Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Out the Door

Daily Living

 
 
Out the Door Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. Out the Door Marker
Inscription.  Cleanliness was not next to godliness in 17th-century Maryland. Most people considered bathing unhealthy and they rarely washed their clothing. Head lice were a common affliction. The early settlers used "sweet bags" of fragrant herbs to mask their ever-present odors.

There were no bathrooms at that time. Only one outdoor privy from colonial times has been identified in St. Mary's City, but fragments of indoor chamber pots are common.

Trash was simply thrown out the door in surface piles called middens. Archaeologists find clues about how buildings and yards were used by examining the location and contents of trash middens. Broken pottery, animal bones, oyster shells, and organic wastes can suggest where 17th-century doors, gates, and pathways once existed.

[Captions:]
Deposits of organic waste, including human waste, cause phosphate concentrations. This map shows a fairly clean front yard inside the fence, but a major peak near a gate. A big cluster in the back yard matches a trash midden, while peaks around corners of the quarter represent out-of-site locations where people answered nature's
Out the Door Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
2. Out the Door Marker
call.

Trash was thrown into middens like this one at the Godiah Spray Plantation. Free ranging chickens and pigs picked through the trash for edibles.

"...make a soft fire & put quick-silver therein & hang the lousy garments over the smoake. Comb it near the fire for nits..."
To drive lice away — Thomas Palmer,
The Admirable Secrets of Physick and Chyrugey, 1636


This small bone comb had closely space teeth on one side to remove lice from human hair. This type of comb is the most common variety found during archaeological excavations.

 
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
 
Location. 38° 11.159′ N, 76° 26.053′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Old State House Road west of Point Lookout Road (Maryland Route 5), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 47414 Old State House Road, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. All Things Fit for a Capital (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to the Waterfront (within shouting distance of this marker); Upon This Shore (within shouting distance of this marker); "...for the good and happy Government"
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Mathias de Sousa (within shouting distance of this marker); From Many Lands (within shouting distance of this marker); Watery Highways (within shouting distance of this marker); Meet Garrett Van Sweringen (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
 
Categories. Colonial EraScience & MedicineSettlements & Settlers
 

More. Search the internet for Out the Door.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 60 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
Paid Advertisement