Dating etiquette in colonial times

Consider, for instance, the rule: “In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.” Or contemplate the sage advice of “Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice, ticks in the Sight of Others.” [3] Yes, a great nation had been born, but civility—as previously known—had been laid to men and women of the Antebellum South were the first to begin to remedy the lack of a general sense of etiquette in the New World.With their cultivation of attitudes of feudal aristocracy and the desire to be “gentlemen,” the men of the South began to rebuild manners, based on class and hierarchy.In November 1776, Benjamin and Annabelle Powell of Williamsburg married their elder daughter, Hannah, to William Drew of Isle of Wight County.The wedding was the culmination of years of planning, preparation, and effort. Courting allowed young men and women to meet and socialize largely unchaperoned, at a variety of entertainments.She emphasizes that: "In every human situation there is the correct action, the incorrect action, and the appropriate action." Though etiquette rules may seem arbitrary at times and in various situations, these are the very situations in which a common set of accepted customs can help to eliminate awkwardness. Once a relationship has been established, one may request to be addressed by first name.

At left, a coach waits for a pair leaving by the back fence in John Collet's The Elopement, from ca. Starting a family at times leapfrogged a wedding—baby-to-be making a party of three. The anxiety is quickened by the feeling that society has been on the road to ruin since maybe Miles Standish's day and that the prospects of their offspring walking the path to the altar with a nice young man or sweet young woman have greatly diminished since John Alden and Priscilla Mullins made the trip.We found her doing the honors of the table with ineffable sweetness and grace. When he began courting Hannah Powell, William Drew was in his twenties and already established as the Berkeley County clerk of the court.In doing so, he was similar to most men of his time who waited until they had completed their education and attained some financial security before proposing marriage.Both Canada and the United States have shared cultural and linguistic heritage originating in Europe, and as such some points of traditional European etiquette apply to both, especially in more formal settings; however, each have formed their own etiquettes as well.Among the most prominent writers on North American etiquette are Meloise, Letitia Baldrige, Judith Martin, Emily Post, Elizabeth Post, Peggy Post, Mary Monica Mitchell, Gertrude Pringle, and Amy Vanderbilt.Although manners of the royal courts and aristocracy had become well established in Europe by the 1600s, much of it was lost when the early Colonists crossed the ocean to the New World.


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