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Colonial America. ~Daily lives of people in the 13 Original Colonies~. Timeline of Historical Events. 1492 Columbus land in the “New World” and claims it all for Spain 1565 St. Augestine, Florida, is founded by Spain. It’s the first permanent European settlement in the present-day US

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colonial america

Colonial America

~Daily lives of people in the 13 Original Colonies~

timeline of historical events
Timeline of Historical Events
  • 1492 Columbus land in the “New World” and claims it all for Spain
  • 1565 St. Augestine, Florida, is founded by Spain. It’s the first permanent European settlement in the present-day US
  • 1585 English settlers attempt, unsuccessfully, to establish a colony. Another group arrives 2 years later, only to disappear and become the “Lost Colony.”
  • 1607 The first permanent English colony in America is founded at Jamestown.
colonial clothes
Colonial Clothes
  • Told how wealthy they were
  • If wealthy- wore clothing made of finest European cloths and had their outfits tailored to copy latest fashions overseas.
  • Most colonists, however, wore simple clothes made of linen or wool.
  • One of the responsibilities of women was to make the clothing in their household.
  • The cotton gin wasn’t invented until 1793, so cleaning cotton in order to spin it took a very long time and was very hard work.
  • The homespun was woven from flax (for linen) and fleece (for wool), then dyed with bark, roots, or berries to add color.
parts of a woman s dress
Parts of a Woman’s Dress
  • The “shift” was the undermost garment worn by children & women
  • Served same purpose as a man’s shirt
  • Made from white linen
  • Drawstrings or cuffs at the elbow
  • Could be plain or lace trimmed
the petticoat and the gown
The Petticoat and The Gown
  • The actual dress actually consisted of a gown and a petticoat.
  • The gown had a fitted top with a skirt connected to it
  • The skirt had an opening in the front to show the petticoat which was an essential part of the dress.
  • The petticoat was not considered just an undergarment- it was very important.



women s accessories
Women’s Accessories


  • Apron was worn as the outermost garment
  • Pockets like these were worn tied around the waist
  • They resembled mittens with slits down the center.


women s headwear
Women’s Headwear
  • The cap was worn by women and girls to dress their heads.
  • It allowed the head to be dressed w/o styling the hair
  • It also protected the hair from everyday dirt and dust so that the hair doesn’t have to be washed as frequently.
  • Could be made of linen, cotton, or even all lace.
  • Style of fashionable cap changed frequently.
women s hats
Women’s Hats
  • Worn for fashion and for protection against the sun
  • If a lady was outdoors she almost always wore a hat.
  • Could be made from straw or even covered with fabric with different styles of trim.
men s clothing
Men’s Clothing


  • The shirt was worn as a man’s undergarment
  • Covered the body from neck to knee
  • Most made of linen
  • A gentleman’s best shirt may have ruffles at the wrist or top of the shirt
  • A plain shirt might serve as just a night shirt
men s clothing12
Men’s Clothing


  • Men were almost never seen without his waistcoat.
  • A man was considered “undressed” if he didn’t have it on.
  • Was worn to reach the upper part of the thigh with the opening “V” located right below the stomach.
  • Made of all qualities of silk, cotton, wool, and linens
  • If wealthy it could be embroidered, printed, quilted, or with silver or gold lace
  • Considered most elaborate part of men’s dress.
other parts of men s clothing
Other parts of Men’s Clothing


  • Breeches- worn just like we wear pants
  • Worn by all levels of society
  • Made from variety of silks, cottons, linens, wool, knits, and even leathers
  • Since breeches came to just below the knee, men wore stockings for warmth and protection
  • Stockings fully covered the lower leg from a few inches above the knee all the way down to cover the top of the foot.


  • Since many men wore vast wigs it was hard for them to wear the fashionable broad brimmed hat
  • So hats would be taken off and carried beneath the arm
  • The hats were hard to carry under the arm, so rapidly they began to fold their hats to make them easier to carry.
  • This habit of folding hats led to the changing of fashions
  • Hats eventually were made with the two sides cocked and this quickly became the fashion.
  • Hats were made from wool or even beaver’s felt and camel’s down.
children s clothing
Children’s Clothing
  • Wore clothes similar to their parents
  • Young children (both boys and girls) wore white dresses called “frocks”
  • Toddlers sometimes wore “pudding caps” to protect their heads if they fell
  • Boys didn’t start wearing pants until they were between the ages of 3 and seven.
  • “Middling” and upper class girls (and some boys) wore corsetlike garments called “stays” to promote good posture
colonial leisure time
Colonial Leisure Time
  • Life was filled with hard work, but life had its pleasures too.
  • At barn raisings and cornhuskings, families would work together very hard to prepare and then enjoy feasting, dancing, and games together.
  • Horse racing was also a very popular spectator sport.
games and toys
Games and Toys

Bilbo Catcher

Cup and Ball

Wooden Hoop


other popular games and toys of colonial american children
Other Popular Games and Toys of Colonial American Children

Ball games

Kite Flying


Yo-Yo PuzzlesJump RopeLondon BridgeTennisJacob's Ladder

Corn Cob Dolls


Rocking Horses

Swinging Cards

Ice sliding

Jack Straws(or pick-up sticks)

Leap FrogBow & ArrowBlind Man's BluffSee Saw

colonial dancing
Colonial Dancing
  • Important part of colonial social life
  • Balls and dance parties were opportunities for people to meet.
  • Dancing skills were a mark of good breeding and refinement.
  • It was rare if a person didn’t dance.

Popular dance in Williamsburg- “The First of April”

resource page
Resource Page