Chapter 6 Society and Culture
from the Massachusetts Bay Colony discuss Christianized Indians, called Praying
Indians, and the interaction of local Indian communities with the colony. Ike’s
family was mainly Anglican-Episcopalian and built St.
Augustine’s Episcopal Church in the 1890s in Asbury Park, NJ. At that time it was not unusual for taxes
be collected for the support of churches. It was the custom to profess belief in
a Protestant sect in order to be eligible for office.
formed states were deficient in clergy, professors and educated lay people since
many colonists were Loyalists and fled to other English territories during the
revolution of 1776. The nation consisted of about 30,000 Scotch Irish
Presbyterians, who had no love for the English, 5000 Jews in cities, and about
100 Catholic priests. This was a
time of keeping piety for the Sabbath, no work or amusements, no carriages in
Boston or Ocean
Grove of the 1880s.
prohibited recreation, travel, shopping, games, swearing and one could be fined
for not attending church. Other
days of the week permitted recreation, gambling, prizefighting, horseracing,
bowling greens, sports, cards, and checkers, riding horses and telling stories.
was the mission of the churches at the time since the law for public education
was passed in 1868 in NJ. When Ike was a boy in Eatontown, students learned to
read, write and do arithmetic at home or in church schools taught by ministers
or religious teachers. Lotteries were used to build church buildings, schools,
hospitals and roads. The first Kindergarten was founded in 1860 in Boston; however, it would
take another fifty years for the idea would spread to NJ.
academies taught by headmasters served boys ages nine to fourteen. These were
one-room schoolhouses where the Bible was read daily and discipline consisted of
whipping, flogging and punishments. There were long benches and tables for
written work in ink since lead pencils were too expensive. Slates had not been introduced in 1815
and paper was very expensive. Girls were educated in home skills, not academics
until the New Jersey Public Schools law opened education for both sexes in 1868.
took place by rote and memorization. By 1815 Webster’s Dictionary, the first to
standardize spelling and pronunciation, sold five million copies. Subjects were
taught orally without books. In 1818 a Girls Seminary started in Massachusetts and the first high school was started in
Boston in 1821.
Education for girls was a foreign concept. Teachers were male, paid by taxes and
boarded by local families. A woman teacher was paid $4.20 a month since the
profession of teaching was considered effortless and made for an easy life with
no manual labor.
Ike uses dollars, cents,
half-cents and shillings when recording transactions in his account book of
1855. Scores of different kinds of currency were issued at the time. Failing to
pay debts was punished by imprisonment, although bankruptcies were not a
York incarcerated thirty-four debtors in 1815 and each
was responsible for providing his own food. The main vice at the time was
drunkenness. Wines were imported since there were no local vineyards. The
unfortunates, paupers, orphans, foundlings, sick, insane and unemployed were
sent to almshouses.
One hospital opened in
1815 but was unsanitary and overcrowded. The main treatment for any sickness was
bloodletting by a barber. A vein in the arm, neck or foot would be cut to let
out the bad blood. The most common diseases were diphtheria, decayed teeth and
gout. The idea for smallpox vaccinations appeared in 1807. There was no
anesthesia until 1846. Dueling was the custom used to settle disputes in the
middle and southern states although rare in New
England. Common punishments for crimes included whippings not
(voting) stipulations included ownership of property, payment of taxes, being of
white race, upper class and male gender, eliminated all renters, all other
races, middle and lower classes and all females. Many censuses inaccurately
listed the Richardsons as white. Hundreds of European
workers migrated to the shore to work in small industries.
Such was the
world in the1800s that surrounded Isaac and Elizabeth Revey