Daily Life of the New England Colonies

New England Colonies Daily Life

Life in the New England Colonies was hard. Every family member that could walk helped with the chores. Even though the colonies had poor soil most people farmed. Most farms were either too small or too poor to have African slaves.
Before the farm was used they had to cut down the trees and use them to make the house and the farm yard; like fences and the barn, of course.

Families grew a variety of plants like: corn, rye, peas, squash, and pumpkins. The animals they rose were: chickens, sheep, cows, and pigs. On the farm the men did the hunting and planting. The women made clothes, candles, soap, corn meal, preserved vegetables and meat, and did the cooking.

A puritan, John Winthrop, became governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and said their society would be made of mercy and justice. As well as a commonwealth. Winthrop wanted to set a goal for the rest of the world.

The settlers believed in covenants, which were very important to them. They believed in honesty and by this, it helped them work together. To give the colony some form, the colony gave power to the adult males. Who made laws and elected officers to the General Court.

Towns were built around fields. Towns consisted of a congregation. In the town were family homes and public buildings. Each day farmers would work in fields and then return in the evening.

In the middle of the community was the Puritan church. This was also known as the meeting house. Meetings were held here to decide laws, fees for laborers, price for ale, and to assigned people to certain tasks for the community. Church services were held here every Sunday all day long and, by law, everyone had to attend. Some churches locked the doors so no one could leave. One who spoke out or acted wrongly would be punished in front of all.

The community helped each family if their crops failed, or if there was a field fire. Neighbors also helped others build barns or farm equipment. If the population was too large they would divide and make a new town.

The sermons spoken by the minister described instruction for the New England Way. Which was used to describe the beliefs the society they were building. In this society, games and fun were considered sin and hard work was emphasized. Puritans believed in knowing the bible and being able to read it, but not needing to know how to write.

In 1636 the first constitution in the American Colonies, Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, was founded by Thomas Hooker and his church. Who had just moved to the Connecticut Valley.

As many groups moved westward, Indians became much more rude to English settlers. They feared the English because they posed as a threat to their way of life. They saw the English taking over their land and hunting their game. So the Indians fought back. Wars continued to breakout throughout the 1630’s. Nothing terribly bad happened until 1637 when a group of Puritans attacked a Pequot fort; burning hundreds.

In 1675 King Philip led groups of New England Indians to attack the English, in what was called King Phillips Wars. The end result was about twenty-five settlements destroyed and the Indians then drove west.

The church was so strong and powerful that in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts nineteen people were hung, one crushed by stone, and one hundred-fifty people were thrown in jail. It all started when a young girl acted awkwardly around people and her friends did it also, all as a joke. People were desperate to find who put this curse on them, not knowing it was all an act, so accusations were thrown out from everyone and it led to many deaths. This was known as Salem Witchcraft, which originally came from the West Indies as a part of voodooism.

Content by: Cannon and Jacki
Webpage construction by: Mike S. and Allison C.
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