Artisans in the North Carolina backcountry
During the quarter of a century before the thirteen colonies became a nation, the northwest quadrant of North Carolina had just begun to attract permanent settlers. This seemingly primitive area may not appear to be a likely source for attractive pottery and ornate silverware and furniture, much less for an audience to appreciate these refinements. Yet such crafts were not confined to urban centers, and artisans, like other colonists, were striving to create better lives for themselves as well as to practice their trades. As Johanna Miller Lewis shows in this pivotal study of colonial history and material culture, the growing population of Rowan County required not only blacksmiths, saddlers, and tanners but also a great variety of skilled craftsmen to help raise the standard of living.
Rowan County's rapid expansion was in part the result of the planned settlements of the Moravian Church. Because the Moravians maintained careful records, historians have previously credited church artisans with greater skill and more economic awareness than non-church craftsmen. Through meticulous attention to court and private records, deeds, wills, and other sources, Lewis reveals the Moravian failure to keep up with the pace of development occurring elsewhere in the county.
Challenging the traditional belief that southern backcountry life was primitive, Lewis shows that many artisans held public office and wielded power in the public sphere. She also examines women weavers and spinsters as an integral part of the population. All artisans - Moravian and non-Moravian, male and female - helped the local market economy expand to include coastal and trans-Atlantic trade.
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Artisans and the Backcountry
The Early History and Settlement of Rowan County
The Commercial Development of Rowan County 17591770
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Account Book Aeltesten Conferenz Allison Apprent apprentice arti artisans in Rowan Aust backcountry backcountry residents Beard Bethabara Bethlehem blacksmith brethren Bridenbaugh Carolina Cradle carpenter Chapel Hill clothing Colonial North Carolina cooper county seat Court of Pleas crafts craftsmen Cross Creek early America economic Francis Lock gunsmith hatter historians Hughes Ibid Invoice James Carter James weaver John joiner Kenneth G labor land lived Loesch MASP merchants Merrens mill millwright Moravian Church Moravian Community NC DAH non-Moravian North Carolina North Carolina backcountry Old Salem Pennsylvania Pleas and Quarter political population potter Ramsey records Regulator road Rowan County artisans Rowan Court Abstracts Rowan CPQS Rowan Deed Abstracts rural saddler Salisbury Salisbury District settle settlement settlers sheriff shoemaker southern backcountry Spangenberg spinner Rowan spinner Wilkes spinning spinster Steele Papers Surry tailor tanner Thorp tion town trades Univ urban Virginia Wachovia Tract weaver wheelwright William Steele women artisans Yadkin River