Letters give glimpse of 1900 Port Henry

Her mother did not like to have her girls leave her so she employed them at home. Spinning and weaving were the principal industries. She had two looms and the different wheels necessary, and took in weaving for others, which made it possible to keep her girls at home. One of her neighbors wanted Mother to help her but her mother said "No". At Mother's urgent request she finally consented. After two weeks' work she came home with a silk dress all made up. It was probably not the kind of silk that could stand alone but Mother felt very proud of it as she was only fourteen years old.

Girls were expected to provide themselves with bed linen and table linen and also their own clothing. They began with the wool from the sheep and the flax in the ground. Wool was often carded by hand and made into a long roll, spun into yarn, and then woven into cloth. Then it was sent to a factory to be dyed and pressed for dresses and shawls. They had woolen sheets and blankets and woolen underwear for winter. All of the stockings for the family were knit by the different members of the family.

The flax was first pulled up by the roots and left on the ground to rot. After a time the husk came off, leaving the fibre which was hatchetted by hand until it was free from the bark. Then it was put on a distaff and spun into yarn on a little flax wheel.

Joan Daby is town of Moriah historian.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment