Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988 Page: 12
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stated ideal was
for women to be
frail and unable
to do much
the reality was
uncomfortable for about eight hours and
then the baby was born.
The Bremond plot at Oakwood Cemetary. Some Victorians were pre-occupied with death. Many Victorians
wore a ring with "Remember death" inscribed in Latin.
Throughout much of the Victorian
upper classes infants were breastfed by
women hired for the purpose, or bottlefed.
Lucadia Pease not only nursed her babies,
but reported when her second child was 14
months old, "I don't know what my Julie
would think were I to talk of weaning her.
She enjoys her 'refreshment' so much and
still is so good she will let me read."
In some wealthy families, girls were
much tended by servants, and then were
instructed in proper female behavior by
their mothers and fathers. This varied from
family to family. Lucadia Pease reports in a
letter to her sister in December 1853,
shortly after moving to Austin, "...Have a
black girl who Marshall bought just before
we left Brazoria for a nurse to the children-though
as usual I am much of the
time with them myself."
Again in a letter, Lucadia reports on her
time with her children, "...Little Carrie,
age 31/2, sits with me all day and amuses
herself with her sewing or books, and is as
quiet and good as possible."
Another letter, written January 22,
1854, reports, "...Carrie has become, under
her papa's discipline, a very good child and
she is so very fond of him that the only
punishment necessary is to threaten that
he will go away from her."
Although the stated ideal among the
middle and upper classes was for women to
be frail and unable to do much physical
work, the reality was often different.
Lucadia Pease came from a vigorous northern
Protestant clan, and never stinted on
her household work even though she could
afford help-her husband was governor of
the state for part of this time. For a short
period though, they lived in a boarding
house and she reported to her sister, "I feel
in no hurry to be ordering breakfasts, dinners
and suppers, and taking upon myself
all the trouble, when I can be as well served
without." It would seem that even for
Lucadia, the industrious, a rest from the
labors of supervising staff and work itself
was welcome. Lucadia had a slave named
Tom who tended the vegetable garden,
from which she and other servants preserved
Once, when she was visiting her home
in the Northeast, her husband wrote to her
reporting on the party he had put on for 500
people. "My only regret about it is that you
could not have been here to enjoy it, and
divide with me the responsibilty. Though
absent, your labors contributed greatly to
the excellence of the supper, for all the
brandied fruit and most of the preserves
were of your making."
Lucadia also mentions being in charge
of pig slaughtering and lard making, although
she doubtless had help. Nevertheless,
her correspondence reflects her sense
of responsibility in insuring that the family
was well provided for in terms of food and
It is difficult to separate social duties
from entertainment. Then, as now, they
overlapped a great deal. Certainly many of
the activities that women engaged in were
pleasant and satisfying; but on the other
hand, it sounds more like duty when
Lucadia Pease described her social calls in
a letter to her sister:
"I have a great deal to do to attend to
receiving and returning ladies' calls, and
when I think I have nearly paid up, and come
home well pleased with an evening's, or
afternoon's work, I sometimes find some half
a dozen ladies have been here, and there are
so many more calls to be remembered and
As the Governor's wife, it was Lucadia's
duty to take care of visiting with the
women who were connected to the men
among whom Governor Pease found his
support. Lucadia always seemed to find and
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988, periodical, Spring 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45435/m1/12/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.