Necessities at Mount Vernon


                                         It is common knowledge that the use of the toilet didn’t become popular until the late 1800’s in America, but the human population had to dispose of their waste somehow. While at Mount Vernon a thought crossed my mind: “It must have been frustrating to have to leave the house every time you needed to use the bathroom because the Necessaries were located outside.” In my opinion, this would have been particularly irritating during the cold winter months or the hot summer months. At Mount Vernon, there were multiple Necessaries, or outhouses. Since plumbing was not inside most houses in the 18th century, the bathrooms had to be located outside.  I was intrigued by this, because on a personal level I would not want to have to walk outside halfway across my property anytime that I would need to use the restroom, especially at night or in the cold or extreme heat. However, I learned that any guests inside the house would also use chamber pots to assist them when the Necessary was unavailable. The idea of having a Necessary makes me grateful that I was born in a time period where those are no longer “necessary.” While at Mount Vernon I reflected on how different these people’s everyday lives were, down to the really personal things. It also made me curious to know how they would appreciate the modern commode. All in all, this experience definitely made me realize how things change, usually for the better. 


 Mollie DeMoor

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