About This "Blog"

This is a place for me to share articles, quotes, primary sources, images, ideas and other information about the 18th century. When I first began in the hobby I has a lot of help from the community. There were a few sites that helped a lot, but never enough. I don't think I am an authority on anything 18th century. I just want to make sure what I have learned and am learning, others are able to benefit from. My intent here is to share information in an organized fashion so that it is not lost. I attempt to give credit to anyone who helps along the way. Many thanks to everyone out there who makes this hobby a wonderful and diverse place to be.

FOUR DOLLARS Reward. RUN away, last night, from the subscriber, living in Thornbury township, Chester county, an English servant lad, named JACOB DOWN, born in Devonshire, about 19 or 20 years of age, about 5 feet 10 inches high, straight and well made, long and dark brown hair tied; had on and took with him, a grey Irish napped coat and breeches, without any lining, a whitish woollen jacket, one white linen shirt , with ruffles at the breast and sleeves, a coarse brown linen ditto, a pair of light coloured yarn stockings, old shoes, brass buckles, a black velvet stock, with brass clasps and some letters and figures on them. He came lately from Newry with Captain Lowden, and once belonged to the 53d regiment in Ireland. He bad a wool hat, cut very small in the brim. Whoever takes up and secures said servant in any goal, shall have the above reward, and reasonable charges paid, if brought home, by PERSIFOR FRAZER.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, August 2, 1775. Ruffled shirt on a run away.

A Guide To Shirt Construction

This is a three part article. Most of this article is not from my personal research. I am combining research others have done and posting it here, so that all of the information I have used in making shirts is in one place. The pattern is based on a pattern that Deb Najecki shared. It is here in hopes that someday it will help others in the community. My goal is to give back to a community that has helped me so much. Credits are listed at the end of each page, as well as links.
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TEN POUNDS REWARD. WAS STOLEN out of the house of the subscriber, living in Kingsessing Township, near the Lower Ferry, on the 6th inst. (August) the following articles, viz. three long cotton gowns, one short ditto; three shifts, one of fine linen; two white aprons; two white linen quilt petticoats, one lined with white, the other check, quilted in large diamonds single; one red calimanco ditto, quilted in large flowers; one blue and white striped lincey petticoat; one red flannel ditto; one white shirt, one pair of cotton stockings; two womens caps, one of flowered kenting with a lawn border, the other muslin; one kenting handkerchief marked E.H. three single ditto; one black mode bonnet lined with white; one red silk handkerchief; one pair of womens leather pumps, pretty much worn; one pair of mens shoes, almost new; one sheet, of white Irish sheeting linen, marked E.C.E. one pair of silver locket sleeve buttons; one pair of pinchbeck shoes buckles; with several other articles. All the gowns but one, and most of the linen, were starched and rough dried. Whoever gives information of the person or persons concerned in the above robbery, so that the owner may have the goods again, shall receive the above reward, or FIVE POUNDS for the goods, and no questions asked. EDWARD CAVANAGH.

The Pennsylvnia Packet. August 8, 1778. Starched and Rough Dried Gowns
Starching at Wenworth House Spring of 2017

Every Woman Her Own Housekeeper Clear Starching The Laundrymaid

This is a guide to clearstarching transcribed from a woman's guide. It covers clear starching fine linens and cottons. Although most that is covered there may be used on any linens or cottons similarly.
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"SOON as the rising Sun has drank the Dew, Another Scene is open to our View: Our Master comes, and at his Heels a Throng Of prattling Females, arm'd with Rake and Prong;."

Stephen Duck The Thresher's Labour

Mary Collier The Washerwoman From the Woman's Labor

A few years ago I stumbled into a poem. At the time I did not realize that Mary Collier, the woman who wrote this poem was, herself, a poor washer woman. An early self taught woman with a voice, and a hard life. It was done as a rebuttal. She felt that Stephen Duck, a man who had written of the common man's toil, in The Thresher's Labor, had belittled the hardships of a woman's life. She decided to make it clear that common women had a hard lot in life and he was not going to lessen that with his flowery words.
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"Head Quarters, Providence, October 19, 1778. THIS is to certify, That PATRICK CARNY, formerly one of Major General SullivanWaggoners, at Hanover, in New Jersey, was whipped two hundred lashes for stealing five shirts , and dismissed the service some time in September 1777. By the GeneralOrder, NICHOLAS V. CORTLANDT, A .D.C.
I do promise, as a reward to any one that apprehends said PATRICK CARNY and brings him to me, or secures him in any gaol on the Continent, the sum of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, as he drove one of my teams when he committed the above crime. JOHNSTON SMITH."

November 17, 1778. The Pennsylvania Packet 200 Lashes for Stealing 5 Shirts

Stealing A Shirt- The Trial Of William Birke

One of my biggest pet peeves in the hobby is hearing people constantly stating that someone in the time period is likely to have stolen an item of clothing. With the myriad of options, why would the most likely option be theft? Stealing clothing does occur, just like shop lifting occurs in modern times. In the 18th century you were not looking at a few hours of community service. Punishments were far harsher than they are now. I suspect they would give anyone pause before commiting a crime. When one chose to steal clothing, if they were caught they could be facing any number of punishments. On a first offense one could expect at least a whipping and imprisonment. The following case is typical.


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"A SERVANT WOMAN Time to be disposed of, having two Years to serve from the 5th of May next; she is a very good Spinner and Washer , can do Housework, is very honest, and sold for Want of Business to employ her. For further Particulars, enquire of the PRINTERS hereof."

The Pennsylvania Gazette.Philadelphia, March 29, 1775. Washerwoman Servant.

Civilian Demonstration Laundry Best Practices

The purpose of this article to assist living historians learn enough about laundry to develop their own demonstration. It will focus on the best practices being used in a perfect situation, as if one had all the knowledge and resources available at the time being put into proper practice. This does not reflect the realities of camp life, or the practiced ignorance of people at all levels of society. But knowing this should help people develop demonstrations that suit their setting.


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"TO BE HIRED. TWO valuable WASHERWOMEN , by the Month or Year. Enquire at R. Welle's, The Great Stationary and Book Store."

THE SOUTH CAROLINA AND AMERICAN GENERAL GAZETTE. September 1, 1775 Washerwoman independently out for hire.

Civilian Laundry Summary and Shopping List

This outline will focus on the best practices for laundry in a perfect situation, as if one had all the knowledge and resources available and they were being put into proper practice. This does not reflect the realities of camp life, or the practiced ignorance of people at all levels of society. But knowing this should help people develop demonstrations that suit their setting. A supply list can be found here as well.


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