Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eh, It's a Living

I have been running through pages and pages and pages and pages of 1860 census records for Kentucky citizens searching for barbers. More specifically, barbers that were free men of color. I have located about 60 so far, but in doing so I, of course, have found hundreds of other occupations.

There are jobs that we still have today and some that have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Some positions were white collar, some were blue collar, and some likely paid well and others probably just got their holders by. Some were gender based and some have changed in that regard over the years since.

A number of jobs were agriculture-based. For example, there was farmer, farm hand, and overseer. There were those that were skilled; stone cutter, plasterer, tinner, saddler, brick mason, carpenter, cooper, machinist, shoe maker, wagon maker, blacksmith, goldsmith, silversmith, gunsmith, rope maker, glass blower, cabinet maker, engineer, and ambrotypist. Then there were those that didn't even seem like jobs; loafer, gentleman, and man of leisure. Some were manual labor jobs; hod carrier, sawyer, ditcher, general laborer, painter, well digger, and river man. Some were food and drink related occupations; pastry cook, confectioner, butcher, baker, brewer, distiller, and grocer. Some were related to clothing and apparel; hatter, tailor, and tanner. Some were business and sales related; clerk, book keeper, merchant, trader, and peddler. Some were medical related; doctor, physician, druggist, dentist. Some were service related; waiter, jailer, watchman, policeman, fireman, school teacher, and railroad agent.

Women's occupations included; washer woman, factory girl, domestic, housekeeper, boarding house owner, hair dresser, music teacher, nurse, chambermaid, prostitute, bawdy house owner, seamstress, dress maker, pattern maker.

Work is a fact of life, and, like many other things in history, the names of some jobs have changed, others have disappeared, but the need to earn a living remains.

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