The book "History of Albemarle County" says something like this: In this progressive
age it is difficult to realize the Serious inconveniences, privations, and hardships that environed the early settlers
of Carolina in every department of life. The Country was sparsely settled and neighbors were frequently miles away.
Without roads or public conveyance, they were forced to make their journeys on foot or horseback along Indian trails
or paths. When the Tarkingtons first came to America, there were few horses in the country. The ships were too
small to bring many over at a time.
The part of Roanoke was the metropolis, and many of those having business, public or private, were compelled in many instances to travel from sixty to seventy-five miles, and frequently cross the Albemarle Sound in an 'Indian Dugout", to reach the courts, or to procure each article as had been imported into the Colony, that were necessary for the maintenance of their families and to provide for their business.
The process of the courts were executed by a Marshal, who had deputies living in different parts of the several precincts. Arrest and imprisonment for debt was frequent. Their communication with one another living at different points in the County was exceedingly difficult. There was no public mail service, and the pockets of travelers constituted the only mail bags. Often there were delays and carelessness on the part of the carriers, and thus communication was very uncertain and vexatious, when answers to letters were desired. The same difficulty applied to government business. Titles to land and deeds were allowed to accumulate in a neighborhood until the number justified the appointment of some person in the community, armed with Power of Attorney, to repair to the nearest place of probate, and have them properly recorded.
Some men were more creative' and adept at building machines. However, soon after the Revolutionary War many settlers moved across the mountains to the west. They traveled in large groups to protect themselves from the Indians. They took their slaves along with them. However, the pioneers suffered severely while on a journey, especially the women and little children. Many died during the journey. But the early settlers kept moving further west.
Tobacco and pork, in the absence of money, were the legal tender, and court judgments were payable by so many pounds of either one. Marriages were frequent among the early settlers; the men married as soon as they reached manhood, and the girls at the age of 14 or 15. It was unsafe for a family to be left alone, because of the savage Indians and wild animals. A male protector was an absolute necessity for their safety. Widows often remarried within a few weeks, and her second husband helped her settle her first husband's estate. Men remarried quickly, for they could not feed and clothe their family by themselves. Now, this practice would be considered too hasty, but circumstances in that day made quick marriages necessary. Many people married several times because the death rate was high. There were no divorces and death alone dissolved the marriage tie.
In general, men old or young had a decent coat, vest and some trousers and a fur cap. Old men had a great coat and a pair of boots. The boots were substantially made of good leather and lasted for life. They were long and reached to the knee. For every day wear they had a jacket reaching about half way down the thigh, striped vest and a jacket made of home spun flannel cloth, flannel shirts, and knit woolen stockings with leather shoes. In the summer the young boys wore a pair of wide petticoat trousers reaching half way from the knee to the ankle. Shoes and stockings were not wore in summer when at work on the farm. Boys, as soon as they left their petticoats, were put into short trousers of home manufactured cloth. The oldest son, when he had outgrown the short trousers, would give them to the next son and so on down to the youngest son. This manner of dress continued till long trousers were introduced which were called tongs and they did not differ much in shape from the short ones. In the summer the tongs were made of linen and cotton and in the winter they were made of flannel. Young men never wore great coats.
The women, old and young, wore home made flannel gowns in the winter and in the summer they wore wrappers or shepherdess without a waist and gathered round the neck. They were usually content with one calico gown. The sleeves were short and came only to the elbow. On holidays they wore from one to three ruffles on each arm, sometimes ten inches wide. They wore long gloves coming up to the elbow secured by what was called tightens, made of black horse hair. Round gowns had not come into fashion so during the week they wore aprons made of checked linen or cotton and for Sunday they were made of white cotton or cambric. They seldom wore caps, but on special occasion they wore one of two kinds; the "Strap Cap" which was tied with a strap under the chin and the "Round Cap" which did not come over the ears. They wore leather and broadcloth shoes with heels about an inch and a half high covered with cloth or leather.
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