What Were Some Jobs in Colonial Connecticut?

Most jobs in colonial Connecticut were unskilled or low-skill labor like sailors, farm hands, dock laborers and servants. Trades like shipbuilding and farming were in high demand, as were carpentry and lumber milling. As with the two other Puritan colonies, Massachusetts and Plymouth, the clergy was a respected career.

Connecticut had challenges other regional colonies did not. Most notably, the land in Connecticut was poor and rocky, unsuited to large-scale farming. Connecticut did, however, have abundant trees and waterways rich in game. Fur trapping and trading were a good way to make money, but there were often clashes with rival Dutch trappers and Native Americans. By the mid-1700s, whaling was a burgeoning industry in Connecticut, and ambitious young men could find positions as skilled seamen, ship officers and whalers. As with all regional settlements, skilled trades like weaving, leather-making and brickmaking were in demand. Midwives were always welcome. A single-curriculum college education prepared young men for careers as clergymen, lawyers and doctors; it was thought that an educated man could function as any of these professionals without specialized instruction or training.

In the early years of the colony, indentured servants frequently filled the unskilled labor jobs, though as time went on those indentured servants were more likely to be slaves. Like other New England colonies, only the wealthy elite, educated people and certain tradesmen were allowed to vote and govern the colony.