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.
1936.1.6, Museum Collection, The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky
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“Tablecloth, 1800-1825,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed December 5, 2023, https://filsonhistorical.omeka.net/items/show/5831.