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Home > History > Life in Puritan Massachusetts

Life in Puritan Massachusetts

This articles discusses life as a Puritan settler in Massachusetts.

Life in Puritan Massachusetts

Puritan Massachusetts

Puritan Life

A typical Puritan family lived a humble existence in a small house with one room. Within the room was a fireplace that was used for cooking and warmth. Because the family lived in a single room, it was often very smoky, particularly during the winter. All members of the family would usually sleep in makeshift mattresses near the fire. During winter, finding and carrying firewood was one of the most important jobs. It was common for Puritans to sleep in heavy clothes under heavy blankets to ward off the cold. Puritan families treated their children differently that those today. Puritan parents had children so that they could help tend to the work, and such children learned the various jobs required of them at a very early age. Puritan parents made education and bible study a high priority, and the literacy rates among those living in New England were unusually high.

Gender Roles

The Puritans were an industrious people, and virtually everything within the house was made by hand - including clothes. The men and boys took charge of farming, fixing things around the house, and caring for livestock. The women made soap, cooked, gardened, and took care of the house. Puritan society and politics were dominated by men. Puritan men believed they were the stronger gender.

Religious Beliefs

When Puritan settlers weren't at work, they were likely at church or at prayer. Church was an extremely important part of the daily lives of Puritans, and attending church was mandatory. There could be severe punishments for those who failed to attend. Puritans believed that they were doing God's work and that those who disobeyed or strayed from Puritan teachings were sinners. Public whippings and humiliations were commonplace for transgressors. While the Puritans were hard-working and very religious, they sometimes allowed for festivals and celebrations, singing and game playing, and even drank wine and beer.

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