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Girls Fit to Marry

John Mason Peck (1789-1858), the Baptist frontier preacher, grew up in Litchfield, Connecticut. In his journal, he explained how the young men of the time "had a method they shrewdly believed made them intelligent with regard to the girls of the neighborhood who were ‘fit to marry.’ Daughters were trained to follow the footsteps of the mother. The dairy, the poultry, and the garden afforded ample proofs of their industry and skill. Mothers were investigated. We are given to understand that young men who called at homes for a specific purpose became adroit in finding out the domestic habits and qualities of each mother under inspection before they committed themselves to the daughter… No girl raised on a farm was fit to marry, our diarist contended, until her bedding, clothing, window curtains, towels, table-cloths, and every article of domestic manufacture, were made with her own hands in quantities sufficient for respectable housekeeping."