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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Seasoning Period

by William S. Powell, 2006

"Seasoning period" is a term describing a time endured by many newcomers to North Carolina and other colonies in the South during which they became acclimated to the weather and living conditions. Humidity and temperature seem to have been especially troublesome to those who arrived from Great Britain.

In a letter to his uncle, Sewallis Shirley, late in July 1765, recently arrived royal governor William Tryon blamed sudden changes in temperature for the sickness his household servants were suffering. He mentioned fevers particularly and noted that a farm girl he brought over "has been so ill that she has done an hours work these two months." In November he wrote the secretary of state, Henry Seymour Conway, of "an illness that has visited me ever since the 3d of August last. It is a compound of every sort of fever; called by the inhabitants the seasoning of this climate."

Seasoning was not restricted to the coastal region. The Moravians in Wachovia noted in their diary for 25 Sept. 1766 that Anglican minister George Micklejohn, who arrived with strong recommendations from England, had been sent to Rowan County by the governor. He was settled in St. Luke's Parish in Salisbury but had been able to preach only once, as he had suffered from fever every day. The following year both Mrs. Tryon, wife of the governor, and their daughter had become ill and moved into the country for their health.