Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Indiana from 1850 to 1880

"Machinists and blacksmiths in Lafayette were paid about $1.50 a day in 1850, $2.00 in 1860, and $3.00 by 1865. By 1870 their pay had fallen to $2.50 and by 1879 to $2.25 and $2.00." {440}

"The average length of the school term doubled in the fifteen years after the civil War. In 1866 it was only 68 days; in 1879 it was 136 days. . . . Within some counties there were great differences. for example in Cass county in 1876 terms in different townships ranged from 200 days to 80 days." {476}

If these passages make your eyes light up, then you don't need much incentive to read Emma Lou Thornbrough's 1965 Indiana in the Civil War Era, 1850-1880, from the Indiana Historical Society. A lot of detailed work has been done in social history in the last two generations, but her no-frills style and inclusion of politics puts the story of the state in a useful context. If your people were in Indiana this early, you'll learn something you didn't realize you needed to know.

1 comment:

TGblogger said...

Wow, thanks for the heads up on this reference! You mentioned some really interesting info in the post alone. It's exciting to think of a whole book dedicated to that kind of detailed and perspective-giving information.