Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
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.