the bride could sew lovely ' underthings '. Your table linen, some generations old, was a huge, big deal. Seem to remember her dress was patched together like that too, donated bodice, lace etc.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Feb 14, 2012
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18,405
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#23
I too have a lot of trouble finding decent things to wear. I have a very conservative style (think skirts, blouses, flats in dark colors) and it's just not doable to buy new things. Goodwill it is...and things that may not fit quite right. Yay for the trend to call everything a "personal style". :smile:

Isn't it terrific? By chance just yesterday paged through an old-ish book from a town's Centennial celebration 45 years ago. Everyone looked exactly the same, only differing by what was worn by age, from small kids through teens up to elderly. It's funny not having a clue at the time- I was one of the kids. Even having known quite a few adults in those photos, today have a terrible time telling them apart. Pretty smitten by our progress, and it is progress.
 

Belle Montgomery

Sergeant Major
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Oct 25, 2017
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#24
Going by my character story, early war she's still affluent so has plenty of dresses, ballgowns, etc. Mid war, she's still trying to hold onto that, even after her home is gone and she's moved in with family. By late 1864, after the loss of two homes at the hands of the Yankees, her male relatives all off to war, her father and older brother having died, and her younger brother missing(in a Yankee prison), she's gone from affluent Virginia belle to poor, ragged, and barefoot(depending on event rules :x3:) refugee, with nothing but the ragged dress on her back, trying to get to the only remaining family she has, then having to rough it on a farm when she finally gets there. It'll be an interesting contrast how I'll be dressed depending on event. I figure that's a realistic experience, that affords me the ability to enjoy portraying both ends of the economic spectrum.:wink:

@JPK Huson 1863 I love thrift stores! Unfortunately I sometimes have to resort to other means for shoes, size 10 can be harder to find sometimes... most of my current lot are from the evil Walmart. :devilish:
See my new post today titled "Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South" A book will be out in October titled " that speaks about women (men too) and their new roles and their effect on them losing all that's dear to them "Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South" It's the first of it's kind being a full book devoted to the subject.
 
Joined
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PA
#25
See my new post today titled "Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South" A book will be out in October titled " that speaks about women (men too) and their new roles and their effect on them losing all that's dear to them "Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South" It's the first of it's kind being a full book devoted to the subject.
I will go there now! That sounds wonderful.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Messages
551
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PA
#26
Never can find the right file- in this muddle somewhere is a young girl who married despite the awful conditions she'd been forced to accept. Cool wedding with a small Southern community entering into the spirit of the celebration. One woman offered up her family table linen, so the bride could sew lovely ' underthings '. Your table linen, some generations old, was a huge, big deal. Seem to remember her dress was patched together like that too, donated bodice, lace etc.
Well there won't be a wedding until I actually meet someone, my character's relationship status goes along with mine. :wink:But that does sound nice, and how thoughtful of the other ladies to donate things like so. :smile:
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
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631
Location
Iowa
#27
My mother Worked as a Hired Girl most of the 1920s and 30s.mostly for a widower with several young children.
Occasionly with new Mothers. I don't belive she ever considered herself a servant. she would help anyone for a few days but long term, she picked and chose.
It was not uncomman for a hired Girl to marry someone at the home or nearby.
Yes by todays standards she worked hard but so did everyone man or woman.
Her last job was for my Grandfather and his 2 sons, she caught my Dad and they had 57 great years.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
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#28
Great study of how complex and yet how similar life was in some ways. Classes of people still exist today and lead very different lives.
 
Joined
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Messages
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#29
It was interesting in my family research to find from the census records that the Vails of North Salem had a live-in servant -- an Irish girl -- in the 1850s. No other info. I wonder what life must have been like for her...
Life for any servant or slave was basically chicken **** $;&;& it!
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
Messages
232
Location
Jacksonville, FL.
#30
I'm basing my persona as a woman who fled St. Mary's, Ga just before the naval bombardment in November of 1862. I'm having her head to family in Amelia Island, Fl. and working as a laundress at Ft. Clinch. The laundresses from my understanding were treated pretty well. I'm guessing because the men didn't want something horrible to befall the laundry lol. I can imagine though treatment of "servants" that were white would have changed during the war here. The women would not have been able to survive without working together as equals. Much of this area would have been swamp and the women would need to be able to fish, hunt, and gather. It fascinates me to no end how hard it would have been.
 



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