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The lives of girls and women in mid-nineteenth century Pictou County, Nova Scotia Pickles, Catherine Gillian 1991

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THE LIVES OF GIRLS AND WOMEN IN MID - NINETEENTH CENTURY PICTOUCOUNTY, NOVA SCOTIAbyCATHERINE GILLIAN PICKLESB.A. The University of Canterbury, 1988A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Geography)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember 1991© Catherine Gillian Pickles, 1991In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department of  q-Eoqg___APH` .1 The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate t^T.Ecc-r1SEDE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTMuch research in historical geography has ignored women'sexperiences. Using archival sources and secondary literature, thisthesis exposes the lives of girls and women in mid-nineteenthcentury Nova Scotia, with the case study of Pictou County. After anintroduction to the perspective of the thesis and the context ofNova Scotia, specifically Pictou County, the chapters are dividedinto the life - stages of girls and women. The stages of girlhood,young womanhood, womanhood and widowhood each formed an ideologicalset of prevalent ideas and behaviours in the mid-nineteenthcentury. Childhood was a time of beginnings and learning to be agirl. Young womanhood was a time of transition, spent developingskills, and commencing courting practices in preparation forwomanhood. Womanhood was the time to put learned skills intoeffect, fulfilling the role of a wife and mother in the warmth ofthe home. Widowhood was a time of potential freedom, but also ofuncertainty, and, often, dependence. These stages also correspondedto spatial changes. Young women moved home upon marriage, andwidows often moved to a room in their old house, or to a newlocation.An overall impression of the lives of girls and women emergesin which there are overriding similarities in conformity to theideology of the mid-nineteenth century concept of the "spheres".The public and private spheres were ideological as well as actualdivisions of labour and behaviour believed to mirror women's"innate" capacity as homemakers and carers of the family. However,the division between the public sphere of masculinity, objectivity,trade, commerce and government and the private sphere offemininity, subjectivity, the home and care, was artificial. Thepublic sphere would not have been able to exist without the workiiiof women in the home, and the realities of women's lives were muchmore complex than the ideology of the spheres credited them withbeing.TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGEABSTRACT^ iiTABLE OF CONTENTS^ ivLIST OF TABLESLIST OF FIGURES viCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION^ 1Identifying the problem 2A brief historiography of the move torecognise women's experience and developnew interpretations^ 3Latest developments 9The perspective of this thesis^ 10Setting the context 12CHAPTER TWO: BEGINNINGS^ 18Motherlove^ 18Children and work 23Children and school^ 26Play and fascination 31Children and the law 32Conclusions^ 33CHAPTER THREE: BECOMING^ 35Young women's work 36Transitions and in - between years^ 38Education and young women^ 39Courtship and the path towards marriage^43Conclusions^ 54CHAPTER FOUR: BEING 56Who women were expected to be^ 56Women and work^ 59Women, the church and societies 68Women and the law 74Conclusions 77CHAPTER FIVE: ENDINGS^ 79Widowhood as a many - faceted category^80Freedom or cast - off?^ 82Widows and wills^ 85Widows, folklore, and strange happenings^91Widows and the law 94Conclusions 96CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSIONS^ 98BIBLIOGRAPHY^ 101ivvLIST OF TABLES PAGETABLE ONE: Ages of the Widowed Pictou County 1871.^80TABLE TWO: Ages ofCompared the Widowed and of the Married - Pictou County and Nova Scotia 1871.^84LIST OF FIGURES viFIGURE ONE: Pictou County 1879.^PAGE 1;NiOVA\S,nre 7 :Wes IV on Inch, -----'25^--- ,---V-..\,.. —..-^7',^•.‘;---_,^, r■- )-1-•'= •^••^-ra,^--- • o ,.^.^ r•-■!•^'Attod ool. •..rno.1;• ' ..'...,,''''^‘ ,..--c",.-75--. , \;-? '">11srfr•Ni;:-, , le Prt, ••■••-4.,k)'- ' r _ e,1..s"FC)(T L A.,,1 \Nkr3;f:j.:;=ktr,'n3,-, ,, NIl ,1u!.x..,.; _:.„.—p ^,,, _^ '1Q.:'IA'' CS k :,5r.. ,'^).r.v.,1,ili*.7..---0-1-'),A., ,z,^' 1,^/,,,,, ...4 ,..''''...:- ^At . , :74:1rs 11o2n1,. =a :te r. _ _'mss-"1FIGURE ONE:  Pictou County 1879.SOURCE: P.A.N.S. Genealogical Sources No.4.2CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTIONIdentifying the problemUntil recently much historical geographical writing hasignored women's experience. In its attempt to elucidate therelationship between man (sic) and environment across time andspace, historical geography has emphasised the conquest of thesoil, the clearing of the land and the extraction of riches.Axes, hammers and increasingly more efficient and powerfulimplements aided in the battle. The bounty was the development ofmarkets and the growth of a resource based economy. These publicactivities demanded the work of "hard headed, practical,enterprising men." 1 Men have been the tamers of nature, and theproponents of progress, engaged in masculine encounters with thewilderness. 2Where women have appeared, they have been seen as"possessive constructions", that is, as wives or part of familiesof men. 3 Women's experiences have been subsumed within theexperiences of men, with the private world of the home existingonly to enhance the true work of the farm and the industrialworkplace.R.C. Harris, "The Simplification of Europe Overseas." Annals ofthe Association of American Geographers, vol . 67 , no. 4 , 1977, p.482.2 For a study of the gendering of the land as female, and extensivemasculine metaphors see A. Kolodny, The Lay of the Land- Metaphoras Experience and History in American Life and Letters, ChapelHill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1975.3 J. Kay, "Commentary - The Future of Historical Geography in theUnited States." Annals of the Association of American Geographers,vol.80, no.4, 1990, p.620.3A brief historiography of the move to recognise women'sexperience and develop new interpretations The challenge of recognising women's experience goes beyondilluminating feminine work. It necessitates changing establishedseen-to-be "whole" conceptions of the past. This is not an easytask, as broad interpretive generalisations can be lost in theattempt to recover the private level of the family unit.Traditional historical geography may not suit such arestructuring so that it accommodates the private world of thefamily economy. Geographer Jeanne Kay suggests that "the broadscale at which historical geographers still work cannot easilyaccommodate either gender-balanced research nor useful tests ofcultural adaptation." 4 She believes that the need to move intothe private world will not be an easy task. With the size of unitstudied being so small, it will take considerablereconceptualisation to formulate broad generalisations.Recognition of the existence of a "dual economy" has begunto bridge the gap between the public and private worlds and posesnew interpretive challenges. The dual economy recognises women'swork as a vital component of the "public" economy, (that is, thatwhich is concerned with national and international markets andthe cash economy), as well as the internal functioning of thefarm. The influential staples thesis approach has been orientedtowards the public market and in doing so has seen economic forceas coming from outside of the family and the household. This hashad the effect of rendering the home irrelevant to research.To recognise the dual-economy is to relate women's labour4 Ibid., p.620.4to the process of capital accumulation. 5 Marjorie Griffin Cohenhas demonstrated that in Ontario the market did not govern thebulk of productive activity or labour. Furthermore, she arguesthat nineteenth century non-market activity was much more than anadjunct to market activity. Without women's non-market orientedproduction, the staples economy, in which resources are exportedfrom the periphery back to the core, would not have been able toexist. 6 Recognition of the dual-economy clears the path towardsreconceptualisation of the relationship between different formsof production, enabling women's work to be recognised where itwas previously excluded.The challenge ahead for historical geography is two fold.Women's experiences have to be uncovered. Second, empiricaldetails of these experiences have to be used to produce newconceptualisations. In the 1980s feminist geographers argued theneed for greater awareness of gender roles in geographicalenquiry. 7 The social construction of space with regard to labourbecame an important focus of contemporary, if not historicalgeographical inquiry.At the same time an emerging "women's history" was exploring5 M. Griffin Cohen, Women's Work, Markets and Economic Developmentin Nineteenth Century Ontario. Toronto: University of TorontoPress, 1988, p.12.6 By "women's domain" domestic tasks involved with housework, suchas cooking, are being referred to. It was necessary for thisfeminine work to be performed even in masculine lumber camps, wheremen were responsible for this sort of work.For some early examples see Antipode -A Radical Journal ofGeography, Women and the Environment, vol.16, no.3, 1984., Womenand Geography Study Group of the I.B.G., Geography and Gender- anIntroduction to Feminist Geography. London: Hutchinson, 1984., L.McDowell, "Toward an Understanding of the Gender Division of UrbanSpace". Environment and Planning: Society and Space, vol.1, 1983,pp.59-72., J. Foord, and N. Gregson, "Patriarchy. Towards aReconceptualisation". Antipode, vol.18, no.2, 1986, pp.186-211.8 N. Cott,1780-1835WomanhoodCambridgeSee L. Kealey (ed.), Not Unreasonable Claim: Women and Reform inCanada, 1880- 1920. Toronto: Women's Educational Press, 1979.The Bonds of Womanhood, "Woman's Sphere" in New England, . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977, and M. Ryan,in America, From Colonial Times to the Present. New York:University Press, 1981.5the distinction between the public and private spheres ofactivity. The spheres are evident in the nineteenth century asgendered spaces with strict ideological definitions surroundingthem. They are both a theoretical and an empirical construct. Theconceptualisation has been used to show the shaping of women'sattitudes as well as how women used the spheres. 8 The publicsphere was the space of masculinity, paid work, politics andrationality. Forming an opposite, the private sphere was thedomain of the feminine, unpaid work, subjectivity and care. Thedistinction, which was evident in nineteenth century thought andwriting, has revealed much about the shaping of the lives ofgirls and women.From its beginnings in the 1960s and 1970s women's historybegan to consider women's participation in the public sphere. Itdealt with political issues such as women's enfranchisement. 9Next scholars sought to uncover the private world. Historiansdetected the widespread articulation of the spheres and turnedthem into frameworks for research. 18 In the nineteenth centurythe spheres had served as strong guidelines to show women theirplace. Evidence of the spheres was found in many differentsources from church sermons to private diaries.Other historians including Marjorie Griffin Cohen and JoanJensen explored the economic side of women's domestic production,which contributed to the nineteenth century family farmto See N. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood, 1977.6economy. A segment of women's labour went to production foroutside markets, while some was concerned with the bearing andnurturing of future generations.The cult of domesticity was a persuasive attitude towardsthe home that also affected women's behaviour and aspirations. Itemphasised home as the natural place of woman. The cult was anideologically inspired movement which influenced the way in whichpeople thought, interacted in, and ordered their domestic lives.It was an urban, often religiously grounded, middle classmovement, but its influence extended far beyond these urban andsocial bounds. Many strove to conform to the cult of domesticity,even though few attained the incubated, nurturing homes that theywould have liked to have. 12 The sentiments which the cult ofdomesticity expressed were so widespread that even in rural NovaScotia sermons and oral histories described the home as woman's"natural" and proper place.The cult of domesticity has been used to contextualise theseparation of the public from the private world, and theincreasing separation of home and workplace withindustrialisation. 13 However, at the same time as innate skillsstemming from women's reproductive and nurturing capacityfostered perceptions of the home as woman's proper place, woman'swork was regarded as a vocation. Housework was important andbecame more scientific as new inventions became available.J.M. Jensen, Loosening The Bonds, Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.12 For discussions of the cult of domesticity see M. Ryan, Cradleof the Middle Class, 1981, and L. Davidoff, and C. Hall, FamilyFortunes. Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850. London: Hutchinson, 1987.13 For a treatment of how the cult of domesticity fits in withindustrial change, see J.A. Matthaei, An Economic History of Womenin America. New York: Schocken Books, 1982.7Childhood was treated as a distinct stage in life and the rearingof children was important work for women.Women's history has also explored "women's culture" . 14 Thisapproach attempts to flesh-out women's experience by using newsources and interpretations of behaviour. Emphasising women'sculture has stressed the need to look at particularly female waysof interaction. It also recognises that women's worlds of"intimacy, love and erotic passion" may have been distorted orignored. 15 Work on women's diaries by Carol Smith-Rosenbergreveals that "uniquely female rituals drew women together duringevery stage of their lives." The biological realities ofpregnancy, childbirth, nursing and menopause were experiencesthat bound women together.' 6This has given women a particular past that cannot bepresumed to mirror the portion of male reality that mosthistorians have chosen to highlight. Furthermore, it has beensuggested by some historians that women's sense of time wasdifferent from that of men.'' "Timely action" could be turningup to help a neighbour deliver a child. 18 Margaret Conrad alsola See M. Conrad, "Recording Angels" in A.L. Prentice and S. MannTrofimenkoff, The Neglected Majority, Essays in Canadian Women'sHistory_, vol.2. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985, and C.Smith-Rosenberg, "The Female World of Love and Ritual: RelationsBetween Women in Nineteenth Century America", Signs vol.', no.1,1975, pp.1-29.Smith-Rosenberg, C. "The Female World of Love and Ritual:Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America", 1975, p.4.16 Strong-Boag also sets out female rituals and traditions in,Strong- Boag, V., and A.C. Fellman, (eds.), Remaking Canada. The Promise of Women's History. Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1986.See V. Strong-Boag, Re-Making Canada, 1986, and M. Conrad"Recording Angels", 1985.See Strong-Boag, 1986, and Conrad, M., "Recording Angels: ThePrivate Chronicles of Women from the Maritime Provinces of Canada,1750-1950", 1985.8argues that place had specific meaning for women and that therewere home, kin and community spaces, to which women gave meaningand in which they exerted influence. 19 This is to say thatwomen's concepts of time and place differed considerably fromthose of their male counterparts. Any understanding of women'sexperience in the past therefore requires redefinition of theseconcepts. nHistorians have adopted a life-course approach to structurehistorical inquiry around themes other than masculineconstructions. Tamara Hareven has written of the interplaybetween family time and industrial time 21 , and others havewritten of female experience in private life-cycle contexts,rather than against a backdrop of public events. By consideringthe influence of the family unit upon decisions about work andlife, the gap between private and public worlds is bridged andthe home is seen as more than the site of reproduction. Thisreconceptualisation of the home moves away from the frameworksmost often used by "new" historians, concerned with thosepreviously condemned by E.P. Thompson, for underplayingproletariat experiences and determination. These Marxistapproaches are not especially sensitive to women in either thehome or the workplace. The life-course framework is useful indealing with how families made decisions. It has thrown light onthe important transitions in inter-personal relations and thelinks between behaviour and perception, and recognises women asexercising a considerable amount of power in shaping their lives,n Ibid., p.79.G.G. Campbell, "Canadian Women's History: A view from AtlanticCanada". Acadiensis, vol.xx, no.1, Autumn 1990, p.190.21 T.K. Hareven, Family Time and Industrial Time. New York:Cambridge University Press, 1982.9in the face of formidable constraints. 22Latest developmentsRecent studies of women's experience have utilised diversesources to form new interpretations. Environmental historianCarolyn Merchant has recently attempted to link feminism withnature. In doing so she makes ecological revolutions a frameworkfor her study of New England. 23 She shows that:the ontology and epistemology of the mechanisticworldview are deeply masculinist and exploitative ofnature, which has historically been characterised inthe female gender. —Ecology provides Merchant with a new ethic for groundinghuman relations with nature. Merchant considers the roles ofwomen in history in relation to nature, science and modernity. 25She offers a synthesis of ways that humans and the biosphere haveinteracted over time. This work is welcome to historicalgeography because it re-thinks women's relationship to the land.Here the links between historical geography and history areclosest. However, as the relationship between people and the landhas always been important to historical geographers, Merchant'swork is but is perhaps not so new or different. 26 The challenge22 T.K., Hareven, "The History of the Family and the Complexity ofSocial Change", The American Historical Review,  vol.96, no.1, 1991,p.118.23 C. Merchant, Ecological Revolutions. Chapel Hill: The Universityof North Carolina Press, 1989.24 Ibid., p.269.25 C. Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and theScientific Revolution. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1982.26 The emerging eco-feminist literature also contributes to, andoverlaps with, geography. For one example see J. Plant(ed.),Healing the Wounds- The Promise of Ecofeminism.  Philadelphia: NewSociety Publishers, 1989.10is to learn from Merchant's perspective so that women are seen tointeract directly with the environment, and to use this insightto reconceptualise the relationship between people and the land.Such approaches shift attention away from the private andpublic spheres approach, to offer a new general framework.Another strand of recent work questions whether there is a needto refer to an exclusively "women's history". Linda Kerber hasargued that the spheres framework has been used thoughtlessly andtoo broadly. Finding the spheres described as something imposedon women, as a culture created by women, and as a set ofboundaries expected to be observed by women she regards theideology as a "trope", or a term which has been used so often torefer to so many different behaviours that it has become chaotic.Moving "beyond the spheres" involves asking new, moresophisticated questions emphasising gender realtions. 27 A narrowwomen's history is giving way to an integrated, broader study ofthe past, concerned with social relations of the sexes and thesocial construction of the gendered subject."The perspective of this thesisIn trying to come to terms with women in mid-nineteenthcentury Nova Scotia, especially the women of Pictou County, Ihave attempted to draw upon recent work, as well as the olderpioneering work. To do this I assume that the idea of spheres isuseful in uncovering both how women felt and were treated, butthat a tool for research and theorising it has been used too27 L.J. Kerber, "Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: TheRhetoric of Women's History." Journal of American History, vol.75,no.1, 1988, pp.9-39.28 L.J. Kerber, et. al., "Beyond Spheres: Thinking about Gender inthe Early Republic." William and Mary Quarterly, 1989, p.583.11loosely.While I recognise the need, and see the importance ofexploring and giving credibility to a "women's culture", I alsosee the danger of doing this at the expense of separating women'sculture, and hence, failing to reconstruct "the whole". Here Ibelieve that focusing on gender relations might reconcile men'sand women's history, by recognising differences, and analysinghow they interact and mould each other. Women and men did notexist in isolation, and their gendered interaction warrantsexploration and elaboration.This work follows the life-course approach. This distancesthe thesis from the industrial, masculine divisions of time.These divisions distort change and risk exaggerating events atthe expense of continuity. Furthermore, they fail to do justiceto the private world and ignore the fact that lives haveinternal, biological meaning which is not dependant on it being1850 or 1870.Each of the chapters that follow deals with a specific stagein the lives of girls and women in the mid-nineteenth century.Childhood, "adolescence", womanhood and widowhood each haveconceptual meaning and were associated with very rigid patternsof behaviour. Childhood was a time of beginnings and learningones's place. Adolescence, as it was increasingly beingconceptualised and termed in the nineteenth century, was a timeof growing up and moving away from home. Womanhood meant being amother and worker, ideally in the space of the home, with aspouse. Widowhood, unique as a phase of life in that it couldhappen to any married woman, regardless of age, was neverthelessassociated with old age, the loss of a husband and oftendependency on a son or a daughter. Furthermore, these life phasesalso represent women's changing life relationships, and12importantly, their spatial location.If a separatist impression of the lives of girls and womenemerges, I hope that this has been necessary as an intermediarystep only. For the purposes of my thesis I have found itnecessary to keep men in the background, while illuminating womenso that in time men can be included, in a new, holisticinterpretation.Setting the contextIn 1871 Nova Scotia had a population of 387 800 people; itwas the second smallest of the four original provinces ofCanada. 29 In north central Nova Scotia, Pictou county had eightper cent of Nova Scotia's population, with 32 114 people. Most ofthe population of Pictou lived on farms. In 1850 farmingaccounted for 63 per cent of the labour force. m Twenty yearslater the census placed 5154 people in the agricultural class,2611 in the industrial, 697 in the commercial, 452 in thedomestic, 346 in the professional, and left 692 unassigned. nThe Pictou Town census district was the most heavilypopulated with 3462 people. The newer town of New Glasgow and itsdistrict had two and a half thousand people. It was followed veryclosely by the established farming area of Middle River, and thenthe industrial Albion Mines area. The least populous district was29 Census of Canada 1871, vol.2 p.362. New Brunswick had thesmallest population with 285 594 people. Ontario had the largest,with 1 620 851 people, and Quebec was next with 1 191 516 R. Ommer, "Anticipating the Trend: The Pictou Ship Register,1840-1889." Acadiensis, vol.x, no.1, Autumn 1980, Census of Canada 1871.13in the far south of the county, New Lairg, with only 590 people.For those living in Pictou County, isolation was not asdramatic as in many parts of Canada. The area in the north of thecounty, closest to the Northumberland Straight, was settledfirst. This included the land around Pictou Town, which wasextensively settled with established small lots of land at mid-century. Settlement had proceeded along the arteries of the East,West and Middle Rivers, generally shunning the hills whichsurround the harbour."Despite the relatively high density of settlement everywhereexcept in the southern, more isolated parts of the county, badweather in winter, as well as the generally poor state of roads,meant that individual farms could be cut off from theirneighbours. Roads were dirt tracks, worn-in by horse hooves andcart wheels. Neighbours in the surrounding farms were likely tobe relations, or members of the same clan, or an extended family.Mixed farming was typical of Pictou County. Most farmsproduced some wool, spring wheat, buckwheat, oats, potatoes andturnips. Milch cows, sheep, swine and cattle roamed and fed inthe acres. Apples were the main fruit and musk rats were theanimal most trapped for fur. In 1871 Pictou produced more butterand homemade cloth than any other county in Nova Scotia, and wassecond to Queen's County in the amount of homemade linenproduced."Women's occupations on the farm involved both production andreproduction. Women were active in the production of cloth,cheese, butter, candles and soap. The amounts of these goods made32 L.D McCann, "The Mercantile-Industrial Transition in the MetalTowns of Pictou County, 1857-1931." Acadiensis, vol.x, no.2,Spring, 1981, p.33.Census of Canada, 1871 vol.3, p.220. 183 008 yards of cloth wereproduced.14varied from farm to farm. In Pictou County in 1850, the lessproductive farms were producing a lower limit of 12 yards ofunfulled cloth, whereas an upper limit of around 80 yards wasreached by other farms. Most farms produced between 10 and 50yards of both fulled and unfulled cloth. 34 Handlooms wererecorded only occasionally; in 1851 approximately 1 out of 5homes recorded a handloom and there was little increase by 1860-61. On those farms that produced candles and soap the value ofoutput ranged from 10 shillings to 30 shillings. A cluster offarms produced from 12 to 20 pounds of butter a year, whileanother cluster produced 50 to 60 pounds a year. A small numberof farms produced as much as 500 pounds a year. 35 Cheeseproduction in mid-century Pictou County followed a similarpattern. A cluster of farms produced approximately 20 pounds;another cluster reported 50 pounds; a few 200 pounds. Accordingto the censuses of 1851 and 1861, approximately one third of allhouseholds produced no cheese at all. 0 Maple sugar began to berecorded in the 1861 census and households reported amountsranging, in general, from 20 pounds to 100 pounds, with a few ashigh as 150 pounds.As well as farming, Pictou County had a significantindustrial and commercial side. In 1850 Pictou produced 51.8 percent of Nova Scotia's coal. The Albion Mines and New Glasgowareas were industrial sites and the lifestyles of the peopleworking and living around the mines followed different timeschedules and work patterns to those in the rural areas of PictouCounty. Ethnic backgrounds were also different, withCensus of Canada, 1851.Census of Canada, 1851 and 1861.36 Ibid.15proportionately more Irish and English people working in theindustrial areas, although people of Scottish origin still madeup the majority."The segment of the population employed in manufacturingworked in tobacco manufactures, the pottery factory, the spinningwheel factory, or as employees in dressmaking." The variety andnumber of consumer goods available increased as more businessesopened. The Saturday market in Pictou Town was bustling withbusiness; farmers came with their families from the surroundingarea to sell their produce and buy what they needed.In Pictou County most farms were occupied by one family,which sometimes was extended to include elderly widows. Elderlypeople were accommodated on the family farm, either in a room inthe farmhouse, or in a house of their own. An analysis of wills,suggests that patriarchs had an average of five living childrenat the time they prepared their will."Family size was relatively small in Pictou County, not onlydue to deaths of children, but also because of fertility levels.In 1871 fertility rates in Nova Scotia were the lowest inCanada." The outmigration of young people from the province andthe noted low fertility of women of Scottish background may havecontributed to this low fertility. 41 The average age of marriagefor women in Nova Scotia in 1871 was over 25 years, with aCensus of Canada 1871, vol.', p.328.313 Census of Canada 1871, vol.3, p.414."Pictou County Wills Reel 935. Registry of Probate Wills v.3 1836-1855, and Registry of Probate Wills v.4 1855-69.40 The fertility rate was 3.91 children per woman. M. Conrad, T.Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home. Diaries and Letters ofNova Scotia Women 1771-1938. Halifax: Formac Publishing CompanyLimited, 1988, p.13.41 Ibid.16variation from a low of under 24 in the Western Counties ofLunenberg, Shelburne, Annapolis and Kings, to a high of over 28in the Scottish-settled counties. 42In Pictou County men were on average a few years older thanwomen at marriage. No males in the 1871 census married under 21years. In comparison 55 females were married before they reached21. 43 In British North America as a whole in 1851 lifeexpectancy at birth was 42 years." However, from birth to fiveyears of age there were a high number of deaths. Once this riskyage had been passed, adults might expect to live into theirsixties or seventies. There were two centurions in Pictou in1871. °On average mid-nineteenth century women outlived men inBritish North America. There were differences in the causes ofdeaths of women and men. Men did not die during childbirth.However, there were also important similarities in causes ofdeath. Consumption was the most common cause of death and withoutknown cures other diseases such as scarlet fever and sicknessessuch as dysentery could be lethal."The people of Nova Scotia were predominantly Protestant.Nearly 60 per cent of the population at 1851 and 1871 werePresbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Congregational or Lutheran. 47Pictou County was overwhelmingly Presbyterian. In 1871, 39 of thecounty's 52 churches were Presbyterian. The remainder were42 Ibid., p.14.Census of Canada 1871, vol.3, p.424.44 M. Conrad, T. Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home. p.14.45 Census of Canada 1871.4647 M. Conrad, T. Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home, p.10.17Catholic(4), Church of England(4), Baptist(3) andmethodist(2). 48 Eighty five per cent of the people identifiedthemselves as Presbyterian." Access to a church was very easyfor people in Pictou, with small settlements having substantialplaces of worship.The high number of Presbyterians is not surprisingconsidering that 73 per cent of the population of Pictou in 1871claimed Scottish origins. Scottish immigration to Nova Scotia hadbegun in 1772, with Pictou County absorbing the largest number ofimmigrants. The scattered indigenous Micmac people had beennumerically and culturally overwhelmed. At mid-century, the Scotsmade up the largest ethnic group in Nova Scotia. m Irish andEnglish origins were the next most common.Although their origins were mainly in Great Britain, by themid-century the vast majority of people in Nova Scotia, (andPictou County) had been born in Nova Scotia. In Pictou County,after the majority of Nova Scotia born, as might be expected, theBritish Isles, especially Scotland, was the highest overseasplace of birth. England followed behind, and Ireland was third.New Brunswick and The United States of America were neighbouringplaces that each contributed small numbers of people. 5148 Census of Canada 1871, vol.3, p.444.49 Census of Canada 1871, vol.', p.238.So M. Conrad, T. Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home, p.9.51 Census of Canada 1871.18CHAPTER TWOBEGINNINGSIn mid-nineteenth Century Nova Scotia, children grew upunder a myriad of conditions and expectations. Some expectationswere held of both girls and boys, who were to spend theirchildhood establishing the basis of their future individuality.'Institutions such as the Church and government imposedconstraints and kept watch on children to make sure that theybehaved appropriately. Aunts, uncles, family friends and teacherswere among the many people who played a part in influencingchildren. However, mothers were accorded the most vital role inthe upbringing of children. The mother was at the centre of thetask of guiding children through their childhood and endowingthem with the behaviours which would equip them for life.MotherloveIn 1853 eleven year old Catharine Martha Logan of Pictoupainstakingly stitched a sampler. Its hymn-like message reveals agood deal about contemporary attitudes toward children. Thesampler is not only evidence of the work of girls at mid-century,but also reveals attitudes imposed on them by adults.The lillies of the field,That quickly fade away.May well to us a lesson yield,Who die as soon as they.Then let us think on death,Though we are young and gay.For God who gave us life and breath,Can take them both away.Jesus Christ was meek and mild,J.A. Matthaei, An Economic History of Women in America. NewYork: Schocken Books, 1982, p.108.19He no angry thoughts allowed.How then shall a sinful child,Dare to be perverse and proud?There is a God that reigns above,Lord of the heavens and earth and seas.I fear his wrath I ask his love and with,His lips I sing his praise. 4The tone of the sampler is careful, cautious and indicates thatCatharine was to be devout in her religion, modest in hertemperament and accepting, yet wary of death.On the sampler the verses are arranged around a picture of ahouse. The house is surrounded by trees. Flowers bloom next tothe trees and a bird and a dog are at home in the garden. Thesewere symbols of a child's surroundings. The aesthetics which thesampler expressed were middle class sentiments, concerned withhealthy vegetation, friendly, clean animals and a sturdy,picture-perfect house, symbolically at the centre of the sampler,as it was to be at the centre of the child's upbringing. Thesesentiments which the sampler expressed were representative ofbroad themes in children's thoughts and beliefs and hence thesampler can be read as a symbol of what it was like to be a girlin mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia.Dealing with death was part of life. Examples aboundthroughout the nineteenth century. In 1837 Musquodoboit Valleyresident Jane Sprott and her classmates planted three rose bushesin memory of three children killed by disease. 3 In 1851 AmeliaIsabella King Hill recorded that scarlet fever had claimed the2 From a sampler on the wall of The Stewart House Museum, NewGlasgow, Pictou County.3 John Sprott, Letters 1837. Journal kept by Jane KennaSprott, daughter of Reverend John Sprott, when nine years old,Musquodoboit Valley. PANS BIBLIOGRAPHY, 13 May 1837.20lives of more than forty children in Windsor. 4 In 1868, SusanDunlap of Stewiacke wrote in her diary "heard Lucy Bentley wasdead, a solumn(sic) warning to us all to prepare to meet thyGod." 5 Children were often taught to refer to death usingreligious imagery.Children were vulnerable to the many diseases which couldnot always be cured. In 1864 in Pictou County, the most commoncause of death among children and infants was scarlet fever."Sorethroat", intero colitis, dysentry, whooping cough and consumptionalso claimed many victims. 6 Approximately one third of thepopulation in both Nova Scotia and Pictou died in their infantand childhood years.' Hence it is not surprising that CatharineLogan's sampler makes reference to the fragility of life.The mother figure was an essential part of the home in mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia. The presence and influence of amother was seen as a vital part of a girl's childhood. In theChildren's Corner of The Christian Instructor in 1859 a pieceentitled "No Mother" reads:She has no mother! What a volume of sorrowful truth iscomprised in that single sentence- no mother! Who nowshall administer the needed counsel- who now shall tamethe wayward fancies, who now shall bear with the errorsand failings of the motherless girl?People believed that there would be difficulty in thediscipline and care of a motherless daughter. Fathers contributed4 Isabella King Hill, Richmond Hill, Windsor, Nova Scotia,PANS, 20 October, 1851.5 G.C. Campbell, "Susan Dunlap: Her Diary." The DalhousieReview, vol. 46, 1966-67, p.215.6 PANS R.G. Series WB vol.44 Deaths. Pictou County 1864-1877,and M. Conrad, T. Laidlaw, and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home. Halifax: Formac Publishing Company Limited, 1988, p.14.Ibid.8 The Christian Instructor 1859-1860.21to the upbringing of their daughters, and often showed affectiontoward them. Pictou merchant William Rudolf Norman wrote in hisdiary that he had "felt stupid and sleepy all day, in consequenceof being very much disturbed last night" because his babydaughter's bottle of milk was spilt in his bed, making it verywet and uncomfortable. 9 The presence of the baby in his bed, aswell as his disturbed, but accepting attitude towards the wholeaffair, indicate that Norman felt very close to his child. Normancomments on the amount of work which children cause, but remarks"yet who would not willingly endure it all to be rewarded bytheir sweet smiles and innocent prattle?" 1°In mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia, however, women wereregarded as the natural caregivers to children and wereresponsible for much of the work associated with them. In 1853Reverend Sedgewick of Halifax articulated what he thought to bethe natural aptitude of women with children when he declared in aspeech on woman's place:but that this great work, like all others, is naturallydivided between the sexes, the nobler government ofchildren belonging to women, the less noblergovernment, of adults to man. —Sedgewick was willing to admit that being a mother was "greatwork". It was seen as vital in the preparation of children foradulthood. Women also had God on their side, to aid them in their"natural" capacity to bestow children with what was righteous.Motherlove involved mothers being affectionate yet strictwith their children. In return, children were to show affection,9 William Norman Rudolf, Pictou 1862-74. PANS Micro.Bibliography, 30 October Ibid.Rev, R. Sedgewick,"The Proper Sphere and Influence of Womanin Christian Society." Halifax: James Barnes, 1856, p.13.22obedience and devotion. In The Juvenille Entertainer, a journalread to children in Pictou, a story articulated the proper wayfor dying children to react.My mother fare thee well! Alas for thee! Who now shallsoothe thy widowed waning age, and cheer with love'sbright beams life's evening hour?Children were warned in no uncertain terms of the harm thatdisobedience could cause. These warnings came from the Churchthrough biblical references, as well as through Christiannewspapers, which were read to children by their parents.Children were taught to feel that they were being watched by aGod who could see everything that they were doing, all of thetime. The Christian Instructor recalled the story of a boy whosebad behaviour killed his mother. The last words he said to hismother were "I don't love you now mother", after which she"strangled to death coughing.Humour focused on the permanency of a mother's influence.For example, the humour section of The Mechanic and Farmercontained the joke, " 'a mother leaves a lasting impression onher child' as the woman said when she gave her son a severe whackin the face". 13 Discipline applied to both girls and boys. Therewas a common expectation of how they should behave, withdifferent expectations being held of older children. Descriptionsof what girls or boys should be conjured up miniature versions ofadults. 14 There were gender variations in appropriate behaviour,12 The Christian Instructor, 1859-60, p.178. Published and readin Pictou County.13 The Gatherer, humour section of The Mechanic and Farmer, 7July 1841. Published and read in Pictou County.14 The idea of what constituted a "child" was changing in thenineteenth century. Aries believes that childhood was theprivileged age of the nineteenth century, as adolescence is of thetwentieth. In the nineteenth century it was new for childhood to beconceived as a separate phase in the life-cycle. P Aries, Centuries 23with girls' demeanours being softer than boys. Catharine Logan'ssampler, with its home, trees, flowers and bird expressedsentiments of sweetness and harmony. The children's section ofThe Mechanic and Farmer in 1843 contained an item on The KindLittle Girl:But she, sweet girl, was kind and good which is betterthan to be rich. Riches have spoiled a great manygirl, but Lulu had no chance to be spoiled in thisway. —Children and workIn a land where there was no end of work to be done,children in Canada could provide prosperity, and in mercenaryterms, were worth the cost of raising them. "Children, the burdenof our poor man in England are in Canada the greatest blessing"wrote one man.' 6 Each new child was a potential contributor oflabour and real income to the family farm. Hence, it is notsurprising that as soon as they were able, farmer's daughterswere given chores appropriate to their gender, such as sewingseeds, and gathering wood and berries.'' At an early age girlswere taught how to sew and knit, and the eldest daughter in thefamily was allocated the responsibility of caring for youngerof ehilanooa. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962, The Mechanic and Farmer, 1843, R. Ball, "A Perfect Farmer's Wife" Women in NineteenthCentury Rural Ontario." Canada: An Historical Magazine, vol.3,no.2, 1975, p.2. This was a common sentiment in nineteenth centuryCanada. See also, G. Wynn, "On the Margins of Empire (1760-1840)."in C. Brown(ed.), The Illustrated History of Canada. Toronto:Lester Orpen Dennys Ltd., 1987, pp.189-278.Ibid., p.3.24children, in addition to carrying out her share of chores. 18These tasks were training for the time when girls would becomewomen, capable of passing on their skills to their own daughters.The spaces and activities of children's work in Canada weregendered. Child care was assumed to be for girls, following ideasof women's innate capacity as caregivers and nurturers. From sixyears old it was acceptable for girls to mind siblings. 19 Fromeight to twelve years a girl might perform chores within thehouse, such as sweeping, washing dishes, setting the table, andpreparing simple meals. Outside work was also done by girls.Leading horses with loads of hay, and tending the vegetablegarden took girls out of the home, if not beyond its vicinity.Girl's work was also seasonal. Girls were likely to work thehardest in spring and summer when the everyday household choreswere swollen by the laundry and feeding requirements of hired18 There is widespread evidence of the contribution of childrenin nineteenth century North America to the farm economy. Mary Ryannotes in Oneida county that "sons and daughters were not exemptedfrom the laborious duties of running the family economy. Infact,they were taught even as infants to conceive of themselves asworkers as well as children."( M. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class.New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p.26.) Neither is itappropriate to think that parents thought any less of theirchildren because they expected them to work. The family dependedupon interdependency and mutual help.J.A. Matthaei also notes that "in a family economy childrenwere treated as little workers, and workers were treated aschildren.( . J.A. Matthaei, 1986, p.22.) Childhood in a rural areawas training for the day when children would continue theirparents' jobs.( Ibid., . p.35.) Children were perceived to beeconomically useful on the farm, and hence, work was not onlyessential to the functioning of the farm, but offered as relevanta training as any school might offer. It is interesting to notethat the way in which a girl's future career as a farmer was takenless seriously may be why Kett writes that for girls theopportunity costs of advanced education were negligible; hence theypersisted longer in school than did their brothers. (J.F. Kett,Rites of Passage- Adolescence in America 1790 to the Present. NewYork: Basic Books inc., 1977, p.115.)19 J. Parr, Labouring Children. Montreal, McGill-Queen'sUniversity Press, 1980, p.83.25men. 20 However, as girls also worked in the home, helping withcooking, washing and childcare, their work was not as seasonal asthat of boys, who spent more time helping outside, and hence weremore dependent upon the seasons.Tasks were allocated with the gender of a child in mind, butthey were also allocated according to personality. Susan Dunlap,in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia in 1815, tended to be allocated thepots and pans to wash, while her sister Mary collected maple sapand picked apples. 21 In her diary, Susan Dunlap tells howchurning was a daily chore, which she and her sister wereallocated. 22 Working flax from freshly picked stalks to wovencloth, and making soap and candles also went to the girls in theDunlap family.It is difficult to gauge whether families valued boys morethan girls. Certainly, in a rural area where farms were passedfrom generation to generation, a male heir was desirable. 23However, girls were not considered generally inferior. A popularCanadian medical journal in 1882 held that there were "noessential differences, mental or moral, between the boy and thegirl". 24Various coping strategies could be employed by families toensure the education of more than one child. Susan Dunlap's20 Ibid., p.83.21 G.G. Campbell, "Susan Dunlap: Her Diary." The DalhousieReview, vol.46, 1966-67, p.222.22 Ibid., p.219.23 Perrot writes that "As heir the child represented thefamily's future, its projected image of itself, its dream, and itsway of doing battle with time and death."(M. Perrot,(ed.), AHistory of Private Life. p.196.)24 "The Practical Home Physician and Encyclopedia of Medicine:A Guide for the Household Management of Disease", p.872, 1882. InJ. L'Esperance, The Widening Sphere: Women in Canada 1870-1940.26family sent Susan and her sister to school in turn. A month atschool was followed by a month at home. There were large demandson time and effort for both girls and boys. However, girls'education could take second place to that of boys. Jane MacKayRutherford noted in her recollections that in the 1860s and 1870sin Pictou County girls "usually stayed home and worked forneighbours". 25Children and schoolThe education of girls varied according to familycircumstance, wealth, the availability of schools and attitudesof parents and educators. Isabella MacIntosh notes that she"didn't do much to help at home. I went to school. I taughtschool. So that kind of spoiled my career as a farmer." 26 Othergirls left school upon the death of a mother to look afteryounger brothers and sisters. This was the situation of ananonymous woman in Pictou County in the 1870s, who later went onto be an apprentice dress-maker. 27In Nova Scotia, education became more important as thenineteenth century went on. Reformers such as Alexander Forresterproposed "that the prosperity of all should be taxed for theeducation of all." 28 Forrester was concerned because only aneighth of the population of Nova Scotia was at school, and the25 "I came from.Pictou County", Recollections of Jane MacKayRutherford." Recorded and edited by Margaret Rutherford Davidson,Ottawa, 1975, p.5.26 Mrs I. MacIntosh, OH 21,1, Hector Centre. Mrs. MacIntosh isrecalling a date around 1850.27 OH 169 p.17, Hector Centre.28 A. Forrester, Address to the People of Nova Scotia on theSupport of Common Schools (n.p.n.d.) pp.1-22, 1860.27average period of attendance was not more than six or sevenmonths a year. Forrester and his supporters believed that the keyto improving the province was through better standards ofeducation and higher attendance in schools.Public school reforms in Nova Scotia led to more schools,more teachers, increased state control and the opportunity formore girls to be educated. These reforms contributed to thealready strong position of education in Pictou County. Pictou wasproud of the quality of its schools. In 1862 Pictou merchantWilliam Rudolf Norman noted with pride in his diary that he:Attended an examination at Miss Christie's school foran hour this morning and was interested to see and hearthe children going throligh their lessons with so muchpleasure to themselves.He noted that "these schools are very different from those Iwent to when a boy". 30The strong Presbyterianism of the county and the efforts ofa few key influential individuals insured that education was apriority, politically, as well as to the public. Pictou's 172teachers at the 1871 census were second in number only to WestHalifax(186). 31 With approximately six thousand children in thecounty of school age, this was a student-teacher ratio of thirtyfour potential students to one teacher.A graduate of The University of Glasgow, Thomas McCullochwas the founder of The Pictou Academy. Influenced by the ScottishEnlightenment, in 1811 the Academy became the official governmentgrammar school and thus qualified for one hundred and fifty29 ^Norman Rudolf, Pictou 1862-74, 4 March 1862.30 Ibid. It is unclear where Rudolf went to school, but thesystem to which he is referring would have been very similar ineither Great Britain. or British North America.31 Census of Canada 1871, vol.2, p.344.28pounds of support each year from the legislature. 32 The Academyalso received donations from Scotland, as well as from the peopleof Pictou. There was to be full equality of educationalopportunity, with the wealthy paying fees for their children,while the poor attended free of charge." It built a strongreputation and provided Nova Scotia and Canada with manyprofessionals including missionaries, ninety doctors, more thanthree hundred ministers and newspaper editors. 34 McCulloch diedin 1843, leaving behind a lasting educational legacy. Among thescholars produced was Sir William Dawson, geologist, principal ofMcGill University, and president of The Royal Society.Women's contribution in the "production" of Pictou'sprofessionals was most often as mothers or teachers. Womenthemselves were not making discoveries and advancing scientificfrontiers. Instead their contribution came in the home orschoolhouse. Women did exert an important influence. According toone biographer, the mother of Pictou's famed pharmacist J.D.B.Fraser "was obviously an educated woman and the importance oflearning was no doubt impressed upon the lad"."Education in Pictou was steadfast, rational, and verymasculine and "scientific". McCulloch wanted to establish aninstitution of higher learning based upon a liberal philosophy ofeducation, and suitable for training native colonials for thePresbyterian ministry. M It was probably due to the strong32 ^Whitelaw, Thomas McCulloch, His Life and Times. Halifax:1985, p.7.33 B. MacDonald, "Intellectual Forces in Pictou, 1803-1843."M.A. Thesis, U.N.B. 1977, p.2.34 Ibid., p.38.35 A.C. Dunlop, "Pharmacist and Entrepreneur, Pictou's J.B.D.Fraser", pamphlet PANS v/f vol. 260 #24.36 B. MacDonald "Intellectual Forces in Pictou", 1977, p.3.29Presbyterian values of Pictou that women did not enter teachingas quickly as elsewhere in Nova Scotia. There were close tiesbetween the Pictou Academy and the scientific agriculturalcampaign of Lowland Scotland. Jotham Blanchard was a student ofMcCulloch's who exemplified the attitudes of McCulloch when in1830 he went to The British House of Commons and told how thePictou Academy was:the only place of learning in the British Empire to thebest of my belief where the physical sciences aretaught...The Pictou institution is the only place wherea useful and scientific education sic) can be had andconsequently where persons of rationalpolitics can beprepared to meet on general terms with those ofcontrary principles.Due to the efforts of McCulloch and others in Pictou, thecounty was in a healthy position (because of its academy andestablished educational system) to benefit from the introductionof more rigorous training for girls and women teachers alike."Indeed, by 1887 advocates of public school reform claimed to havecaused a "great awakening both on the part of women themselves,and the foremost educators of our time, as regards thecapabilities and needs of women in the matter of education". 39The Pictou Academy was co-educational, with an "excellent37 A. Wood, "Thomas McCulloch's Use of Science in Promoting aLiberal Education." Acadiensis, vol.xvii, no.1, Autumn 1987, p.56.38 J. Guildford,""Separate Spheres" and the Feminization ofPublic School Teaching in Nova Scotia, 1838-1880." Unpublishedpaper, 1990, p.17. This is also supported by B. Anne Wood, whostates that "the internal politics of the Church of Scotland, itsmissionary policies and the social reformist agenda of itsevangelical leaders, both in Scotland and in Nova Scotia wereimportant factors in the shaping of public opinion in support ofState schooling in Nova Scotia."( B. Anne Wood "The Significance ofEvangelical Presbyterian Politics in the Construction of StateSchooling: A Case Study of the Pictou District, 1817-1866."Acadiensis Vol.XX no.2 Spring 1991, p.64.)39 "Educational Advantages for Girls in the MaritimeProvinces." The Education Review: New Brunswick, June, 1887, InR.Clare, "Historical Notes. Centennial Education of Women at MountAllison", Mount Allison University Special Collections, p.260.30curriculum extending over a four year's course."" How long theAcademy had been co-educational is difficult to confirm. Therewere girls attending in the 1880s. A notebook kept by ChristinaRoss Barker, who attended the Pictou Academy in 1882 survives. Itis filled with algebra and Virgil's Aneid. 41There were possibilities for a privileged minority of girlsfrom Pictou County to pursue their studies to a high level.Pictou County was fortunate in being relatively close to MountAllison Wesleyan College in Sackville, New Brunswick. From 1857some girls from Pictou went there to pursue a higher education.It was a privileged minority of girls from Pictou's urban areaswho were able to continue their studies. Those sent to MountAllison were largely from Pictou Town and The Albion Mines. 42This was probably because there was no farm to work on, and beinga farmer's wife was not the only vocation to be trained for.Efforts to improve education in Nova Scotia do appear tohave influenced Pictou's attitude to the education of girls.Pictou had fewer female teachers than other parts of Nova Scotiain the early nineteenth century, but there was increasingattention given to the education of girls in the hope that theywould be "less frivilous" (sic) and that this would help overcomeIbid., p.259. By 1832 The Academy had changed its curriculumfrom a college level, professional programme, to a more broadlypractical programme which appealed to a much larger constituency.The programme developed was nearly identical to the B.A. at GlasgowUniversity. B. Anne Wood, "The Significance of EvangelicalPresbyterian Politics", p.69.41 Notebook of Christina Ross Barker, 1882-3. No.Allison University Special Collections.42 The Academy of Females at Mount Allison startedMary E. Adams as preceptress. It was at Mount AllisonGrace Annie Lockhart became the first woman to receivedegree from a university in The Commonwealth."Historical Notes.", p.177.)8367. Mountin 1854 within 1875 thata Bachelor's(R. Clare,31the prejudice against the higher education of women."Changing attitudes towards the education of girls and easieraccess to education allowed a growing number of girls to continuetheir education to high levels in the second half of thenineteenth century. Middle class attitudes saw education as aworthy pursuit for women. It would improve their capacity tostrive towards being "true women" of accomplishment.Play and fascinationLife was not all work and school for girls in Pictou County;as children they also took time to play. In the Christmas seasonthere were recitations and songs by children." Winter broughtsnow, and the chance to escape from often cramped houseconditions and, perhaps, to make crude skis or iceskates. TheP.T. Barnum circus visited yearly from 1872, and included theNova Scotia giantess upon whom children as well as adults gazedin wonder. The giantess, Annie Swan, was from Pictou County, andhad been an exceptionally large child. At five years of age shewas four feet and eight inches tall and weighed over one hundredpounds. By the age of seventeen she weighed 329 pounds and had ashoe size of sixteen and a half. 45Children found wonder in such unusual people, and theirimaginations were further fuelled by stories of fairies in thewoods. Children themselves could be the subject of extraordinaryevents. In 1880 quintuplets were born in Pictou County. All of"EducationalAdvantages for Girls in the MaritimeProvinces", 1887, in R. Clare, "Historical Notes", p.260.44 ^Cameron, About New Glasgow, New Glasgow: The HectorPublishing Company Limited. 1962, p.3.45 "Annie Swan", PANS M.G. 1. vol.2027, #16.32the babies died soon after birth. The imagination of a "yankeeshowman" was sparked, and he offered the parents a large amountof money for the bodies." The parents did not want to give thebodies of their dead children away. However, they did place allfive bodies in tiny rosewood caskets in their home. For threemonths many people came to see the remains, which were thensecretly buried for fear that some people's imaginations wouldnot yet have been satisfied.The giantess and the quintuplets offer a macabre insightinto children's, and adult's, fascination with difference andsome of the bizarre tales and events which breathed depth intotheir lives. People were spurred on by a gothic victorianimagination, that made it acceptable, in a daring way, to viewoften unfortunate situations for entertainment.Children and the lawChildren were dependent on adults, and if adults were unableto care for them, children could sense the trouble anddifficulties. They were very much a part of the legal system inNova Scotia. Children could be both an excuse for deviance and areason for levity. A child in the custody of a pauper was causefor sympathy. Aid to widows, especially those with children, wasgiven by benevolent societies. For example, a widow and her fourchildren were given free coal by a Pictou benevolentassociation. 47 In January 1853 Effie Hymen, a widow who couldnot support herself, or her children, was among the recipients ofmoney for paupers from the Overseers of the poor for the Albion46 R.H. Sherwood, Pictou Parade. Sackville N.B.: The TribunePress, 1945, p.89.PANS R.G. 5 Series P vol.85 # 105.33Mines Poor District.But behaviour did not always conform to the law. It was notuntil the mid-nineteenth century that legislation was enactedenabling women to apply for legal custody of their children upondivorce." Although fathers had the legal right to theirchildren for much of the nineteenth century, and the Nova Scotiacourt awarded custody to only two of nine women who requested itbetween 1866 and 1893, children usually stayed with theirmothers." In the 1849 case of McLean v. McLean custody of thechildren was given to Hector, who had left his wife and hischildren for three years, while he went to the States, on thegrounds that his wife's character was unsuitable for childcustody because she had illegally remarried while Hector wasaway, and had borne another child. Despite his irresponsibilityin disappearing, Hector was said to be a good husband who senthis children to school.ConclusionsChildhood was the time of least gender difference. Girls andboys were subjected to the same ideologies and taught how tobehave in similar ways, in dealing with death, in manners,respect for elders and bizarre events. Indeed, individualpersonality could play a more important part in behaviour thangender.However, despite these similarities differences becameincreasingly apparent as children got older and were socialised48 R. Vienott, "The Changing Status of Women in Nova Scotia1850-1900." September 1989, M.A. Thesis, Dalhousie University,p.67.49 Ibid., p.67.3 4into being either boys or girls. Children were given differenttypes of work in different locations; girls became skilled in thearea of the home and its surrounds, while boys were made usefulin the fields, and operating the farm equipment. Girls weretaught to be "little mothers", learning all of the behavioursthis entailed such as humility, thinking of others before self,and being kind and caring. On the other hand, boys becameboisterous and assertive, and developed skills which would beuseful to them in the public sphere of government, commerce andthe marketplace, if they ventured away from the farm.The difference in treatment of girls and boys came intofocus at school. Education was considered more essential and wasgenerally taken to a higher level for boys, than it was forgirls. This was because girls would not need an education fortheir future career as wives and mothers. The role of the motherenjoyed high status at mid-century. The increasing importanceplaced upon the training of children as a vocation meant that itwas becoming preferable for women to be educated, so that theywould be fully equipped to advise and guide the next generation.35CHAPTER THREEBECOMINGOn Sabbath morning I heard Reverend Mr Pollockpreach at West River to the plainest, neatestcongregation I ever saw. No crinoline rising over thetop of the pew doors when young ladies were entering.If any New Brunswick boy wants a wife, not ashamed towork, let him go to West River, and there he will findthe red cheeked ( healthy scotch lassie. But the pianothey play at this time of the year is the hay rake swhich goes far to make them so healthy and hearty.So in 1863 observed a contributor to The Sackville Borderer. The piece valued the young women of West River, Pictou Countyfor their practical skills and good health. Such observations rancounter to contemporary ideologies articulated by the Churchwhich viewed women as gentle and fragile. For the majority ofthose involved, young womanhood was a time to develop bothpractical and behavioural skills. These skills were concernedwith home and its surrounds. They included caring for children,raking hay and also making cloth. Behaviourally, young women wereto be resourceful, competent, obedient and imitate their mothers.At the same time as they helped out with the harvest, young womenwere being initiated into the realm of courtship. In many waysyoung womanhood was a time of transition, as well asanticipation. Young women increasingly entered the teachingprofession, but for a limited time only, as upon marriage theirteaching days would be over. Despite the amounts of work done byyoung women, in comparison with what would come later, youngwomanhood was the calm before the storm.Pictou County Females, item taken from The Sackville Borderer,New Brunswick 1863, in G. MacLaren, The Pictou Book- Stories of OurPast. New Glasgow: The Hector Publishing Company Ltd., 1954.36Young Women's WorkYoung women worked hard in mid-century Pictou. Like theirsisters in the rest of Canada they had to contend with a heavydomestic workload which included cleaning floors, grates, stovesand washing clothes. 2 If girls were not working in their ownhomes, chances were that they would be employed in anotherhousehold. 3 In 1871, 380 (92%) of Pictou's 413 servants werefemale. Only Cape Breton and the city of Halifax had a higherpercentage of female servants, and the percentage for Nova Scotiaas a whole was 82. Most female servants were in their teens;twelve percent of the eleven to twenty-one year old women inPictou County were servants. In comparison only one percent ofmales in the same age group were servants. 4 In mid-centuryPictou County the opportunities for young women to work beforemarriage were predominantly as servants. 5The amount of work done by young women in Canada clearlydiffered according to social status. 6 Pictou County appears tohave been no exception. An anonymous Pictou resident recalledthat in the late nineteenth century her home had a live-in maid2 J. Parr, Labouring Children, British Immigrant Apprentices toCanada, 1869-1924. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1980,p.83.3 R. Ball, "A Perfect Farmer's Wife. Women in Nineteenth CenturyRural Ontario." Canada: An Historical Magazine. 3,2, 1975, p.5.4 Census of Canada 1871.5 Domestic labour employed the greatest number of women in NorthAmerica until the turn of the twentieth century. T. Dublin, Womenat Work. The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, M.A., 1826-1860. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, p.13.6 Chad Gaffield, notes of Ontario that "undoubtedly the well-established farmers who lived in the village relied more on hiredhands than on their children's labour." in J. Parr,(ed.), Childhoodand Family in Canadian History. Toronto: Mc Clelland and Stewart,1983, p.82.37who was both poor and "uneducated". The maid was paid fourdollars a week, and did not associate with members of the familyfor whom she worked. The woman, recalling the situation in herhome, also remembered that the maid was of a similar age to her,but that they did not have much more than their age in common.She remembered that "my grandfather used to say, no daughter ofmine would ever work. My daughters are too proud to work "'. 7 Thesame woman further recalled of other families that "I think thateverybody usually had one"(a servant), with some having more. 8Most of the female servants in Pictou County weredistributed one to a home, amongst those who could afford them.The anonymous woman's "everybody" were the wealthier families inPictou County. Only the affluent could afford a maid, and it wasonly in the social circle in which they moved that it was assumedthat everybody had a maid.Maids were expected to do a wide variety of work. Theycleaned clothes, the house, the kitchen and dishes. Jane, thekitchen girl employed in the home of Pictou Town merchant WilliamRudolf, was responsible for cleaning, helping with children andpreparing food. 9 Especially in rural areas maids might also beresponsible for the dairy and the poultry.Maids kept many households functioning, and employers oftenrecognised the indispensable nature of their work. Pictoumerchant William Norman Rudolf's servant played a large part inthe operation of his home. When Jane was away he recorded asignificant disturbance to the household's schedule:7 Hector Centre O.H. 169 Anon 1870-1918.8 Ibid.9 William Norman Rudolf, Pictou 1862-73. PANS Micro: Bibliography.38There was some confusion about breakfast - the girlbeing away and the time I usually devote to my prayerswas broken in upon, and I omitted them altogether. "Opportunities for young women to find work in Pictou County otherthan as servants was limited. In 1871 there were 96 seamstressesin the County, but only one laundress and twelve nuns."According to The Halifax Citizen in 1871 The Truro Boot and Shoefactory employed:a "baker's dozen" of good looking young women inattending to a like number of sewing machines, and theneat and dexterous manner in which they perform thftirpart of the work cannot fail to attract attention. —However, out of 107 workers at the boot and shoe factory inPictou Town only one was a woman. 13Transitions and in - between yearsThe young woman's transition from school to work was verydifferent from that experienced by young men. In Nova Scotia mostyoung men made the transition from school to full time work onthe farm, or with a move away, sometimes, and increasinglyfrequently beyond the province. 14 In Canning, Nova Scotia, mostmales had left school by the age of eighteen. 15 Some farmer'ssons had begun work by the time they were thirteen or fourteen,to^Norman Rudolf, Pictou 1862-74, 13 January 1863.Census of Canada 1871, vol. 2, p.340.12 ^Halifax Citizen, 2 December 1871.13 Census of Canada vol.3, 1871, p.306.See P.A. Thornton, "The Problem of Out-Migration From AtlanticCanada, 1871-1921: A New Look." Acadiensis, vol.xv, no.1, Autumn1985, A. Brookes, "Family, Youth and Leaving Home in Late NineteenthCentury Rural Nova Scotia: Canning and the Exodus, 1868-1893." inParr, J., Childhood and Family in Canadian History, p.97.39with many more doing so by sixteen or seventeen." Some men hadestablished a separate household by the age of twenty two ortwenty three, while most were in their late twenties before theywere fully independent. Predominant nineteenth century attitudesviewed women as free from the responsibility of setting up a newhousehold and guaranteed that there would be enough land or agood enough job before a family could be contemplated. In Canningin 1872 most of the district's young females attended schooluntil they were seventeen or eighteen. They then spentapproximately three years at home helping around the house,before marrying. Few young women in Canning "worked out", unlikethe twelve percent in Pictou County.'' In Canning there werefew opportunities to work out and live in lodgings, becausepeople did not have enough money to pay a servant in a time ofdeclining economic opportunities and conditions."Education and young womenSchool teaching attracted a growing number of young women asthe nineteenth century progressed. The results were everywhereevident in Pictou County. The percentage of female teachersincreased from 27 per cent in 1859 to 45 per cent in 1869, and to59 per cent in 1879. 19 The Public School Act of 1864 increasedschooling, and created a demand for more public schoolteachers."16 Ibid, p.97.Census of Canada 1871.1.13 A. Brookes, in J. Parr(ed.), Childhood and Family, p.99.19 J. Guldford, " 'Separate Spheres' and the Feminization of PublicSchool Teaching in Nova Scotia 1838-1880", p.17.20 Ibid.40Women were recruited as teachers because teaching wasregarded as an extension of their role in the home. The trainingof the young was regarded as women's work and in the schoolhousewomen were seen to be exercising their natural aptitude forworking with children. Because their experiences with children inthe home were perceived as drawing on an innate ability, theirservices were not valued highly and female teachers were paidless than their male counterparts.Forward-thinking superintendents in the province such asAlexander Forrester, argued that it was not the sex, but thequalifications of a teacher that mattered. However, at the sametime he noted that women were "natural guardians of theyoung. " 21 Women's perceived natural aptitude for the care ofchildren made women teachers of the young un-threatening becausethey did not challenge or undermine their traditional role in theprivate world.Forrester summarised current thought when he wrote in 1867that:there ought to be situations in educationalestablishments better adapted to the one sex than theother; and accordingly, it is generally admitted, thatthe infant and primary departments are best fitted forthe female, whilst the head masterships and the moreadvanced sections are for the male. —Women were good at nurturing tasks, and showing tenderness,whereas men excelled at intellectual, organisational and21 Ibid., p.15.22 A. Forrester, A Teacher's Text Book. Halifax, 1867.Education reformer in Ontario, Ryerson, also expressed the opinionthat women were best adapted to teach small children because theyhave "as a general rule, most heart, most tender feelings, mostassiduity and, in the order of providence, the qualities bestsuited for the care, instruction and government of infancy andchildhood." in A. Prentice, and S.E. Houston, Family, School andSociety in Nineteenth Century Ontario. Toronto: Oxford UniversityPress, 1975, p.53.41administrative activities. Furthermore, many women agreed thatthey did have a natural aptitude for teaching the young. Onefemale teacher argued that:much of the work is done in our school rooms is donebetter by women simply because, from the constitutiongiven by the All-wise Creator, she is better adapted todo it, and it would be well for the school system ofour land, if the field of female labour, as teachers,were enlarged."Further, she maintained that women should receive the samepay and status as men, because of their special aptitude and that"anything short of this is unfair and unjust, for in theinfluence woman has exercised, she has assuredly won for herselfthis consideration. 1,24A woman's career in teaching had very different meaning thana man's. Women were admired for their innate characteristics,while men were praised for their acquired or learned skills. 25Teaching was also supposed to fill the gap between school andmarriage for women. It was not a career, and women were notencouraged to remain (and were often prohibited from remaining)in their positions after marriage. It was expected that womenwould marry after a few years of teaching, and leave to start afamily, which would render them too busy in the home to be ableto teach school. An inspector from Pictou County reported mid-century that "cupid's intrigues have carried off seven of ourfemale teachers. 0623 "Female Teaching", in The Journal of Education for the Provinceof Nova Scotia, April 1871.24 Ibid.25 Guildford, Separate Spheres, p.28.26 Ibid., p.29.42As women were not expected to make teaching a lifetimecareer they were treated less seriously than men. 27 TheProvincial Education Association of Nova Scotia attracted fewwomen members. Those who did join were treated with a "protectivepaternalism" by their male colleagues and were protected from"having to expose themselves to censure by speaking on a publicplatform."" In Canada, on the rare occasion that a paper wasprepared by a woman teacher, it was read by a man and the writerremained anonymous. 29A further example of prejudice was in different rules forwomen and men. In 1872 in Abercrombie, Pictou County the rulesfor teachers included:Rule Number 4: Men teachers may take one evening eachweek for courting purposes, or two evenings a week ifthey go to church regularly.Rule Number 6: Women teachers who marry or engage inunseemly conduct will be dismissed."By 1879 Pictou County's 59 percent of female teachers wasstill below the provincial average. There were factors such asPictou's advanced secondary school system staffed by males whichexplain this statistic. Neither did being rural contribute to theacceptance of female teachers. Cities in Canada were the mostopen to female teachers. Halifax led Nova Scotia in the number offemale teachers, as Toronto led Ontario. n27 A.L. Prentice, and S.E. Houston, Family, School and Society,p.64.28 J. Guildford, Separate Spheres, p.22.29 A.L. Prentice, and S.E. Houston, Family, School and Society,p.57.30 PANS MG 4 vol.216a. Historic Records of Abercrombie, PictouCounty, Nova Scotia. Compiled for Abercrombie Branch of the Women'sInstitute, 1978.31 A.L. Prentice, and S.E. Houston, Family, School and Society,p.57.43Although teaching was seen as an occupation for women beforethey became wives and mothers, many young women teachers regardedteaching as more than a temporary job. Teaching was a way oflife, because of the moral behaviours and expectations which itcarried. A female teacher was watched by the community in whichshe taught, and her private life, as well as her public life wasunder observation. There were strict standards to which youngfemale teachers were expected to conform. Hence, the life of ateacher could be quite restricted. The diary of Hannah Freeman ofAnnapolis, Nova Scotia covers the period during which she wasemployed as a teacher, but gives no more detail of herprofessional life than "at Caledonia teaching school". Freeman isfar more concerned with religious matters, and appears convincedthat she was being "the most sinful of his creatures". 32 Sheasks for guidance and direction to keep her feet "straying fromthe paths of rectitude"."Courtship and the path towards marriageMost young women in Nova Scotia grew up expecting to marry.This process meant moving from the network of a mother to that ofthe husband. 34 William D. Hall, a small scale Nova Scotia minepromoter made a promise to his fiancee Jenny Miller ofBridgewater after a "lover's tiff" in 1887. "I am", he told her32 PANS MG 100, vol. 144, #3. Diary of Hannah Freeman, 26 January1852." Ibid., 27 January 1852.34 C. Smith-Rosenberg, "The Female World of Love and Ritual:Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America." Signs vol.1, no.1, 1975 p.16. Smith-Rosenberg has argued that "withincreasing frequency in the nineteenth century, marriage involveda girl's traumatic removal from her mother and her mother'snetwork."44"to take charge of you for life"." Women entered marriage witha different worldview and vastly different experiences to thoseof males." On marriage women moved from the possession of theirfamily and father, to the protection of a new male guardian - thehusband." Marriage meant moving from one socially defined spaceto another. It was to be done in a calculated and tempered way,"despite ravaging emotions and overwhelming desires.""Not being married was a cause for concern to the unmarriedas well as to their family. In January 1860 Amelia Isabella KingHill remarked of her younger sister:Poor Hallie. I am afraid she will be an oldmaid. I for one shall not be sorry as it isvery convenient to have an old maid for asister in case of sickness.This wish turned out to be premature as Hallie did marry, and shewas only sixteen when Amelia made this comment. Amelia could havesecretly been hoping that her sister would remain single, as thiswould have meant that she would have had spare time to help hermarried sister with all of her work.In 1841 in Musquodoboit, Jane Sprott wrote about marriage inan open, frank way. She recalled that 1841 had been the "year ofvirgins for the number of marriages has been greater than at anyformer period." The shortage of young women is commented upon,35 P.Ward, Courtship, Love and Marriage in Nineteenth CenturyEnglish Canada. Montreal: McGill Queen's University Press, 1990,p.156.36 Ibid., p.16.37 ^Davidoff, and C. Hall, Family Fortunes. Men and Women of theEnglish Middle Class, 1780-1850. London: Croom Helm, 1987, p.192.38 Ibid., p.192. Davidoff and Hall have made general comments aboutwomen's containment.Isabella King Hill, Richmond Hill, Windsor, Nova Scotia, PANS,January 1860.45and early marriages viewed as "favourable to virtue steady habitsand industry". 40In Nova Scotia, not only did males and females havedifferent feelings upon entering into marriage, but they werealso seen by society as behaving in, and taking up a differentplace in family relationships. In 1853 in Halifax a stronglyopinionated Reverend Sedgewick remarked:How different, moreover, are true feelings of theparent on the marriage of a son and that of a daughter.It is not asserted that from that important hour, theparents feel that their son is their son no more, butit is needless to dispute it ( that from that hour theyregard him emphatically on his own hook....Sedgewick then declared, "but how different are the feelings withwhich the daughter is regarded". Interestingly he saw that "theold tie is drawn tighter now that she is no longer under theircontrol" and the "old charm more enchanting now that she revisitsit in her new capacity". He defined the idea of passage byquoting a poet who says "my son is my son till he gets a wife,but my daughter's my daughter all the days of her life". 41Although this appears to contradict the opinion that women movedfrom the influence of their father to that of a husband, both ofthe opinions are true. On one level women did move away fromtheir family, but in another sense they were never free from it,and as a result were subject to the double control of their preand post-marriage families.40 John Sprott, Letters 1837. Journal kept by Jane Kenna Sprott,daughter of Reverend John Sprott, when nine years old. MusquodoboitValley, PANS Bibliography.41 Rev. R. Sedgewick, The Proper Sphere and Influence of Woman inChristian Society -Being a Lecture Delivered Before the Y.M.C.A.,Halifax, November, 1856. Published by Request, Halifax: JamesBarnes, 1856, p.18.46Many methods of choosing a spouse were recommended byfamily, friends, institutions and read in newspapers andpamphlets. Men's advice and opinions have survived more than theunpublished, private whisperings of women. A poem from PictouCounty in 1843 urged men to seek a practical, sensible wife, whowould be of use as more than an ornament. Beauty, wealth andlearning were not important, but good sense, virtue and modestywere valued. This indicates that a wife was to be obedient andfollow out the wishes of her husband. He would think for her, andhence learning would only distract her from obeying him. Beautymight cause a distraction and combined with wit and learning,produce a strong personality that would need to be tamed.Choice of a wife I ask not BEAUTY-'tis a gleamThat tints the morning sky,I ask not LEARNING-'tis a streamThat glides unheeded by.I ask not WIT-'tis but a flashThat oft blinds reason's eye;I ask not GOLD-'tis glittering trashThat causes man to sigh.I ask GOOD SENSE, a TASTE REFINED,CANDOUR with PRUDENCE blended,A FEELING HEART, a VIRTUOUS MIND,with MODESTY attended. 42There is a sense of the glory which marriage entailed. Thebenefits for men were expounded. According to The Mechanic andFarmer:As a scheme of solid comfort matrimonyaffords to well regulated minds a doubleshare of pleasure in progperity, and a solacein sorrow and adversity."442 The Mechanic and Farmer, April 13, 1843.43 The Mechanic and Farmer, 14 July 1843.47Men wrote poems expressing romantic disappointment, contributingto the overall impression in the newspapers that desire wasplaying more of a part in the choice in a wife than expressed onother pages. One poem included the verse:The love I felt for thee was true,Unspotted as the winter snow,Your smiles me from my covert drew,Was it to crush me at a blow?—Yet another example of desire in Pictou County is providedby John Cameron. While preaching in church at New Glasgow he wasmoved by a young woman in the congregation who cried as he said"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." 45John Cameron was affected enough to write an acrostic; a poeticdevice whereby the letter of the first word of each line revealsa message.Saw I not tears fast flowing as we together wereAssembled in God's holyhouse the things of life to hearRecorded in the Book of Life, you there this truth will findA godly sorrow for our sins will ease a troubled mindMy sympathies were recently touched, and I should like tohearA cause why one so young as you, should drop a mimuful tearThe favour asked is one perhaps, which may not meet yourmindHowever, you may rest assured, in me you'll find a friendEre you and I may meet again, sad changes mat take placeSome cord of life may break, and me, may end our earthlyraceOh! then let each of us while journeying here belowNe'er ceAse to think that all at last must to the Judgementgo. —Men's motives for marriage were multiple and appear to havebeen based on a combination of desires and practicality, butwomen and men married because it was expected of them. Further,it has been argued that increasingly in the nineteenth centurywomen married for love, within certain bounds of class, race and44 The Mechanic and Farmer, 13 April 1842. Written in Pictou.45 Rev. John Cameron, Acrostic on Sarah Matheson, West River,Pictou, 20 March 1846. PANS Manuscript Room Family Papers.46 Ibid.48religion. 47 Compassionate marriage is seen as going hand in handwith increasing freedom. Parental control over courtship wasweakening. 0Pictou County women and men did marry for their concept of"love". Upon marrying Catherine Olding in 1848, Daniel McQueenwrote:Now dear Catherine we are entering on a newperiod of time and may we live, not only thisyear, but all the days and years of our livesin love and friendship with each other. —There were a number of ways in which mothers prepared theirdaughters for marriage. Preparations went from advice andquestion answering to the accumulation of useful material items.In Pictou County, a practical way of preparation was the quiltingparties or bees where women got together to make quilts for theirdaughters who were getting married."47 Personal choice in mate selection has been identified by CarlDegler and more recently Steven Seidman. Marriage has beendescribed as "a consensual arrangement based on love." However, C.Stansell, City of Women, Sex, and Class in New York, 1789- 1860,New York: Knopf, 1986, p.30, feels that "men did not expect tenderfeelings to develop as a matter of course in their marriages" and"on the contrary, they saw hostilities between the sexes as normal,and even natural. In his diary, James Burns-Barry recorded one bigmisunderstanding with his spouse Barbara. Barbara and James "almostcame to loggerheads" because James invited a man who had beenworking with him at the kiln to dinner, without first informingBarbara. When dinner was ready, instead of setting it on the table,Barbara gave James "the Devil to swallow" for bringing the visitorhome, and said that she would not give James "one bite of dinnertoday". Barbara was angry because there was not enough food forthree. She refused to eat, while James and the visitor ate, withthe visitor joking that Barbara must be on a fast. After anargument with James in front of the visitor, Barbara left thehouse, not returning until bedtime. James Burns-Barry Diary, 29August 1849.48 P. Ward, Courtship, Love and Marriage, p.167. Ward goes so faras to argue that love was the principle motive for marriage inEnglish Canada.49 R. Williams MacKay, Simple Annals. The Story of the McOueens ofSutherland's River. Pictou: The Advocate Printing and PublishingCo. Ltd., 1986, p.52.50 Women's Institute, History of Churchville, PictouCounty, 1784-1984", unpublished, p.105. PANS.49Finding a mate was an elaborate and foremost part of theprocess of growing up. Women's space for courting was the home,in which eligible males could be offered cups of tea andrefreshments. As the nineteenth century progressed, newopportunities for education, work and recreation altered woman'sspace. 51 This had important implications for courtship. Althoughprivate spaces, such as the interior of the house, still remainedpredominantly the domain of women, men and women had greateropportunity and freedom to mix in public spaces, such as countryroads and town centres. The use of various spaces differedaccording to circumstance. Ward suggests that women's socialspace enlarged first in the rural communities and in the middlingranks of urban society. Women are seen by historians as beingmore comfortable in the terrain of their home.Pictou County had a diverse selection of courtingprocedures. Courting was changing throughout the nineteenthcentury. At the beginning of the century leering males hadawaited ships containing women, and marriage by mail was also apossibility. 52 As the years unfolded civilized excursions becamemore viable ways of matchmaking. Around 1880 in Merigomish,Pictou "box socials" were popular. These involved young ladieselaborately packing a lunch for two with ribbons to tie it up.The local auctioneer then sold the lunch to the highest bidder,who claimed the lunch and the company of the young girl for theremainder of the afternoon."This was an example of random matchmaking. More deliberateattractions often started due to proximity, familiarity, and51 P. Ward, Love, Courtship and Marriage, p.88.52 R.H. Sherwood, Out of The Past- Vignettes of Pictou County.Pictou: The Pictou Advocate Press, 1954, p.7.PANS MG 1827 "A History of Merigomish", p.76.50similarity. Occasions for meeting arose from church functions andparties. Amelia Isabella King Hill of Richmond Hill, Windsor,Nova Scotia recorded her courtship in her diary. Her romance withLewis blossomed through encounters at parties and from Lewis'svisits of increasing frequency to her house to "drink tea".Amelia Hill recorded her feelings, joys and trepidations aboutthe one-way step which she was about to make, as she stood on theeve of her marriage, about to enter into an agreement from whichthere could be no return. She wrote in her diary on the day ofher engagement, "December 1 Engaged. May we never repent the stepwe have both taken". 54Amelia Hill recognised the transition in her life which shewas about to enter:This year 1852 will if we live produce a change in myaffairs- I feel assured that I shall be happy in my newstation I have a sore trail to go through. That partingfrom the dear parents, kind sisters which mostaffection I love and I trust ever will love... —The transition meant passing from the time of learningskills, to an age of becoming and putting acquired knowledge intoaction. In the case of Amelia Hill the change is clear. Fromspending time leisurely picking raspberries and currants anddrinking tea while courting Lewis, she moved at the age of nearlyeighteen years to "hard work as usual". There is a dramaticchange in Amelia'S diary entries. Interestingly, more attentionis paid to the weather and there is much remarking upon herduties of churning and baking. Additions to her new household area servant, and a child of her own.The paraphernalia of courting included women dressingthemselves so as to be attractive to the opposite sex. As theAmelia King Hill diary, PANS, 1 December 1851.55 Ibid., January 1852.51quotation at the beginning of this chapter suggests, there isreason to believe that women were more practical in their attirein Pictou County than other areas, especially those who wererural. However, making that extra special effort could bebeneficial, and if the advertisements in the local papers areanything to go by, then there was a demand for fancy attire. Anadvertisement in The Presbyterian Banner in Pictou Saturday 28May 1842 is typical of many when it stated:COMBS! COMBS! Ladies' side and low back combsjust received and for sale at the bookstoreof Stiles and Fraser. Also: colourednecklaces, working beads, Eau de Cologne, waxseals with temperance mottos etc..Women were able to pay more attention to their appearances thanthey would once they were married. In a time and place whereshops and money were limited, clothing a family was a timeconsuming task. By the 1870s the sewing machine had becomereliable and women who could not afford to hire seamstresses wereaided by the advent of the dress pattern. The mass production ofthe sewing machine combined with the dress pattern meant timesavings for women, as well as being able to produce a competentversion of the current style. 56The comedy sections of newspapers reveal another dimensionof courtship and youth. The Gatherer, comedy section of TheMechanic and Farmer contained the following courting scene:"La you, sewke, how pretty your nice, little, redcheeks do look this ere morning.I've just been tobreakfast, but I reckon my appetite ain't bed for abite though-hey Sewke?"Oh! Jonathan, you men are such fellers-I declare, Goaway, you shan't"0 la! pretty Sewke, I wish your heart was like our fishpond is- that I do""why I declare-Jonathan- what do you mean?""why you tarnal gal you-I mean that our fish pondhain't got no ice in it- that's what I mean- come give me ahuss"56 L. Toomey, "Three Decades of Dress 1865-1877." The BrigdewaterBulletin, 26 January, 1977.52"0! ain't you ashamed". 57In the scene, likely borrowed from the United States, the twopeople are playing with their gender roles. Because herstereotype expects her to be innocent, Sewke pretends to beshocked by Jonathan's crudeness, although she is well aware ofhis innuendos.The same newspaper also commented upon the lack of malesavailable for marriage. The Mechanic and Farmer reported "SAD - Alady informed us that there (are) one hundred marriageable ladiesin Pictou, and only ten young unmarried men."" This is areverse of the usual situation, where men outnumbered women.The recognition that marriage was not a perfect state andwas a situation to be entered into with the utmost caution wasalso articulated. Pragmatically, courtship was exposed as a fewsoft looks, a walk, a dance, a squeeze of the hand, a popping ofthe question, a purchasing of a certain number of yards of whitesatin, a ring, a clergyman, a stage coach, or two in a hiredcarriage, a night in a country inn, and "the whole matter isover"." On the other side, the glory associated with marriagewas also articulated. The benefits for men were expounded, with agood wife being useful, as well as a moral supporter.The switch from celibacy to a married state for women,could be a shock and was definitely a rapid change in role andexpectations for young women. Celibacy before marriage wasexpected. Sedgewick maligned "the seducer" as one who "plundersthe wretched victim of character, morals, happiness, hope andheaven, enthrals her in the eternal bondage of sin, consumes her57 The Mechanic and Farmer, 7 July 1841.58 Ibid., The Gatherer, 10 November 1841.59 The Mechanic and Farmer, 4 August 1841.53beyond the grave in endless fire, and murders her soul with anever living death. " 60As much as sex was forbidden outside marriage, it wasexpected within marriage. Where it has previously been seen asperforming a primarily procreative role, recent scholarship hasemphasised that sex was also a sign of love, and a domain ofsexual pleasure. 6' As a child in mid-century Nova Scotia, JaneSprott wrote that:Matrimony in its design and tendency is a holy state,humanizing to the savage, moralizing to the ungodly andedifying to the Christian. The wiser portion of theancient heathens held celipacy to be if not a moral, atleast a political offence.° 2Indeed, marriage was the only acceptable place for sex.Deviance was subject to disapproval, and could be vividlypunished. For example, in Abercrombie, Pictou County mid-century,when a "young lady" who worked as a prostitute servicing theseamen from the ships at the loading ground was made an exampleof by the community. When there were not many vessels docked,lessening the potential for interference, she was doused with agenerous coating of tar and feathers, "rode on a fence rail" and"expelled" from the "midst" of the residents. 63From being pure and innocent, the bride was supposed to betransformed into a wise childbearer, familiar with sexualrelations and pregnancy. Pictures of the time often featured a60 Rev. R. Sedgewick, Women's Proper Sphere, S. Seidman, "The Power of DesireVictorian Sexuality Reconsidered."vol.24 ( no.1, 1990, p.47. See alsoSexuality, vol.l. New York: Vintageand the Danger of Pleasure:Journal of Social History,M. Foucault, The History ofBooks, 1978.62 Jane Sprott Diary, January 1841.63 PANS MG 1 vol.271 Scrapbook 11 p.63-66. A History of Abercrombie,County of Pictou, Nova Scotia. By an old resident. In The EveningNews, 16 February 1957.54bride by herself, and might be taken years after the wedding. 64The bride, and what she was to be, became an object to strivefor. Wedding portraits in the United States of America becamefashionable in the 1870s as photography became cheap and widelypractised. Portraits could be taken after the ceremony, and itwas the bride and not the ceremony being celebrated.All of the commotion associated with marriage, and being abride, showed that the young woman had arrived at her place as atrue woman. Her individuality had been subsumed within her roleas a wife, caregiver and mother. The time of apprenticeship as ayoung woman was over. This move was clear, not only in the changeof occupation, but through the wedding ceremony in which thebride was "given away" by her father to her new husband. Ideally,women would now have their own home in which they would be ableto 'be' what their young womanhood had prepared them for.ConclusionsThere was a dramatic difference between the life of a girlof twelve and a young woman of eighteen. During these years,young women were endowed with many skills and attitudes. Theirlives were in transition as they moved away from the sphere oftheir parents' home and the network of their mother, to anindependence of sorts. They became independent in that they wereexpected to have learnt the skills that would enable them to runtheir own household. They were not independent in that theypassed from the influence of their family to that of a husband,while never leaving their old family behind.H. Green, The Light of the Home- an Intimate View of the Livesof Women in Victorian America. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983,p.127.55Throughout their "adolescence" there was strong currentmoving women towards marriage. All of their training pointed themin the direction of managing a home. However, before they wereready to marry there were five to ten, and maybe more, years tobe occupied. In the mid-nineteenth century these years wereperched on the edge of a transition, with new opportunities foryoung girls beginning to be available. Factories were offeringwork to young girls because they were available and cheap aslabour. As well, the challenge and subsequent changing attitudesin the Church and school made more occupations for women, as theystayed in school longer, and taught.However, all of the changes were allowed because women werenot seen as challenging their proper place in the home.Overshadowing young womanhood was the recognition that where theymight be able to work in public during young womanhood, such anintermediary role would be superseded. Young women were in atemporary stage, where they were to develop their womanly skillsuntil they would be ready to take up their "true" place as women.56CHAPTER FOURBEINGWho women were expected to be What a piece of work is woman! How noble inreason; how infinite in faculty; in form andmoving, how express and admirable; in action,ihow like an angel; n appearance, how like agod!Two published sources from Nova Scotia provide a windowthrough which to glimpse prevailing attitudes towards women atmid-century. The first is a speech given in Halifax by theReverend Sedgewick, which details the "woman's sphere" asSedgewick saw it. The second is a newspaper article from NewGlasgow, Pictou County, which serves as celebration of the "earlymothers of New Glasgow," that appeared in The Enterprise in the1880s.Sedgewick described women as the compliment of men. Theywere equal yet different because they were held to be naturallysuited to the "sphere of the home in the social economy." 2Sedgewick regarded factory work as unsuitable for women becausehe saw them as fragile and cast from a "finer mould of mentalconstitution" than men. Indeed, Sedgewick saw women as incapableof understanding much beyond the home and the social economy.Women were to offer cheer and consolation. As moral guardians andsafeguarders of the nation they were to encourage their husbandsto "holiness and virtue" and warn them against sin. 3 The privatedomain of the home was seen as a pillar of civilization, "an1 Rev. R. Sedqewick, The Proper Sphere and Influence of Woman inChristian Society- Being a Lecture Delivered by Reverend RobertSedgewick Before the Y.M.C.A. , Halifax, November, 1856. Halifax:James Barnes, 1856, p.9.2 Ibid., p.19.3 Rev. R. Sedgewick, The Proper Sphere, p.30.57incubator of morals and family affection, a critical alternativeto the harsh and competitive world of trade and politics." 4Sedgewick believed that women should do their best to "shut upevery haunt of lewdness and of lust." 5In his speech, Sedgewick emphasised the importance of themother in the care and training of children.A mother's counsels, a mother's prayers, amother's psalms, a mother's reproofs t amother's commendations, the gentle firmnessof her authority, and the warning attractionsof her example, are immortal; they never die;they may for the time be forgotten,profligacy may bury them in the grave withall that was lovely and pure and ingenious inyouth... 6Being a mother promised benefits, as well as much serious work.Sedgewick heralded motherlove as "the bounty of God."' From therelationships developed between mother and child would flourishclose connections for life. Sedgewick regarded caring forchildren and being a successful homemaker proper and worthwhile.He expounded the science of women's work by referring to the"'ologies". "There is the sublime science of washology, and itssister bakeology. There is darnology and scrubology. There ismendology and cookology." 8Sedgewick's views reflected the increasing importance placedon science and new technology in women's work during the mid-nineteenth century. The cult of domesticity treated women's workin the home as a vocation. Labour saving devices and increasing4 C. Stansell, City of Women. Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860.New York: Knopf, 1986, p.41. Stansell is writing about New York.5 Rev. R. Sedgewick, The Proper Sphere, p.34.6 Ibid., p.32.7 Ibid., p.32.8 Ibid., p.21.58quantities of material goods in shops blended with aspirations tothe middle class ideal of a thrifty and productive household,supervised by an energetic and prudent manager skilled in thedomestic arts. 9 In Nova Scotia these ideas were present,although they were more often something reached for, thansomething achieved.Further evidence of attitudes towards women in Nova Scotiacan be glimpsed from "The Early Mothers of New Glasgow". In the1880s the article looked back to women who had "not only attendedtheir homes and brought up their families well, but also gavetheir services as well as their means to the spread of the Gospeland the uplift of humanity.The mothers were commended for good deeds which reinforcedtheir place in the private sphere. For example, although acertain Mrs. Basil Bell gave useful advice in the public space ofthe drugstore, her credibility is placed in the private sphere ofthe home, by stressing the content and not the place of heradvice. The advice concerned how to cure sick children. Further,Mrs. Fraser, whose husband was the first doctor in Canada to usechloroform as a painkiller during childbirth after performingexperiments on his wife, is remembered for the help which shegave from her kitchen.She lived for the good of others. Her highest happinesswas found in making others happy. Every Indian, tramp,beggar and wandering lunatic knew the kitchen of thehouse on the hill, and none of them ever left ithungry. There was plenty of food for them and everyoneof them was made welcome."All of the women in the article are described in light oftheir relationship with men. Mrs. Fraser is recalled in relation9 C. Stansell, City of Women, PANS MG 9, Vol 44, p.231.ii PANS MG9 Vol.44, p.231.59to her husband; as a part of him and his career. "Mrs. GilbertMcIntosh, a daughter of William McDonald, and an aunt of J.FredMcDonald, customs", was another who bestowed care upon the lessfortunate. Labelling women as mothers firmly planted them withinthe patriarchal structure of various family trees.Both Sedgewick's speech and the "Early Mothers of NewGlasgow" newspaper article provide an ideological setting forcontextualising mid-nineteenth century women in Nova Scotia.Women were idealised as moral caregivers, competent in theirarena of the home. These attitudes in turn contribute to anunderstanding of what motivated these women as they laboured intheir homes, on their farms, and brought up their children.Women and workWomen's work was essential to the survival of the familyeconomy. Within the farm family economy the work of women and menoverlapped. Both women and men milked cows, chopped wood, carriedwater, cared for livestock and the garden, and butcheredanimals:2 In nineteenth century Canada there were shifts in thetype of work occurring, as new technologies led to reshuffling.For example, dairying moved out of the domain of women and intothat of men:3 However, although there were gender differences,all members of the farm were involved in "farmwork". Hence the12 M. Griffin Cohen, Women's Work. Markets and Economic Developmentin Nineteenth-Century Ontario. Toronto: University of TorontoPress, 1988, p.71.13 M. Griffin Cohen argues that "the patriarchal structure of thehousehold and the underlying assumptions about the nature of thedivision of labour between men and women were the most significantforces leading to male control of dairying as capital accumulationbecame a more important aspect of production." in A.L. Prentice,and S. Mann Trofimenkoff, The Neglected Majority, Essays inCanadian Women's History, vol.2. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart,1985, p.64.6 0type of work was the same, although there were genderdifferences. 14Generally women's work was allocated according to the typeof farm and family politics. 15 However, there were some veryclearly defined constraints. Women bore and reared children. Theywere also involved in the predominantly indoor occupations ofhousework.The gender differences on the farm were reflected in thespaces in which women and men worked and interacted. Women'sprime space was in the kitchen and the parlour which were bothspaces of family communication and interaction. Hence, thesespaces were closely tied to women's labour as wives and mothers.Although parlours and sitting rooms have been seen as femaledomains, both men and women expressed their views in them. 16Where these rooms were present in Nova Scotia they served tomediate between the family and the outside world, hence makingthem not female because of unfemale activities. Certain familyM. Griffin Cohen, Women's Work. Markets and Economic Developmentin Nineteenth-Century Ontario. Toronto: University of TorontoPress, 1988, p.17. Writing on mid-nineteenth century New England,T. Hubka argues that the family farm's "most important componentwas the working couple who shared continually overlappingactivities in the operation of the typical farm. Together theyformed a unit that might be described as a work-centred familycomposed of a dominant working male and a dominant working female".T.C. Hubka, Big House, Little House, Back House 1 Barn - TheConnected Farm Buildings of New England. Hanover: University Pressof New England, 1984, p.147.15 Ibid., p.44. Griffin Cohen proposes that wives and children were"the proletariat of the family farm, the workers whose labour wasrewarded according to the good fortune or good will of the owner."16 To the contary, Peter Ward has argued that parlours were femaledomains. P. Ward, Courtship, Love and Marriage in NineteenthCentury English Canada. Montreal: McGill Queen's University Press,1990.61rituals might take place in a parlour, reinforcing ideas offamily solidarity, continuity and patriarchy.''Only affluent Nova Scotians had parlours and thus thekitchen was generally the meeting place of families. Only thericher people in Nova Scotia could afford homes large enough toallow a space where women might entertain friends and displayfeminine accomplishments. Most Pictou homes were small, typicallyone and a half storey structures of the basic type common inMaritime Canada." Many homes were crowded and expanded in anirregular fashion as families grew. In winter they were cramped,and even if there was a parlour it may have been closed toconserve heat.Divisions of male and female labour corresponded to theirdistinct spaces. The herb and vegetable garden, that lay justbeyond most rural houses in Pictou County, was between the femalespace of the farm house and the male domain of the fields."S. McMurry, Families and Farmhouses in Nineteenth CenturyAmerica. Vernacular Design and Social Change. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1988, p.141." P. Ennals, and D. Holdsworth, "Vernacular Architecture and theCultural Landscape of the Maritime Provinces- A Reconnaissance."Acadiensis, vol.x, no.2, Spring 1981, p.92.19 Elizabeth Fox-Genovese draws distinctions between the spaces ofthe farm. She believes that "the traditional cleavage between men'sand women's customary roles followed the distinction between thehouse and the fields, with some blurring in the case of thedairies, gardens and orchards." This can be seen as a separationwhich increasingly came between reproduction and production.Furthermore, women commonly tended the gardens surrounding theirhomes, their work being viewed as an extension of the kitchen ofhousehold rather than of the fields. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, "Womenin Agriculture During The Nineteenth Century", in L. Ferleger,(ed.)Agriculture and National Development- Views in the Nineteenth Century. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990, p.270.62Many women worked in the area surrounding the farmhouse milkingcows and making butter and cheese."These divisions of labour were often transgressed. Men andwomen might help one another when work normally done by one wasespecially heavy, although the masculine sphere of productionheld priority over labour in the household. Women were expectedto assist in the fields during and after planting, and especiallyduring haying and harvesting. 21 This tied a portion of women'swork to the seasons. Women's "indoor" work followed differentpatterns. Childrearing followed the demands of a life-cyclerequiring different sorts of care at different phases ofdevelopment. Food preparation was mainly daily.Where men might have been able to take advantage of seasonallulls, women's work was multifaceted and continuous. In NovaScotia:having borne children she cared for them; when theywere placed in crude beds she still had several tasksawaiting her; the knitting,_:the spinning, the making ofcandles, butter, or cheese.'There were class differences in the spaces of men and women,and in the work done by them. Women in wealthier Nova Scotiafamilies were able to spend time visiting. This extended theirspatial horizons, as they travelled to drink tea in parlours,while hired help performed the duties in their homes. From her20 Hubka has created a "gender map of work" to show the gender zoneson the farm. Women's area of most intensive work was in thekitchen, men's was in the barn. Although outwardly the roles wereextremely rigid, Hubka argues that "the structure of distinctgender roles for shared activities seems to have characterized mostoverlapping work activities in and around New England farms". T.C.Hubka, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn, p.150-151.21 D. Campbell, and R.A. MacLean, Beyond The Atlantic Roar: A Studyof The Nova Scotia Scots. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974,p.30.22 Ibid., p.49.63husband's diary, Cassie Rudolf's life appears to have revolvedaround being visited and visiting." On 11 March 1862 she spentthe evening at the Howards'. On 10 April she was visited by a MrsJohnston and Maggie.Likewise, Barbara Barry of Six Mile Brook did much visiting.According to her husband's diary she was often in Church, or awayat weddings or visiting people. Women such as Cassie Rudolf andBarbara Barry had the time to work for the voluntary societies,in activities such as preparing a temperance hall for an eveningtea meeting. 24 As well as participating in separate socialevents, families also interacted on both social and workingoccasions. Family members frequently all went to church andmarket together. Barbara and her spouse James Barry accompaniedeach other to dances and parties.From the mid-century onwards shops in Nova Scotia increased.They offered women essential items for the home as well asaccessories and luxuries for those who could afford them. Thereappears to have been a fascination with photography, and amongthe wealthy it was fashionable to have portraits taken of thefamily. Posing for family portraits, using increasinglysophisticated equipment, was very desirable. There were two photostudios in Pictou Town, and in his diary, merchant William Rudolfrecorded Cassie Rudolf and their baby having their photo taken.James Barry also wrote in his diary that "Annabella and I went totown today, she got her likeness and so did Peggy. I paid forthem of course"."23 ^Norman Rudolf, Pictou 1862-74. PANS Micro: Bibliography.See examples at various dates throughout the diary.24 Ibid., 13 January 1863.25 Burns-Barry Diary, Friday 2 August 1861.64In mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia there was an overalltrend towards increasing mechanisation and specialisation in farmproduction. There was great difference between farms, and ingeneral, farm machinery was adopted at a relatively slow pace.Farm size and labour shortage were major factors shaping thebroad pattern of farm mechanisation. When choosing whether or notto add relatively expensive machinery to their farms most NovaScotian farmers responded to economic stimuli according to theirparticular needs and circumstances, rather than simply followingthe urgings of agricultural improvers. 26 Pictou farmers ledthose of all other counties in the number of horse rakes owned,with 742 or 20 per cent of the provincial total; in reapers andmowers they ranked fifth, with 158 or 12 per cent of the total.On average one in five Pictou farmers with more than 10 acresowned a horse rake; fewer than one in 20 had a reaper or amower. 27The mechanisation and specialisation of farm production haddirect implications for women's work in both the type of workdone and the time which it took. Cloth production varied inquantity from farm to farm, but the shrinking and pressingrequired to produce fulled cloth was reflected in the census bythe larger amount of un-fulled cloth produced. Wool had to becarded by hand and then spun and woven. Some of it was colouredblue in an indigo dye pot, which many farms had. 28 Looms werelarge and bulky and could add to the overcrowding of a kitchen ifthere was not room for one elsewhere in the house. By mid-century26 G. Wynn, "Exciting a Spirit of Emulation Among the "Plodholes":Agricultural Reform in Pre-Confederation Nova Scotia." Acadiensis ,vol.xx, no.1, Autumn 1990, p.40.27 Ibid., p.40.28 PANS MGi vol.733a #7, Owen's Scrapbook, p.5.65homespun cloth was being replaced by store bought cloth, freeingup women's time, as well as increasing the importance of money inthe exchange of goods. The new technology not only was laboursaving, but could improve the quality of cloth, reducingirregularities and coarseness. However, manufactured cloth wasadopted in the Maritimes at a slower rate than has previouslybeen thought. Despite the emergence of cotton textile, woollenand carding mills, domestic spinning and weaving appears to havepersisted in the second half of the nineteenth century. In NovaScotia in 1870 there were 202 male and 79 female workers in 94cloth factories. 29 Seventy eight per cent of cloth in NovaScotia was woven at home."By 1883 The Eureka Mill in Pictou County employed 40people. n There were also mills in the surrounding counties ofColchester and Antigonish. Spinning wheels became increasinglyavailable and traditional rural occupations were integrated "withnew commercial and industrial forces swirling around them."" In1871 the New Glasgow Spinning Wheel Factory sold a thousandmachines to "the housewives of the province", with the averagesale per annum being about six thousand dollars."In dairy production technological transitions were alsooccurring. Cheese factories were emerging and with theintroduction of new milking processes the area of the barn andfields radically changed. Men became responsible for the new29 K. Inwood and J. Grant, "Gender and Organization in the CanadianCloth Industry, 1870." pp.17-31. p.18.30 Ibid., p.22.31 J.M Cameron, About Pictonians. Hantsport: Lancelot Press, 1979,p.147.32 M. Griffin Cohen, Women's Work, p.91. Griffin Cohen is quotingM. Conrad.The Halifax Citizen, 2 December 1871, p.2.66technology. 34 As well as having their jobs changed, women'sproductive efforts were brought more directly into the marketsphere. New technology surpluses that were substantial enough toplay a significant part in the export market were being produced.Homemade butter production in Nova Scotia increased from 3.6million pounds a year in 1851, to 9 million pounds a year in1891." Although it fluctuated in the 1860s and 1870s, cheeseproduction in Nova Scotia was .6 million pounds a year in both1851 and 1891. 36With less time needed for the manual tasks which hadpreviously been theirs, women had more time to pursue differentactivities. The ideology articulated by Sedgewick encouraged theuse of new technologies with the aim of improving women'sdomestic production in quality and efficiency. New technologiesalso meant that more time was free for bringing up children.Hence, it was no co-incidence that attachment to the idea ofmotherlove flourished at the same time as these changes weretaking place. Paradoxically, just as women in the home may havehad more time, there was a demand for them to work in thefactories which were performing their old tasks for them. In thisrespect the spatial location was the greatest change, with theplace of women's labour beginning to move from the home to thepaid workplace.In 1882 18(5%) of 334 business proprietors in Pictou Countywere women. Only one of these women was not a "Mrs.". It isdifficult to ascertain how women came to be the proprietors ofu J. Jensen, Loosening the Bonds, p.107.35 M. Griffin Cohen, in The Neglected Majority, p.71.36 Ibid.67businesses. They were very few in number, and women were far morelikely to be working in the business of their husband or father.When husbands died it is likely that women took over andcontinued the trade. Six of their businesses were in Pictou Town,where 35 per cent of Pictou's businesses were located. Four womenran businesses in New Glasgow, and three in each of Stellarton,Westville, and River John. The last was in Durham a village of180 people." These shops dealt in food, drink and clothes.Twelve were general stores, grocery or confectionery shops. Twowere hotels or liquor places, one was a stationery and bookstore.Increasing industrialisation brought with it neworganisations of the home and workplace, as well as managementand worker relationships. It might be expected that with theseparation of the family economy from the place of masculine paidwork, women would be concerned with home and not public places.However, it appears that women in Pictou were very much in touchwith their husband's work. A powerful example of women beinginvolved in their husband's work was at The Albion coal mines inPictou County in 1842. During a strike at the mines more than 100women and children of the miners gathered at the home of thecompany's agent, while miners concealed themselves in thesurrounding woods. One of the men forced open the door and thewomen broke the kitchen shutters and windows. After directingabusive language at the agent and insisting on their usualallowance of coal despite their striking husbands, the women leftafter an hour, threatening to return the following day."Dun And Bradstreet Business Directory. Toronto, 1864-1978.38 The PANS no.20 Fergusson, C. Bruce, The Labour Movement in NovaScotia, Before Confederation, 1984.68Although they were physically separated, the home and theworkplace were each a part of overall family survival. The womenwere taking direct action because the strike affected theiressential supply of free coal. They were not passive homebodies,but were concerned with, and aware of their husband's work.Women, the church and societiesMid-century was a time of change for the place of women inthe Church. The influence which the Church exerted on womenranged from a strong work ethic to the forming of ladies'benevolent societies. The Church's attitude towards women waschanging. In mid-century North America more positive images ofwomen were being referred to in Church sermons. Well-worn talesof Eve's transgressions gave way to more flattering Biblicaltexts about industrious, faithful and pious females." Womenwere increasingly, seen as the compliment and companions of men,rather objects possessed by men.Two Pictou County pamphlets addressed the changing place ofwomen in the Church in 1877. The debate was over whether womenshould be allowed to preach in church. One pamphlet was for womenspeaking in Church, and one was against, exploring the historicalcontext of women's involvement in the Church. The opponentsargued that "as the peculiar power and usefulness of women dependupon their being the objects of admiration and affection,anything which tends to excite the opposite sentiments for thatreason be avoided. g140C. Stansell, City of Women, p.68.4o ^Munro,(ed.) The Place and Work of Women in the Church.Halifax: Nova Scotia Printing Company, 1877, p.4. Munro was forwomen speaking in Church and was paraphrasing the view of theopposing side.69In exploring the conservative stance of current opinion, onepamphlet suggested that women were only capable of expressingopinions in their naturally suited space of the home. They shouldnot bring their frivolities into the Church, because they wouldhave nothing useful to say. Furthermore:the woman was made subject to man, and she should keepher station and be content with it. For this reason,women must be silent in churches, not set up forteachers•, for this is setting up for superiority overthe man. —This reactionary view suggests that staunch Presbyterians ofPictou County were slow to absorb the wider changes which wereafoot in English Canada. However, there were also people inPictou County behind the increasingly vocal role of women in theChurch. The Bible was referred to by J. Munro to "mark the gooddone by the few ladies who use their eloquence in public". 42Famous nineteenth century women such as Florence Nightingale,Hannah More and Elizabeth Fry were advanced as having "shedblessings upon the World, the value of which eternity alone canreveal" by preaching the gospel."Both pamphlets invoked women's "natural" virtues ofattractiveness and affection to support their position. Thoseagainst women speaking in Church argued that women would not berespected because of their qualities of care and physicalattractiveness. The defence for women speaking in church arguedthat because of their subjective qualities women would be able to41 Ibid., p.11.42 Ibid, p.3.43 Joseph S. David, A Reply to "The Place and Work of Women in theChurch. Halifax: Nova Scotia Printing Company, 1878, p.8.70serve as "appropriate instruments in doing good", where men wereunable to move the "wretched profligate". 44In Pictou County it was a small group of influential womenwho were active in women's societies. The closeness with which acommittee of the ladies of Salem Church formally thank MrsPatterson in The Christian Instructor 1859-60 exhibitsfamiliarity with Mrs. Patterson, as well as an almost self-congratulatory glow:Please convey to Mrs Patterson, whom we gladly hail asan helpmeet for thee, the highest esteem of yourcongregation, for the domestic comfort and christianweal of yourself and the little ones, which it haspleased God to give unto you.'"Women's societies were devoted to doing good as caregivers,supporters, and moral overseers to those whom they helped.Religion was always a general driving force motivating thesocieties. Most societies were closely tied to the Church andfunds raised might be directed straight into the Church. Forexample, in 1842 The Pictou Ladies' Sewing Society recorded thatit had raised money to go towards the purchase of a new organ fora Pictou Church."The causes which societies funded could be local, such asThe Pictou Female Benevolent Society, which aimed to relieve thedistresses of the destitute and the helpless. "Impressed withfeelings of sympathy towards those of our sex, in this town and44 Ibid., p.10.45 The Christian Instructor 1859-60  . J.J. Stewart Collection, p.14.46 PANS MG7 vol.103 no.1-4.71the neighbourhood" they aimed to comfort. Help, in this case,was to be given by educational support. 47Women's societies were also concerned with internationalissues. In an age of expanding colonial empire, Nova Scotia wasrelatively established and able to send help to the far cornersof the World. The Ladies' Religion and Bible Society, formed in1857, and the Ladies' Helping Hand Society, 1883 were forerunnersof the women's Foreign Mission Society, 1903, and were concernedwith raising funds for foreign missions early on." The Ladies'Branch of the Pictou Bible Society raised considerable sums ofmoney which they handed on to the men's branch to buy Bibles forthe World. Although they made significant contributions tosocieties, women stood behind men's societies. They formed"female" branches of the dominant societies, which were there toserve the dominant in much the same way as wives were expected toserve their husbands.The temperance movement in Nova Scotia enjoyed a strongfollowing in the mid-nineteenth century. Where alcohol had been anormal part of daily life, Nova Scotians had come to considerstronger liquor control, and even complete abstinence,desirable." The motivation for temperance was part of a questfor morals and godliness. It was believed that poverty and crime47^•Pictou was not unique in its female Benevolent Society. A similarsociety named The Halifax Methodist Female Benevolent Society hadexisted as early as 1828. It was guided by the same principles asThe Pictou Female Benevolent Society, and sewing parties couldcontinue on into the night. PANS MG 29 vol. 1016.48 J.M. Cameron, About New Glasgow. New Glasgow: The HectorPublishing Company, 1962, p.50.49 E.J. Dick, "From Temperance to Prohibition in Nineteenth CenturyNova Scotia" Dalhousie Review, Autumn 1982, p.530. By the 1870sNova Scotia claimed to ahve twice as many pledged members intemperance organisations, in proportion to the population, as thewhole Dominion. p.531.72could be eliminated if liquor was prohibited. m In praying andcampaigning for the prohibition or tighter control of liquor, thetemperance societies believed that they had God on their side.Their appeal to Christianity in their cause linked them with theforces of religion, as well as with the forces of business. Theform which many of their activities took on mimicked the Church.Temperance meetings, with their prayer, singing, and speeches,resembled a church service. The halls which were built for themeetings resembled Churches. Reflecting business interests, itwas the elite members of Pictou who were prominent in thetemperance movement. As well as curbing the consumption of liquortemperance societies enabled them to form friends and make usefulcontacts. It has been suggested that in America "temperance wasadvertised as a kind of solvent of whatever class differenceswere developing within the commercial city". 51 However, inPictou County and Nova Scotia the divisions appear greater thanthe uniting forces.Through the presence of influential members, temperancesocieties in mid-century Pictou County were able to build theirown lodges and halls and to exert a considerable amount ofpressure on the government, using petitions. In 1866 The Sons ofTemperance, The Saint Andrew's Lodge of British Templars, and theEureka Lodge of the Independent Order of Grand Templars,succeeded in getting 192 males under 21 years to sign a petitionto rumsellers praying them to stop selling liquor. 52Women were not the major instigators of the drive for totalabstinence. They played a behind the scenes role, backing50 Ibid., p.549.51 M. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1981, p.135.52 PANS MG 1 vol. 2058 #25. The Eastern Chronicle 5 July 1866.73impressive demonstrations such as the 1842 outdoor field serviceof the West River Branch of The Pictou Temperance Society. Aprocession of 50 horses and carriages, 12 men on horseback, 5magistrates, doctors, and "about 100 ladies" marched to thefield." Later, in 1877 another demonstration involved a torch-light procession through Pictou Town with people from the BlueRibbon Movement wearing the ribbons to show their support ofabstinence. As with much of the temperance movement, members ofthe town council, a symbol of the masculine world of the publicsphere, were at the front of the procession. In such publicevents, women walked at the back, a symbol of their involvementand placement in the temperance movement.Women's lack of involvement was not surprising consideringthat there was a strong masculine component to the temperancemovement. A Women's Christian Temperance Union was formed inAbercrombie in the early 1860s. However, because of thefraternal, businessperson mentality of temperance societies,women's role in the curbing of drinking and the promotion ofhealthy citizens was confined to their place in the home, andthis was where they were expected to expend their energy. Nor didthe secret codes and initiations involve the behaviours whichwomen were likely to be found participating in on an evening.This was because temperance societies were fraternal. An exampleof the sort of fraternal ritual involved was in Churchville,Pictou County, where new members were initiated into the societyby taking a pledge of total abstinence. This involved being metR.H. Sherwood, Out Of The Past-Vignettes of Pictou County. Pictou: The Pictou Advocate Press, 1984, p.123.74in an ante-room by a committee of four and then marched into themain room singing the ode, "pure cold water give to me". 54Women and the lawIn mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia prostitution, vagrancy,drunkenness, assault, larceny and nuisance were the most commonoffenses for which women were indicted." The majority of thecrimes were moral offences and not crimes against persons orproperty." The women committing the petty crimes that came tothe attention of the courts were the poor and powerless who werefinding it difficult to survive, and who were forced to break thelaw to do so. 57 Women were more often the victims of a crimethan they were the perpetrators. Furthermore, women involved incrime often met violent ends. Such were the mid-century deaths ofHalifax repeat offenders Mary Slattery and Eliza Munroe, who wereboth murdered soon after they were released from jail. Mary mether death by being set on fire by an acquaintance, while Elizawas murdered by a drunken soldier."In the mid-nineteenth century it was not easy for a woman or manto leave an abusive or incompatible marriage either socially or54 Churchville Women's Institute, "History of Churchville, PictouCounty, 1784 - 1984", p.73.P. Girard, and J. Phillips,(eds.), Essays in the History ofCanadian Law: Vol.3, The Nova Scotia Experience. Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1990, p.208.56 Ibid., p.222.57 Without prospects and often destitute, women resorted toprostitution "as naturally as their brothers turned to stealing".J. Fingard, The Dark Side of Life in Victorian Halifax. Halifax:Pottersfield Press, 1989, p.95.58 Ibid., p.57.75legally. John McPhail was a poor, slow groggery keeper at theback of The Albion Mines on the road to Middle River. Both he andhis wife drank, and while they were intoxicated he beat her overthe head and other parts of the body with an axe handle, mortallywounding her. McPhail was convicted principally on the evidenceof his son, who watched the murder."There were many social and monetary barriers to obtaining a legaldivorce in mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia. All of theChristian religions in Nova Scotia frowned upon divorce."Divorce was an expensive and difficult process. Between 1868 and1893 only 65 divorces were granted in Nova Scotia.Legal divorce required proof of physical violence against womenor evidence of adultery, and preferably both. Over 40 per cent ofthe decrees obtained by women between 1868 and 1888 (11 out of27) alleged cruelty by itself or in combination with adultery.Nearly half, 46 per cent, of all petitions filed by women in thesame time period alleged cruelty. In contrast, men sought divorceon the grounds of adultery alone, whereas only half of the womenseeking divorce used only adultery. 61The most heavily documented divorce case in mid-nineteenthcentury Pictou County is McLean v. McLean in 1849. 62 In1866Hector McLean left Pictou to work in the United States.During his absence Sarah remarried and had a child with her new"husband". Hector eventually returned and filed for divorce.56 Oueen v. McPhail. PANS RG 39 "c" vol.2 #19.60 Compared to the rest of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick hada high ratio of divorced to married persons. For Canada the ratiowas 1 to 10222. In Nova Scotia it was 1 to 2608, whereas inCatholic Quebec the ratio was 1 to 62 334. (P. Girard and J.Phillips, Essays in the History of Canadian Law, p.240.)Ibid., p.245.62 PANS Box 756 folder 4. This case has also been mentioned inchapter two because of its relevance to child custody.76Evidence filed at the hearing revealed that neighbours knew aboutSarah's illegal second marriage, but were not disapproving enoughto intervene. This suggests that "self-divorce" was more of areality in the mid-nineteenth century than was legal divorce. Onthe level of the individual second marriage appears to havesometimes been tolerated, although the Church, the law and othermoral institutions saw it as wrong.It is interesting to consider how Sarah felt about illegally re-marrying, and whether she would have liked to have legallydivorced her husband. Although Hector disagreed that he did nothave intentions to return, Sarah told that she felt abandoned,and did not believe that Hector would return. If this were herfeeling, then petitioning for divorce would have been useless forher, as she could not have claimed adultery, and her own adulterywould have worked against her."Women's legal position in the mid-nineteenth century was about toexperience major changes. The difference between legal rulingsand actual practice can be seen as an indicator that it was timefor changes to the law, and further, that the law mirroredsociety, and followed society, rather than initiated. This wastrue for married women's property rights, as well as in divorceand child custody. Mid-century women in Canada still legallybelonged to their husbands. They were unable to own property andall property at the time of marriage became the property of theman. Although it was the legal reality, discontent with the lawwas being voiced by some, and the time was right for legalchange. In commenting on an 1855 bill to liberalise matrimonialproperty Pictou County's Eastern Chronicle urged Nova Scotia to:set a bright example to the rest of being among thefirst countries to declare the civil equality of the sexes, and63 P. Girard and J. Phillips, Essays in the History of Canadian Law,p.244.77that womanis not to be considered the serf or dependent ofman.Changes in women's legal status in all areas did happen in thelate nineteenth century. In Canada the changes were modelledlargely on English Acts. The changes in the law did improve thestatus of women in Nova Scotia, although women were active inusing their own methods to manage their varied situations. In themid-nineteenth century not only were women often unable to turnto the law for help, but the law itself was inadequate andrestrictive.ConclusionsWomen's lives involved moving between and within the complexlayers and sometimes contradictory interplay of ideology,reality, and legality. According to Church and governmentideology home was the natural and proper place of woman. Herewoman should fulfil her work as a wife and mother. The aptitudefor bestowing virtues and morals could be extended outside of thehome to help the needy, so long as it did not challenge women'splace in the home. Hence, through benevolent societies and asbackground helpers, women who had the time were able tocontribute to Christian causes associated with the Church.The reality of women's lives involved opportunism, thrift, andhelping out wherever necessary, as well as making the best ofsituations. It involved contributing to the public economythrough labour, even where the artificial separation of the homeand workplace denied it. In particular, the gap between women'sreal position and their legal position in the law highlights theway in which the law lagged behind reality; and hence people were64 Ibid., p.87.78accustomed to taking the law into their own hands. The vastmajority of instances of divorce, marriage, and child custodywere dealt with in a practical way, outside of the law. Asattitudes and realities changed in the mid-century, the lawchanged sluggishly to recognise that women could own property anddid not belong to their husbands - beliefs which the reality ofwomen's lives had long been challenging.Having their work strictly categorised within the confines of thehome, has led to women's work being seen as not contributing tothe overall farm economy. This was not the case, as women's workwas vital to the functioning of the farm. Furthermore, even whenmen's workplaces were separated from the home, women were stillconcerned with their working conditions, as it directly affectedthem.Womanhood was the time of "being". After years of preparation awoman had arrived at her true and natural place. Women strove tomanage their homes and bring up their children and this gave somecredence to the cult of domesticity. In reality there was a greatdeal more diversity in experience than the churches preached, andpublic speeches articulated. The framework of the separatespheres was a tremendously widespread ideology that was at timesa long way away from everyday life, but nevertheless influenced,especially the lives of middle class, urban women.79CHAPTER FIVEENDINGSWidows are singular creatures; they resemble greenwood, which wpile it is burning on one side, is weepingon the other.''Widowhood was the frequent lot of nineteenth century women.For many it involved emotional turmoil. With the male head ofhousehold dead, women entered a time of economic and socialuncertainty. Although some were challenged to take charge, forcesbeyond their control, as well as societal constraints, ensuredthat the majority of women remained dependent on family support.In 1871 Nova Scotia had 10 636 widows, compared with 4 102widowers, in a population of 382 003. Table One shows the ages ofthe widowed in Pictou County in 1871. The 921 widows and 362widowers made up four percent of the population. There were morewidows at each age group than there were widowers, except in the91 to 101 age group.The Gatherer, Comedy section in The Mechanic and Farmer, 25May 1841.80TABLE ONE:^AGES OF THE WIDOWED PICTOU COUNTY 1871 AGE SEX TOTAL16-21 MALE -FEMALE 121-31 MALE 8FEMALE 2531-41 MALE 23FEMALE 5441-61 MALE 89FEMALE 33361-71 MALE 103FEMALE 24271-81 MALE 93FEMALE 17181-91 MALE 36FEMALE 6691-101 MALE 10FEMALE 9SOURCE: Census of Canada 1871, p.200 vol.2. Categories given aretaken directly from the summary volume.Widowhood as a many - faceted categoryIn the late twentieth century widows are typically associatedwith old age, but mid-nineteenth century widows were notnecessarily grey haired with stooped postures. Table 1 shows thatin 1871 although half of the widows in Pictou County were over 61years, approximately one third were between 21 and 61 years. In1871 25 Pictou County widows were under the age of 31. Coping withwidowhood at an early age came as a shock, as was articulated mid-century in a Nova Scotia church paper:81At the age of twenty years I was left a widow, with aninfant son. The loss of a cherished and beloved husbandfell like an avalanche upon my young and untried heart.',Accidents, disease and the dangers of childbirth wereresponsible for the deaths of young married women. On childbirthWilliam Norman Rudolf noted in his diary a man whose wife had diedin childbirth, leaving him with six young children. Rudolf found itunusual that this man, who had been a widower for only threemonths, was remarrying. 3 Another example of unexpected widowhoodlaments the loss experienced by a widow who lost her husband atsea. Margaret Dickie Michener wrote in her diary on 28 October1850:I feel great sympathy for Abigail. She has her threelittle boys to be with her in her widowhood; they looklike their father, only gone a week lst Saturday fromhis home, and now returned a corpse...Old maids formed another group that were in a similar positionto, but also differed from widows. In old age widows and old maidsshared many experiences, and were often considered together byothers. In 1841 The Mechanic and Farmer portrayed "The Old Maid" asa woman who had missed her chances while in her youth, though shewas once courted. There is an interesting twist, in that her lot inold age is a "calm" life full of friends. This prompts a tensionbetween whether she missed out in never marrying or took a pathwhich led to contentment in old age. The tranquillity and newlyfound inner peace in old age in the last verse is similar to what2 The Christian Instructor and Missionary Register of thePresbyterian Church of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1850-55,p.15.3 PANS Micro: Bibliography: William Norman Rudolf, 1862-74, 11March, 1862.4 M. Conrad, T. Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home.Halifax: Formac Publishing Company Limited, 1988, p.113.82was ideologically written about widows. In the last verse of thepoem a newly found tranquility is referred to. Widows too mightfind old age a time of calmness and contemplation.The Old MaidShe sighs alone! no lover comes,To woo her with his winning tongue;They seem to shun her very face -It was not so when she was young.Then she was courted by the gay,And in her praise fine songs were sung;Their memory only lingers now -Alas! she is no longer young.Gems rich and rare were given her then,And flowers - were wreath'd her curls among;No flowers - no gems are given her now,Because she is no longer young!But now how calm her life doth glide,For friendship's bonds are o'er her flung,And pleasure dances in her eye,Although she is no longer young!"Freedom or cast-off? Without a husband widows were potentially free to explore newopportunities. Such freedom can be detected in the lives of someelderly widows in Pictou County. It was said that for Mrs Hicks, awidow for three years who had six children, "new faces and academicchallenges seem to have lightened the burden of widowhoodconsiderably. She returned to her various duties in Hantsport and,in 1856, she married Robert McCulloch." 6 However, in this case,although Mrs Hicks was successfully independent, she is considered5 The Mechanic and Farmer, 10 November 1841.6 Diary of Margaret Dickie Michener, 14 December 1850 in M.Conrad, T. Laidlaw and D. Smyth, No Place Like Home, p.114.83more successful because she "completed" herself by re-marrying, andhence moved back into the accepted norm of society.For all of the images of potential freedom, it was easier andmore acceptable for women to remain as close as possible to apatriarchal family unit. This was especially so for younger widows.Attempts at managing as a single-parent in Nova Scotia illuminatethe difficulties. When Annie Rogers Butler was left a widow withtwo small children, her husband lost at sea, she ran a nurseryschool, and in 1891 she accepted the position of matron at theHalifax Protestant Orphans' Home. However, this optimistic,independent situation is stopped by Annie retiring from her post assoon as the children are old enough to support themselves. 7 Workingwas only to be adopted when it was necessary. If a widow moved toa position where she was able to be supported by a new husband,there was no longer any need for her to work.Table Two shows the ages of the widowed and the married inPictou County and Nova Scotia. Re-marriage was common in NovaScotia for both widows and widowers. In number, only in the 81 to91 age group did widows exceed the number of married people.Widowers were less common than the married men in this age group.Among those who had lost their spouse in Pictou County, menremarried more often than women. 8 Men were more likely to marryconsiderably younger women, than women were to marry a younger man,and older men were more likely to remarry than older women.Ibid., p.151.8 This raises interesting questions of why it is that there isa "culture" of widowhood for women, as opposed to men, and lendssupport to the argument that widowhood was a loose category, whichalso referred strongly to old age as well as to the loss of ahusband.84TABLE TWO: AGES OF THE WIDOWED AND OF THE MARRIED COMPARED - PICTOUCOUNTY AND NOVA SCOTIAAGEPICTOU COUNTY NOVA SCOTIAMARRIED WIDOWED MARRIED WIDOWEDMALE FEM MALE FEM MALE FEM MALE FEM16-21 - 590 - 1 99 1521 2 2021-31 590 1067 8 25 10259 16636 180 53331-41 1124 1224 23 54 16137 16000 41141-61 1860 1714 89 333 20000 19601 1163 391961-71 654 355 103 242 6551 3819 996 232171-81 254 102 93 171 2627 1143 893 188781-91 38 8 36 66 464 148 397 70791-101 4 - 10 9 32 8 53 93SOURCE . Census of ana a 1871, vol.^pp. 182 and 00.Categories given are taken directly from the summary volume.Reasons for re-marriage were complex. Notions of romantic loveand individual circumstances are difficult to weigh up with widersocial processes. Generalising beyond the individual level itappears that despite the potential for new opportunity, upon thedeath of a husband widows faced "a real domestic calamity". 9According to wills, women legally became boarders in their ownhomes, under the guardianship of their male children, just as theyhad been dependants of their husbands and of their fathers beforethat. H Domesticity and dependence were seen as the essential stateof women in rural, nineteenth century Ontario. It amounted,according to Frances Stewart, who was a nineteenth century woman,to a lifetime of never being "allowed to think or act" and in the9 Ball sees no role for a wise woman widow in old age. Insteadshe gloomily portrays sons and daughters who had inherited farms,getting their mothers as part of the settlement. R. Ball, " "APerfect Farmer's Wife" Women in Nineteenth Century Rural Ontario."Canada An Historical Magazine. vol.3, no.2, 1975, Ibid., p.20.85end widowhood left her "bewildered, weak, and confused". 11 Widowersalso experienced feelings of loneliness, as was reflected in theirhigh rates of remarriage.For widows, a change in marital status was accompanied by achange in spatial location. For example, a certain Mrs Beckwith, ofmid-nineteenth century King's County, married, remarried after herfirst husband's death, and then after her second husband's death,once again a widow, she lived in various places; at ColonelBelcher's in Canning, Doctor Sheffield's in Saint John, and most ofher time was spent with Mrs. W.J. Higgins of Wolfville, a sister ofher first husband.Widows and willsIn a century of changing legal rights for women, Nova Scotiawidows were legally able to own property, but inheritance practicesmeant that males exerted considerable control over their wives,even after their own deaths. Although they recognised that awoman's situation would be different without a husband, theintention of men's wills appears to have been an attempt to havewives maintain the same position towards property that they hadpreviously held while the husband was living. 12 Even if a woman wasgiven control over property or possessions, especially property, inthe majority of mid-nineteenth century wills in Nova Scotia, shewas not allowed to choose who she would leave it to in turn. The11 Ibid.12 M. Griffin Cohen, Women's Work- Markets, and EconomicDevelopment in Nineteenth-Century Ontario. Toronto: University ofToronto Press, 1988, p.58.86husbands had already decided who would maintain the farm after thewidow, who was to "hold" the property. nFew wills in mid-century Pictou County made provisions for theburial of the wife, whereas the husband's burial was often set outin detail. One of the exceptions is the will of Angus McLeod of NewLaing, in which he states that he wants a "decent Christian burialat the termination of his wife's days upon earth, the same to beraised for her without any manner of trouble or labour of myestate". 14 Men's failure to see beyond their own burials may nothave been malicious or even uncaring, but they may have simplyassumed that their wives would follow them into the same familyplot. This assumption illustrates that men certainly appear to havebeen articulating that they wanted their wives to be loyal to themafter they were dead. 15Mid-nineteenth century widows were still under the influenceof their husbands. Husbands generally attempted to ensure that whenthey died, their wife and daughters would be cared for. The 1861will of William Fraser of West River serves as a typical example ofhow a mid-century Pictou farmer left his estate. Fraser left hisfarm to his two sons, who in return had to support and maintaintheir mother and sister "as long as she (the sister) remainedunmarried and remains on the premises performing the usual amount13 Griffin Cohen backs up these findings and states that"frequently the wife was given the use of the property for herlifetime, with instructions for further inheritance clearly laidout". Griffin Cohen also finds that this practice became lessfrequent towards the end of the nineteenth century. Ibid., p.49.14 Registry of Probate Wills vol.3 1836-1855 #149 Angus McLeod.One sixth of wills which R. Ball looks at for Canada try toperpetuate a widow's loyalty and fidelity to the departed husband.R.Ball, "A Perfect Farmer's Wife", p.20.87of labour that is generally expected of females living in a farmhouse". 16Many wills were conditional upon children providing for theirmothers. In 1860 Thomas McPherson of Fisher's Grant bequeathed allof his property to his wife, with the provision that it be passedon to his son after the death of the mother only if the sonundertook to live with his mother. Should he not do so, "she is tohave the privilege of giving it to whom she pleases". 17Frequently wills in Pictou County stipulated that the rightsgiven to women lapsed if the woman changed her "marital" status. 18Donald McKenzie of Three Brooks, Cariboo left his "beloved wife"everything for the duration of her life, if she would rear,support, clothe and educate their son and not mortgage the land.McKenzie appeared aware that there was the possibility that hiswife might remarry when he stipulated that:in the event of my widow marrying again before our sonDonald McKenzie has attained the age of twenty one yearsand in the event of her and her husband continuing toreside on the said lands our son Donald gets one third ofthe land.If his wife were to leave with a new husband, then the son was toget everything.16 Registry of Probate Wills, vol.4 1855-69. William Fraser,West River, 1861.17 Ibid., Thomas McPherson, Fisher's Grant, 1860.The recording of exact amounts of provisions, space andpassage rights within the homestead is observed by a wide range ofhistorians. C. Merchant notes how "a widow received dower rights-one third of the real estate for use during her remaining life andone third of the household goods forever." and that "some widows'dowers spelled out provisions, space and passage rights within thehomestead."( C. Merchant, Ecological Revolutions, Nature, Genderand Science in New England. Chapel Hill: The University of NorthCarolina Press, 1989, p.186.) Likewise, Rosemary Ball notes how innineteenth century Ontario , "wills frequently itemised the minimalgoods and services with which widows were to be provided: firewood;a carriage to transport her to church on Sunday; one new dress eachyear; laundry facilities; some pocket money; the bedstead,mattress, bureau, and rocking chair that had formed her dowry".(R.Ball, "A Perfect Farmer's Wife", p.20.)88The wills of farmers show that land was the chief inheritance.Due to the patriarchal passing down of land, women were not aspermanently attached to one place as men. As soon as women marriedthey normally left the land on which they had been brought up andtransferred to the family of another man. However, in the townswhere land holdings were smaller, wills were different. Althoughthey still had a house and perhaps a business to pass on, towndwellers were free from the complications of the passing on of thefarm. In the towns of Pictou County, women were more frequentlybeing left significant property and possessions. For example,William Reid, a shoemaker in Pictou Town left his "beloved wife"all of his personal property, "together with all and singular myReal Estate of whatsoever kind and wheresoever situated". 19In the urban areas there also appears to have been less of adistinction between what was left to girls, and what was left toboys. It was also more common to leave everything to the wife, andlet her divide it amongst the children. To the contrary, in ruralareas daughters were often left "one cow and five sheep each",while sons received a half of the farm. 99 However, the lessprosperous the farm, often the smaller the distinctions betweengirls and boys. Only slightly biasing by gender, Nicholas P.Oldingof Merigomish left bedding to his oldest daughter and apparel tohis oldest son, with the rest of the children to "share and sharealike".Children were often charged with looking after their mother,and not vice versa. Most mid-century wills detailed what should beprovided for widows. Women generally received the interiorpossessions of a house, bedsteads, blankets, furniture and private,is Registry of Probate Wills, 1836-1855, William Reid, Pictou1851.n Ibid., Donald McDonald, Pictou County 1850.89indoor, moveable objects. "Outdoor" objects left to women wereusually sheep or milch cows useful in aiding women's work. Men wereleft land or money, outdoor, public symbols, often less tangibleand less moveable than the items left to women. A common examplewas when a will left a woman "her choice of a room in the house"with certain goods to be left for her "during her virtuouswidowhood". In 1856 James Berrie of Six Mile Brook, states in hiswill that his "beloved wife" Mary is to be provided yearly withthree bushels of wheat, oat meal, fifteen bushels of potatoes, theuse of one milch cow, ten pounds of sugar, wool, and half of thehouse to use. 21It was common for wills to stipulate the space in a house andon the property which should be kept for widows. James Cameron ofMerigomish stated that his wife was to "have the garden as long asshe lives" . 22 If the daughter remained unmarried she was to receivethe mother's rooms and the garden. Hugh McIntosh of East River lefthis wife Isabella the kitchen and the back room adjoining it. Shewas also to have the use of half of the cellar and a piece of landfor a garden, eight bushels of wheat, thirty of oats, forty ofpotatoes, two of barley, three milch cows, twelve sheep and onepig. As well, she was to get the use of the horse when her son didnot need it. 23The use of the horse was very important to the mobility of awidow, and appears to have been overlooked in the vast majority ofwills when food provisions were being so clearly set out. Elderlywomen had to rely on help to be able to move around. This wasrecognised partially in the provision of the use of an animal or21 Registry of Probate Wills, vol.4 1855-69, James Berrie, SixMile Brook, 1856.22 Ibid., James Cameron, Merigomish, 1855.23 Ibid., Hugh McIntosh, East River, 1847.90carriage, even at times stipulated not to interfere with peakseasons. In the will of Charles McKay of Rogers Hill the wife wasto get "use of a horse and carriage as often as she may reasonablyrequire". 24Few mid-nineteenth century Pictou women left wills. The onesthat exist are often markably different from those written by men.Possessions and money were more often left to friends or benevolentchurch causes. This indicates that it was the wealthiest women whoneeded to make wills. The "widow of Malcolm McLeod" left "to myfriend Margaret McLeod wife of William McCall the estate andproperty which I own or may own at the time of my death both realand personal...". She goes on to stipulate clearly that:the said Margaret McLead shall hold the said property toher separate use and without any interference of her saidhusband. And I make and appoint the said Margaret McLeodmy sole executive of this my last will and testament. 4'Kitty Whitefield of Kirkwood divided her money in her will betweentwo people, and then left money to Saint James's Church in Pictou.She stated that the money was "to be yearly applied in beautifyingand keeping 'imperfecticides', the burying ground, surrounding andbelonging to that church". Money was also given to the Ladies'Benevolent Society and to the Masonic Lodge, "of which my dearhusband was a brother". The money was to be spent on a handsomecushion and Bible in memory of him, "on the title page his name anddate of death is to be illuminated". One hundred pounds was alsogiven to Frances, wife of Walter Wade living near Philadelphia inremembrance of a happy friendship". 2624 Ibid., Charles McKay 1855.25 Ibid., 1843.26 Registry of Probate Wills, vol.4 1855-1869. Kitty Whitefieldof Kirkwood, 1860.91Widows, folklore, and strange happeningsOld age implied a time of acquired wisdom. For old women thisknowledge was frequently expressed in homeopathic practices andsupernatural activities. In Pictou, "Highland powers" believed tohave been brought from the Highlands of Scotland, fuelledsuperstition through a belief that old customs and superstitionswere brought from across the sea. 27 The Scots in Pictou County werefirm believers in second sight, and particularly susceptible to thesuggestion of ghosts. An interviewer of an old Pictonian noted inthe interview of her subject that "she has preserved her facultiesremarkably well, and about two years ago got her "second sight", sothat now she can read and write without glasses". 28In all of the cases of stories and unexplained forces inPictou County, old women were held responsible for the strangehappenings. The beliefs lasted overmuch of the nineteenth century.An old lady was blamed when a boat sank in Pictou Harbour in 1803.According to popular account she had sunk the boat as revenge to afarmer who had shot at her while she was sucking milk from theteats of cows."Old women were also supposed to be able to predict events.Predictions were not always positive. "Mother Coo" an elderly ladywas said to have predicted The Foord Pit explosion of 1862. Shetold fortunes with cards and did teacup readings." She later27 A' Gleann Boidheach. Published by The Bridgeville Women'sInstitute, 1967, p.9.28 PANS MG 1 vol.733A Mrs Owen's Scrapbook.29 R.H. Sherwood, Out of the Past- Vignettes of Pictou County.Pictou: Coastal Publishers Limited, 1954, p.28.30 Ibid., p.77.92predicted another disaster at Springhill. 31 In West River"witchcraft was literally in the air". Damage to flocks and herds,diseases and suffering could be blamed upon the presence ofwitchcraft. 32 There was a double innuendo to the powers of women.On one hand they were the actions of "witches" and associated withthe negative connotations of evil, disgruntled old hags(sic).While, on the other they were useful and knowledgeable and drawingupon wisdom and supernatural powers accumulated from a life oflearning. Whether good or bad, the unexplainable element downplayedthe good and accented the bad. Stories ridiculed any real powers.Where women were recognised as being wise, it was a feature to bewary of.The predictions of women were ridiculed to deny them anycredibility. This is so in the much cherished memory of Doctor McGregor, of Pictou County. A woman came to see him when he was illand chanted the words; "if you live you live and if you die youdie". The minister had a sore throat, but he laughed so hard whenhe heard the woman's words that he burst the abcess which wascausing him the trouble. Further, on another occasion DoctorMcGregor was out very late at night. A tall figure clothed in whiteand apparently hanging in mid-air appeared before him. This,however, was not the manifestation of Highland Scottishsuperstitions of ghosts, witches and occult appearances, but it wasonly a poor, insane woman who had wrapped a sheet about her andtaken up her position on a stump."Old women were recognised for their knowledge about dealingwith illnesses although their advice was often common sense. A31^p.79.32^MG 10 Rev. E.D. Millar, The Planting and Early Historyof Presbyterianism in Pictou County. 1764-1904.PANS MG 9 Vol.36 p.29.93woman commenting on longevity states that "Mrs Sinclair (recallingthe 1830s) is now 87 years of age and her health and agility attestto the fact that hard work never hurt anyone". 34 In many cases thehome remedies were a practical way of coping with discomfort.Molasses boiled with. onions in it was a reputed remedy for acold. 35 "Nanny tea" was made from boiled sheep manure and wasreputed to help with measles. Another medicine was made from tansyflowers." Then there was princes' pine for kidneys, and weeds fordyes. The use of herbs and roots was "a practical way of curingailments.""Making old women appear concerned with herbs and medicine andgossip-like predictions was a stereotype of their real interests.Stressing these activities fitted with women's place in the home,concerned with care-giving. In reality women were also interestedin matters other than those which they were allotted. For example,although a woman in Lunenberg meticulously planted her garden, shealso had an ongoing interest in boats, steamships, and trains. Aswell as her fascination with technological innovations, juxtaposedis her planting in tune with the earth and her fascination withgold and silver watches."Where women's powers were accepted they were often treatednegatively. Such treatment is demonstrated by the story of "oldwoman Sallie", which is accentuated through being steeped in34 PANS MG 4 vol.216a Historic Records of Abercrombie, PictouCounty, Nova Scotia, compiled for Abercrombie Branch of W.I., N.S.,1978.OH 1615, MacLellan, Mrs. M. from Ardness, 1977.36 OH 165, Frame, Mr Cecil, Glengarry, N.S., 1977.OH 221, Isabell MacIntosh, 1977.38 PANS MG 4 vol.236 #11.94racism. In 1912 "Old Woman Sallie", a micmac Indian, was stillalive at one hundred years as the head of four generations. In aprevious time she had gone on a train to New Glasgow. The storygoes that a conductor would not let her stay on the train when shedid not have enough money for her fare. She got off the train, anda short time later the train was de-railed. A little later thetrain de-railed for a second time. While the engine was being putback on the track the conductor lost a finger. After this incidentthe superintendent at Moncton told the conductor that "whenever anIndian wants to go, take him whether he has the fare or not." 39 Inthe treatment of Indians, women's powers were used to demonstratestupidity. The question arises as to whether people who rejectedthe supernatural powers of women were holding them in higher esteemthan were those who recognised them; only to scoff.Widows and the lawIn the court records widows are very prominent. They appear atthe extremes of society; either very wealthy, or very poor. Theywere often destitute, with dependent children, and had often brokenthe law in an attempt to maintain their living space, or survive.Not a widow, but in almost the same situation, (as a deserted womanwho was married, but does not know whether her husband is now aliveor dead), Mrs Mason was convicted of selling intoxicating liquor,with no license."Disputes over rights to land brought widows into conflict withcontending occupiers of property, as well as with the law. In the39 Ibid., p.389.40 PANS RG 39 "C" vol.2 #12.95case of Mary Ann MacKay versus George Murray in 1861, in the WestBranch River John, Ann MacKay, a widow and mother was accused oftrespassing on the land on which she was living. She had a smallhouse on three or four acres, which she had inhabited with otherfemale adults from her family. In her own defence, she stated that;"my mother is seventy nine years old. I am 35 years old. One of mysisters is a widow. She has one child - I have two children - I ama single woman. „41The women claimed that they had been forced off the land afterGeorge Murray threatened to destroy their house. MacKay claims tohave approached Murray about staying on the land. "I went to Left(presumably Murray) once when he was in bed to protect us - he saidI will take care of your mother - but I don't know what will becomeof you before morning. "42 women were threatened and eventuallydriven off their land because they could not prove title. Thewomen's vulnerable situation was not accommodated by the law.Inadequacies in wills could contribute to trouble over theoccupancy of houses. Briget Murdoch, of Pictou, a widow, was takento court for illegally holding possession of a house after thetermination of her tenancy. The new landlord was her brother -in -law, James Murdoch, who had come into the house through hisbrother, Briget Murdoch's late husband. In her testimony, Brigetasked for part of the house, the kitchen, to live in. A witness,James Johnston, testified that he had always understood that "shewas to have the house, or that he (brother in law) was to providefor her another place."" James Murdoch had no such intentions tofulfill any family obligations.41 PANS RG 39 !ICU vol.2 #10 MacKay v. Murray, 12 June 1861.42 Ibid.43 PANS RG 39^vol.2 #16 Oueen v. Murdoch. July 23 1862.96The law was a last resort and it was with the familyinstitution that power really rested. Brigit Murdoch had threechildren to care for and nowhere to live. Without the support offamily there was nowhere for her to turn. She claims to have "neverreceived one copper for the release of my dower" .44, Brigitappears to have signed papers to sell the house, although sheclaims that she had not done so.Some widows coped by squatting in places which had oncebelonged to their husbands, or where they had been ordered toleave. According to recent recollection, Jane MacKay Rutherfordrecalled her great grandmother MacKenzie. MacKenzie was left withsix or seven children.when her husband died of appendicitis. Withno husband, no money, no land and so many children her solution wasto squat. 45Well, she simply squatted - squatted on any land thatwasn't claimed, got some sort of dwelling on it, and didthe best she could. When someone claimed the land, shejust moved on and squatted again. By moving and squattingshe made do. Somehow she got her family fed andeducated."'ConclusionsThere were similarities in the situations of widows andwidowers in mid-century Nova Scotia. Both faced grief and a changein personal relationships. However, there were many differencesbetween men's and women's situations. For women, widowhood was adistinct time of change and uncertainty. In a patriarchal system,44 Ibid.45 Margaret Rutherford Davidson (ed.), I Came From PictouCounty, Recollections of Jane MacKay Rutherford, p.3. MacKayRutherford's great grandmother would have been alive in the mid-nineteenth century.46 Ibid., p.3.97without the support of a husband, widowhood involved a change offitting in to a new relationship with the family and sometimesmoving home. Without the support of a male head of household widowswere dependent upon the goodwill of their families to provide forthem. Men's wills attempted to regulate widow's behaviour, as wellas ensure that families would care for widows. However, theprovisions were made from the perspective of the woman it was as apart of the husband, and not as an individual who would be on herown.For young widows, widowhood was a potentially liberatingposition, but strong constraints, both practical and ideologicalmeant that the young widowed in Pictou County did not remainsingle. The high rates of marriage were as high for men who lost aspouse, indicating the great ideological and practical importanceplaced upon the institution of the family.Attitudes towards old widows and old maids were ambiguous,with women being seen as both knowledgeable and ridiculous. In thelater years of their lives widows were given a role which cast themas wise. However, they were also ridiculed and much of their wisdomwas discredited through labelling it supernatural, when often itwas very in tune with the natural elements, or built from years ofexperiences and observations.In old age, women fell outside of the major sphere ofwomanhood, and in this respect they had spare time to contend with.Old age was a time of ambiguity, with women seen as both useful anduseless. For old women themselves it was a time of difficulty anduncertainty. Failing health and dependency could mean ending lifebeing treated like a child.98CHAPTER SIXCONCLUSIONSThis thesis has begun to reconsider the role of women inhistorical geography. Arising out of a perceived lack of women'sexperience in the sub-field, and drawing upon a rapidly expandingliterature on women in the nineteenth century, this study hasoffered an interpretation of the lives of girls and women in NovaScotia.Although this thesis is primarily a study of Nova Scotia, itreveals many similarities between Nova Scotia and the rest ofCanada, as well as the Eastern United States and Britain.Pervasive ideologies shaped attitudes towards women in wills,temperance society reports and the inscriptions which girlsstitched onto their samplers. The similarities also appear tohave extend across oceans to the far reaches of the BritishEmpire. In New Zealand and Australia the colonial environment wasinhabited by a similar emphasis on women's place in the home andthe family.Efforts to propagate a cult of domesticity appear to havebeen common in the mid-nineteenth century. However, there is adifference between observing an ideology in the nineteenthcentury and using it to form a framework in late twentiethcentury research. This distinction between the use of the "publicand private spheres" in the past and their theoretical use in thetwentieth century has become muddied. Analysis using the separatespheres was useful to start thinking about how the lives of womenand men were separated both ideologically and spatially. However,the theoretical frameworks have often served to simplify thevastly complex lives of individuals.The use of "public and private spheres" frameworks has99tended to isolate women's lives from those of men. This has beena necessary step, as the work and lives of women has been givenvalue. However, it is now time to recognise that women and mendid not exist in isolation. This is not to say that there was nota specific reality to the lives of girls and women. There wereactivities from childhood to old age which females wereresponsible for. Women also had a different understanding ofspace and time. However, these differences were as much a resultof interaction with men as they were of isolation from men.Although the family was patriarchal and the man was deemed thehead by society and various institutions such as the Church andgovernment, the family economy depended on the cooperation of itsmembers to function. Women's work did matter; in this sense anydivision between the public and private worlds is artificial. Thepublic world of economy and trade would not have been possiblewithout the private work of reproduction and "indoor" chores,that women performed.There are strong reasons for uncovering women's experience.Through understanding the nineteenth century, late twentiethcentury people will be able to see where they have come from, andhence better understand their situation. Once both the past andthe present are understood it will be possible to focus attentionon the future. There is a raw spirit and fire in much workconcerned with women's history that is fuelled by thedetermination to work for change. There is a danger in thisbecause a glossy impression of women's culture, and a negativeversion of men as oppressors can emerge. To overcome this it isimportant to continually question how women in the mid-nineteenthcentury were themselves feeling, and what made them content orangry, as opposed to a late twentieth century woman.In working for change, not only new frameworks, but new ways100of collecting data have to be employed. The records that werekept from the nineteenth century concerned public governmentalissues and vital statistics. These records obviously reflectedattitudes which did not see women's work or experiences asimportant. Hence, research has tended to make use of the orderingof these records and has resulted in the very scholarship thathas necessitated the present need to re-think historicalgeography.In assuming the necessity of considering the relationshipbetween people and their environments, historical geography hasmuch to contribute to the study of mid-nineteenth century women.Women's relationships with the land and the spaces which theymoved in is an area in which there are many analyses to be made.This is particularly important in a place such as Pictou, wherethe land was an important part of survival.Women's work and experiences were important and need to becompared to those of men through the analysis of genderrelations. However, until this women's experience has beenrevealed, it is not possible to move on to explore genderrelations in any detail. 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