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Momento Mori
11-10-2009, 02:56 AM
I'm sketching out the plot for my next YA novel and one of the plot strands relates to a character based in the British colonies in what is now the United States (I'm thinking Virginia or the Carolinas) between 1660 and 1670.

For obvious reasons, we tend to skim over the whole colony thing in British history lessons, so there's not an obvious list of books that I can draw from, so if anyone can recommend texts or other sources on the following then I would be v. grateful:

- daily colonial life - I'm particularly interested in anything that looks at women's life in the Colonies during this period (work, expectations etc) but anything about the colonial societies generally will be invaluable. If there's anything on Colonies that just disappeared for no obvious reason, then that would be great as well;

- slavery. Not a pleasant topic and not one that we Brits are given to introspection over, but while I've found texts that mention the slave trade as operating to the Carribean and a couple have referenced Virginia most seem to suggest that plantations were predominantly worked by convicts who had had their sentences commuted from the death penalty (which I don't think can be correct); and

- sea voyages - there is source material I can go to on this in London, but I figure that someone somewhere must have written a decent book about what sea journeys were like back then but am having no joy with my Google-fu.

Many thanks in advance.

MM

Linda Adams
11-10-2009, 05:21 AM
Try The Mayflower, by Kate Caffrey. It's a little earlier than the dates you indicated, but things probably won't have changed that much. Some of my ancestors were at Plymouth Colony (not on the Mayflower, but the next ship), and this gave me an idea of what life was like.

Have you also tried Google book? If you have a specific place, you may be able to find a town history with all kinds of interesting details. This is one for Stonington, Connecticut (http://books.google.com/books?id=tvILAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=history+of+stonington+connecticut#v=onepage&q=&f=false).

PeterL
11-10-2009, 05:42 PM
If you look, then you will find that quite a few books have been written about that period, but they were written a long time ago, so you may have to look to a specialty library.

dirtsider
11-10-2009, 05:55 PM
Also try the Pennsbury Manor website. I think it has an email you can send questions to. But Pennsbury is probably just at the tail end of the period you're looking at (about 1670-1700) but it might give you some starting points. And I do know they do have some info on slaves since Penn did own them.

K. Taylor
11-10-2009, 06:51 PM
Earlier plantations here did have more of a share of indentured servants and the like working on them. African slaves were brought in over time as cash to buy them was more common and the whole business grew.

Researching the earliest settlements by name should give you a good list on Google. Plymouth Plantation is a working historical site, as are Jamestown and Williamsburg. Jamestown and Williamsburg are both in Virginia and were nicely settled in by the time period you're writing about. VERY easy to get info on either. Plymouth is up in Massachusetts, of course.

Puma
11-11-2009, 12:56 AM
Also slip down to historical genre (down this main page a bit) and look at the sticky on resources by era. There might be something there. Puma

Momento Mori
11-11-2009, 03:03 AM
Smashing. Thank you all very much. I guess I've now got the perfect excuse to head out Stateside for my vacation next summer and do some on-the-ground research.

MM

Cyia
11-11-2009, 03:33 AM
a couple have referenced Virginia most seem to suggest that plantations were predominantly worked by convicts who had had their sentences commuted from the death penalty (which I don't think can be correct); and

- sea voyages - there is source material I can go to on this in London, but I figure that someone somewhere must have written a decent book about what sea journeys were like back then but am having no joy with my Google-fu.

Many thanks in advance.

MM

Very much true, actually. Given the danger of crossing the ocean, it was almost a death sentence anyway and it was common for convicts to be given a choice. Little water, scurvy, little food, cramped conditions, no clean areas.

I remember a book (or at least topic, not quite sure) from high school history about the "horse straits" where a number of people died crossing the ocean because there was no wind to move the ships, and most of them weren't equipped with oars. They'd have to toss the horses overboard to lighten the load or risk death by starvation/dehydration if they waited for a stronger wind/current.

Dawnny Baby
11-11-2009, 03:51 AM
3 books you might try, while you wait for your summer vacation:

Johnny Tremain (http://www.amazon.com/Johnny-Tremain-Esther-Forbes/dp/B0017L8G7U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257896120&sr=8-1) by Ester Forbes
This book is fiction, but gives great POV of an adolescent male's view of New England life (mainly Boston), and also shows a good deal of what females went though with their lives.

Crispus Attucks (http://www.amazon.com/Crispus-Attucks-Colonial-Childhood-Americans/dp/0020418108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257896188&sr=1-1) by Dharathula H. Millender
Written for the grade-school crowd, I still learned plenty (as an adult) when I read this to my kids. Tells the true story of a black American slave-turned hero in the American Revolution.

The American Revolutionaries: A History in Their Own Words 1750-1800 (http://www.amazon.com/American-Revolutionaries-History-Their-1750-1800/dp/0064461459/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257896265&sr=1-2) by Milton Meltzer
Actual letters written by everyone from British generals to black slaves.

I know these are about seventy-five to a hundred years after your timeframe, but you'd be able to cull some info about life that wouldn't have changed much in that time period. Hope it helps some...?

Tsu Dho Nimh
11-12-2009, 04:11 PM
Start with a timeline of which colony was settled: Georgia, for example, wasn't founded until1732. Some of the were already settled areas before the official designation of colony, such as New Amsterdam (founded 1635 by Dutch) (became New York), others like Georgia were people moving into new areas.

Read a history of the US from 1604 to about 1700 to see who was where (Spanish in Florida, Dutch in the Hudson, Spain in New Mexico and Texas, French were ???).

The Jamestown and Williamsburg (Virginia) towns have historical sites,and there is a lot on-line about the daily living. Geneaology sites often have good references about daily living and the legalities.