This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

What the world of our ancestors smelled like

Looking at old photos can give you a pretty good idea of what the world of your ancestors looked like, but its smell, to our modern noses, would have been pretty awful.

The worst offenders, of course, were horses. If you've ever spent much time around horses, you know that, unlike dogs, they can't be "housebroken". They go whenever and wherever they want. So, any time you see a photo of a city street with horses, it stank. Even if the city had workers out 24/7 cleaning up (which they didn't), it still stank. If there weren't horse feces on the road, there was a puddle of horse urine. All of the time. And it wasn't just horses. Dogs, pigs, and other animals did their business on the street. There may or may not have been an outhouse near the old saloon, but most of the customers just went out into the alley.

Also bathing was not a daily thing 100 years ago, and there were no showers. Cleaning clothes wasn't as easy as just throwing them in the washing machine, either! And in addition to some fearful body oder, just about every male above age ten used tobacco. If you walked into a saloon or a hotel lobby, the air must have been absolutely poisonous with cigar smoke. And their chewing tobacco didn't always hit the spittoon - it was on the floor, and on their clothes.

It was a great time for flies.