TA: Karen Jenks
11 December, 2007
1) Primary Essay
In 3ish detailed paragraphs, analyze the following primary
document, "Electa Marsh's Farm Journal, CT, 1799" by comparing its labor descriptions
to the work done by 3 other kinds of workers in early America. Be specific in your
identification of the other workers (sex, region, ethnicity) and in your comparisons. Be
sure to explain how one's work related to one's social, economic, racial, or ethnic identity.
Note: Electa is 9 years old.
"Wednesday the 24th: Rose early Milkt 2 cows and helpt clear away the breakfast table.
Made 1 bed swept 1 room and shelled some pease. Attended school. Wrote my Journal.
Read in the 20 and 21 chapter of Exodus and remarked the 17th verse in the 20 chapter.
Finished my brothers frock, and began to make my little brothers shirt. In the A.M.
answered part of the dominions of Europe and their capital cities."
"Friday the 9th of August: Rose early Milkt 3 cows, helpt set the breakfast table. Made 1
bed, pickt and shelled some beans. Attended school, wrote my Journal. Read in the 33rd
chapter of Exodus and remarked the 19th and 20th verses.
.. Worked on my linen garmet.
In the P.M. said the catechism. Returned home from school. Milkt 3 cows."
Electa at a young age of 9 has a lot of burden on her shoulders: from milking
cows in farms early in the morning to doing household chores at alternate times,
going to school, taking out time to write and read (bible) about her religion,
helping male family members with their physical and material needs, and
simultaneously gaining knowledge about the world. The above scenario reflects
the life of a young, middle-class, Christian, American girl, who being a female,
has been endowed with a number of responsibilities within the vicinity of her
home, but at the same time is curious to become well-read and literate. A young
female house-worker like Electa, reminds me of Martha Ballard from the district
of Maine, whose work as an American housewife and midwife depicts women’s
work in eighteenth century. Martha Ballard in her diary states, “A woman’s work