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This study draws upon a large sample of probated estates from early Connecticut and Massachusetts. It finds that total probate wealth per adult male grew slowly over the colonial period and its growth was confined entirely to real estate. The value of consumption goods per estate fell during the early eighteenth century which raises questions about the impact of economic growth on household life.
Based on findings in Massachusetts probate records, 1650–1753, this paper argues that the average value of consumer goods among farmers and other rural inhabitants in that colony did not decline over the course of the colonial period but fluctuated around an average value little different from that for an equivalent segment of the population at risk in Maryland at the turn of the eighteenth century. Similar findings by Jackson Turner Main for.colonial Connecticut extend this absence of trend to a wider area of New England and to the years immediately preceding the American Revolution.