Re: Semper Paratus B.B.
Yes, it does seem that people matured earlier in those days in order to survive in many cases. My Granddaddy had an Uncle who left home at 15. Now Granddaddy said he was told William left to join the Confederate Army but he didn't think that was it. My research shows he did leave home at 15 and took his Mother's horse. The horse was found wandering loose some distance away a few days later but no more information was ever found of William. This happened in the early 1870's so he couldn't have been going to join the Rebel Army (unless he was 'touched in the head' and thought Sherman was still in Georgia). Granddaddy was right on that. This same Granddaddy was born in 1895. He left home and joined the US Navy in 1914. I thought it was a year later but rereading the records show 1914. Though he always had a garden plot when he could and loved working with his "Worm Trees" (those catawba's still creep me out) and remembered to do the things his Mother did to enrich the soil (such as burying iron nails around some plantings and using crushed egg shells) he did not want farming to be his sole occupation. His father was a Circuit Riding Preacher and a farmer and he knew what it involved and he wanted a dependable income.
Sooo, yes, they did join the work force earlier than we see happening today. The girls married at younger ages than is the 'norm' today. It all goes back to how life was lived in 'that time'. I would imagine there were a lot of young folk taking on a large responsibility to earn a wage in the years right after the war because there was a whole lot of rebuilding to be done.