The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: September 21

BEDFORD COUNTY, September 1 1776.
To Mess. Dixon & Hunter, By inserting the following in your gazette, you will oblige a friend to the Commonwealth. To the Ladies whose husbands are in the continental army. LADIES, I now address myself to you who are under the same trouble of mind that I myself am. I am now absent from the tenderest of husbands; but why is he absent from me? Because he is a soldier in the continental army, nobly supporting the glorious cause of liberty. . . . But let us support ourselves under the absence of our husbands as well as we can, and as we are not well able to help them to fight, let us pay our attention to another branch of American politics, which comes more immediately under our province, namely, in frugality and industry, at home particularly in manufacturing our own wearing; … Let us, in some measure, lay aside our visiting and fashions, and earnestly attend to carding, spinning, and weaving, and brown our fair arms in our bleach-yards, and instead of the fine gew-gaws of Great Britain wear linen of our own manufacturing; . . . I hope LADIES you will excuse the liberty I have taken in this short hint, as we are all greatly interested in this important affair. I am, Ladies, your's etc. etc. etc. ANNE TERREL

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) September 21, 1776

About this entry:

Mrs. Terrel advocates that women make homespun cloth instead of depending on imported cloth. She compares what might be an unappealing chore to fighting for the glorious cause. What she doesn't mention is that they may need to dedicate some of the tobacco fields to growing hemp and flax that could be spun into linen. During the war women were taking on new roles in the home and the management of the farm.

Sources: Norton, 163-6.

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