Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Silk Hankie

So, yesterday, I was at one of my favorite places in the world, the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.  There is a history room upstairs that is full of hidden treasures if you can just be patient enough to find them.

I found the list above from the Natchez Trace Genealogical Society's magazine.  It is part of an expansive list from the Gravelly Springs General Mercantile in 1880.  Lists like these just get my imagination going ninety miles an hour. 

 I love this one from the Pink Bruce family (I know some Bruces, possibly descendants of Pink and his lady).  I'm thinking the 25 yards of calico were for Easter dresses for Mrs. Bruce and her daughters.  Of course, they would have used them as their "Sunday" dresses until they were outgrown or worn out.  2 pairs of Speckticles??? Maybe the equivalent of the reading glasses you can buy off the rack now. The hat for $1.50 may have been a fancy one, since it was more expensive than a lantern, a bucket, and a broom.  They were buying new dishes, perhaps for a new cabin?   My favorite is 1 Spelling Book for 15 cents. 

One item on the list jumped out at me.  M. B. Roberson (sic) was my hub's grandfather, Mills Berry Robertson.  He would have been 17 in 1880.  My SIL Jo Ann and I have debated and speculated at length about this.  Paying a dollar for a silk handkerchief was a real extravagance, when one dollar would buy several yards of domestic fabric or many pounds of flour and sugar.  We have narrowed it to two possibilities: he was in deep trouble at home, and bought it for his mother in exchange for mercy, or, and this is probably the accurate one, he was in love.

The Robertson family wasn't wealthy, so young Mills Berry probably worked all day or maybe two for a dollar to buy that hankie.  That is totally insignificant to someone who isn't thinking straight because he is so in love.  He married three years later, and we like to think that hankie sealed the deal for the young woman's heart.