Friday, May 8, 2009

friday's frontier facts

Here are our Colonial sisters, many of whom left the east to come into Kentucky in the latter 18th-century. I like this picture because the dress is authentic. Fabrics were primarily linen and wool and the straw hats shown were popular at the time. There's only one thing in error here - these dresses are quite modest. Most bodices were very low-cut even by today's standards. Kerchiefs were common and helped retain some sense of modesty.

I like this next lady as she's wearing a very common cape of the day in the color of the day - a bright scarlet red. No hiding here! She's also wearing a common cap which is not flattering in the least, I'm afraid. I much prefer the straw hat at her side.On the Kentucky frontier a woman preferred a sunbonnet "made without pasteboard" so the brim was limp. She wore a linsey skirt and a smock like Lael is wearing on the cover of the book. Most of the time women went barefoot, at least in warm weather. Her children often went naked, as clothing was so scarce. Later on, spinning wheels and looms helped clothe these first pioneers. If a woman had a "good" dress it was saved for her wedding or to wear on the Sabbath.

Once a woodsman came home after an extended hunt in late 18th-century Kentucky and found his wife at work in the garden with her hair down. He was mightily offended and called her a "proud woman" and refused to go into the cabin. Needless to say, women wore their hair up and not down as Lael is doing on my book cover. But there's a reason her hair is down. I won't tell you why - you'll just have to read the book!

Only 12 more Fridays till The Frontiersman's Daughter is released. Happy Friday!

Frontier Living, Edwin Tunis
The Pioneers/The Draper Manuscripts

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