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Civil War Ladies' Garb in the Trans-Mississippi

Discussion in 'The Ladies Tea' started by CMWinkler, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. CMWinkler

    CMWinkler Colonel Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Civil War Ladies' Garb in the Trans-Mississippi

    Title.jpg
    What did ladies wear in the Trans-Misssissippi area during the Civil War?

    I have 20 or so direct ancestors who were Confederate soldiers. In my research, I discovered that 11 served in Texas units, 2 served from Mississippi, 3 from Alabama and 1 from Arkansas. Clearly, the Western theater was well represented in my ancestry! That made me interested in researching what their wives, daughters and sweethearts would have worn... because everyone knows that the ladies "out West" dressed differently than those "back East," right?

    More: http://southroncreations.blogspot.com/2017/09/civil-war-ladies-garb-in-trans.html?spref=fb
     

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  3. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    That's a terrific link, thank you! For one thing, an excerpt from one book minutely describes homespun- which is getting a poor rap. You know how historians can disagree on odd points? That seems to be one " Did Southern women really get out the old spinning wheels, or is that hype? " SO cool to hear they did.

    This becomes written off as patriotic nonsense- and from looking at era dresses and just reading, it was frequently a case of spin or wear nothing. Cannot imagine keeping growing children clothed, too!

    Plus, ( and guessing reenactors will testify ) homespun is itchy. Southern summers in a homespun dress? No, thank you. Crazy, how quickly the Blockade made life intolerable. Those ladies have all my respect.
     
  4. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    That is interesting link. Thanks so much for posting.
     
  5. pfcjking

    pfcjking Sergeant Major

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    What the heck is calico?
     
  6. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  7. Mrs. V

    Mrs. V Corporal

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    donna likes this.
  8. Mrs. V

    Mrs. V Corporal

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    I read somewhere, that after the slaves were freed, there was no one to do the weaving, spinning etc of cotton. They had to pay the grannies who could not leave to show them how it was done.
     
  9. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Probably true in some cases...not so much on the frontier where it was sort of a standard thing.
     
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  10. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    1868, Comanche County, Texas....wedding portrait.

    Frances Powers.jpg
     
  11. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Well, enslaved were not put to the task of turning cotton into cloth? Read it while looking into what types of cloth was used for clothing, from several sources. I forget what the fabric was called which was bought for enslaved clothing? You see it in era ads. It was not considered cost efficient to have enslaved spin or produce cloth.

    'Then got into this nonsense all about how Southern white women were all talk, no action when it came to the Blockade and getting out their spinning wheels- transpires yes indeed, they sure did. Back to homestead days. Itchy days. Cool stuff, can you imagine?
     
  12. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Love this one! Gosh what a pretty girl. Do you think she made that dress for her wedding?
     
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  13. 18thVirginia

    18thVirginia Captain Forum Host

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    A great site, CMWinkler, thanks so much for sharing it with us. From every diary that I've read, remaking clothing, patching, turning skirts inside out, dying fabric black, and even making a child's garments from curtains were very real preoccupations of women during the War.
     
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  14. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Sergeant Major

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    The girl on the front cover is beautiful. The fashions then were beautiful, too. Too bad they were so impractical!
     
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  15. Gladys Hodge Sherrer

    Gladys Hodge Sherrer Sergeant

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    Great information. Thank you!!
     
  16. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    Why, thank you! It's my great-grandmother, Frances Kiser Powers. I suspect someone did. Comanche wasn't much of a metropolis, and they'd been there during the war....I love the fabric...it's an unusual print--sort of a "not" paisley!
     
  17. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    That's Elizabeth (Libby) Bacon Custer, wife of you-know-who and I think an odd and inappropriate choice. She was sort of a native of the Trans-Mississippi "West", a resident of Monroe, Michigan, but as the only daughter of a prominent judge seems to have invariably dressed in the latest and most attractive "Eastern" fashions, impractical as they may have been.
     
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  18. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Sergeant Major

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    I had no idea! I'm sure I've seen photos of her before, but never picked up on that. Thanks for sharing @James N. She really was beautiful, and no doubt being the daughter of a prominent judge she had the opportunity to dress in the latest fashions. I probably discounted the fact that some of our current fashion trends may be just as impractical, and in many ways not nearly as gorgeous as those of the past.
     
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  19. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    She's genuinely a stunning girl- but your family must have heard that before. There's an area , fabric- what really was generally used and worn-wish we had an expert in, for Ladies Tea. James B was awfully good, wasn't he? The fabric- there's a lot of nonsense written on how rustic it all was, women weaving cloth, making and scraping, like living in caves. Photos like this prove er, no. That's from a very nice mercantile somewhere, boasting a terrific selection.
     
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  20. 18thVirginia

    18thVirginia Captain Forum Host

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    I was thinking the same thing, that she was very pretty and that someone had made a very special dress for a wedding dress.
     
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  21. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    She looked extremely smart to me and I like that a lot.
     
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