The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Browse Items (62 total)

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    Letter from Eleanor E. Clark requesting the recipient to use the enclosed linen to make a border for a bed quilt.
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    Field notes and plat of a survey done in Jefferson County, Kentucky, by George May. Taken from George May's survey book.
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    Bowman's letter to Isaac Hite discusses trade with New Orleans, the abundance of money at Kaskaskia, British and American troops in the northwest, and a message he wrote that was not received because the messenger was killed at the Falls of the Ohio. Bowman gives a detailed description of the retaking of Vincennes in February 1779 by the Americans led by George Rogers Clark. Bowman mentions guns, military stores, and Native-American goods captured by Clark's men, and notes the Virginia Assembly's indifference to the western territory. Bowman died not long after writing this letter from wounds received during the retaking of Vincennes several months earlier.
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    Hank of wool from Buchanan, Kentucky. Sheep were among the early domesticated animals brought to Kentucky. Home production of wool increased during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 due to trade embargos. Free and enslaved women prepared and spun the wool into a usable yarn. They used the yarn for knitting, or it was taken to a professional weaver (free or enslaved person) who turned it into cloth. Wool was often woven with cotton or hemp in early Kentucky textiles. Approximately 4/12 lbs. of spun wool were needed to make a single blanket. Wool cloth was also sewn into clothing by women.
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    Shuttles were textile tools designed to carry and move yarn back and forth through the warp which in turn creates cloth.
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    Weaving reeds are a part of weaving looms that are used to separate and space the warp threads, which guides the shuttle’s movement across the loom and pushes weft threads into place. Reeds were interchangeable and different reeds were used to make different types of fabric. Despite many family narratives that claim female ancestors wove the textiles, generally weaving was a profession for men. However, there were exceptions, and in the Kentucky frontier there is evidence that enslaved men and women were also skilled weavers. More likely, the fiber was cultivated and harvested on the family farm. It was then prepared and spun into yarn by women who then turned it over to trained weavers who made it into cloth, which might be finished at home or sewn into clothing. In the early 20th century, during a revival of frontier craft, weaving became a skilled craft dominated by women.
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    This spinning wheel is said to have belonged to Caldweller Slaughter who came to Kentucky as early as 1787. It could also have come from the family of one of his wives. His first wife, Margaret Ransdell Slaughter, died in 1786. Some sources indicate he may have remarried Mary Fowke who died a few years later (unverified). He then married Lucy Slaughter in 1790. Slaughter owned 200 acres in the area today known as Cherokee Triangle in Louisville. Spinning wheels were crucial to early pioneer families. Generally, weaving was a professional occupation for men, and in Kentucky was also done by enslaved men and women. Spinning on the other hand, was a woman’s task and was done in between gardening, milking, preserving crops, cooking food, making/mending clothes, doing laundry, and rearing children. Fiber was painstakingly cultivated, processed, and spun on the family farm and then taken to a community weaver to be made into cloth, which might be finished at home or sewn into clothing. Approximately 3 lbs. of spun flax or 4/12 lbs. of spun wool was needed to make a single sheet or blanket. Spinning wheels, for some American women, were more than just tools and were also political statements. Prior to the American Revolution, and then during the embargos of the War of 1812 some colonial women (particularly in New England) hosted and participated in 'Spinning Bees' to create yarn and thread to boycott English-made goods.
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    Flax paddles were used for scutching, part of the process for 'dressing' flax, or getting it prepped for spinning. The paddles separated the hard stocks from the useable fiber underneath. It took 4 months to grow flax from seed. It was beaten with the paddle until fibers could be pulled by hand through a hatchel to separate the fibers, which were then bundled and hung for drying to prepare them for spinning. Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. It was an important crop during the colonial and early frontier era. Until the invention of the cotton gin, flax was easier to harvest and process. In Kentucky, it was commonly used in handwoven household linens. Historians estimate that families needed about ¼ to ½ acre of flax per person in a household.
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    In addition to flax, wool was an important fiber during the colonial and frontier era. Wool combs arranged the fibers, separating the undercoat from outercoat and teasing the wool before carding by disentangling, cleaning and intermixing fibers. Sheep were among the early domesticated animals brought to Kentucky. Home production of wool increased during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 due to trade embargos. Free and enslaved women prepared and spun the wool into a usable yarn. They used the yarn for knitting, or it was taken to a professional weaver (free or enslaved person) who turned it into cloth. Wool was often woven with cotton or hemp in early Kentucky textiles. Approximately 4/12 lbs. of spun wool were needed to make a single blanket. Wool cloth was also sewn into clothing by women.
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    Sugar was an expensive and coveted luxury item in frontier households. The chest protected sugar from theft or flies, and was also a status symbol indicating a household's socio-economic status. This sugar chest belonged to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon (1791-1833). The Tylers were early colonists in Jefferson County who had a cluster of family farms near Floyd's Fork.
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    This teakettle was brought to Bourbon County, Kentucky, by the Liter family before 1800. Tea isn't immediately thought of as an 'American' staple, but historically it was. Tea in the early 19th century was more popular than beer and teakettles were essential items for households.
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    Basting spoons were used to baste (pour juices or melted fat over meat during cooking in order to keep it moist), as well as for stirring and serving. Basting spoons were used often because of the large amount of meat that was consumed on the frontier. Early Kentucky pioneers had a deep reliance on meat (especially wild game like turkeys or buffalos). They continued to eat wild game as a primary source of food until the pioneers learned to farm in their new environment. As Euro-merican settlers learned how to develop stable food sources through farming and domesticated livestock, they began to hunt buffalo for sport, nearly driving the population into extinction.
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    The spider pot was brought to Bourbon County, Kentucky, from Frederick County, Maryland, by the Liter family before 1800. During this period, cooking was the second leading cause of death for women. Overheating, skirts catching on fire, exhaustion, and infected burns were causes for serious injury or even death. Some frontier appliances made the job a bit safer. Due to the 'three-legged' nature of spider pots, it allowed them to sit right on the hearth over a bed of hot coals. The cook then used its long handle to safely remove the pot from the coals.
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    The Dutch oven and its hook were brought to Bourbon County, Kentucky, from Frederick County, Maryland, by the Liter family before 1800. In addition to many other household tasks, free and enslaved women prepared three meals a day for their household, working many hours over a cooking hearth without air conditioning or fans. They cultivated and prepared all ingredients themselves. Cooking was labor intensive and exhausting. The Dutch oven, despite its heavy weight, made cooking a bit easier. Dutch ovens were an important tool in the kitchen and were used similarly to ovens today. Dutch ovens were capable of baking, boiling, roasting, and frying, and good for cooking stews, breads, and cakes.
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    Cover of the Journal of the Kentucky Constitutional Convention, held in Frankfort, on 22 July 1799.
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    Contains the adventures of Daniel Boone, the minutes of the Piankashaw council, an account of the Native American nations inhabiting within the limits of the thirteen United States, and the stages and distances between Philadelphia and the Falls of the Ohio, etc.
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    Title page of A view of the present situation of the United States of America, containing astronomical geography, geographical definitions, discovery, and general description. Included is a particular description of Kentucky, the Western territory, map of the northern and middle states, comprehending the Western territory and the British dominions in North America. The publication includes three maps of Kentucky by John Filson.

    For the complete title, see the New York Public Library Digital Collections at https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5b015bc0-c5d4-012f-4f5e-58d385a7bc34
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    Includes view of the natural Rock Bridge, houses, conditions of the enslaved peoples,the land, cultivating tobacco, lower classes of people in Virginia, unhealthy apperances, the Shenandoa Valley, German immigratnts, landscapes, military titles that are common in America, Irish immigrants, etc.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/11/rb_917-3_c489t_1828_cover.jpg

    Translated from the French by an English gentleman, who resided in America at the period, with notes by the translator. Also, a biographical sketch of the author, letters from Gen. Washington to the Marquis de Chastellux, and notes and corrections by the American editor.
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