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Daily Life of New France

Socials. Humanities fair
by

Rachel Goh

on 1 February 2013

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Transcript of Daily Life of New France

By Fiona Lam, Michelle Shen and Rachel Goh Daily Life in New France Clothing The habitants of New France were usually in the lower or middle class, which was reflected in their so called costumes.
It took months for a ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The only food that was sent was food that could not be grown in New France. This food was very expensive so only the rich could afford it. Most of the food that people ate had to be grown, fished or hunted. Food Because there were very few roads in New France, water was the main access to transportation. There were only little winding paths, which were impossible to use after a heavy fall of rain. In 1743, a rough road was completed between Montreal and Quebec. Jean Talon had planned and began constructing a road that could connect New France with Acadia (Nova Scotia), but it was soon forgotten after a couple of years. Transportation

Inside the houses were dark. There were not many windows because windows let in heat in the summer and cold in the winter. The windows were covered with oiled paper. This let in enough light to see. Only the rich could afford to put glass in windows. The walls were plastered and whitewashed to prevent the log walls from rotting. Sometimes drawers and cupboards were built into the walls. Ceilings were low to keep the heat in. Housing Class : Block C (Socials) Teacher : Ms. Shepherd Education Very few children went to school because the only schools were in the large towns that were too far away. There were usually no local schools. If children knew how to read, it was that they learned from a parent who could. The women wore shirts and skirts made of mainly linen, cotton, and hemp. Women from the lower classes would have clothing generally made with rough fabrics, such as wool. They usually covered their hair with a quilted bonnets tied under the chin. For tops, they would wear a simple white, cotton blouse that would be short-sleeved and open at the neck, sometimes decorated with lace collars. Skirts were long and woolen and were worn over petticoats. Aprons and stockings that were made of woolen fabric were also worn by the women of New France. The men of New France wore plain white shirts with collars and buttoned cuffs. Their pants were made of wool, had button flies, and were fitted at the knee. Waistcoats were buttoned at the front with pockets and basques. Knee breeches, pants that tied at the knee, were also common. The men also wore tailored/knitted long, wool stockings that were held by garters. They wore leather shoes that were tied at the top with a metal buckle. During the cold winters, the habitants copied some of the Native’s clothing, such as mittens and moose, leather boots that are lined with beaver fur. They also copied the snowshoes and using a toboggan to load their provisions. Houses were often built facing the south. This was the side where the door and windows were so families could enjoy as much light as possible. An average farmhouse measured 8 m x 6 m in size and usually had a thatch or cedar-shingle roof. The roof was steep so snow could easily slide off. A central wood fireplace heated the homes. When the family could afford it, a wood stove was installed. Most houses had only one room. Everyone ate, worked and slept in this one room. If a house had an upstairs, some people would sleep there. Sometimes the upstairs was used for storage. Furniture was usually handmade and the walls were decorated with religious symbols (like a cross). Cooking was done on the fireplace. Baking was done in an oven attached to the fireplace. Bread was baked here When the habitant first settled on his land he had to build a simple cabin. Soon he cleared the forest from his land and planted crops. After a few years, he would build a larger home for his growing family. Some habitant families could have as many as 15 children. With all of the food the habitants grew, hunted, fished or gathered in the forest, they made delicious meals. Some food that the habitant gathered was wild such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, blackberries and plums. All other food was grown on the family farm. A farm grew corn for the animals and wheat for making flour and bread. Farmers raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat. They raised cows for cream, butter and cheese. The farmer's grew fruits and vegetables especially turnips, cabbages, onions, leeks and beets. If a farmer (also called a habitant) wanted meat, he had to go hunting or fishing. Some of the animals that they hunted were ducks, geese, partridge and passenger pigeons, deer, moose and bear. A farmer would teach his sons how to hunt as soon as they were old enough. Farmers would fish for eel, pickerel, carp, smelt, sturgeon, herring, cod, salmon and trout. The rural residents dwelt fairly comfortably in their square-hewed log farmhouses (though seigneurs and wealthy habitants were now building in stone). Their homes were well heated by large fireplaces supplied with plentiful wood, feeding into massive central chimneys. Bibliography Anthony, Kate, Maggie Dobbs, David Naples, Brian Vazzano, and Ben White. "Social Order and Life in New France."Gettysburg. Gettysburg College, n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2013. <http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/hist106web/Canada/_private/social%20order.htm> Sanders, Scott R., and Jeffrey A. Wolin.Stone country. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985. Print. Neering, Rosemary, and Stan Garrod.Life in New France. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1976. Print. Davies, Alan T.. Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation. Waterloo, Ont., Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992. Print. "Daily Life | Virtual Museum of New France." Musée canadien des civilisations - Canadian Museum of Civilization. Canadian Museum of Civilization, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2013. <http://www.civilization.ca/virtual-museum-of-new-france/daily-life/>. Bourinot, John George. The Story of Canada,. New York: Putnam, 1896. Print. Sometimes they learned from an older brother who had become a priest. Anyone who became a priest was sent to school as part of his training. After that he would be sent to serve in the local churches. Some priests, if they had the time, even started schools. Schools were run by the church because the nuns and priests were educated. In those days, school was not as important as it is now. You didn’t need to know how to read to be a farmer. The only people who went to school were the children of merchants or the rich citizens of New France. THE END Daily Life To further encourage young marriages, if a man were younger than 20 or a woman were younger than 16 when they married, these individuals were paid 20 pounds. Families with 10 living children received 300 pounds/year, if with 12 or more they received 400 pounds/year. The bigger the family the easier it was to run a farm. Men were mainly farmers. Taking care of an often large family and his farm was a man’s #1 responsibility. Women’s jobs were cooking along with taking care of the house and younger children. They also spun cloth and made the clothing. As children came of age, they helped either of their parents. Even small children might have brought in the wood for the fireplace. Taking care of the garden was practice for older children before they had farms of their own. All children helped with the gathering of maple sap in spring. The common folk lived in log farmhouses while seigneurs and wealthy habitants had the choice of stone. Homes were well heated by large fireplaces leading to massive chimneys. Most had the room they needed with a loft above and cellars below for storage. There was ample fur, deerskin, and homespun wool from sheep for warm clothing. It was easy to fish and game in the open countryside. This was a self-reliant agrarian society. People had to work very hard just to survive. This was unique from both the harsher seigneurialism of Old France and individual farm-ownership of English America. The life of the colony still heavily depended on the fur trade. Interactions with the Natives were important since they really kept the whole fur empire operating. Traveling by the St. Lawrence River was the best way for transportation. During the summers, the habitants traveled the rivers in birch and bark canoes that were fast and dependable. Cajeux, a raft-like boat that transports people, animals, and supplies, was also built and used. Sleighs were used to travel on the ice during the winters. Carioles were large, heavy sleighs with wired runners. They were pulled either by horses or by dog teams and were used mainly by the habitant families.
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