HOME: The Story of Maine

"A Part of the Main": European Settlement of the Mainland
Lesson 3: Making a Living
Assignment Sheet 3

The year is 1690. You are an adult member of a colonial family living in a small Maine town. You have many resources at hand, but no cash. Your task is to plan how you will use the resources you have to support your family and your livestock. Read the information on your family, your town, and your resources below. Then, using your Budget Worksheet, plan your family’s finances for one year. What do you estimate your expenses will be? Your income? How will you feed, clothe, and care for your children and your livestock? Discuss each item with your group members before adding it to your budget. After you have written your budget, prepare to present it to the class.


  • There are nine children and two adults in your family. They will need food, clothing, shelter, and periodic medical attention.

  • You must also feed 1 horse, 2 oxen, 5 cattle, 2 hogs, 10 sheep, 15 chickens, and one rooster.

  • You have a responsibility to give a tenth of your income (a tithe) to the local church you attend every Sunday.

  • Your children must be educated. You may invest the time in educating them at home, or pay a small sum to help support the town’s one-room schoolhouse.

  • You live in a "ribbon settlement"—a town of about 500 people, spread out in a long line of houses.

  • There is a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, a gristmill (where grain is ground into flour), and a tailor in the village. From time to time, a cobbler comes through town.

  • There is one dirt road in poor condition. Your house is a mile from the road.

  • You live in a two-floor frame house, with two rooms, one upstairs and one downstairs. There is a cellar, which you use for storage. There is a fireplace, which you use to heat your home, as well as for cooking.

  • The town is on the Kennebec River, which flows by your home, about a half a mile away. You are seven miles north of the coast.

  • You own an ax, two muskets, a spinning wheel, a plow, a cart, and a birchbark canoe.

  • There is a trading post 20 miles east of your home, where colonists and Indians in the area go to barter.

  • You have cleared several acres of land around your home, on which you grow corn, squash, beans, wheat, and potatoes. You also have a vegetable garden.

  • Woods, stocked with a seemingly endless supply of white pine, spruce, hemlock, larch, maple, oak, birch, beech and other trees, surround you on all sides. Beaver, moose, and deer roam the woods, as do wolves, which prey on your livestock.

Go to the top