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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

17th Century Ceremonies: The Funeral

The colonist looked forward to public ceremonies. Among the most popular were: horse racing, weddings, funerals (yes funerals!), etc. because all of the relatives and neighbors were invited to a festive event. It was customary to furnish food and liquor for all of the guests. The quantity seems extravagant, however was based on the size of the estate.. In 1673 in Surry County, John Grove died. He was a planter of moderate means, thus the cost of the liquors amounted to as much as one thousand pounds of tobacco. The personal property of Walter Barton of Lower Norfolk County was valued at 54 pds. sterling, and yet his funeral expenses were estimated at 8 pds. sterling. The burial of William Vincent, also a man of small means, had an outlay of fifteen hogsheads of tobacco. Source: Social Life of Virginia in the 17th Century by Bruce. They means of learning these things is to read all of the county records pertaining to your ancestors' wills and estates. Join Virginia Pioneers and view the old wills on line. Easy.

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