Artisans in the North Carolina Backcountry
Rowan County's rapid expansion was in part the result of the planned settlements of the Moravian Church. Because the Moravians maintained careful records, historians have previously credited church artisans with greater skill and more economic awareness than non-church craftsmen. Through meticulous attention to court and private records, deeds, wills, and other sources, Lewis reveals the Moravian failure to keep up with the pace of development occurring elsewhere in the county.
Challenging the traditional belief that southern backcountry life was primitive, Lewis shows that many artisans held public office and wielded power in the public sphere. She also examines women weavers and spinsters as an integral part of the population. All artisans—Moravian and non-Moravian, male and female—helped the local market economy expand to include coastal and trans-Atlantic trade.
Lewis's book contributes meaningfully to the debate over self-sufficiency and capitalism in rural America.
About the Author
"A shrewd and insightful book that overturns previous misconceptions about the absence of artisans in the backcountry, settlers 'self-sufficiency,' and the growth of capitalism in agrarian America."—Jeffrey J. Crow
"Breaks new ground on several scores."—Journal of American History
"Lewis has broadened our perception of backcountry life by providing a great deal of useful information on a previously neglected topic."—Journal of Appalachian Studies
"Weds several themes in the historiography of colonial America by examining artisans on the colonial North Carolina frontier and by infusing these men and women into the emerging frontier market to investigate self-sufficiency and capitalism in rural America."—Labor History
Other Titles in ART / History / Prehistoric & Primitive