Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chapman Family Home (formerly known as John Chapman House)

Originally built in 1860 in the same city that Greenfield Village is in - Dearborn.
Throughout the decade that the Village was open, Henry Ford had many projects going on at the same time, adding structures numbering in the 60's. While he was adding to his Village, it seemed he nearly forgot a home brought here back in 1929 - the home of a former school teacher who once taught at the Scotch Settlement School (, John Chapman.

Mr. Chapman is said to have been Henry Ford's first teacher as Ford himself wrote so on the back of a photograph of Mr. Chapman. Others disagree and say a Miss Emilie Nardin, who roomed with the Ford family, was. Still others suggest it might have even been a Mr. Frank Ward.
I believe we'll go with Henry's memory - after all, it was Chapman's home that he installed in Greenfield Village, not Nardin or Wards'.

Mr. Chapman kept his pupils from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily with a half hour recess and an hour lunch. This man was massive enough to easily deal with the huskier students, the emphasis being on strength over scholarship. As described by John Haggerty - one of Ford's schoolmates - in the book 'Young Henry Ford' by Sidney Olson: "They used to pay the teacher $45 a month. But, we used to need extra discipline when Henry and I went there, so they hired a cooper (Chapman) and they paid him $5 over scale. He weighed 275 pounds and it was the weight that really counted."
The official Greenfield Village website says it was a boy named Edsel Ruddiman who caused the trouble with Henry. I suspect it could have been all three boys!
Henry enjoyed the good-humored teacher so much that when Chapman transferred over to the Miller school, he followed.

The Chapman house, decorated and furnished in the late 19th century style, had been up on blocks inside Greenfield Village for 11 years before Ford settled on a permanent site between the school where Chapman taught and the Adams Home in 1940.


Weaving Shop (formerly known as Cotton Gin Mill, Textile Mill, Textile Shop)

This building, built in 1840 and originally from the Richmond Hill plantation in Bryan County, Georgia, once housed cotton gins used for separating the seeds from the cotton. At that time, most of the first floor was open, allowing access for horses to the drive mechanism for the gin. A hundred years after it was built it found itself in its new and permanent location north inside of Greenfield Village. When it was initially rebuilt inside of the Village, the first floor remained open, but by 1944 the lower level had been enclosed.

It now houses old weaving machines that date from the colonial period through the 19th century, and are demonstrated by skilled weavers.

An experienced fly shuttle loom weaver can produce about a foot of fabric an hour. Also on display are a modern electric powered loom and knitting machines.

Today, the process of weaving cloth is demonstrated, from colonial hand methods to 20th century power looms. Presenters demonstrate the skill of weaving on a colonial hand loom; the fly-shuttle loom, the first steps towards mechanized textile production; and the jacquard loom, a 19th century weaving machine that could be "programmed" in much the same way as today’s computer.
Of all the looms in this shop, the Jacquard loom (see photo above and below) is perhaps one of the most fascinating, for it's actually a computer from the early 19th century. The Jacquard loom, a mechanical loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, was the first machine to use punched cards to control a sequence of operations (can anyone say IBM?). Although it did no computation based on the cards, it is considered an important step in the history of computing hardware. The ability to change the pattern of the loom's weave by simply changing cards was an important conceptual precursor to the development of computer programming. This simplified the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns such as brocade and damask. The process of the punched card system works in this way: the loom is controlled by the punched cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row of the design. Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card and the many cards that compose the design of the textile are strung together in order. Each position in the card corresponds to a hook, which can either be raised or stopped dependent on whether the hole is punched out of the card or the card is solid. The hook raises or lowers the harness, which carries and guides the warp thread so that the weft will either lie above or below it. The sequence of raised and lowered threads is what creates the pattern. Each hook can be connected via the harness to a number of threads, allowing more than one repeat of a pattern. A loom with a 400-hook head might have four threads connected to each hook, resulting in a fabric that is 1600 warp ends wide with four repeats of the weave going across.

Natives of the district of Bryan County, Georgia, say that the framed structure was the only building on the plantation left standing by General Sherman when he passed through the district on his march to the sea.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pottery Shop (formerly known as Fairfield Rice Mill)

Once situated on the Fairfield Plantation at the Waccamaw River near Georgetown, South Carolina, this building housed the threshers, grindstones, shafts, and pulleys needed for the miller to do his job of threshing the grains of rice.
William Alston had erected this brick building 1787 (Fairfield Web Site).
 Once situated on the Fairfield Plantation at the Waccamaw River near Georgetown, South Carolina, this building housed the threshers, grindstones, shafts, and pulleys needed for the miller to do his job of threshing the grains of rice. A rice huller or rice husker was an agricultural machine used to automate the process of removing the chaff and the outer husks of rice grain and, although I have no positive proof of this, was more than likely used in this building.

~The master pottery maker working at his craft~

The building is now the pottery shop where visitors can watch artisans complete the traditional process of making pottery, from mixing and forming the clay to decorating, glazing, and firing it in the kiln. The types of useful items made here range from mugs and bowls to plates, various sized pitchers, and other period ware. In fact, utensils used in the historical homes throughout the village are made right here as well.The best part is that most of what is made here can be purchased in the various gift shops. High quality items, buy the way.

At this time, I do not have a year of when this structure was originally constructed but I do know it was brought to the Village in the 1939/1940 era.
The various kilns to cook the pottery.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wright Cycle Shop

"It was December 17, 1903, a cold, windy day on the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Two inventors stood by the aeroplane they so carefully made. The engine was started and the over-sized bicycle chains began to turn on the two specially designed bicycle sprockets. The bicycle spoke wire used to hold the wings taut was checked. The modified bicycle hubs on the skid were pushed back and forth by the wind. Orville lay down on the aeroplane and braced himself. Wilbur held onto the end of the wings to steady the aeroplane. A restraining wire was released, and the engine and propellors increased in speed. The aeroplane began to go forward then started into the air. The machine took off on its own power for twelve seconds and 120 feet. The bicycle and aeroplane builders had done what no man had ever done before - Orville had flown in a heavier-than-air machine on its own power with a safe lift off and touchdown."
(From the book "The Wright Brothers: from Bicycle to Biplane" by Fred C. Fisk and Marlin W. Todd).

~ ~
Along with the Dayton, Ohio Wright home and the out buildings, Henry Ford also acquired the Wright Cycle Shop, originally built around 1875 and located at 1127 Third Street in that city.
The Wright Brothers began their bicycle business in 1892. The building consisted of a salesroom, office, store room, repair room, and machine shop.

This is the room where the first aeroplane was constructed

Money earned from the bicycle business financed the brothers' flying experiments. They built their early gliders and planes in this building, often referred to as the "Birthplace of Aviation." And, yes, it was here that they constructed their first successful plane.

Much of the original machinery that the brothers used to manufacture the first airplane had been located with the assistance of Orville Wright, and was re-installed in the shop in the exact location when originally in the building in 1903. The wind tunnel, however, which the brothers used in making many of their discoveries in aerodynamics, had to be reconstructed.

When brought to Greenfield Village in 1937, this brick shop received the same attention to detail as the brother's home: Orville and his one-time assistant Charles E. Taylor, who began working for the Wrights in 1901 and built the engine for their first plane, studied the surveyed drawings for accuracy, along with architect Ed Cutler and Mr. Ford.

For most of 1937 the construction took place on the home and shop until finally, on April 16, 1938, the dedication ceremony commenced. This included a banquet for the dignitaries at the Clinton Inn (Eagle Tavern), including Orville Wright, which was broadcast to a radio audience.

The Wright Cycle Shop and home as they now stand in Greenfield Village.

Because of all involved in the reconstruction process, the Wright Brothers collection was meticulously restored.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Wright Brothers Summer Kitchen & Outhouse

When Henry Ford purchased the Wright Brothers home for relocation to Greenfield Village, he also bought their summer kitchen and the outhouse as well.
A summer kitchen was a separate entity from the main house, used mainly in the warm weather months for cooking as it was too hot to cook big meals inside the house during the heat of summer in the days before air-conditioning.
Orville arranged with his father to use the small out-building for his printing endeavors (during the cool winter months he used the dining room inside of their home).
At one point he darkened the tiny building and used it to develop photographic slides.
Have you ever noticed that there is usually a small, shed-like structure off to the back of these historically restored homes? That under the beds in their bedrooms are porcelain bowls?

Have you ever noticed that homes from the early part of the 20th century and before do not have indoor bathrooms?
Mr. Webster defines this structure as "an outbuilding with one or more seats and a pit serving as a toilet."
And there you are.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wright Brothers Home

Transplanting the birthplace and home of pioneer aviators, Wilbur and Orville Wright, as well as their Cycle Shop, to Greenfield Village in 1938 was one of the most significant projects of the 1930's. Originally built in 1871 and located at 7 Hawthorne Street in Dayton, Ohio, Henry Ford and Orville Wright were heavily involved in the restoration process and wanted every minute detail to be perfect to the year 1903, the era of their first airplane flight.
Orville (b. 1871) and Wilbur (b. 1867) grew up in this house along with their sister Katharine. In fact, Orville and Katherine were born here.
The brothers added the front porch; on a neighbor's lathe Wilbur personally turned the big posts and Orville made the small turnings.

They also re-made and rearranged an inside stairway in the sitting room, along with other changes to the house. The following two photos are of that same stairway and of the sitting room itself.

The opposite view in the sitting room

The home was up-to-date for its time: it was equipped with gas lighting, a multi-burner gas range, and a water pump in the kitchen.

The above photograph of the kitchen was taken through a screen door - it is not accessible by visitors

The two brothers were avid readers and loved to tinker. They began a printing business in 1889 after the two designed and built their own printing press and put out a weekly newspaper called the Dayton Tattler.
Capitalizing on the new national bicycle craze, they opened up their own repair and sales shop, known initially as The Wright Cycle Exchange (later, The Wright Cycle Company). Money earned from this bicycle business financed the brother's flying experiments.
It was also in this house that the brothers did much of the design work for the airplane. Their mother, Susan, died before they even began to work on their experiments. Their father, Milton, supported his sons experiments and their bicycle business.

Entranceway to the Front Parlor from the sitting room

And here's the front parlor...
On the opposite end of the sitting room is the dining room

Neither of the brothers ever married. In fact, they made an unspoken pact, along with their sister, to never allow a romance to enter their lives - they considered their work far too important to have something as trivial as a marriage interfere!
This from the Wright Brothers internet site:
In the mid-1890s, Wilbur, Orville, and their sister Katharine were in their twenties, the age young people of their time typically began to seriously contemplate marriage. Yet none of them showed any interest in finding a mate. They seemed bound by an unspoken agreement to remain together and let no one come between them.

Katharine was extremely close with Wilbur and Orville, and became involved in her brothers' expeditions, even traveling to France with them in 1909, where she became a celebrity in her own right. After Wilbur's death she put all of her time and energy helping Orville continue the brothers' aeroplane business, The Wright Company, an aeroplane factory.

It was unfortunate that Wilbur contracted and died of Typhoid in 1912. As was written in a diary their father had kept:

May 30, 1912

This morning at 3:15, Wilbur passed away, aged 45 years, 1 month, and 14 days. A short life, full of consequences. An unfailing intellect, imperturbable temper, great self-reliance and as great modesty, seeing the right clearly, pursuing it steadily, he lived and died.

In the 1920s, Katharine renewed correspondence with an old boyfriend from college days, newspaperman Henry Haskell, a widower who lived in Kansas City. They began a romance through their letters, but Katharine feared Orville's reaction. After several attempts, Henry broke the news to Orville. He was devastated, and stopped speaking to his sister. When Katharine wed in 1926, Orville refused to attend the ceremony. Katharine and her husband moved to Kansas City, but she grieved over her broken relationship with Orville. She tried many times for a reconciliation, but Orville refused.

Two years after her marriage, Katharine contracted pneumonia. When Orville found out, he still refused to contact her. Another brother, Lorin, persuaded him to visit her, and he was at her bedside when she died. She was 54 years old (this passage is from Wikipedia).

Continuing on our tour of the house, we will head up the brothers' stairway to the second floor.

Here is a photograph of the hallway leading to the family member's bedrooms

The first room we see at the top of the stairs is sister Katherine's bedroom

Next we have Wilbur's room

...and Orville's room, situated right off of Wilbur's.

And then finally we have their parent's room, although the time that the house is being presented as - 1903 - their mother had been deceased for many years

It was on July 2nd, 1936 that Henry Ford purchased the Wright Brothers' home as well as their Cycle Shop. He had the buildings carefully taken apart and even removed the dirt under each to be removed to Greenfield Village. By November of that year both buildings were gone from Dayton. On the 71st anniversary of Wilbur's birth, April 16, 1938, the two restored buildings were formally dedicated inside Ford's open-air museum. Orville himself was a guest of honor at the dedication.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ackley Covered Bridge

"At one time covered bridges were as much a part of any journey as are today's traffic signals." So says noted Americana historian Eric Sloane. Henry Ford knew this and when the opportunity arose to have one placed in his ever-growing Village, he didn't think twice.
Seven miles from William McGuffey's birthplace, near West Finley Pennsylvania, one such bridge spanned what was then known as Enlow's Fork of Wheeling Creek. It was built in 1832 by Daniel and Joshua Ackley, from whose land the great oak timbers came. There was much help from the men of the community in its construction.
One can actually see, feel, and hear what it was like to cross Ackley Bridge by horse and carriage

Forrest Samuel Ackley writes about the Bridge... This account comes from Adolphus W. Ackley’s “The Book” which is a family genealogy written and compiled by “AW” for his heirs and the family. The Ackley Covered Bridge How it was Built and a little History  In November 1962 Joshua's grandson Forrest Samuel Ackley, wrote an account of the Ackley Bridge and a copy of this account was furnished to me by Lois Guthrie of Columbus, OH. There are some slight differences in this account and that of Joshua's granddaughter, Elizabeth Lucille; any remarks I may have regarding this will be in parenthesis. Forrest Ackley's account: "Ackley Bridge, which was recently replaced with a timber- decked I-beam bridge, was located on the Greene and Washington County line in Richhill Township in Greene Co., and West Finley Township, Washington County. It was recently purchased by Henry Ford to be transported to Dearborn, Michigan to be re-erected at that location. The bridge was constructed in 1830 (Lucille said 1832), during the first administration of President Andrew Jackson. At that time the stream was known as Enlow's Fork of Wheeling Creek and when it became necessary to bridge the stream to accommodate traffic caused by an influx of settlers, a meeting of the citizens was held to determine what course to pursue. Some of the citizens thought that the new structure should be constructed of hickory in honor of the man who was then President, Andrew Jackson, who had been given the nickname "Old Hickory". A large number of very fine trees of this species was growing at the time on the slope south of "Smokey Row", approximately one mile south of the bridge site. However, after much discussion, the idea was abandoned due to the fact that it was felt that this type of wood would warp too easily and would also probably deflect too much, and white oak was substituted in place of hickory. The white oak timber used in the construction of this bridge was secured from the land of Joshua and Daniel Ackley, approximately a half a mile south of the structure. The stone used in the abutments was secured from a quarry nearby. (James Parker, Sarah Jane's grandson, who was only 18 years old at the time, said that he got the stone to build the bridge from Daniel and Joshua and paid them both for them.) After the abutments were built, the timbers were cut and hauled by ox teams to the site of the work, then hewn to the size and shape desired. All work, of course, was done by hand. Afterwards, they were skidded into place on the abutments. The roof consisted of oak shingles split from the best timber available, shaved with a draw knife to the proper shape. One side and one end of each shingle was shaved to a feather edge, then a hole was punched in the thick edge near the butt end by means of a shingle punch. This was done in order to prevent the shingles from splitting when nails were driven. (Almost no covered bridges had shingled roofs). The sidings or weatherboards were an inch thick, sawed with a vertical saw. This saw was known at the as an up-and-down and was operated by hand. The floor was constructed of two- inch planks made of oak timber. (Lucille states that the lumber was sawn on Joshua and Daniel's saw mill; Sarah Jane did bring a large sawmill blade with her from Luzerne County but the saw mill wasn't constructed until several years after the bridge was built. Daniel Clouse owned a saw mill just down the road from the bridge so some of the timbers may have been sawn by him.). To continue Forrest's quote: The nails used in the shingles and weatherboarding were of cut-nail type and were made in a small steel mill located on the bank of Wheeling Creek, about two miles upstream from the Ohio, opposite McCulloch's Leap, which is now within the city limits of greater Wheeling W.Va. Much of the steel from which the axes, saws, log chains, etc., were forged came from this steel mill, which was one of the pioneer steel mills in this part of the country. Incidentally, it was the forerunner of what is known as the Wheeling Steel Corp. During the 107 years of its existence, the roof of this was removed three times. The original roof lasted until 1860, was replaced in 1890 and again in 1920. The old bridge was constructed of good material and in a workmanship manner that withstood many onslaughts of the elements. Probably the closest call it ever had was on the night of July 10 1902, when the water reached its greatest flood stage in the valley. During this flood, a frame house which stood approximately 100 feet west of the bridge was washed away, but no damage was done to the bridge. It is interesting to note that this bridge was constructed by men who were in their teens or twenties. It was constructed as a community enterprise and pride was taken in the workmanship. More than 100 men took part in its construction and several of them are buried in the old Teagarden Burial Ground within a stone's throw of the bridge site. An examination of the grave stones will show the following names of those who took part in the construction; John Cummins and Abraham Teagarden. In other cemeteries further removed will be found the following names; Daniel Ackley, Joshua Ackley, Baker McGuire, Daniel Clouse, Messrs. Daily, Durbin, McKerriham, Stickles, Supler, Wise, and many more who took an active part in the construction of this bridge. There are a large number of direct descendants of the builders living in the vicinity today. One of these men, George Allison, is a great grandson of Abraham Teagarden. This information was given by William Baker Teagarden, who was born in 1810 and died in 1892; living all his 82 years within a half mile of the bridge. The old bridge is said to have superseded an older bridge, a grapevine bridge, over which white men and Indians passed on their way across Ackley Creek, or Enlow's Branch of Wheeling Creek, as it is known. The builders not only labored at their task but they toiled in danger; they were targets of arrows and rifle balls fired by the Indians in the hills who still roamed through the territory, some of whom resented this evidence of white man's progress." END OF FORREST ACKLEY ACCOUNT
(Thanks to the Ackley Family website for this bit of information)

The wooden covering on these bridges protected its structure. Unlike the structure of the bridge, the covering was inexpensive and easy to replace. A number of local folk at the time felt the bridge should have been constructed of hickory in honor of the then president, Andrew Jackson, known by his nickname, 'Old Hickory.'
105 years later, in the late fall of 1937, it was a rotting, deteriorating vestige of the past, and was scheduled to be torn down. Ackley's granddaughter, Mrs. Harleigh Carroll, acquired the bridge and gave it to Mr. Ford. By summer of 1938, it proudly stood over a man-made water way inside of Greenfield Village. The Ackley descendants, as well as numerous McGuffey descendants (for it has been felt that William McGuffey crossed this bridge), were at the dedication ceremony.Roy Schumann was in charge of the bridge restoration project, and he said that, "There was about eight inches of snow on the ground and it was ten degrees below zero. We went ahead and started tearing (the bridge) down. It stayed cold all the time we were there which was one of the best things because when we dropped a roof board (on the water below), the ice was there to catch it. All we had to do was pick it off. We tore the whole thing down. I would say we were down there about three or four weeks.

The next morning (after completion and clean up) it rained, turned warmer, and took all the ice out of the river. If it had done that a week before, and that ice hadn't frozen, it would have taken the bridge and everything down the river. The timbers were numbered and went back to the place they originally came from. We had to dig all the stones out of the bank and bring (them) back with us here. We went down there the first part of December and came back the 23rd of December. It was just two nights before Christmas when we got back."
The Ackley Covered Bridge as seen from the Edison Homestead garden
There are numerous stories associated with this wonderful piece of Americana. One in particular I shall repeat here. It was written by William Plants (sp.?) in a letter sent to Henry Ford in the 1930's. In part he writes: "One thing (might) be of interest to you in connection to the bridge, in about the year1879, when a lot of people in the hills of West Virginia - not far from this bridge, were very poor and not much schooling - there was a young man by the name of George Meris who made "lasses" (molasses) from sorghum cane, he fell in love and went a-sparkin' a young girl. He finally popped the question and wanted to get married. She said she had no dress except the old faded calico one she had on. He had .50 cents. They went to the little store and got calico enough for .35 cents to make a dress. And, dressed up in that they went up to the creek to this bridge, and so happened that the 'Circuit ridin' parson' came along. And they got married on this same Ackley Bridge you have. And he gave the preacher the .15 cents he had left of the 50 for his fee. THIS IS THE TRUTH."

I should like to quote from a website dedicated to the covered bridges of Michigan (
The Ackley Bridge was re-erected over a specially dug man-made river in Greenfield Village, where today it is seen and appreciated by thousands of visitors each year. Few covered bridges will ever find a safer or more pleasant environment in which to spend their retirement years.
Couldn't have said it any better.

The bridge is truly a highlight of the Village and I never tire of crossing it. And, I must say, I really enjoy hearing the sound of the horses hooves as they pound the wooden planks of the bridge. A sound and vision from the past like no other, and gives one a wonderfully reflective moment.
One of the most picturesque areas of Greenfield Village.

Please click HERE to go to the Ackley Family website


Monday, November 3, 2008

Adams Family Home Mourning Presentation

Full mourning dress (right) and second stage mourning at the Adams Home

(All photographs were taken by me at the Adams home except the one of male mourning)

The death of a loved one in the 19th century was treated far differently than it is today. During Memorial Day Weekend (known at Greenfield Village as Remembrance Day), 1860's era mourning is presented inside the Adams House.

One must understand that death happened quite frequently during the Civil War, and not only due to the battles; more Civil War soldiers on both sides died of disease than getting shot ( a total of over 600,000 men died either in battle or of disease during the four years of the war). Too, infant mortality rate was extremely high, in some cases nearly 30%; death during childbirth was the number one cause of a woman's death; and then there were the "everyday" causes: consumption (TB), influenza, cancer, pneumonia, dysentery, etc.
As you can see, death during the 1860's was so very much a part of life - seemingly much more than in our modern society.

The following (from "Rachel Weeping: Mourning in 19th Century America" by Karen Rae Mehaffey) gives a basic overview on how society dealt with death: 'Americans responded to death as a constant companion, and even embraced it with resignation and ritual. Americans...were intimately acquainted with death. Victorians embraced mourning as a sub-culture. It impacted how people dressed, how they behaved in society, and even how they decorated their homes.'

So, how did folks deal with death during the mid-Victorian period in American history? Well, the first thing the family did was stop the clock at the time of death - there is no time as we know it in the hereafter. Shades would be drawn. The family would also cover anything that showed a reflection with a black covering - mirrors, glass picture covers, even reflective door knobs. Mourning biscuits would be served for a snack for visitors. And, of course, the body would be laid out in the front parlor.

(Also from "Rachel Weeping"): 'Women were responsible for mourning in the family, and carried the responsibility of preparing mourning garments and making sure everyone was dressed properly.'
Women went through several stages of mourning:
Deep Mourning - This was the first stage of mourning, and it immediately followed the death of a husband or child. A woman in deep mourning would wear all black, including, while out in public, gloves and a black veil over her face. She would not speak with anyone but her family or closest friends. She would not attend parties or get-togethers and would basically seclude herself from the public in general. She would stay in this deep mourning for at least a year and a day. Sometimes women would never come out of deep mourning.

Once the widow left deep mourning, she would then enter second mourning. At this stage she could stop wearing the veil in public and could begin to trim her bonnet with a little bit of white fabric. She could also wear decorative mourning buttons and jewelry.

The next mourning stage was called half mourning. This stage allowed the widow to reintroduce some color (purple, gray, lilac, etc.) back into their clothing. Dresses with bold prints were also acceptable fashion.
After a little over two years, the widow would store her mourning clothing and begin wearing her normal everyday wear.

For a man, mourning was quite different. Men were needed to take care of the family, therefore he was needed to return to his occupation as soon as the deceased was buried.

Yours' truly (right) showing male mourning (without my black gloves!). The Civil War Chaplain is on the left. This photo was taken in Waterloo, Michigan, at a home of the same era as the Adams Home

A male's mourning garb was his best (dark) suit with a weeper (made of crape) wrapped around the hatband of his hat. Although there are some differences of opinions, most agree that men also wore a black armband. A man might wear a black cockade on his lapel as well.
Once a widower's wife was buried, chances are pretty good that he might look for a new wife soon after - especially if he had young children at home. Here's the kicker: if he re-married shortly after his deceased wife was buried, his new wife would then mourn for the first wife, wearing all of the mourning clothing and going through the stages as described above!

The Adams Home front parlor

What I have written is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to 19th century mourning etiquette.

The folks at Greenfield Village do an excellent job in their mourning scenario and, in my book, they get high marks in showing a part of 19th century life rarely seen anywhere! The Adams home is accurately depicted and, with this visual as well as the presenter's information, the visitor gets a complete understanding of Victorian mourning.
My hat goes off to the Village and the wonderful presenters in this presentation.

(For further information about mourning practices of the 19th century, please click HERE - - For further info on Decoration day/Memorial Day at the Village, please click the two links below)

Decoration Day at Greenfield Village

Civil War Remembrance