“When the first settlers landed on American shores, the difficulties in finding or making shelter must have seemed ironical as well as almost unbearable. The colonists found a land magnificent with forest trees of every size and variety, but they had no sawmills, and few saws to cut boards; there was plenty of clay and ample limestone on every side, yet they could have no brick and no mortar; grand boulders of granite and rock were everywhere, yet there was not a single facility for cutting, drawing, or using stone. These homeless men, so sorely in need of immediate shelter, were baffled by pioneer conditions, and had to turn to many poor expedients and be satisfied with rude covering. In Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and, possibly, other states, some reverted to an ancient form of shelter: they became cave-dwellers; caves were dug in the side of a hill and lived in till the settlers could have time to chop down and cut up trees for log houses.”
—from Chapter I
In this comprehensive study on the way of life of the early settlers in the New World, Alice Morse Earle accurately details the new experiences of the colonists and the daily struggles and problems they faced.
Once the settlers found homes, they were met with such problems as providing lighting and preparing and storing food. How they met these challenges, how they lived, and how they survived are all brought to life in Home Life in Colonial Days.