Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tour of the Itawamba Historical Society Facilities in Mantachie: Part 4

Editor's Note: Terry Thornton, a member of the society's board of directors, will be giving a tour of the society's facilities in Mantachie over the next several days through text and photographs. Below is part four of his tour.

The Bonds House Museum has a variety of every-day objects used by earlier residents of Itawamba County. From high-topped lace-up ladies shoes to textiles of many differing types, the museum offers a up-close look at objects from our past.

Lovely shoes from yester-year could make a fashion statement even today are shown above.

Although the Bourland Family was in Itawamba County by 1836, it is not known when or where this textile treasure (shown below) was produced. Hand woven of various dyed threads, the Bourland coverlet is an excellent example of weaving and dying. The un-dyed background threads are probably cotton and the colored threads are probably wool --- blue dye was often made from Indigo and the resulting color was named "Indigo blue" whereas the red is called "Madder red" which was obtained from a dye extracted from the berries of the Madder plants (Common, Wild, or Indian Madder). Of course other plants may have provided the pigment for the red dye used in this coverlet.

This type of bed cover was sometimes called a "coverlid." In most cases, coverlids were woven on a simple overshot loom using solid colored or un-dyed cotton threads with dyed woolen threads. When linen threads were used instead of cotton and woven with wool threads, the resulting fabric was called "linsey-woolsey" which is often of finer threads than those used in coverlids.

It would be most interesting to hear a textile expert's assessment of this coverlid, to learn the types of thread from which it is woven, and to hear an explanation of the probable source of the dyes used in its manufacture.

Many homes throughout the South had a reed pump organ (shown below) in the parlor. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, salesmen traveled over the nation selling parlor organs on an installment plan. One such organ's paperwork (original contract and receipts for all of the monthly payments) was the subject of part of the first Internet article I ever researched and posted. That organ is probably similar in style and price as this one pictured from the Bonds House Museum.

That research showed that in December 1909, the Walls family of Kentucky contracted with R.J. Bowen and Brothers, Pianos and Organs, Winston-Salem, N.C., to purchased a Putnam Organ style 650 No 46211 for $65.00. The Walls agreed to pay $10.00 down and $15.00 every three months until paid in full. The Walls paid a total of $67.30 for their parlor organ --- and made the final quarterly payment of $12.30 on February 23, 1911. Here is that article called "Miss Lizzie's Trunk" (in three parts).

Although I don't know the company nor the seller of the parlor organ pictured from the Bonds House Museum, I have little doubt that it sold for about the same price as the one studied in Kentucky. More research is needed on the Itawamba County Mississippi parlor organ.

According to Marilyn Leary, the Society's Librarian and tour guide at the Museum, this large wall hanging of painted cloth showing the many flags of the Confederate States of America (shown below) is one of the most studied objects in the collection. Marilyn identified this item as being in the top three most discussed and viewed by visitors to the museum. This photograph does not show all of the flags or the labels in a readable size --- but many visitors to the Bonds House Museum will find the parade of Confederate flags of interest.

The Great Seal of The Confederate States of America (shown above) is also displayed at the museum. A large image of the Seal of the Confederacy in color shows George Washington on horseback surrounded by a wreath of plants. Those featured plants are Southern crops --- cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, and wheat. The motto, Deo Vindice, means Under God, Our Vindicator. February 22 is the day of Washington's birth and the date when Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.

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