Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Jounral Entry - Money Bags

It has been a while since my last major post; with talks, lectures, a book and a study under way my time has been consumed by tapping away on a keyboard. The talks and lectures are finished for the year. The book which is a guided to 17th century New York and New Netherland Inventories is almost complete.

The book is a short guide written in a similar way as the blog posts but with all the citations needed for those looking for primary sources on a specific topic. Topics include an exspansion and additonal information on Japanese, Turkish, Icelandic, Faroe Island and Scandie goods imported to the Americas, a recap on textiles plus new topics we have yet to pounce on. However, for those who need two or more primary sources to prove something existed... you are all set !

The study that is underway covers new information on economics and trade between Native Americans and the early settlers. The issue being the development of money bags by the Indigenous and the colonist who craved them. Their desire to own these bags lead some to trade fairly but others to theft and even assault.

Why would the colonist go to great lengths and risk all to own these bags? So far, It appears to be value. These hand crafted handbags were the Hermes Berkins of their day !

A word to the wise. I came across a blog post on a popular site published a couple weeks after my post about Japanese robes and their use in New York.  While the poster made many claims the citations provided don't mention how they knew they were Japanese robes. Unfortunately, the author even provided an example of an old surviving robe from England and claimed it was a "Japonse" (a dialect variation)... but it is likely an Indian banyan... and most definitely not a Japon nor something that was worn in New York. (Japons didn't have fitted sleeves !) This was  disappointing because it was written by a doctoral student in art history at Yale University who didn't do their homework. So, when in doubt... ask for the original quote and judge for yourself. 

While the book and study are in process... the blog will be taking a break.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Laundry Machines

They didn't have them...

 " "Aureum vellus, oder guldin Schatz und Kunst-Kammer.  Rorschach am Bodensee: [s.n.,] 1598. (Plate 21) Hand-colored woodcut."

Washing Contracts:

The people of New Netherland - from New Amstel, Delaware to Schenectady, NY - were probably some of the most well washed people in the colonial world. This is not surprising, as when people are lifted up to middle class status they tend to take on practices that are pleasurable and that differentiate. One item that seems to be on many people’s minds…is the laundry.

Who does the laundry is sometimes defined in contracts whether for orphans, independent contractors, or indentured servants. It is listed right next to shelter and the food.

“Indenture of Gillis Jansen as farm servant to Cornelis Claessen Swits, …for a term of 6 consecutive [years beginning] the tenth of October last past, to serve…to farming…he, Gillis Jansen, promising to serve…for which services he shall annually receive as wages the sum of eighty-three and one third Carollus guilders, amounting in six years to the sum of five hundred Carolus guilders, provided that the aforesaid Cornelis Claessen Swits promises to supply him, Gillis, during his bounded time with food, drink, washing and lodging, according to the usage and custom of farmers of this country.” Dec 1st, 1642

 “…for which he, Tonis Cray, shall [be] pay for every two English rods of fence [chopped & made] one week’s board, lodging and washing,…” 1st of Dec. 1642

A contract does not usually stipulate how often or the time of year the laundry has to be done. However, the Gillis Jansens’s requires annual payments. It could be assumed that he would get is clothes washed at least once a year. But it also does not state how often Jansen’s drink and food rations should be administered. So, one cannot assume the washing was only once a year. However, Tonis Cray’s contract is for four week and has the washing being done once a week. What is more interesting is that a laborer - possibly carpenter - is demanding a certain standard of living that people in other parts of America are living significantly below.

It appears that the laundry was done even in winter. Two continental paintings by Hendrick Avercamp include people out on the ice doing laundry in the fridged waters. In one example, a woman in a working class jacket is kneeling on the ice, two hands are holding onto a red garment. The garment is directed through a circular whole in the ice into the lake. In another painting, a circular whole is to the left of the washer who has a laundry basket with “whites” in it. He too is in working class clothes and is standing, facing a clothes line. One red garment in rectangular shape is already thrown over the line to air dry, as he holds a second red garment half hung.

Who is doing the laundry is alluded to in the New Netherland papers. Avercamp’s Netherland paintings clearly show a woman and a man each doing small batches of laundry in the winter season, both linen and colored. Though, it appears that both men and women took on the job of larger scale laundry washing in New Netherland. The two examples, below show that the man, Roelantsen, may of done the laundry himself, though he could of easily of hired out the service. The other example is clear on who will be doing the laundry. 

“Adam Roelantsen, plaintiff, vs. Gillis de Vooht, defendant, for laundry money. Plaintiff demands payment for washing defendant’s linen. Defendant says that he is not offering to pay less in payment for the washing, only that the year is not yet expired. Plaintiff is ordered to fulfill the term of the contract and then to demand payment.” 6th of Sept. 1640

“…to be his [ Claes Willemse van Coppernoll’s] foreman on the farm at Cattskill, and his [Jan Conell’s] wife to do such other services as may be needed there; and that for the sum of 42 good, merchantable beaver pelts, one half to be paid next winter in wheat, at market price, and the other half at the end of his term of service in beavers; his wife shall be furnished with soap to wash for herself and the others on the farm;…” 1678, June 18th - June 18th 1678

Jan Conell’s contract is most interesting, because it takes place in the Cattskills and demonstrates like the Gillis Jansen and Tonis Cray contracts that farmers, laborers, indentured servants and similar were regularly having at least their linens washed. This brings the standard of living up significantly compared to other American colonies.

How the Dutch came to be so clean possibly has as much to do with being in the right place and the right time as it does with being of the right income. The Dutch during the 17th century lifted over 60% of its population out of subsistance farming status to middle class. Even the Dutch milk maid saw an increase in status. Though, one of the lowest paid persons in the Netherlands and Flanders, the Dutch and Flemish paid their maids more than another nation. With Dutch, Flemish and their immigrant workers having higher incomes per job than their counterparts in other nations their consumption and quality of life excelled. They therefore were ready and able to adopt new habits and life styles that reflected their new found advantages.

Washing Tubs: 

Washing tubs are found in a number of inventories. Gysbert van Imbroch 1665 of Wildewijk (modern Kingston) has "two washtubs one large and one small".  Sigismundus Lucas,  1681 a "washing 'tubb'" and "one tub" more. Thomas Palmer 1681 of NYC also had three wash tubs.  The Widow Mary Masters 1702 of NYC had 3 wash tubs and a smoothing iron. Abraham Turk 1787 had "1 large wash tub, 2 small do." As you can see, three washing tubs seems to be a standard in New Netherlands and New York.

Smoothing Irons, Brushes, Presses, Mangles and a Clothing line: 

Smoothing irons and clothing brushes were rather common too.  Jan Reynersen 1665 at Fort Orange had "one smoothing iron". Imrboch 1665 who has three washing tubs also had a clothing press (a free standing piece of furniture and "one clothes brush".  Imbroch also had a mangle which was a long wooden paddle usually decorated and used for smoothing out bed sheets, plus a "clothing line". Sybrant van Schaick a brewer 1686 also had "1 cloth brush".  Van Macken 1664 had both a mangle and "stick pin" which may have been the paddle used for washing or some sort of "roller pin" co-located with the mangle. 


Starch was also common, Gerrit Bril 1659 - in New Amsterdam headed back to New Amstel - had "a square box with starch and washing blue".  There are so many mentions of Starch and blue wash or blue starch it seems it was something accessible to most people.

Washing boards and Planks:

Something interesting pops up in 1787 in an German inventory in Up-State NY, "1 board 00:00:04, 1 washing bench 00:00:02". the inventory is in German. Translation books have the washing bench as a horizontal plank or board that the washing tub is set on. This raises the tub to standing height. The board located with the plank is likely a washing board with a ribbed surface.  

I hope this provided a quick gimps into who and how people got their washing done. Washing was not done daily or every other day like in modern times. A skim through 19th and 20th century history and washing into modern times finds that people on average wore their underclothes all week long as one corporation found out the hard way in the 1940s. Until the invention and mass acquisition of laundry machines laundry was done at most weekly and more likely the further you go back in time, monthly or less. In New Netherland due to there being a a local business and small home laundries operating, linen and likely stockings could be washed as often as weekly for even the labor class based on some of the contracts that have been preserved.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

March 21st, 2019 - Talk at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, NY

Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2019 at 7:00 PM

The Wardrobes and Fashion of 17th Century Hudson Valley

We'll dive into the wardrobes and hampers of some of our earliest settlers. Including the farmer Jan Gerritsen & Goertje Huybertse 1664, the Dutch doctor Gysbert van Imbroch & his French wife Rachel Monger de la Montagne 1665. We'll find out why Icelandic, Flemish and Native American stockings were used and why the textiles serge and laken were all important. We'll also get to know the Dutch 'vlieger', the fabulous 'tabaard' gown and a surprise garment from the far east that was popular with both the Dutch and French. We'll use primary sources from personal probate inventories to bills of lading and even shop and store inventories to uncover how the people of the Hudson Valley dressed from the 1630s to 1700.

Their information:

Historic Huguenot Street
88 Huguenot Street
New Paltz, NY 12561

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

March 16th, 2019 - Two Talks at Boston History Camp !

I will be giving two talks at the March 16th, 2019 Boston History Camp ! Below are the titles and descriptions.

Four Yellow Love Drawers: A (Early) Modern Married Couple's Wardrobe

Why would a good man need bright red drawers? Why are hers yellow? And what were love drawers? We'll dive into the personal wardrobes and hampers of New Yorkers and explore the various types, colors and styles of drawers that were worn on the streets of 17th Century Manhattan. 

Vikings in New York and Delaware

While the raiding of other people comes to an end in the 12th century, Viking culture and material goods continues on in Iceland and the Faroe Islands through to the 14th Century. Icelandic and Faroe Island knitwear, textiles such as wadmal and other goods made from the same technology introduced by the Vikings will be imported to New Sweden and New Netherland through to the middle of the 17th Century.

See You There !

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

NYS Museum Diorama Updated

American Museum of Natural History

In NYC -  The American Museum of Natural History's 1930s diorama has words put over the glass explaining which parts are not based on primary sources, and what the primary sources actually say.

For instance, the Indigenous women in the background are laborers... but in reality according to court and legal records they would have taken leadership roles and been involved in negotiations and trade.

The American Museums of Natural History's choice to do this is a great example of how to bring to light how pass examples, while not meant to be inaccurate, can be used to explain how primary sources can be used to improve our accuracy in understanding our pass. 

I am curious to know if they point out the clothing issues such as the lack of leggings and bags? 

It would be interesting to see a new diorama of an accurate image even if smaller in clothing for the spring or fall time. 

Friday, November 16, 2018


We slept here in this house, and ate large quantities of pumpkin, beans, and venison so that we suffered of no hunger here but fared as well as it is possible in their country. I hope that everything shall succeed.

This is a repost from last year for the other half of the viewer that did not get to read it. 

For Thanksgiving I am sharing excerpts from a 1634 account of an early trader's travel to various Mohawk castles. Castles are walled fort villages made by Indigenous people. The homes within the walled fort can be 80 to 100 steps long and 1 to 2 stories tall; with a barrier wall made from tree trunks that were sunk into the ground like a fence... a very thick and tall fence. If you look at the rectangular wall below in the image you'll see bump outs along the sides, which are similar to the bump outs on European made fort walls. They are there so a person from the village can look down from the top of the wall and can easily see the base of the wall; which without the bump out would be a blind spot for attackers to conceal themselves. These are very clever modes of defense. When the traders arrived at a castle they were often welcomed into the Mohawk's homes and fed. Foods included corn, but also beans, squash, venison and turkey. Many varieties of beans and squashes bought in modern grocery stores and served for diner today were originally developed by the Indigenous people of America. 

Image below from the 1662 map of New Netherland. 

“A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635”, by van den Bogaert

12th of December, “After we had traveled an hour, we came to the tributary that flows into our river [Hudson] and past the Marquise’s villages [near Cities of Schenectady and Scotia]. Here there was heavy ice flow… After crossing over, we went another one and half miles and came to a hunter’s cabin. We entered and ate some venison there. We then continued our journey. After we had gone another half mile, we saw some people coming towards us. then they saw us, they ran away. Throwing down their bags and packs, they ran into a marsh and hid behind a thicket so that we were unable to see them. We looked at their goods and packs, taking a small loaf of bread baked with beans. [modern Iroquois corn bread is made with cooked beans.] We at it up and continued…by estimated,…eleven miles. ”

12th of December, We came to the first castle called ONEKAHONCKA, which stood on a high hill. There were only 36 houses, row on row in a manner of streets, so that we easily pass through… Some are 100, 90, or 80 steps long; 22 or 23 feet high. There were also some interior doors made of split planks furnished with iron hinges. In some houses we also saw ironwork: iron chains, bolts, harrow teeth, iron hoops, spiked,…Most of the people were out hunting for bear and deer. These houses were full of grain that they call ONESTI and we corn. inded, some held 300 or 400 skipples [2/3 of a bushel]. They make boats and barrels of tree-bark and sew with it. We ate here many baked and boiled pumpkins which they called ANONSIRA. Non of the chiefs was at home, except for the most principal one called ADRIOCHTEN, who was lying one quarter mile from the fort in a small cabin because many Indians here in the castle had died of smallpox. I invited him to come visit with me, which he did. He came and bid me welcome, and said that he wanted us to come with him very much. We would have gone but we were called by another chief when we were already on the path, and turned back towards the castle. He had a large fire started at once, and a fat haunch of venison cooked, from which we ate; he also gave us two bear-skins to sleep on, and presented me with beaver pelts…. We slept here in this house, and ate large quantities of pumpkin, beans, and venison so that we suffered of no hunger here but fared as well as it is possible in their country. I hope that everything shall succeed.

14th of December,  Jeronimus wrote a letter to the commissary, Marten Gerritsen, asking for paper, salt, and ATSOCHWAT [ tobacco ]. We went out with the chief to see if we could shoot some turkeys, but got none. However, in the evening I bought a very fat turkey for 2 hands of “sea-wan” [trade beans], which the chief cooked for us; and the grease that cooked from it he put in our beans and corn…Two Wilde left from here for Fort Orange with skins.

16th of December, In the afternoon a good hunter named SICKARIS came here who wanted us to go with him very much and carry our goods to his castle [ the second castle ] . He offered to let us sleep in his house and stay there as long as we pleased. Because he offered us so much, I presented him with a knife and two awls [ small pointed tool for piercing holes, used in leather or wood working]; and to the chief in whose home we had stayed [ in the fist castle ] I presented a knife and a scissors.

16th of December, After we had gone one half mile over the ice we saw a village with only six houses. It was called CANOWARODE, but we did not enter…after we gone another half mile we passed a village with twelve houses called SCHATSYEROSY…a mile or mile and a half great past great tracts of flatland, we entered a castle…called CANAGERE… on a hill without palisade or any defense….

4th of January, castle called TENOTOGE. It had 55 houses, some 100 steps in size and other more or less as large. The waterway that was mentioned earlier ran past here and took the course mostly north-west and south-east. There are more houses on the opposite bank of the waterway; however, we did not enter them because the were mostly full of grain. The houses in this castle are full of grain and beans. Here the Indians looked on in amazement; for most everyone was at home, and they crowded in on us so much that we could barely pass among them. After a long period, an Wilde came to us who took us to his house and we went in it. The castle was surrounded with three rows of palisades. [the village was surrounded by three walls each made of tree-trunk spikes forming a 9 foot tall wall]. However, now there were only 6 or 7 sections left, so thick was the wall that it was unbelievable that Wilde could do it. …. Today we feasted on two bears, and we received today one half skittle of beans and some dried strawberries. Also, we provided ourselves here with bread that we could take along on the journey. Some of it had nuts, chestnuts, dried blueberries and sunflower seeds baked in it.

5th of January, [next village] I bought four dried salmon and two pieces of bear’s meat that was nine inches thick; there was some here even thicker. Today we ate beans cooked with bear’s meat. Otherwise nothing occurred. Jan. 7th. We received a letter…our people were very troubled because we did not return, thinking we had been killed. We ate here fresh salmon that had been caught but two days ago. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Scotts Cloth, Plaid, Tarten Hose & Broadswords

1683: 4 ps. w/th "plaiding" qt. 125 yds

Of the people from the British Islands and Ireland, the Scots made up the majority of people who emigrated to New York from the 1680s - 1720s. A number of Scottish came to New York prior to the Queen Ann's Test Act of 1703  including Robert Livingston who arrived in the Town of Albany in 1674.  John Spratt and John MaxWell were two others. However, after England took Sovereign control in 1674, aside from the Governor in NYC and the New Englanders on Long Island, it was primarliy through Scottish eyes the colonist understood England. They were that numerous.

I am often asked if Scots in America wore Scottish clothes. As someone who descends from the 18th Century Mcdougalds of North Carolina I am eager to find the answer too. However, one can only dress according to what was available. What was available was often defined by demand.

For 18th Century New York, in particular, the consumers were able to influence what merchants ordered, as they would completely snub something that was not culturally acceptable... like small sprigs of flowered cloth. The prerogative of New Yorkers were big bodacious flowers to the point that merchants returned the small sprigged cloth to London explaining it wouldn't sell. One merchant went as far as to draw - again - a large mass of a flower explaining it was to scale and not to send anything smaller. The London merchants must have though New Yorkers were hopeless, but New Yorkers - for as reserved as they were in business - wore their big bodacious flowers as though a tribal marker. We will circle back to this issue later, but it provides a glimpse into just how stubborn New York consumers were through the first half of the 18th Century. It may also be why onlookers noted that it was difficult to define the difference between the wealthy and the working class, because everyone looked middle class in their large printed silks, woolens and calicos. It also meant that people of various heritages could strut their stuff in the clothing of their mother country. And people of other heritages had no qualms about adding something different normally associated with a different heritage... like tartan !

Doing The Numbers:

While an exact number of people of Scottish heritage who immigrated to New York is not known, there was one Presbyterian church by 1650, four by 1700, 35 by 1750 and 50 by 1775 spread out across the Province. To put this in perspective, there were only 0, 2, 20, and 26 Anglican churches respectively. When looking for a persona with distinct clothing, textiles and a ton of fun... check out the Scots !

 Number of Churches in the Province of New York by Denomination:
Year                                  1650    1700    1750    1775
Scot Presbyterian                1        4           35         50
Scot Calvinist                      4        0            5         12
Eng. Anglican                      0        2           20         26
Eng. Quaker                        0        8           14         22

It is estimated that about 7, 000 Scotts emigrated to an English colony in America prior to the year 1700. Between 1717 - 1775, an estimated 200,000 Scot-Irish from Ulster Co. in Northern Ireland emigrated to America.

1753: Patrick Fisher, indićted of cutting out of a loom and stealing a tartan plaid, was, at his own desire, sentenced to be transported to America, and banished Scotland for life. - Scotts Magazine

A Wave of Scottish People: 

After the English landed in 1664, then received sovereign control in 1667, Governor Dongan had a reasonable concern about the lack of immigrants from England.

Dated 1687: "I believe for these last 7 years past, there has not come over into this province twenty English Scotch or Irish families. But on the contrary on Long Island the people increase so fast that they complain for want of land and many remove from thence into the neighboring province." - Population History of New York City, By Ira Rosenwaike

While England had a difficult time getting English people to choose New York rather than New England or Pennsylvania or Virginia, the Scottish were more than happy to take the jobs that were available. They are listed as being weavers, cart drivers, and in other trades and labors.

NewEngland, Philadelphia and Virginia were more appealing to the English in part because an immigrant's new neighbors would have spoken English, as compared to the commonly spoken Dutch, Deutsch or French in New York. To do business in New York being bilingual would have been necessary.

Additionally, New England, PA, and Virginia also had large volumes of farming land available for mono-cropping (tobacco plantations, cotton plantation, corn or wheat farming)... New York has land that produced market gardens, orchards, tobacco and dairy cows which was less appealing. While many people of England were looking to purchase land or set up a shop, the Scot-Irish were looking for employment, and looked to a Province with fewer slaves.

With low immigration, came another problem, germs. The community experienced low immigration but high transient population that came into and out of town. The community developed immunity over time from repeat exposure to germs. However, for the immigrants who did make the trip, 1702 was devastating year, roughly 570 young and old died from yellow fever.  In 1731, smallpox will take another 549 people. These are diseases that if a person survives, they will develop immunity.

Despite all this, the Scotts are hardy people. By the year 1700 there were four Presbyterian churches with Scottish and x-New England members plus enough Scots to support an additional 4 more Calvinist Churches. For those looking to do a 1670s - 1720s era persona, the Scottish are a great option !

Tartan, Scots' Cloth or Plaid mentioned in documents:

During my search I only found 18th Century documents including the poem from 1724. However, Jenn Scott supplied us with these references from the 17th Century. Her book, "Better is the Proud Plaid" takes the deep dive all the way back to the 17th Century using primary sources and is currently out in Amazon UK. It will be available to Americans in December... it is a must have for reenactors looking for well researched sources !

1618–33 Collie Highland Dress 10.

Their [sc. Highlanders'] habit is shoes with but one sole apiece, stockings (which they call short hose) made of a warm stuff of divers colours which they call tartane … A jerkin of the same stuff that their hose is of … with a plaid [etc.];

1699 Reg. Privy C. in Chambers Domestic Annals Scotl. III 126.]

Woollen stuffs of all sorts, … draughts, friezes, drogats, tartains, craips, capitations ' however certainly the gaelic references the time refer to the item of clothing - plaid and the cloth - tartan as checked or speckled

Some 18th Century mentions I found:

1724: I'll make ye a Propine, My Mither, honest Wife, has made it fine; A Tartan Plaid, spun of good hauslock Woo, Scarlet and Green the Sets, the Borders Blue, With Spraings like Gou'd and Siller, cross'd wi' Black, I never had it'yet upon my Back. - Miscellaneous Works of that celebrated Scotch poet, Allan Ramsay, By Allan Ramsay * Hauslock Wool, fine wool from the neck of the sheep. 

1749: [The clothing] It consisted of a roll of light woollen, called a plaid, six yards in length, and two in breadth, wrapped loosely 'around the body, the' upper lappet of which rested on the left shoulder, leaving the right arm at full liberty; a jacket of thick cloth, fitted highly to the body; and a loose short garment of light woolen that went around the waist and covered the thigh. - 1749 The Monthly Review, Volume 45, by Griffin or 1773 Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland. From the dissolution of the last ...By Sir John DALRYMPLE

1785: The Highland plaid is composed of a woollen stuff, sometimes very fine, called tartan. This stuff confifts of various colours, forming stripes which cross each other at right angles; and the natives value themselves upon the judicious arrangement ... -
The New Universal Traveller: Containing a Full and Distinct Account of All, By Jonathan Carver

1818: First time acted in Covent Garden in 1757, The Play "DOUGLAS" Character costumes: NORVAL - Green plaid jacket, kilt, and tartan, flesh-'colored' stockings and arms, breastplate, cap, and sandals.  LORD RANDOLPH - Scarlet silk plaid jacket, ibid. GLENALVON - Green plaid, ibid. , Old NORVAL. Drab 'colored' doublet and breeches, plaid scarf, ibid. DONALD. Red plaid jacket, kilt and tartan, beast plate, ibid. -Dramatic Library, Volume 4 , 1818.    

In these quotes we can see that "tartan" comes in a variety of colors. And in the 1724 poem a tartan plaid in this instance had - "Scarlet and Green the Sets, the Borders Blue, With Spraings like Gou'd and Siller, cross'd wi' Black...". These quotes give us snippets and clues.

Scots Cloth in Probate Inventories and For Sale:

Plaids likely started coming over with the first Scottish after 1674, though few in number at first they along with the locals created a demand for merchants and shopkeepers to begin selling tartan fabric. The Scottish likely wore their tradition clothing while living in NY just as most everyone else did. It was the kind of place, where you could go to a market and pick out a person's ethnicity simply based on their clothes even in the 1670s, '80s & '90s. However, others including German and Dutch were  using tartan fabric for more mainstream clothing also. 

1697: John sprat (Scottish) and Maria de Peyster (Dutch) were merchants and had 5 ps of Scotts Cloth valued at 2.10.00 in their NYC store. They also have 14 yards "remaining" valued at 2.14.00.   
1695: Johannes "John" Clopper of NYC and of German heritage had "Scotts cloth" in his probate inventory.  
1684: Wina van Hoven of NYC and of Dutch heritage had 1 black "Tartenel" Samare  with "tocker" [tucker or modesty linen for across the top of stays]  in her personal inventory.  A samare is a pleated back robe, more like a coat when made of heavy material and more gown like when made of light material, with center front closure and no stomacher. By the 1680s, it could be as short as hip length or as long as mid-calf, never as long as the ankle. They are popular from 1580s to 1720s. 
1682: The inventory of Joseph Taylor a merchant of NYC had "Item 22 yards of linen Cloath 55 d: 15 1/2 of fine Scotch "Cloath" 52 d" valued at 5.07.00. 

A Scottish Merchant from Blastowne: 

The merchant, John MaxWell was a member of the Scots Charitable Society in Boston however, he was making a move to NY. He died on a return trip to New York from "Blastowne" Scotland in 1682, aboard his shipped called Rebecca: 

2 ps. of coarse cloth qt. 20 yes. 12 d yd... 1.00.00
4 ps. w/th "plaiding" qt. 125 yds at 9 d. yd. L1.0.0 ... 4.13.09
2 ps. coarse Serge 2 ps. qt. 36 yds. f. 3:12:39 yd 15 d... 6.00.09

The above "4 pieces with plaiding" is likely a cloth with checks upon it. A John Maxwell is listed as part owner of a ship named "Ann" along with John Borland a Scotsmen in Boston. The inventory that arrived in NYC from the ship, is not just a record of import from Scotland, it also happened to include his personal clothing including 1 feather bed 1 "baluster" & pillows, 10 old shirts, 1 black velvet cap furred, plus...

"2 Cloth Suits with 24 doz. [Buttons ? and ] 11 plate Buttons and  9 p[r] of tartan hose 15 d ... 0.11.03"  

The inventory also included kersey, stuff, cloth, coarse cloth, and serge... so we know that even if the "plaiding" was not checked, it was not one of the other types of cloth mentioned.

Some Extra Citations of Interest:  

In 1745, there was an issue where a bundle of cloth would have a "Scotts Cloth" on top and English made cloth under it... which did not go over well.  The Scottish wanted only their cloth to be sold under the label of "Scots Cloth"". "The Present State of Scotland Consider'd: and Its ... Sinking Condition Charged Upon the Conduct of the Landed Gentlemen, &c. Shewing ... that the Only Mean of Relieving Their Estates ... is by Their Joining Together to Promote Home Manufacture, Etc", Scotland, W. and T. Ruddimans, 1745

With this in mind, it might be advisable to take into consideration the pride of the Scots when portraying colonist. In 1746, the following order was given to exclude Scottish clothing for people in "...his Majesty's forces..." and can be found in "Anno Regni Georgii II. Regis Magnae Britanniæ, Franciæ, & Hiberniæ, Vicesimo Primo ... (An Act to Amend and Enforce So Much of an Act Made in the Nineteenth Year of His Majesty's Reign, as Relates to the More Effectual Disarming the Highlands in Scotland ... )" by Adrian Watkins, 1748.

1780 - Highland Wedding David Allan (1744-1796)

A Note on Swords: 

The Scots used a "two handed swords" in the 16th Century along with arrows for defense in the early years but switched over to pistols and "broadswords" in by the 17th Century. - "A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland: Containing a Full Account ...", 1703 By Martin Martin.

Broadswords were brought to 17th Century New York. Our merchant John MaxWell had a few other items. The goods included: "1 Gunn 2 Carbines; 3 broad swords". Plus, in with the bridle and livery clothing was "a silver hilt sword" likely his personal cavalry sword which would only have one side of the blade sharpened as compared to duel blades on the broadsword. Swords like most goods were coming in from far and wide... remember the Japanese sword?

"Swords" are commonly mentioned in New Netherland and New York however, however rapiers are most often cited. From most common to least: Rapier, Sword, Cutlas, and Hanger in the 17th Century definitions. A few of the "swords" are associated with livery or bridles and saddles but it is not common.

For events targeting the second half of the 17th and first half of the 18th... dressing with tartan hose and plaid is a great way for reenactors to connect with their audiences ! Just mind the accents...

To all my McDougald kin down in North Carolina:

I'll make ye a Propine, 
My Mither, honest Wife, has made it fine; 
A Tartan Plaid, spun of good hauslock Woo, 
Scarlet and Green the Sets, the Borders Blue, 
With Spraings like Gou'd and Siller, cross'd wi' Black, 
I never had it'yet upon my Back. 

- Allan Ramsay