Thursday, July 23, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #8: Heirlooms and Heritage Inspiration

This month's sewing challenge guidelines is "sew something that reflects on family heritage, or use an heirloom, or make a new heirloom." Or something along those lines. My family is rich with history, and also in stories and heritage. No heirlooms to speak of, but what to pick? Who to choose? How do I make an item that has to do with any of this?

My great great great great great great great great great (9 greats) grandfather's name was Samuel Howe. He was born in Massachusetts in 1642, and in 1702 he deeded some property to his son David.  I am a direct descendant of Samuel's other son Nehemiah, but David went on to build the Wayside Inn. The Wayside Inn is the current oldest inn in America, and is still open to the public. In 1862, Henry Longfellow, the famous poet, visited the Wayside Inn and wrote a series of poems about the inn and it's visitors. Someday, I hope to see the inn for myself.

Grist Mill, which is part of the Wayside Inn estate.

Even though Howe is part of my family's name, I have found no evidence that I am in any way related to Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. Pity, that would have been nice for the upcoming sewing challenge.

I am also a descendant of Benjamin Russell. With his partner, Caleb Purrington, he painted what is thought to be the longest painting in the world, called Whaling Voyage Round the World. It is 8 1/2 feet tall, and 1,275 feet long! That is comparable to the Empire State building, or the Statue of Liberty stacked up 4 times!

Just a small snippet of the panorama

Jemima Sawtelle's (or Sartelle) story is pretty interesting. In 1755, she was married and had 5 sons and 2 daughters. I am unsure of the daughter's age, but I'm guessing they were older than the sons. The sons were all under 8 years old. This was also the year that France and Britain were warring over the possession of Canada. Indians came down from Canada and kidnapped her and her children and took her with them to Canada. Her husband Caleb was scalped. Eventually, after being separated from her sons for years, she was sold to a kind family who helped reunite her with her family, and they moved back to the homestead they had left behind. She also remarried an Indian.

Even with all this information, what am I going to do with it? How am I supposed to sew something that might reflect on any of these stories? Ideas are much appreciated, but my brain is somewhere along the lines of farming. I come from a long line of farmers, which is almost double irony because my dad is a Farmers Insurance agent. Go figure.

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