An Occupation for Hester
So far, we have considered that Maggie’s ancestor Hester Morris might have been a cook for a wealthy family or worked on a farm as a member of the family.
There are a few other options, though.
She could work in a tavern, like the one pictured above. (It's Christiana Cambell's Tavern in Williamsburg.) Perhaps her father owned a tavern and she served or cooked in it.
Or maybe Hester could be a seamstress, working in a shop – or perhaps she owned a shop, although that might indicate she was a woman of means.
Being a maid in a well-to-do family was another option. (Pictured above: the Randolph House in Williamsburg.) Hester might be employed to clean a home and/or wait on the family.
If Hester is educated, she could teach in a school or work as a governess.
She also might be involved in working in a family's garden if she lived in town.
However, it is important to remember that anything Hester might do at this time would be within “woman’s sphere:” cooking, cleaning, spinning, weaving, making clothing, gardening, caring for animals, and child care.
And, of course, there’s always “the oldest profession” of prostitution. It feels a little weird to think that one of Maggie's ancestors might choose that profession - but I wouldn't be surprised if a "lady of the evening" or two were found in her family tree.
However, what would be unusual would be for Hester to venture into male-dominated areas of employment, especially if she were an immigrant or indentured servant. So I don't see her striking into those areas. Frankie may be interested in ministry and Lydia may be pursuing a medical career, but they live over 100 years later, during the first wave of American feminism.
I wish I had some photos of women in Colonial Williamsburg sewing or working in a shop, but there just wasn’t enough time to hit everything during our short stay there.
Now it's your turn to do some thinking.
What might Hester Morris have done for a living in the American colonies in the 1730s?
And where might she first have arrived in the colonies?
Feel free to comment! I usually turn the comments off on the blog because I have received spam and bots tend to send me stuff. But I'll open comments up for this post and approve them before they are posted.
7/16/2018 11:55:36 pm
Before I read beyond your question of Hester’s occupation, I saw her as a seamstress who created original clothing for women of means.
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Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder