The Importance of Family: A Micro-History Study of James Cameron and the Life Course of Family, Agriculture and Masculinity in Glengarry County, 1855-1881.

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Sharp, Samuel

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University of Guelph


James Cameron, a farmer in Glengarry County, kept a diary from 1854 to 1902. This study focused on three periods of his family life course. From 1855-57, James was a bachelor and used multiple occupations to support his farming. He cultivated social connections formed in the context of male work culture, and filled niche roles in the community. Between 1864-66, James started a family. The needs of his family increased his capital, labour and emotional investment in his farm. He worked around the constraints of supervising young children, hired labour and began to socialize his sons to the life of a farmer. Finally, 1879-81, his wife and daughters retreated from view as James, now the head of a maturing family, focused on managing the labour of his sons. Having a family led James to focus on labours that worked best with the needs, strengths and limits of his family stage.



Masculinity, Ontario History, Glengarry County, Micro History, Diaries, Agriculture History, Family History