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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  October 17, 2015 7:03am-7:40am EDT

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the end. so when you first come in the front door, you are in the kitchen. and that is really the main room of the house where all of the activities take place because it is the only warm room in the house. and you also have a pete fire burning night and day year round and so that is where everyone is. and behind it is the shop. and that is also the boys' bedroom. they would have a mattress on the floor where they would sleep. an the loom is in there too, so they take over the weaving so they are close to their work. the weaving process, that is one of those things that -- i'm sure they were planted by the galtal year. probably if it is a good year for the linen trades, they may have hired some alternate weavers to take care of that or maybe some irish laborers to work in the fields, then you could concentrate on the weaving. and of course a lot of it would take place in the winter time. and especially for the laborers, that is the only way they could make money in the winter time so they would have a year-round income. of course, you know, northern
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ireland, you have a lot of rain. so even though it is raining, you are not inside weaving because you have too much farm work to do so you only weave at night after supper. economically at the type, you would say he is a strong farmer. but he was a midland sort which means he was middle class. not the wealthiest realm but far from being the poorest. in the early years of the linen trade, everyone is making money so life is good. but with the depression, things started going bad really quick. the linen board, when they -- the linen industry goes to northern ireland with the french huguenots so they start teaching everyone how things are done. and then they set up the lynnon board to kind of govern the production of linen. and for the girls, they would go there and learn how to spin. and they would start when they are really small, because they have the tinily little fingers so they could spin a finer thread. and part of the graduation
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present is they would get their own spinning wheel. now for the loom, in the early years, the linen trade, if you plant a certain amount of flax more they've give you a loom. but by now they aren't giving anything away and you have to rent your loom. and i'm not quite sure how much the rent would have been, but there goes another piece of your income. and weaving itself, right now, all you have to do is sit there and step on the pedals and throw the shuttle back and forth. the hard part is setting it up. and one of the ways around that is you could hire a profogsal warper to warp the loom for you and that way you have less downtime and more production going on. everyone is convinced that they see the door and they are convinced everyone was short. and of course then they see the beds ab how short those were and they are totally convinced by then. but the reason the door is so low is structurally that holds up half of the weight of the
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roof. an the reason the beds are so short is the pete when it burns is smokey so everybody has bad lung congestion so it is easier to breathe if you are propped up. judging by barn space, they didn't have more than two pigs. maybe five or six cows, of course they are all going to be milk cows. and then probably one horse. and then everyone has duck, geese and chickens. and you may even find a few sheep here and there. pretty much the animals we have, something like the pigs, we're going to sell those to the butcher to pay the rent. and then buy them back by the slice. and of course we could only afford the cheap cuts like pig feet and pig ears and pigtail for soup or something like that. the cows, with you get milk from them and make butter so that could market. occasionally three or four neighbors would get together and buy a steer so you have fresh meat for a few days but when it goes bad, you sell to pay the rent. and the chickens, you sell at
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market every day. you eat them when they get old and stop laying eggs and you may have to make soup out of them because they are so old and tough. education wise, more than likely it is home-schooling. and part of the reason for that is this farm -- the closest village is a place called drum quinn, about five miles down the road. and that would be awful far for the kids to walk there and come back hope. but once you get to america, that is one of the things they take with them, their belief in education. so whenever they go, they set up schools and academies. and the ministers is a teacher and he's going to run a boarding school so the smarter kids, they will go there and stay and then everyone else pretty much was home-schooled. learned to read the bible. the girls would work on samplers and learn how to read and write as well. the presbyterians are the few groups that believe in educating girls. working here, you hear all sorts of stories about what people --
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their ancestors brought. and you hear personal things like a spoon or a cup or bowls or plates. but you definitely would bring the family bible because religion was so important to them. and that is definitely one of the things that you would absolutely bring. furniture-wise, maybe a few odds and ends, but the trouble was you had to pay more storage on the ship for the more stuff you brought so you pretty much just bring yourself. a lot of people landed in philadelphia because pennsylvania had such strong ties with the linen trades. so the flagships that had taken seas there on the spring and that is what you would arrive on in the fall. and you would arrive in the delaware valley or philadelphia. and of course, being farmers, you look for cheap land and so you come south on the great wagon old and end up in the shenandoah valley and what you get there, pretty much they said from stanton to lexington was called the irish track and that is where everyone would have
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settled. and you go to that area, talk to your county surveyor and he would tell you where the land is. so you would go there and look at it and tell him what you liked and what you saw and eventually he'll go to williamsberg and have had registered and then you have your land and the american dream has begun. once the scotts get to america, especially on the frontier, they pretty much become the dominant culture there. so gosh, because they believe in education, because they build churches and schools and what not, then they are pretty much predominant leaders in that community. especially when elections come by, because they are educated. then a lot of them are elected as officials. and they are also some of the early signers of the declaration of in dependence, the early supporters. thank you all for coming by. and come back and see us again.
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my name is karais wayman and i'm an interpreter on our german farm site here at frontier culture museum of virginia. daily life was pretty much hard work. you are always working the farm. there is always work to do, no matter what time of the year. and so there is definitely gardening to be done, field work, animal care, cooking, food preservation, cleaning. there is always something to do. it is very busy life. not a lot of leisure time. spinning pretty much is just twisting. and it is flax fiber. it comes from the stock of the flax plant. it is the type of fiber that makes linen. and all of the clothing that i'm actually wearing is linen. so it actually is nothing more than the fiber that is here. so when you spin it, you feed it into the spinning wheel and you let the spinning wheel twist it
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and you smooth it over with water as it is twisting it will go across the hooks and wrap right on the to the spool. and once the thread is made, you have to hand it to a weaver. the weaver will use a loom and make a fabric. and that can be made into clothing. so the spinning wheel just makes the thread. they probably did more spinning in the winter time, whenever they had a chance. this time of year, you are out in your fields. everybody is working. if you can work, you are doing it. you are doing something. but you know, you possibly could give some of your thread that you ih make a little extra money. but this family's primary revenue source is the grain. lots of wheat, of vary theity of
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wheat they grew with shfelt that has become popular again today. rye, barley and some oats are just some of the grains. and we have a large barn out there, so you need a place to store that grain before threshing. our family would have kept maybe a couple of cows. milking them, making cheese and butter out of the cow's milk. pigs, pork was definitely one of the primary meats that a lot of peasant families would use in their cooking. this family is doing pretty good. they are still peasants, technical technically serves. they have ties to the landlord and the local ruler of their region and they must pay fees and money as well as perform
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work on certain days of the year to their local ward or prince. so basically, this house is a decent home. this family is not rich. but they are not poppers. the house is an actual building that frontier culture museum acquired from germany and it was dismantled and everything was numbered and actually brought here. it is not a replica. the region that we are really discussing is the ryanland province in southwestern germany. back then it was known as the holy roman empire and that particular region really had a tough time with the series of wars in the 1600s and early 1,700 and the region did really take some hard hits in areas. and so now is a time where families have been working to
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recover, to fix the land, fix the towns. and without a series of warfares or some really terrible issues going on, the population is growing and taf been raising -- they've been raising reasonably sized families. and there just isn't enough land for everybody to farm comfortably. and there is not enough jobs and opportunities in businesses and trades. because they are surfs, some local rulers levied fees that must be paid in order to immigrant legally, or exit fees. and sometimes it was a little more expensive for women to immigrant legally than it was for men. but local rulers just don't want to lose too many people. and also, it is costly.
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you basically have to come up with the money to pay for the trip, you are living in a region that is land-locked and so you need to get to a sea port. and so you are going to have to sell off as many belongings as you can manage to help raise additional money for the boat ride that is going to take you down the rhine river and pay any tolls along the river that you come in -- come to, and then also you need money for passage. so it is a hall kitchen house. you walk in the front door. you have your hallway and then the kitchen. and t and the kitchen is small. it is where you cook and do the dirty work. a lot of wood that the families are using is kindling wood, whatever they could collect on the ground in the forest and so we have a raised hearth in there where you burn small fires on
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top of the hearth. then to the side, the family would bring the food into the shtuba, which is a stove room. and the stove is mainly for heat. it is radiant heat. and families would take meals the stove room or shtuba and do textile work, spend family time. and this is really the heart of the home, where you stay warm in the winter. and then we have a small bedroom in the back which gets some heat as well. and the calmer basically is usually where the oldest couple would sleep or whoever had the greatest need. so if you had grandparents in the home, there is a good chance they are in there. if you don't have grandparents in the home, but usually it is mom and dad. but children, you know, a lot of of times slept upstairs and there really wasn't a lot of heat in those areas of the house. the chest is an example of one that a family actually
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immigrated with in the earl 1700s, that is the type of chest you might pack up with extra clothes, blankets, some food, seeds, perhaps, so you can plant a garden in the british colonies, wherever you are going to settle. you are also going to want to put tools in there because you are going to have to possibly build yourself a new home, replace things that you had to sell and leave behind. and anything that you think that might be desirable in the british colonies where people want to pay you good money, where there is amarket for it, you might want to pack some of those things because you can sell or barter them in the new world. there were germans that did go to new york state and parts of virginia, different ventures. but a lot of them took the path and went to pennsylvania.
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and then, of course, a number of them, once they got there, they are looking for the cheap land and a lot of them kind of leave pennsylvania eventually and move out into other areas, spreading out. but the pennsylvania germans are still very well-known today. hi, i'm sarah gant and i am a costumed interpreter here at the museum in stanton, virginia. we're at the 1740s american settlement also known as the back country of the american colonies or the colonial frontier is what we also call it. it would have been west of the blue ridge mountains. so people had already settled in this area about maybe a decade or so before 1740s. so people had already started to move a bit west, settle that
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area. there were land grants that were gib and families would be recruited to come down and settle the virginia area. occasionally it would be one man coming out here and settling the area but most of the time it would be families. on average, we say about 4 to 9 people. and they would have established themselves in the pennsylvania area first. so they would be familiar with living here and, you know, they would have had the means to purchase land down here getting land about 300 to 800 acres. so they were pretty well-off in terms of being able to buy the land. to begin with, they would need to clear the land. and that was a big change for them. because the environment was very wooded here. so clearing the land was a big deal. and then getting the fields
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ready for their crops. and they wore given a lot more land than they were used to, so it took a lot of work. so keeping up with the crops was a big thing. and then eventually getting to the building of the house and chopping wood, that sort of thing. it was difficult here. especially in comparison to the old world, climate is very different. harsher summers and winters. very hot. all of the time. so hot weather which would affect your crops, it is also different in that it is, like i said earlier, very wooded. which is very different. especially if you are coming from ireland where they don't have as many trees and would have been making their homes out of stone as opposed to logs. so using the material that is available. another big thing would be the kitchen garden that we have. and that would include crops
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that would come over from europe and a kitchen garden would have been a style that would have been used in europe as well. we have carrots in the garden. we also have something called salsafy, we had mustard growing and turnips, lettuce, spinach. we also are going to grow -- we had rye growing at one point. they also would grow wheat and hemp, that sort of thing. and then we also have tobacco as well. and then we also have in the fields down that way, we have corn beans and squash, which was not a influence from the old world. it was an influence from the american indian. so they with grown on the same mound. the corn, beans and squash grew together and the american indians taught them how to do
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that. oftentimes because they are so isolated and there weren't a whole lot of people to help, really whoever was strong enough to do the work did the work. sometimes, you know, the men would do more of the woodworking or building. and then maybe the women would have tended to the garden a bit more. and housework. but oftentimes, even kids would have been expected to do work at -- tarting at maybe seven years old, basically as soon as they were strong enough to pick up a tool and use it. the children's education, if they would have gotten a formal education, they would have needed to go back to an older settlement to learn. often times there really was no formal education. it is whatever the parents had learned before coming to this area, then they would teach their children. but the skills, reading, write,
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math, were very, very basic. they would have brought maybe a pack horse or a cow. maybe chickens and sheep. pigs especially, because pigs were very easy to take care of -- or hogs, in that they were just released out into the acreage that they owned, just to fend for themselves so they didn't have to provide for them and keep up with them as much. and, in fact, they were able to feed themselves a bit better on nuts and mushrooms and that sort of thing. so pigs were a great animal to have here. i really love talking about the chimney that we have because it really surprised a lot of people. you'll see that maybe, oh, a fourth or a third of the way up it is made with stone. and then the rest of the way up it is made with wood. so that surprised people.
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and we talked about that a little bit because -- and a lot of people ask, would the house have caught on fire a lot of times? and it would. it would. so you can see that the chimney is built a bit away from the house to begin with. it is kind of leaning a little bit. and they also would have had a way in which if they knew the chimney had caught fire, they could pull it away from the house and hopefully it would smother the fire and get it away from the house so you could save your house. you would have to rebuild the chimney, but you wouldn't have to start from scratch. so that really intrigues a lot of people. it is pretty bare inside, really. not a whole lot. we've got a bed stead inside, where the parents would have slept or the most senior couple in the family would have slept. and then we have a dirt floor where everybody else would have
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slept. we also have a fireplace inside where oftentimes it would have been used for warmth during the winter time and to provide a little light at night. but most of the cooking would have been done outside. number one, during the summer, you would want the house to stay as cool as possible. you know, as we were talking about before, with the chimney, you know, you wouldn't want to have your chimney catch on fire. so the cooks was done outside. you'll see chests in there filled with -- we have one filled with tools an just other odds and ends. you'll see a cross-cut saw on the wall which would have been an essential tool to have. here on the settlement. the large logs that we have set up over there arebad, to demone how someone would split wood. by aprocess of using either an iron wedge or a big wooden wedge
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and they have made -- it would have looked like a giant wooden hammer. they are actually pretty heft beyond and they are called beatles, which means to strike or to hit. so you would use the beetle, drive it into the iron wedge, would which eventually split the log by length. and you could keep continue splitting it and splitting it to where you could get sizes big enough for a split-rail fence or the shakes or the shingles on the house. so it was an easier way of splitting your wood up. we've got chunking in between. so -- and i believe it is also called daubing. the logs have a space in between. and then on the outside, it is a mix tour of mud -- mixture of
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mud and straw and if you had horse hair, you would use that. you so have to use that up, typically using your feet, to do that, and put it on probably in cooler weather, say the fall or early spring. because the mud mixture would need to dry pretty slowly. otherwise, it would crack. and then you would have to continue to repair it. so you would want to do it in cooler weather. thanks for visiting the frontier culture museum today. we're open 362 days a year. we would love to see you so please come and visit us in stanton, virginia. this is the first of a two part series on the frontier culture museum. part two explores life on the early american frontier. can you watch this and other american artifacts programs any time by visiting our website at
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c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv in prime time. you can find american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. each week american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts reveal about american history. located in stanton, virginia, the frontier culture museum tells the story of the early american frontier. we visit original 19th century houses have the shenandoah valley relocated to the museum and hear interpreters. we visit two farm house an a schoolhouse to learn how life changes for members ore the course of a century and how politics impacted this area before the civil war. this is the second of a two-part series. my name is joe herget, i'm the director of marketing here at the museum in stanton,
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virginia. we are a living history museum with a mission focused on education. our objective here at the museum is to teach people how a unique american folk culture was created through the blending of european, african and indigenous people's cultures. today we're going to be on the american side of the museum and we're going to see the 1820s farm and the 1850s farm and an early american schoolhouse. my name is steven gallagher and i work here at the frontier culture museum and my title here is interpreter. it is more people in costume, interpreting the exhibits are referred to as interpreter. and these folks were farmers. they were primarily wheat farmers. like most folks in the valley, mixed grain. they raised beef cattle for sale and kept cows to milk and make
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butter and cheese. they made ships and hogs and they had a good diet but heavy in pork and corn products an then raised wheat, rye and oats and and this was the bread basket of the area. and wheat here is like what tobacco was to the east of us. this 1820s american farm was originally located about an hour's drive north of here in what is now northern rockingham county. when it was first built it was still augusta count. the main part of the house was constructed in 1773 from a german immigrant which is the typical story, coming down from pennsylvania, which is why the museum wanted the property because the family story was shared by others at the same time. we're in the parlor in this rather fancy -- it is fancy for a farmer. this was added by the original owner as grandson in 1820. but it is an older house.
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by the time this house looked like this, and by the time this parlor that we can see behind me look the like this in 1820, the frontier was quite far west. in fact it was basically in missouri. that would be the frontier, out to the mississippi. but when the main part of the house was built across the hall from us in 1773, it would depend from what advantage point you were looking. if you were in philadelphia, then the philadelphia area for example, which was definitely the largest city in the colonies at this time, this here in the valley would be the far west, the far frontier. technically today we could look back and say it is really farther west from us, like over shenandoah mountain, maybe an hour or two west of here would be technically the frontier but it would look like the frontier to most people. in fact when george bowman came down from pennsylvania, he would think of himself as going west, way west. and we certainly don't think of the valley of virginia today as being in the west. but it was at that time period.
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this parlor and the hallway that i can see from where i'm sitting was added in 1820 but the original owner's grandson and we refer to this room as federal trial because it was the style that was popular here after the revolution through the early 19th century. it is english in derivative. you can see from your advantage point chair and rails and baseboards and we have a fireplace around to left and that really is the derived from the english style by people with any ethnic background here in the 19th century. this would be the style that most folks would aspire to. we think the grandson was showing off with this room because this is more fancier than farm families might have. you might find this in a wealthier person's house. and even though they were of german ancestor, no german architecture except for the
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center beam above me, referred to as the summer beam which is common construction. but the main house, the log house across the hall, is similar in the floor plan to the german house we have here at the museum. and we find that interesting because even though the man who ge bowman, here in virginia, he had been in america 24 years before building it, as a very common story through philadelphia, 1749, to pennsylvania for 25 years and then he could sell 100 acre form off therefore and buy 260 acres here in the valley, just because the valley of virginia was so much later than southeastern america, that was the motivation. but he still built a very german floor plan. the kitchen or kucha is the first door we enter going into the other part of the house. we have a large hearth, people refer to as a walk-in fireplace and behind that the main room is the stubba or stove room and
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that is the living room, dining room, family room, work room, we have our spinning wheels in there, that is the main room of the house. and the parents' bedroom is off of the stubba and that is the parents bedroom. so three rooms in the main part of the house. originally, george bowman, name of the man that built this house, he was born yohan bowman, as i mentioned a german immigrant. here the way to acquire title to property, in the 18th century, one would venture down here, most folks from pennsylvania, not everybody, and meet with a county surveyor and the county surveyor was certified by the college of william and mary and had power because if that surveyor thought you might not be of the proper ilk to live in the area, you probably wornt going -- weren't going to find any property and he would assign you a guide and you would look at property available for purchase and a lot of the area
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in this western part of virginia was in large tracks of land to the north of us, the fairfax tract, which was given to lord fairfax and the borden track south of that. but huge holdings. and then those members of the aristocrats that owned those lands were to settle it within a certain number of people within a certain number of years. so there was a lot of finangling of land and difficulties in people acquiring title. but meeting with the surveyor and finding a vacant piece of land and coming back with the guide and seeing if that property was available for purchase. and then prices of course varied depending on whether it was good bottom land or upland or whatever. but there were problems many times in acquiring final title. there were overlapping claims an you read about somebody might improve a piece of property and then some years later find it is
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claimed by somebody else. that was not infrequent. at that time, in the 18th century, north of us, what is rockingham county and north, would have had a larger number of folks from germany, which this area which is now augusta county, rockbridge, everything to the south of us, in the 18th century was the iris tract because folks from northern ireland who didn't consider themself iric, they were the ulster scott orb the scots-irish. but those folks made up a huge population, more than the germans. but throughout the valley, there was a scattering of english, scott scot, irish and others as well. but where we are sitting now is referred to as the irish track and to the north where this house was originally built would have had more folks from the area of germany. this was the family -- at one
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point in the early 19th century there was 12 children that survived to adulthood. they were fortunate. they were not slave owners. that was a large part of the economy here in the valley but most folks didn't own slaves. and these folks were fortunate to have that number of children to help work the land. so you know, their activities fluctuated with the seasons, for growing crops. generally the men worked in the field but the women would work alongside them because on a family farm everybody had to help. but there were differences in labor. right here we're bringing in the hay crops so the men would use a sithe to load the hay and children would act as bundling to wrap or rake the hay up and put it in a wagon and get it to the barn and if they are cradling wheat, when they are harvesting, the women an children would act as
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bundlingers to wrap it up into sheaths and put them in shucks to dry. so it was shared work but the men didn't do the cooking, for example. the women and the girls did a lot of that. and unlike what we might think of today, the dairying and these folks did a lot of buttir and cheese, was primary the women and the young girls. they thought the girls an young women were much better at the dairy. in fact, a young boy would be embarrassed to be seen milking a cow here in the valley in the 1800. the wheat is what they are selling. and actually, that wheat was ground into flower, at local water powered mills and there would be several mills in the area and the flower was shipped in barrels long distances. we think of these folks -- or they appear to us in modern times to be self-sufficient but they were -- their lives were
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determined by basically international grain markets because that flower was shipped long distances around the country and even around the 1850s, even out to california. so the products traveled far. but for the own use, the pork products, everybody raised hogs for themselves and corn was for their own use. this area, by the 1820s and up to the civil war, was -- it was no longer the frontier by that time period. it was a well-settled thriving farm area. the economy improving all of the time and more mills being built all of the type. more land being put under cultivation. so people were certainly aware of the -- the discussions going on and the problems within the country, most of them concerning slavery. but they probably felt that they wouldn't be effected by things like that. certainly in the 1820s, they would have felt safe

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