When the British came to America, the explorers paved the way, and settlers came afterward, but the categories were blurred for a while. The earliest settlers were almost all men looking for adventure and possible riches in the New World. The Virginia Tobacco Company supported settlements in the Chesapeake Bay area while their crops were being developed. The men there suffered from a lack of women, so the company brought some over from England. The first shipment of brides was a disaster, as the woman who volunteered had little to offer, and apparently traveled to America out of desperation. The company needed to impose some standards, but still attract women ready for the unknown.
The Virginia Tobacco Company began to recruit women who knew how to make alcoholic beverages: beer, cider, and liquor. After all, it was an honest skill, and the settlers were suffering from a lack of grog. They didn’t know how to make it because that was women’s work. The women who were brought to the colonies in the 1600s were in high demand, not only as wives, but as providers of a stiff drink. It wasn’t easy, as the materials available in the New World were different from what they were used to, but the women found a way to make it work. Read their story at Atlas Obscura.
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