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Feeding the Eighteenth-Century Town Folk

Feeding the Eighteenth-Century Town Folk, or, Whence the Beef?

by Lorena S. Walsh

Last year, in his address, Peter Coclanis deplored the “lack of interpretive understanding or at least explicit appreciation of the close interrelationship between town and country, factory [or, for earlier centuries, urban processors and distributors] and farm.” The time has come “to study diet, broadly conceived, and its social consequences,” he urged. “Both the producers of food and the process of food production,” he lamented, “have often been… relegated to the dustbin, or more appropriately in this case, the scrap heap or compost pile of history.” Was this last image pure serendipity? It is hard to imagine a better introduction to what I want to talk about today.1


The KING and MILLER

For the past eight years, scholars at Colonial Williamsburg have been collaborating in a multidisciplinary study of food provisioning in early Chesapeake towns. Our main questions are, How was food produced in the surrounding countryside or procured from more distant sources, how was it processed and distributed in towns, and how did seasonal variations in availability affect food distribution and consumption in a prerefrigerator age? To what extent did area farmers respond to the opportunities afforded by growing urban populations? Did the diets of townspeople differ from those of nearby farm families? Did the foods townsfolk ate vary, not only with differences in household wealth, but also by social class, occupation, and the presence or absence of local connections? And finally, How did differing food and fuel distribution networks and changes in prices affect townspeople’s welfare?2

Clearly no single source could provide answers to all these questions. We knew that we needed to pay as much attention to those trash pits as to more conventional archival remains. We chose to concentrate our efforts on the towns of Williamsburg and Annapolis because background research on the local economy and the social and occupational structure was already available, as were numerous well-documented archaeological assemblages. We attempted to reconstruct production and distribution networks, differing urban and rural food consumption patterns, and changes in the availability and in the nominal and relative prices of various kinds of foods through quantitative analysis of sixteen urban household and retail store account books, of seven farm account books for surrounding areas, of three thousand area probate inventories, and of archaeological evidence (primarily faunal remains) from fifty-three rural and urban sites. As an economist might say, our numbers were reasonably robust.3

Today I want to share with you some of the results about the production, distribution, and consumption of meat in these urban markets. Hence the subtitle, “Whence the Beef?” You may be wondering, shouldn’t the question be instead, “Where’s the pork?” Despite stereotypes about the historic Chesapeake diet drawn from literary sources, both archaeology and individual household accounts conclusively demonstrate that colonial Virginians and Marylanders ate more beef than pork. When recovered bones are translated into pounds of usable meat, from the early seventeenth into the early nineteenth century, cattle account for between 40 to 60 percent of the meat consumed on almost all rural and urban sites, while swine account for just under 10 percent, up to a maximum of 32 percent. Poor rural people, both free and enslaved (who are less well represented in archaeological sites), may have eaten somewhat more pork than did better off households, but on no site does the proportion of pork ever surpass that of beef.4

Eighteenth-century Williamsburg and Annapolis were small places, of insignificant size by present-day standards, and at best small market towns compared to such contemporary metropolises as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and larger English cities. In the 1730s each had between 50 and 75 households, with permanent residents numbering fewer than 500. In 1750 the number of households had increased to about 100, and the total populations to just under 900. By 1775 Annapolis’s population reached 1,400, Williamsburg’s 1,880, with about 200 households in each town. Still, these small places were similar to country towns throughout the North American colonies and in provincial England that had comparable or only slightly larger populations. What is significant is both the faunal remains and the plantation account books clearly demonstrate that even these quite small numbers were sufficient to prompt restructuring of secondary crop mixes and to elicit changes in livestock husbandry among local planters well supplied with land and labor.

Chesapeake town residents obtained the bulk of the foods they did not produce themselves from the adjacent countryside. By the late 1730s, large area slave owners living within one to two hours’ travel time by road or, in the case of Annapolis, within reasonable sailing time across Chesapeake Bay had emerged as the primary suppliers of the grains, meat, beverages, fodder, and fuel that the two capitals’ inhabitants required. Conventional wisdom, drawn largely from English sources, posits that high transport costs forced urban consumers to rely on closely adjacent areas for their grain supply, while they could draw on more distant markets for meats, since animals could be made to transport themselves to market at little cost. In the Chesapeake, these suppositions turned out to make little sense.5

By the mid-eighteenth century, grains had become an increasingly important source of income for large-scale planters. (Small-scale planters often lacked both sufficient land and labor to do anything but continue in the older, tobacco-centered ways.) Rising international grain prices, occasioned by shortages of wheat in Europe and growing slave populations in the West Indies much too numerous to be provisioned from island resources, made raising wheat and corn for export an increasingly attractive way to supplement tobacco revenues. Surplus corn (and its by-product, corn fodder) could also be used for fattening livestock either for local sale or for export. Planters learned that by making more use of plows for preparing ground and weeding they could produce substantial surplus corn without cutting back on tobacco. Existing plantation workforces could also raise commercial crops of wheat by preparing the ground in the fall just after the tobacco harvest and threshing the grain during slack times in winter. Extra labor was required only during the brief midsummer harvest.6

The fact that general management strategies and mixes of major cash crops were similar on large plantations throughout the region initially suggests that planters who lived near towns failed to respond to urban markets. However the effects of local markets cannot be readily distinguished from the effects of rising intercolonial and trans-Atlantic ones. Planters near urban places could choose between selling grain in intercolonial or international markets and selling locally. With grain prices set, in the case of corn by larger regional markets and in the case of wheat by international ones, local sales may not have offered a particular advantage. Local urban demands for carbohydrates were minuscule compared to the demands of already well established trans-Atlantic grain markets. Europe, the West Indies, and the northern colonies constituted much larger markets that, given trade networks centered on trans-Atlantic sea routes, were as easy or easier to reach than many urban markets inside the region. But since Chesapeake planters had already found economical means for shipping surplus grain abroad, getting some portion of their crops to nearby towns was hardly an insurmountable challenge.7

In 1775 Williamsburg’s 1,880 residents required about 4,500 barrels of corn per year. Between 1765 and 1781, one nearby plantation owned by the Burwell family and worked by between 50 and 60 adult slaves produced enough surplus corn to supply the annual needs of at least 150 adult town dwellers. Ten large plantations producing at a comparable level could have provided enough corn to feed all of Williamsburg’s human residents and their domestic animals as well. And in 1810, one great Maryland Eastern Shore planter, Edward Lloyd V, with about 200 adult slaves was producing enough surplus corn to supply at least half of the 5,000 barrels that Annapolitans needed.8


Haycart

Williamsburg’s and Annapolis’s wheat requirements were probably quite modest—1,400 to 2,000 bushels a year. Plantation records make clear that corn was the predominant grain consumed in the countryside; even elite rural families reserved only a few bushels out of a year’s wheat crop for their tables. Urban household accounts show that town dwellers consumed more wheat bread than countryfolk. Cultural preference may well have played a role, especially among European immigrants, as did the ability, seldom present in the countryside, to purchase ready-baked bread in town. For town dwellers who lacked the time or the domestic staff to prepare meals that needed long cooking, wheat bread was a decided convenience. Still, we are certain that free townsfolk consumed far less than the pound of wheat bread a day it is estimated adult laborers in Philadelphia ate at this time. The half of Williamsburg’s and third of Annapolis’s population who were enslaved likely ate little or no wheat. By the mid-1770s the Burwell plantation could also supply between a third and a half of Williamsburg’s wheat needs. And in the early 1800s, Edward Lloyd V alone was growing enough wheat to meet the requirements of a town ten times the size of Annapolis. Great planters were not the only nearby farmers producing surplus grains, so it is clear that urban needs could be more than easily met from surrounding plantations.9

What town populations afforded local planters were opportunities to profit handsomely from the sale of grain by-products—fodder and straw—and hay, as well as from semiperishables such as cider and butter. Supplying town dwellers with fuel presented another opportunity. High overland transport costs rendered firewood supply a quite localized business. Favorably situated planters stood to make considerable profit, since demand for wood peaked in winter months when enslaved workers, carts, and draft animals might otherwise be underutilized. Plantation account books from larger farms near Chesapeake towns consistently demonstrate a greater volume of sales of these secondary products, which could be produced by keeping slaves fully employed year round with little cutting back on major cash crops.10

Provisioning of meat, however, was another matter. The 300,000 to 450,000 pounds a year each of the towns required could not all be procured from local farmers. Pork and beef sales from the Burwell plantation averaged only 3,600 pounds a year between 1769 and 1778, enough to feed only ten town dwellers at the rate of a pound of meat per day, the customary allotment for soldiers and free male laborers, but up to seventy at the scanty ration of a pound of meat per week customarily allotted to adult plantation slaves. Large planters in the immediate area could and did increase meat production to some extent, but, absent a thoroughgoing commitment to intensive livestock husbandry, they could not raise enough animals to satisfy the needs of even these quite small towns. The Burwell plantation, for example, could meet a third of Williamsburg’s estimated wheat requirements, but just over 1 percent of the meat. On this tobacco-and-grain farm, livestock raising remained a secondary activity, as it typically was for most other large tidewater planters, that generated only around 10 percent of gross plantation revenues. Annapolis’s meat supply came in part from more commercialized producers. One was the aforementioned Edward Lloyd V, who by 1818 was marketing nearly 800 animals a year, yielding 36,000 pounds of meat, enough to feed 125 adult urban whites. But even this tenfold increase over Burwell’s production satisfied only 8 percent of Annapolitans’ estimated needs.11

Urban residents turned to more distant places for meat, not because of low transport costs, but rather because the meat requirements of towns of no more than two thousand could be met only by drawing upon the surplus production of some hundreds of farmers living within a hundred-mile radius. In the last half of the eighteenth century, plantation records show that large tidewater planters consistently sold more surplus pork than beef. They found it much easier to increase pork outputs because additional pigs could be fattened on inferior corn, the supply of which increased with expanded corn production, and on bran, a by-product of milling. On the other hand, the number of cattle that a planter could maintain remained much more dependent on limited and, towards the end of the century, increasingly stressed local woodlands and pastures. Given clear archaeological evidence for continued high consumption of beef, it follows that urban residents regularly drew on more distant sources. One storekeeper who regularly supplied meat to Williamsburg and Yorktown residents in the 1750s and 1760s, for example, got his beef from planters on the other side of the James River, from farms in a nonadjacent rural county at least thirty miles distant, and from one large supplier located more than two hundred miles to the west.12

However this is not to say that nearby planters failed to respond to these challenges at all. Faunal remains provide material evidence for market orientation of a sort that manipulators of standard documentary data are unaccustomed to confronting. Zooarchaeological evidence is both more egalitarian and more revealing of minor shifts in livestock husbandry practices and food distribution networks than are documentary sources. Zooarchaeologists posit that in subsistence-oriented forms of husbandry, farmers raised a variety of livestock for multiple purposes, and the animals were slaughtered only when no longer useful for providing milk, wool, reproduction, or traction. Most were consumed on the farm and only small surpluses occasionally sold. Thus, the ages of animals found in urban assemblages should resemble those from rural sites. But in largescale economies, farmers shifted to more specialized husbandry, raising quickly and efficiently fattened younger animals specifically destined as meat for town consumers. When this occurs, urban and rural slaughter age profiles should diverge.13

The evidence on age at slaughter from Williamsburg and Annapolis and from rural sites nearby shows a surprisingly early divergence in the kinds of meat commonly consumed by townsfolk and by farmers. Over time there was a progressive increase in the proportion of hogs slaughtered between twelve and twenty-four months of age, which encompasses the commercial target age of eighteen to twenty-four months. In the second half of the eighteenth century, proportionately more pigs under a year old were consumed on plantations, while proportionately more between twelve and twenty-four months went to urban markets. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, most sheep were killed during their second and third years, but more lamb was eaten in the towns than on surrounding farms. Later in the century, the proportion of older animals increased markedly in the rural assemblages, suggesting sheep were more frequently being raised for wool as well as meat. The urban assemblages also reflect this age increase, but they continue to contain proportionately more younger animals.

For cattle, as the eighteenth century progressed, the slaughter population became younger, both on farms and in the towns, and included larger proportions aged twenty-four to forty-four months than older beasts. Animals fed only on grass do not mature to marketable slaughter weights until the autumn of their fourth or fifth year. More intensive husbandry practices, including supplemental feeding, are required to produce cattle that reach an optimal slaughter weight in less than four years. From the early eighteenth century, town dwellers consumed younger beef than did nearby farm families, and especially more beef aged twenty-four to forty-eight months. This proves that planters were specially fattening some animals for the town market, while they themselves continued to eat most of the superannuated cows and worn-out steers. Comparison of urban and rural assemblages also shows that veal was regularly marketed in town, a salable luxury seldom eaten on the farm.

Overall, the age at slaughter evidence shows that the presence of even fifty urban households early in the eighteenth century was sufficient to induce planters to begin producing some younger animals for market. In the second half of the century, when urban households reached two hundred, the kinds of meat urban and rural folk ate changed markedly, demonstrating increasingly specialized, market-oriented livestock management strategies.

Also, according to zooarchaeological theory, in small urban centers, municipal governments did not regulate where the slaughtering, butchering, selling, and disposal of waste parts took place. Residents typically maintained livestock on or near their property and slaughtered the animals and processed the meat near their homes. Distributions of animal body parts found in small town trash pits, therefore, should closely resemble those found in rural assemblages. But in increasingly specialized economies where the array of foods and middlemen selling rural produce to urban consumers increased, municipal governments restricted locations where animals could be slaughtered and regulated what parts of the animals could be sold. Assemblages from highly urbanized market systems, therefore, show an irregular distribution of body parts, a disproportionately large percentage of meat bones, and a low number of bones that are commonly associated with butchering waste. Element distributions from cattle, calves, swine, and sheep found in town garbage thus indicate when the processing and sale of commercially produced meat began, and measure the extent to which urban consumers depended on commercially produced foods.

The distribution of body parts on urban and rural sites shows that commercial butchers quickly became a regular feature of Chesapeake town life. Middlemen established extensive butchering operations and purchased animals of prime age that they sold to consumers as individual pieces of meat. Most town trash pits dating to the first half of the eighteenth century contain higher proportions of meat bones than rural disposal sites, somewhat fewer animal heads, and many fewer feet. The degree of dependence on market sources varied with the social and economic status of individual households, but by the last quarter of the century, no town household subsisted completely on meats they produced themselves.

How then did townsfolk get their meat? Most wealthy urbanites supplied their tables from their own plantations rather than buy in the market. They had everything from fattened cattle to nuts, fruits, and firewood transported to town from both nearby plantations and, in the case of live cattle and hogs, from other holdings up to two hundred miles away. Through such self-provisioning, elite households retained all the benefits of a varied country diet in the city. Outlays to middlemen were kept to a minimum by substituting the labor time of both urban and rural slaves. The ubiquity of such strategies, examples of which periodically appear in elite correspondence, are amply verified by the archaeological record. Faunal remains from gentry town deposits are a mirror image of those found on plantations.

In contrast, doctors, lawyers, ministers, teachers, and government officials bought much of their meat from big area planters, as did tavernkeepers and some better off artisans. The account books show that large-scale planters supplied selected urban customers with pork, usually in the form of freshly killed whole animals, during the late fall/early winter slaughter time prevailing in the countryside, almost certainly by prior arrangement. They also delivered beef, veal, mutton, and lamb in the appropriate seasons, likely also by prior agreement. These meats were sold in large units, usually whole animals in the case of lambs. Bigger beasts were often sold by the quarter or the side. Planters sought to keep down processing and distribution costs, and probably also pilfering, by selling sheep, calves, and sometimes even cattle in minimally butchered units. Not surprisingly, it was householders and businesspeople who could use and afford to pay for meat in quantity who bought from the large-scale planters. These planters sometimes sold meat on credit to a few well-established regular customers, but most transactions were either for cash or for offsetting goods and services.

Faunal remains from professional households reveal (through a high proportion of meatier cuts and a scarcity of heads and feet) a greater dependence on commercial suppliers than is found in sites associated with either gentry or artisan families. They were clearly buying a lot of their meat from town middlemen as well as from area planters. Many of these professionals were recent immigrants who lacked connections to country producers and so were more dependent on commercial sources than were native-born householders of similar wealth. If professionals also purchased most other foods primarily from middlemen, the quality of their diets may have suffered out of proportion to their wealth, a hypothesis that may help to explain the unexpectedly short life spans recently found among urban professionals in early nineteenth-century northern cities.14

Town craftspeople had more mixed sources of meat supply than either gentry or professionals. Some were also immigrants, but others were locally born with numerous kin in adjacent rural areas. Many owned or rented house lots, and still in the 1780s the majority kept a cow or two in town. Some few had nearby farms from which they could obtain meat, but most did not own substantial amounts of either livestock or real property. Consequently most artisans also depended primarily on commercial sources of food, a dependency that the faunal remains suggest increased as the century progressed.

Chesapeake storekeepers rather unexpectedly emerged along with large-scale planters as major suppliers of town meat, particularly beef. Meat was the second most important foodstuff in the typical urban Chesapeake merchant’s stock, ranking just after alcohol in total value of sales. In part, storekeepers simply resold poultry, game, and bigger livestock some customers brought in to exchange for imported goods, but they also purchased additional cattle and pork to stock their stores. Mixed entrepreneurs—a Williamsburg building contractor, for example—were also in the business of periodically vending country-raised beef and veal to urban consumers. Smaller and more perishable sources of animal protein—poultry, eggs, game birds and animals, and fish and shellfish—were in contrast raised or harvested and largely distributed almost solely by petty hucksters. Assorted marginal folk—slaves, free blacks, white tenant farmers, watermen, and urban housewives of varying rank—quickly took advantage of this lacuna in the overall network of supply that established farmers and retailers found too troublesome and unremunerative to pursue.

Poorer free townsfolk apparently had to rely almost entirely on public markets, butchers, and shopkeepers for whatever meats they purchased, while urban slaves had to depend primarily on their owners or employers. For these groups our conclusions are much more tentative. Poorer artisans, urban service workers dependent on wages, and poor widows are virtually absent from the big planters’ ledgers and make up only a small percentage of the storekeepers’ recorded customers. And while there is abundant documentary evidence about the provisioning of rural slaves, there is virtually none for slaves who lived in towns. We were also unable to find any urban faunal assemblages that could be associated with poor free white or black households, nor any for urban slaves that could be clearly distinguished from their owners’ refuse.

We do know that the quality of the meats vended in public markets was sometimes questionable, the prices often high, and a stiff middleman’s markup part of that high price. One critic wrote of “meat for poverty not fit to eat, and sometimes almost spoiled” hanging overlong in the Williamsburg public market. Vendors charged what they liked, “which is generally exorbitant enough, especially on publick times, or when little meat is at market.” If a whole side of beef was not desired, the butcher charged an extra penny per pound to cut it into smaller pieces. Storekeepers may occasionally have extended credit for food purchases to a few needy but well-known customers, but most retail transactions involving townsfolk who lacked tangible assets that could be attached to secure debts were for cash only. Butchers, who were typically marginal operators much too poor to be in a position to advance credit, and petty hucksters with few other assets than their perishable stock in hand likely always sold only for ready cash. Free poor people in Chesapeake towns shared the still familiar disadvantage of paying higher prices and the middleman’s markup for inferior food.15

Eighteenth-century town dwellers’ household accounts provide an alternative, consumer’s perspective. Grains accounted for only about 15 percent of expenditures among all wealth groups represented by household accounts. Since less expensive corn was the staple grain in the Chesapeake, town residents had to devote only half as much for basic starches as did, for example, Philadelphians, who consumed primarily wheat bread. Gentry and wealthy merchant families spent about a third of their total food budgets on meat, and meat accounted for over 50 percent of expenditures for locally produced foods. Alcohol was the next most significant category, on average 20 percent. Poultry, dairy products, sugar, caffeinated beverages, and fruits and vegetables added variety to the diet, but each accounted for less than 10 percent of food expenses. Less evidence is available for preferences and spending patterns among more middling sorts, and our sense is that consumption patterns in individual households varied widely and sometimes even wildly. Some individuals or families were simply unwilling to go without one or more generous servings of meat almost every day, and to pay accordingly, while others were content to get by on a diet of bread, poultry, eggs, and cheese, regularly washed down with as generous a measure of rum punch as they could afford.16

To conclude, this study suggests that when exploring interrelationships between town and country, we should concentrate our attention not on grain markets but rather on meat supply. Across the eighteenth century, urban protein demands challenged the productive capabilities of surrounding farmers to a much greater extent than did grain requirements. Zooarchaeology has provided concrete evidence of farmers’ unexpectedly quick, albeit cautious, response to quite small urban markets, evidence that directly challenges commonly held assumptions drawn either from general arguments about farmers’ mentalite or from standard documentary sources. The leading question then ought indeed to be, not “Where’s the corn?” but “Whence the beef?”

Endnotes

1Peter A. Coclanis, “Food Chains: The Burdens of the (Re)Past,” Agricultural History 72 (Fall 1998): 663, 669, 673.

2This project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Grant RO-22643-93. Walsh served as project director; Joanne Bowen, Department of Archaeology, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, was the directing zooarchaeologist; and Ann Smart Martin, now of the University of Wisconsin, was the directing historian. Databases and preliminary results are reported in Lorena S. Walsh, Ann Smart Martin, and Joanne Bowen, “Provisioning Early American Towns, The Chesapeake: A Multidisciplinary Case Study,” Final Performance Report to the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1997, typescript, Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia. Unless otherwise noted, materials in this address are drawn from this report.

3Most other studies touching on colonial North American provisioning systems are confined to New England and the Middle Colonies. These include Christopher Clark, The Roots of Rural Capitalism: Western Massachusetts, 1780-1860 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990); Winifred Barr Rothenberg, From Market-Places to a Market Economy: The Transformation of Rural Massachusetts, 1750-1850 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Karen J. Friedman, “Victualling Colonial Boston,” Agricultural History 47 (Summer 1973): 189-205; D.C. Smith and A.E. Bridges, “The Brighton Market: Feeding Nineteenth-Century Boston,” Agricultural History 56 (Winter 1982): 3-21; J. Ritchie Garrison, “Farm Dynamics and Regional Exchange: The Connecticut Valley Beef Trade, 1670-1850,” Agricultural History 61 (Summer 1987): 1-17; Andrew H. Baker and Holly V. Izard, “New England Farmers and the Marketplace, 1730-1865: A Case Study,” Agricultural History 65 (Summer 1991): 29-52; Joanne Bowen, “A Study of Seasonality and Subsistence: Eighteenth-Century Suffield, Connecticut” (Ph.D. diss., Brown University, 1990); Joan M. Jensen, Loosening the Bonds: Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986); and Peter O. Wacker and Paul G.E. Clemens, Land Use in Early New Jersey: A Historical Geography (Newark: New Jersey Historical Society, 1995).

4Walsh, Martin, and Bowen, Final Performance Report, 69-73,140-43,175-77.

5For England in earlier periods, see Bruce M.S. Campbell, James Galloway, Derek Keene, and Margaret Murphy, A Medieval Capital and its Grain Supply: Agrarian Production and Distribution in the London Region, c. 1300, Historical Geography Research Series, no. 30 (Belfast and London: Institute of British Geographers, Historical Geography Research Group, 1993); and Maryanne Kowaleski, Local Markets and Regional Trade in Medieval Exeter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

6The extensive literature on the international market sector is surveyed in John J. McCusker and Russell R. Menard, The Economy of British America, 1607-1789 (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 1985). For large-scale Chesapeake planters’ strategies, see Lorena S. Walsh, “Plantation Management in the Chesapeake, 1620-1820,” Journal of Economic History 49, no. 2 (1989): 393-406; Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, “Economic Diversification and Labor Organization in the Chesapeake,” in Work and Labor in Early America, ed. Stephen Innes (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 144-88; and Lois Green Carr and Russell R. Menard, “Land, Labor, and Economies of Scale in Early Maryland: Some Limits to Growth in the Chesapeake System of Husbandry,” Journal of Economic History 49, no. 2 (1989): 407-18.

7Lorena S. Walsh, “Chesapeake Planters and the International Market, 1770-1820,” in Lois Green Carr: The Chesapeake and Beyond—A Celebration (Crownsville, Md.: Maryland Historical & Cultural Publications, 1992), 205-27.

8For the standard corn ration see Russell R. Menard, Lois Green Carr, and Lorena S. Walsh, Robert Cole’s World: Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 36-37.

9Billy G. Smith, The “Lower Sort”: Philadelphia’s Laboring People, 1750-1800 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 97-98. Smith estimated that in addition to the pound of wheat bread per day, Philadelphia workers consumed forty-five pounds of corn meal per year. If Chesapeake residents ate corn and wheat in inverse proportions, this implies consumption of a bushel of wheat per year.

10The incorporation of urban provisioning into international markets is described in Lorena S. Walsh, From Calabar to Carter’s Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997), chap. 4. See also Walsh, “Chesapeake Planters and the International Market.”

11Smith, The “Lower Sort,” 98-99; Philip Ludwell Lee Ledger, 1743-1783, M.S., Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, Lorena S. Walsh, “Consumer Behavior, Diet, and the Standard of Living in Late Colonial and Early Antebellum America, 1770-1840,” in American Economic Growth and Standards of Living Before the Civil War, ed. Robert E. Gallman and John Joseph Wallis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 217-64; Lorena S. Walsh, “Work and Resistance in the New Republic: The Case of the Chesapeake, 1770-1820,” in From Chattel Slaves to Wage Slaves: The Dynamics of Labour Bargaining in the Americas, ed. Mary Turner (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 98-105. The estimates of town meat requirements include only the needs of permanent residents. Both towns were periodically inundated with influxes of visitors during meetings of the provincial court and legislature, and Annapolis was a busy port that had also to provision several hundred sailors for weeks and sometimes months each year, as well as cargos of African slaves and indentured and convict servants awaiting sale. Faunal assemblages from Annapolis have significantly less butchery waste than any Williamsburg assemblages.

12Walsh, Martin, and Bowen, Final Performance Report, 108-11.

13See, for example, Joanne Bowen, “A Comparative Analysis of New England and Chesapeake Herding Systems,” in Historical Archaeology of the Chesapeake, ed. Paul Shackel and Barbara Little (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994), 155-68.

14John W Adams and Alice B. Kasakoff, “Migration and Adult Mortality in the American North in the Nineteenth Century” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Washington, D.C., 1997); J. David Hacker, “Determinants of Adult Mortality in Early America: Evidence from the Graduates of Yale College, 1701-1805” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, 1995).

15“Timothy Telltruth,” Virginia Gazette, published by Purdie and Dixon, 7 July 1768.

16Ann Smart Martin and Lorena S. Walsh. “Reconstructing Food Provisioning Systems in the Chesapeake” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Economic History Association, Durham, N.C., 1998)