Pilgrim Culture from Clothes to Church to Jobs
By: R. Renée Bembry
Pilgrims believed in making their own way in life. The men in the first group of settlers consisted of carpenters, printers, servants, mariners, silk dyers, wool carders, tailors, merchants, and doctors. These men were hardworking. Although some, the separatists, sailed the Mayflower to find freedom to practice religion without fear of their lives, others sailed seeking fortunes and opportunities to get ahead.
Pilgrims who survived the first deadly winter utilized their trades to earn their living. Some took on new trades. For this reason, many men became capable of performing more than one trade or craft (Jacks-Of-All-Trades) and thus occupied more than one job.
In their belief that one should pay their way, the pilgrims paid off their debts to the men and companies who financed their journey to America. Ridding their debt meant earning their independence.
After earning their independence, the pilgrims divided their land and their cows into groups. Each group consisted of thirteen people and each group shared one of twelve cows.
Dividing the land meant each group would farm the land they occupied. This increased their chances of producing more and harvesting more crops. It also meant that in addition to the trade men all ready occupied many of them also became farmers.
Pilgrim raised their children in what they considered the best of schools. These schools were actually Christian homes. Parents reared and taught their children themselves as opposed to leaving their care and learning in the hands of others. They believed parental love, care, and teaching provided the best education for their children. Even financially well off pilgrim parents taught and reared their own children.
Pilgrims attended church regularly. Church attire consisted of black garments. Colorful clothing was not proper church attire and thus pilgrims wore colorful clothing outside the church. Pilgrim fathers also taught religion to their families including readings from the bible.
Pilgrims believed in and practiced democracy within the church. They believed true Christianity had nothing to do with religious dogma or religious corporations that had been centralized. They believed that separating conscious from religious politics was the means to worldwide freedom.
Boys and girls wore long gowns until after age seven. After seven boys began to dress more in line with men’s attire. All pilgrims dressed in full body outfits. Whether long dresses and long skirts on the women, long gowns on the younger children, or knee length pants and knee high stockings on the men. All pilgrims also wore some type of long sleeved shirts and jackets, shoes, boots, capes, and hats.