Early American History
Life in the British Colonies
Key Concepts
The backcountry was also called the frontier. It was the area beyond the
settled land. In the early 1700s, it was the land between the Atlantic coastal region and the Appalachian Mountains.

People lived simply in the backcountry. Houses were log cabins or made
with sticks and mud. Most houses had one room with a dirt floor and no
windows. During the day, light came through the open door. At night, light
came from the fireplace. Wood was burned in the fireplace to cook the food and to heat the house.

As time passed, the log cabins were made more comfortable. Families
added windows. Wooden boards covered the dirt floor.

At night, the adults in the family slept on blankets spread over a pile of dry
leaves on the floor. The children slept in the loft. The loft was a space
between the ceiling and the roof. Children climbed to the loft by a ladder.

Frontier life was very hard. Families had to work hard for their food. They
hunted in the forest and they cleared trees for farming. Frontier families
farmed the Native American way. They planted corn, beans and squash all in the same mound of soil. The cornstalk also acted like a stake for the bean
plants to climb. The squash vines spread out on the ground between the
mounds of plants.

Frontier families were self-sufficient. They made almost everything they needed. They churned their own butter. They dyed their own cloth. And they made their own soap and candles.

Life on the frontier was dangerous. Families had to protect themselves from
both the wild animals, and other people.
Living in the Backcountry
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Additional Information

cloth - Life was simple for children on small farms. Children had once set of clothes and a Sunday shirt.

food - Families on small farms had enough to eat. But they did not have a balanced diet. Children were often sick. Adults often died by the time they were 40. Most children died in childhood of disease and malnutrition.