Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fearless Females - Catching Up!

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

I have several heirlooms, so this was a difficult choice to make. Perhaps my most treasured heirloom is the wedding nightgown of my great-grandmother, Cora B. Benton Pfeiffer. This treasure came in to my safe-keeping a few years ago. My great-aunt, a sister of my grandmother, and a daughter of Cora, had passed away and her son was giving me some family treasures. He handed me a brown paper shopping bag that had written on the outside:" In this Bag - Cora Benton Pfeiffer's wedding night gown, and family christening dress". Both pieces of apparel were made identically, out of the same material with the same crocheted trim.  Cora Benton and Henry Pfeiffer were married in 1892.

 The shoulders of the nightgown are very narrow. Cora was a very petite lady, probably just under 5 foot in heighth. The gown is made of a fine cotton muslin. There is a hand crocheted scalloped trip around the neck, the wrists, and down the front. There are extremely narrow pin tucks down the front of the gown. Cora's sister was a seamstress, and it is believed that she may have made both items. The Christening Dress does not have a button down front, but the overall pattern is the same. I have no pictures of any of Cora and Henry's 8 children in the Christening Dress.

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

This one is so easy for me! After my mother passed away, I found a cookbook from the church her mother attended in Sullivan, Ohio. My mother was a fond collector of cook books. In this cookbook, the ladies of the church hand wrote their favorite recipes and they were put in book form. There were a few receipes there in my grandmother's handwriting. A few years prior to finding the cookbook, one of my mother's sister had brought a rhubarb pie to a family gathering. Everyone loved that pie. The recipe for that pie was in the cookbook. It has become a family favorite.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

I had two sisters of my mother's father write memoirs. My grandmother and my mother both wrote memoirs. I have chosen an excerpt from the memoirs of my grandfather's sister Grace:

Our farm was quite small and we children were getting older, so my parents decided to buy a larger farm.  They bought a 150 acre farm two and a half miles south of the Grafton Mill and one fourth mile west next to the cemetery where both of my parents are buried.  My mother was so happy as we had such a nice nine room house and newly decorated.  It had eight outside doors and a nice pantry.  There was one thing that worried her – they had paid five thousand dollars for the farm and she wondered how we were going to pay for it.  Well, we all worked hard and it did not take too long before we had it paid for.  We knew more about farming by then...

We had a large dairy and shipped milk in to Cleveland.  I used to milk four cows before I went to school and then walked over a mile to school on a dirt road – no pavement in those days.  The Black River ran through our farm and it was a haven for us children.  The boys could hunt, go swimming and fish and we girls could pick wild flowers.There were the most beautiful violets.  Hickory nuts and Black Walnuts were very plentiful then.  We older children gathered hickory nuts and would sell them for a dollar a bushel.  We would get about ten bushels and my mother would buy us stockings and mittens and school tablets and pencils.  Then you could buy quite a little for a dollar.

We also had a sugar bush that made maple syrup and maple sugar.  We would gather the sap days and generally boil it at night in a shack in the woods.  It would take thirty gallons for one gallon of syrup.  It was a lot of hard work, but we enjoyed doing it.  That would be around the month of March.  We got one dollar for a gallon of syrup.

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