I have been reading my favorite book about women to help put Rebecca Trotter Drake into perspective: America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins. For anyone doing female family tree research this is an absolute treasure.
When I'm doing general research, I keep a notebook handy and jot down information that I then try to put into perspective. For example: The first child born in America was Eleanor Dare in 1587. Jamestown was founded in 1607. My Elizabeth Trotter was born in 1655 in New Jersey. Her parents -- William Trotter and Catherine Cutbury Gibbs were both born in Massachusetts. Rebecca was a 2nd generation American.
Back in those olden days, it took approximately 2 months to cross the Atlantic, and that's if everything went well.
One of the books stated that women lived most of their lives without back support. They sat on stools or benches and most households had only one real chair, and you know who that was always reserved for.
Gleaned from the diaries of women in the 18th century (My Rebecca Trotter Drake would have been 45 years old), some of a women's duties were:
- Candle making
- Soap making
- Butter and cheese making
- Shoe making
- Brew beer
And speaking of spinning -- in a full day of spinning a women could walk over 20 miles -- all in the one room of her house.
Rebecca Trotter Drake had 14 children. She had six sons before a girl came along. She had 4 boys in 4 years, then a two year break, followed by son #5, another two year break and then #6 son. Can you imagine trying to ride herd on a hip baby, a toddler, a preschooler, a kindergartner, a first grader, a second grader -- all boys! Holy cow. And Abraham was only a year old when Sarah was born.