The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Browse Items (115 total)

  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_11.jpg

    Sheet belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_10.jpg

    Sheet belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_9.jpg

    Linen coverlet belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_7.jpg

    Handwoven, linen bedcover belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_8.jpg

    Cotton bedspread belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_6.jpg

    Handwoven, linen tablecloth belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother. We can’t say with certainty that Eliza made this textile because weaving was generally done by professional male weavers or enslaved men and women. Either Eliza and/or an enslaved laborer may have spun fibers that were cultivated on her farm, and then turned over to a weaver to make into cloth. The woven panels would have then been seamed and hemmed at home. There is evidence there may have been a loom house on one of the neighboring Tyler family farms.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_5.jpg

    Handwoven, linen tablecloth belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother. We can’t say with certainty that Eliza made this textile because weaving was generally done by professional male weavers or enslaved men and women. Either Eliza and/or an enslaved laborer may have spun fibers that were cultivated on her farm, and then turned over to a weaver to make into cloth. The woven panels would have then been seamed and hemmed at home. There is evidence there may have been a loom house on one of the neighboring Tyler family farms.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_4.jpg

    Handwoven, linen tablecloth belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon. Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother. We can’t say with certainty that Eliza made this textile because weaving was generally done by professional male weavers or enslaved men and women. Either Eliza and/or an enslaved laborer may have spun fibers that were cultivated on her farm, and then turned over to a weaver to make into cloth. The woven panels would have then been seamed and hemmed at home. There is evidence there may have been a loom house on one of the neighboring Tyler family farms.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1936_1_2.jpg

    Cotton pillowcase belonging to Elizabeth Tyler Sturgeon (1791-1833). Elizabeth married Thomas Sturgeon in 1816, who died only seven years into their marriage. Elizabeth then took on the responsibility of managing their farm in Jefferson County, Kentucky, while also raising her three young sons. Elizabeth enslaved seven people who provided crucial labor that contributed to the success of the farm and household. After her husband died, an unidentified enslaved woman helped Elizabeth manage the farm. In 1833, Eliza died from cholera, leaving her three sons, all under the age of eighteen, to live with her brother.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/textile-shuttles.jpg

    Shuttles were textile tools designed to carry and move yarn back and forth through the warp which in turn creates cloth.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/weaving-reed.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1996_5_1.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1956_7_2.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1978_4_22.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1932_14.jpg

    A mold that could make three candles at a time. Most candles at the time were made with tallow (animal fat) because other options like beeswax were expensive. Using bayberries, despite providing wax with a pleasant smell, was hard work and took too many berries to produce an adequate amount of candles. Once more lighting options were more readily available (lanterns, betty lamps, etc.) candles would be considered too expensive for daily use and were brought out for only special occasions.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1926.1.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1978_4_1.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1978_4_72.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1927_3_1_a-b.jpg

    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.
  • https://filsonhistoricalimages.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/1927_3_2_a-b.jpg

    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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