Louisiana to Texas

With some time to kill, Jack and I headed South today through forest areas of Lousiana heading down to Alexandria and on to Lake Charles.

Alexandria is almost the centre of the state and the ninth largest city. Sitting on the edge of the Red River, it once supported French trade activities at Post de Rapides. Alexandria, in the parish of Rapides, was first settled around the 1790's.

During the Civil War gunboats arrived in Alexandria around Spring of 1863. Occupied by Union forces during this period they then departed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Alexandria suffered much through the Civil War with cotton wars, and the ultimate burning of Alexandria as the Union troops departed its shores.

The city was rebuilt and has two remaining properties that survived the fires – one being The Kent Plantation House (circa 1795) which although moved from its original site, still remains on one of the first Spanish land grant allotments.

 

We weren't intending to stop before Lake Charles but when I looked up Kent House and found it was open today and held tours it was a must see!

 

Our first part of the tour started with docent, Miss Carolyn, who gave us a tour of the outbuildings, starting with the Milk House.

A small building, the milk house has an outside cistern that's purpose was to keep the milk cold for butter making.

 

Inside the milk house were variations of butter churner's and mold's for pressing butter blocks.

 

Next, the Kitchen House. This was separated from the main house mostly in part to the fires that often happened in a kitchen. This is the third of such buildings for the Kent House – #1 burnt down, #2 destroyed by a tornado.

 

Notice the brick hearth out front of the fire place? They used to use it for cooking also. Placing hot coals on the hearth, it gave the ability to cook another dish over the coals whilst others were being cooked in the fireplace. Baking in the oven, was only done a couple times a week.

Herb racks were also used for drying homegrown herbs for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

 

As with most large affluential homes, the lady of the house was in charge of the keys, especially for expensive items. Salt and pepper were even kept under lock and key, only being doled out to the cooks each day as an allowance.

Bottle trees, a tradition of the African Americans, were believed to attract bad spirits with the colours of the bottles and keep them away from the houses. The wind creates sounds in the bottles sounding like moans. When they heard the sounds they believed the spirits had been trapped. The bottle would be removed, stuffed full of sticks and leaves and then thrown into the river, thus getting rid of the evil spirits.

 

Next a two room slave cabin of a higher class, as it bears wooden floors. It is brick to board, with saddlebag construction i.e. the fireplace is in two sides or two rooms, one side for the women and the other side for the men or husband/wife and kids the other side. They are very small rooms, sleeping on the floor amongst the kitchen and living areas.

Next we stepped in to the laundry room where all manner of agitators, washboards, irons and other interesting artefacts reside. The Lye soap mold, used ash from the fireplace and pig fat for the moisturiser.

What about rolling your own tobacco? Well the cigar mold would be perfect for pressing and drying. By the fireplace is the cutter for cutting your ends before smoking the cigar.

 

She showed us a candle maker mold as well. Hair tongs, thrown in the fire and used to crimp hair. Hmm I smell burnt hair!

Outside are two old sugar kettles. These were used for laundry – 1 for washing and 1 for rinsing.

 

The gardens were also a staple requirement with a house and sometimes the slaves were given a plot of their own to grow. If they were able to grow something the house garden didn't have or might require for a dish they would actually pay to use some of that produce.

Over to the barn which is made up of hand hewn Lincoln logs it's a dog trot design with two separate barn rooms with a 'breezeway' like central area to keep air flow during the hot summer months.

 

The cotton picking bag would hold 100lbs and would go over your shoulders and be dragged behind as cotton was picked. Some would hold up to 300lbs! Very much back breaking work picking cotton.

 

The other barn building has lots of cool old skill carpentry tools including a foot driven jigsaw.

The blacksmith shop always had a dirt floor because of fire hazards, Windows were for getting air in for the heat.

 

Mr Hinson trusted William the blacksmith slave so much that he allowed him to often take the wagon into town on his own which would almost be unheard of for fear of flight of their slaves.

Eden House, the newest acquisition to the outbuildings has a 300 hundred year old loom and eventually this little house will have samples of cotton to finished fabric product on display.

 

This property was originally on 500 acres, Pierre Baillio II ended up with around 1700 acres.

The property used to also produce sugar cane and indigo. Molasses and sugar were made from the cane and indigo obviously was cooked to produce the blue indigo dye.

This cane press once driven by mules was fed cane stalks, producing the juice that would then be taken for refining.

 

Now Miss Carolyn is quite small and you can see just how short these doors are which were part of the original mill. Mostly slave boys would be the ones to feed the fire for the mill process.

Le Grande the biggest one of the kettles was used for the first round of juice, the paddles were used once brought to the boil to get rid of the 'trash' off the top; Le flambeau the second process during the firing off; Le sirop, now like cane syrup molasses at this point they would take half of it and bottle it for cooking use; final kettle then crystallised and this became their raw granulated sugar.

The hearth is sloping back so if it boiled over it would flow back to the previous kettle and be saved for reprocessing.

 

This beautiful live oak tree is spectacular! So called because their leaves always stay green. (I thought that's what an evergreen was???) it's long low and bendy limbs left unsupported can grow back to the ground. You can see how it has started enveloping the limb support.

The monument beneath is there as a nod to the plantations cemetery as all plantations had their own. Gustavus Baillio, one of the 14 children joined the confederate army and died the day after his 16th birthday.

The second docent, Miss Sandy, took us on the house tour. It is 218 years old, took 5 years to build and was built by Pierre Baillio.

All the brick under the house was handmade by slaves. Some bricks still have fingerprints and even a toes can be seen in them. All the timbers used were from trees on the plantation. Gardens were meant to be looked upon and therefore viewed from the balcony (besides the flooding issues of the bayous beyond). All plants in the garden are period correct as would have been at the time, the grass and brick work period for the garden also.

 

The handwritten recipes of the daughter in the right hand painting are now written into a cook book. The children were well to do with the third also having been to Harvard, coming back home to become judge.

 

The boys bedroom has the only original floors left in the house. The bed in this room is a rope bed to which would have been rest reached and tightened each day – hence the phrase “sleep tight”. The mattress would have straw and often tree moss which might have bugs and chiggers still in it – hence the phrase “don't let the bed bugs bite”.

Into the dining room and above the table is a large wooden paddle known as a 'punkah' – an Indian fan. A boy too small to work in the fields would stand in the corner and pull the cord to work the punkah during the hot months. (Further research shows that the operator was also known as a punkahwallah)

 

Houses were taxed per room so no closets or hallways as they were considered rooms and would be taxed accordingly.

A fireplace on the internal walls of a room was influence of the French. The English had fireplaces on the outside walls at the ends of the house.

Next we visit the parlour room for the ladies. They could sit and chat/gossip, do their needlework and take tea beside the fire. The picture above the fireplace of one of the Baillio women shows a hairstyle covering her ears. In those days you were not to show your ears so if a lady had not the hair to cover she would have to use horsehair, curled and styled into additional ringlets etc to be worn.

In the corner of the room is a sewing table, a fabulous looking little piece with a 'work bag drawer' of beautiful upholstery fabric. This would hold your needlework projects. The drawer above would house threads, needles etc. I want one! How neat is that?!

 

Last, the girls room with its ornate bed was much better than the boys, this feather bed was built in 1810. On the ceiling you can still see holes as this room would be partitioned for the older girls on one side and the younger girls on the other but if the county clerk was coming around to check rooms for taxes the partition could be quickly taken down!

The beautiful armoir, hand made in 1840 has a hidden drawer, the centre leaf piece where the doors close to could be removed be secret latch and the drawer was in behind it where jewellery could to be stashed.

The second owner of the house was a Mr Robert Hinson. The original style of the house was French creole and by the time he bought it creole was out and Greek revival was in. With the addition of the two side rooms at the end of the verandah he had changed the style.

These rooms have higher ceilings, additions of wallpapers and no exposed beams. By now, it was deemed you didn't have enough money to finish the house properly if your beams were exposed.

The gothic revival furniture and empire pieces also show changes in the time periods. This was mostly used as Mr Hinson's office, a more formal area for meetings and receiving businessmen.

 

The beautiful piano was played by his daughters for the entertainment of guests. It has not been restored as piano tuners are afraid to touch it's gorgeous piano wires of sterling silver as it is too precious.

It has beautifully ornate candle holders for light to the music sheets and keyboard and the handles on the sides of the piano lend its use to be dragged onto the porch for entertainment, for it to be heard during parties in the garden below.

 

Shutters were very important in the time and not just for aesthetics. If your shutters were painted green it meant you made your money off the land. If they were blue you were from the water, an importer or exporter. If they were black you had read your letters, so being educated, perhaps a lawyer etc.

If all the paint and all the siding was taken off the Creole section it would be a mud like house. Clay, horse, bear, deer hair and Spanish moss similar to Adobe. If you had the money you would white wash or paint it as Kent House was.

Turning our attention back to where we had made our entry, the narrow staircases were made for original empire dress styles in the early days. As the years and fashion changed (as we know it was pretty dramatic between 1800-1865) Mr Hinson had taken out the middle banister section and put steps in to the front of the porch down to the garden for the ladies in their hoop petticoat gowns. This may not be the only reason but with the restoration of the property they have taken in back to the original.

 

The second room at the end of the porch is the master bedroom, children stayed in here until they were two before they moved to the other children rooms. The day bed was used for exactly that – day naps – as the main bed was not to be messed up after being made. Called the rolling pin bed, the rolling pin was used off the bed head and rolled across the feather bed to get it neat and then placed back into position on the bed head.

The Hinson family with its 11 children, all used the same water starting with father, then mother, then the eldest children down to the baby. By this stage the water wouldn't be so clean and much less than had started, perhaps hence the term 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water'.

Look at the gorgeous red ware set as well, a wedding gift to their granddaughter and one of few sets left. This room in its darkness appears just as it would in that time period although on the top jutting ledges of the armoir would have been lamps, the white ceiling reflecting light across the room so they could at least see a little!

 

As we finish up the tour, the final room on the back porch was 'the strangers room' or as we call it today, a guest room. If someone stopped and asked for a room for the night this is where they stayed. There was a separate staircase and the door to the room did not open into the main house so you could keep your family safe. You enjoyed having people stay as they were useful for gathering information, finding out if war was close, were the levee banks holding during storms etc.

 

What a fabulous hour and maybe a half pit stop. So glad I looked up a little bit about Alexandria and found this fabulous place. Wasn't out of the way either, was only quarter of a mile off the main road!

Now we are in Beaumont, Texas for a couple of nights before heading on to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill country.

Au revoir Louisiene!

Kat xo

 

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Lotz House

The home of the Lotz family built in 1858, occupied for 3 years prior to the Battle of Franklin.

He was a humble man, a woodworker on a 5 acre lot with some animals. Not well to do but would have had better furniture and fixtures than most (not to the calibre of the plantation owners) due to his craftsmanship. His house was a showcase of his talents, both for structural woodworking and for instruments, he had no slaves so everything was done by the family,

Mr Lotz had heard there may be a battle but Federal officials also said that there wouldn't be a battle here, that they had planned a battle for Nashville. Mr Lotz' home was a timber structure and was concerned for his family. Across the way was the Carnton Plantation, there home made of brick. The Carters would allow the Lotz family to come stay with them should a battle occur in Franklin.

The youngest, 2 year old twins, had died before the battle after drinking contaminated or poisoned water the Federals had tampered with prior to the Confederates coming into Franklin.

This family had already endured the rigors of war before the battle had even begun.

One night when a Union officer came knocking at his door Lotz gathered up his family (and his toolbox) and they hurried to the Carnton Plantation.

It must have been difficult for him to watch his house be ruined by unruly soldiers who were merely cold, hungry. They pulled out all his out houses, barns and fences, cut down trees etc and when hungry started killing his livestock for food.

His house was severely damaged from fire, cannon's and bullets. His house was used as a field hospital for both Confederate and Federal soldiers. (Hence the red flag I the picture below)

The Battle of Franklin rendered 10,000 casualties in its short 5 hours. It is said that once the troops moved on the towns folk would see the devastation that would be forever burnt in their memories.

Death and destruction like no other, as he took his family back to their home they literally had nowhere to put their feet that they weren't stepping on bodies. Seventeen horses lay dead in the front yard and no way to move any of them as he now had no stock to pull the wagon. For two weeks they lay there.

The family then lived in the root cellar (where you stored your root vegetables duri the winter), a dirt floor next to no heating during cold weather while Mr Lotz began repairs on the home, mending floorboards, walls, taking out broken windows and boarding up the right side of the house. Burnt boards were taken off and flipped over to be re-affixed. With no nails or anything, Mr Lotz pulled the horseshoes off the dead horses to use the nails for fixing floorboards.

What an overwhelming thought of grief, pride, yet sheer resilience this man and indeed his family had to be able to go on wih their lives.

It took him four years to restore his home to livable conditions. Now Mr Lotz was trying to gain commissions again for furniture and instruments. He built a piano and inlay a confederate flag one end and an American flag the other. A wingspread eagle through the centre had its talons clutching the Confederate flag.

The Klu Klux Klan was a 'good' group in the very early days. They supported Confederate families who had lost loved ones during the battles. They had heard about Mr Lotz piano and they set out to see the masterpiece. At the knock on the door Mr Lotz was excited they may be coming to see his work and purchase the piece however it took a turn for the worse. They were so outraged and felt it dishonourable to show the eagle clutching the flag that after heated discussions took place Mr Lotz was threatened that they would be back to tar and feather him.

Mr Lotz feared they would definitely be back, he quickly packed his covered wagon, sold as much as he could and left the rest, selling his house to the Buchanan family …… And along with it some other items of furniture AND the piano. By the way, he moved clear East to San Jose, California.

For the poor family who bought the home, awoken by a crashing noise, found the Klan had indeed come back and broken into the house, retrieved the piano, took it outside, smashed and burnt it.

Anyway that's all I can remember from Miss Helen's guided tour of the house. No pictures could be taken inside unfortunately. There were some truly magnificent pieces of art, china and furniture. Only a few have been returned to the House historical society that belonged to, or was made or painted by one of the Lotz family members.

You can see on the outside of the house the different cornice above the windows to showcase different styles of his work. Evident also in the very different mantlepieces, staircase and triple crown moulding he had carved and made using hand tools.

 

A humbling, interesting end to a long day.

Kat xo

 

Another Monday Meandering

A beautiful day today for meandering across the countryside…..yes would have been nice to shoot in this but nicer to travel with no rain.

Went down Old Frederick Road this morning on our way out of Thurmont and took a small detour onto Utica Road to the Utica Mills Covered Bridge. The original one was built in 1850 and originally spanned the nearby Monacacy River. It was washed away in a storm in 1889. It is said that locals gathered the remaining pieces and reconstructed the 101ft long Burr arch truss bridge at its present location crossing Fishing Creek.

These are really cool, one of three in the area, they are all painted red. Apparently there used to be 34 of these around Frederick County.

I think they are gorgeous but wonder why they felt the need to cover them? Will have to look that up.

 

We are heading south to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia

Harper's Ferry National Historic Park – more Civil War history and where the first large-scale Federal occupation began in February 1862. Harper's Ferry remained an important communication and supply line for the Union and keeping the northern Confederate invasions out.

 

This is the place where you can see two rivers and three states merge.

Parking the car, we then took a shuttle bus down into the town of historic buildings, museums and landscape vantage points – no parking down in the town. Buses run every 12-15mins.

St Peters Church, the only one that operated during the Civil War I'm told, not sure whether that was just this area or in all regions(?).

The bus trip had a small tour guide playing over the speaker system giving you a brief overview of the town both past and present. The Winchester and Potomac Railroad ferried goods to both sides of the war.

The small canal off to the side of the road used to have boats and ferries going down it, using as a bypass to the rapids on the shanendoah.

The canals also diverted water down to the mills and factories. A lot of stone for the buildings mills etc came from this immediate area. We passed the ruins of one of the mills and the canal walls that have been built from the rock.

 

Into the town we pass some fabulous old buildings and went into the dry goods stores, some of the buildings have exhibits in them.

 

We walked past the John Brown armoury building and down to the view of the river. Took a quick walk across the rail bridge and back again.

 

In and out of buildings, housing museum artefacts and an I nsight to history.

 

We scaled the stone stairs to the St Pauls Church and then I went beyond to Jefferson's Rock to see the view – three states, two rivers. The decline is much easier back past the Episcopal Church ruins. It made for a nice snapshot back through to the river and the railway tunnel beyond.

 

On to Winchester but feeling slightly worn, we hit Hobby Lobby for some haberdashery, stopping the big in Salem, Virginia, we are heading for Tennessee.

Kat xo

 

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

We are now in Thurmont, Maryland.

Taking a short trip up into Pennsylvania, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Sensational! To say the very least!

The first thing we did was bought tickets to the Film, Cyclorama and Museum.

The film was narrated by Morgan Freeman (love his voice) and there was so much to see on the big curved screen, my eyes were darting everywhere trying to take it all in.

It was pure genius, a visual sensation, beautifully done by the History channel, the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War battle that took place over July1-3 of 1863.

Total casualties for the three days (killed, wounded, captured, missing) of fighting were 23,000 Union, 28,000 Confederates.Incredible numbers fought, lost and won during that 3 day campaign with Robert E. Lee as the Confederate commander and George Gordon Meade, the Union commander. 70,000 Confederates went up against a Union army of 93,000 on that 1st day in July.

 

Next when you exit the theatre you are taken up into the viewing room of the cyclorama. (Cycloramas – a 360deg view panoramic painting of a scene, viewed from the centre, often with music or narration, first developed in 1787 – popular in the early 19th century)

A spectacular vision of sound and light, as if you were standing behind Union lines. It is the largest oil painting in America. Painted in 1884 by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, it came to Gettysburg in 1913.

The 377ft painting debuted in Boston 132 years ago and in 2008 restoration began for this project.

 

It truly is magnificent and the detail incredible. The artist has even included himself in the painting as his signature. See the picture below of the bearded officer leaning against a tree with sword over his leg,

 

The Museum section has many artefacts, beautifully displayed with excerpts of speeches, letters and legislation surrounding the walls. Timber plaques have also been printed or etched with pictures and text,

 

A number of interactive displays run through the 3 years of the war on screens of varying size throughout the museum.

 

It is an exceptional place full of history and if you ever get to this region it is not to be missed! A very comprehensive display. They weren't wrong when saying you would easily need a couple of hours for the Museum alone.

The weather was divine on Tuesday but turned a little overcast and on the cool side on the Wednesday.

 

However that did not deter us from making our way back to Gettysburg and taking the 24mile auto tour of the battlefield.

 

There are 16 tour stops along the way and instead of purchasing a cd at gift store we found an app that ran off the GPS and would talk to us once we reached the spot on the map. Relaying information regarding the battle for the point we were at, we could then get out and view the magnificent monuments, fields and take in the terrain that would have been encountered by so many on foot back in the day.

 

An extremely humbling experience.

Kat xo

Sept 28, 2016

This is only a small sampling of pictures taken. So, so much to see. Loved it.

 

Streaking Through Kentucky

That got your attention didn't it! Lol!

No streaking, drive on, drive on.

Springfield, KY – est. 1797, Lincoln Legacy Museum, closed Wednesday's, quick picture of the Lincoln Statue and some nice old buildings.

 

Perryville, KY – steeped in civil war history, we visited the Perryville Battlefield State Historical site. Great little museum and 30minute film about the battle in October of 1862. The story unfolds with Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Mississippi and Don Carlos Buell's Union Army of Ohio.

 

The museum is very informative and has a great collection of artefacts and uniforms. The cannon or “Six-Pound Smoothbore Field Gun” are always spectacular to look at! The ammunition case beside it was cool and now I know where the meaning of 'shrapnel' came from. The 6pound spherical case shot was invented by one Henry Shrapnel.

 

The soldiers on both sides suffered greatly as Kentucky experienced drought through this time. Many suffered heat stroke and died of dehydration as well as any injuries received during the battles that ensued.

 

When you look at the grounds surrounding Perryville, I try to imagine the some 70,000 odd troops that would have been in and around here. Great lines of men fighting each other.

 

The Bottom House is quite small and still it is hard to fathom hundreds of bodies littering the yard and porch as it was made a makeshift hospital. Many houses during that time were commandeered for such purposes.

 

Some stats from the brochure.

  • 55,396 Union and 16,800 Confederate soldiers.
  • 203 cannons located in Perryville, 90 were used in the battle
  • At least 21 states were represented in the Battle of Perryville – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisianna, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • 1,431 soldiers were killed (890 Union, 532 Confederate)
  • 5,618 were wounded (2,966 Union, 2,652 Confederate)
  • 669 missing or captured (433 Union, 236 Confederate)

So in fact looking at those figures for total casualties 7,718 (4,298 Union, 3,420 Confederate) that's 1/5th of the Confederate force and only 1/12th of the Union. Like most of the Civil War period Union forces definitely outnumbered the Confederates.

All things considered, that's a huge victory for the Confederates.

Winchester, KY – est. 1792, didn't see much through here as we sort of bypassed the historic downtown, oh well.

Onward through rolling hills and the green trees of Kentucky. Fall is starting to show her signs of change, as reds and yellows creep through the forest.

We have now entered into West Virginia! A new state for us, staying somewhere around Charleston tonight, then a dash to the very northern section of the state to Berkeley Springs tomorrow.

 

Signing off with a bit of John Denver ……almost heaven, West Virginia….blue ridge mountains…..

Kat xo

 

Las Vegas, NM

Said our final goodbyes to Rooster and Trooper (aka Constable Nelson) this morning with a hearty breakfast at Lisa's Truck Centre in Moriarty.

We are on the road to Las Vegas, NM where we will spend the night and visit the Rough Riders Museum tomorrow. (It's always closed on a Monday when we travel through)

We did a quick trip up the road through Lamey but like most, the history and Railroad Museum are closed today.

 

On through Eldorado and Pecos with much of the housing around here of adobe structure. They are nestled into the surrounding environment and at times it is hard to pick out the houses until you concentrate and find them, realising their is a ton of them secreted away.

 

Going into Pecos we did actually see this roadside marker for the 'Gettysburg of the West'. That was worth the side trip off the highway just to see that and learn something new.

These are all small towns so back onto the I25 we went, heading North.

Into Las Vegas we arrived and wandered around the old town plaza. We actually went into the Plaza Hotel this time for a look. They have been renovating and are still working on it. Some of the press tinned ceilings are still there. It is beautiful and they have taken advantage of some of the space for housing beautiful New Mexico artworks.

 

Also this old travelling trunk was on display and the original safe from the hotel so beautifully ornate in its own right.

 

Some of the buildings to the left of the hotel were still being restored when we were here last in 2013 so it was nice to see the square almost completely renovated now.

We found a room for the night and headed further North to Watrous, to visit the Fort Union National Monument.

Wow! Fort Union was a military post from 1851 – 1891. It was the largest fort in the southwest frontier. I guess the best way to describe Fort Union is that back in the day it was a huge distribution centre. Not only did they have supplies come in for them but they distributed to other states and smaller fort's from the one area.

The Fort was actually built 3 times in different spots on the same land. The buildings were of Adobe construction but they did have a kiln not too far where they would make some of their bricks. Others for the fire boxes were highly aluminised and were brought in from St Louis, Missouri.

 

The hospital was run with 2 doctors, a few nurses a few matrons and many untrained civilians. On the video we watched (before doing the 1 mile walk) it was mentioned that in the whole time the fort hospital operated only 17 patients died. I think that's pretty sensational odds for that time period!

 

The decline of the Fort occurred with the coming of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.

This leads me to one of the more romantic sides of the west and I explored this before when doing the CASS Bulletin in Australia. With the AT&SF's arrival came the Harvey Houses. An entertaining idea of Fred Harvey's to serve travellers at train stop hotels (1870's to mid 1940's) with style and class unknown in the past to most coach stops.

Briefly, the Harvey girls were all single, dormed together usually above or with or within the establishment, had strict rules and curfews and wore a suitably black and white uniform, although at one point the New Mexico Harvey girls wore the traditional colourful dress of the culture. The Fred Harvey standards were not to be taken lightly. For many of these girls, it was a way out of their struggling existence. Travelling across the country to new places they may never have gotten to see.

Las Vegas was no different. The Castenada was the Harvey House stop opposite the railway depot. Still standing in its faded glory today. Was I disappointed? Hell yes!. Soon remedied with a visit to the Rough Riders Antique store across the road!

 

The Castenada Hotel is apparently being refurbished by the same guy that did the Winslow Harvey House. A couple of years and it should be open. During The Cowboy Reunion, held every August, it will be open for tours and some functions.

Whilst in the Rough Riders antique store what should I find but some beautiful La Mode Illustree fashion plates framed. Now if I had a sewing room getting set up then these were to die for. At $220 per pic (and there were 4 of them) they had to stay BUT actual Fred Harvey silver ware and memorabilia?! That I could not pass up and managed to acquire a knife and some registration cards. All from the Castenada Hotel. Thank you very much!!

 

That concludes a busy day in what we always saw as a very small town that we had always just passed through.

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Guerilla? Or Just an Outlaw

Jesse James was one of the most famous or infamous outlaws of the American west – robbing stage coaches, banks, trains, and leader of the James-Younger gang.

Why am I talking about Jesse James you might ask? And where does the guerilla bit come into it?

Well, once upon a time, in a land far far away….lol, no simple really. Jesse and his brother Frank James were confederate guerrilla's (also known as bushwackers). Road Runner, fellow Okie when we are there, requested a Jesse James guerrilla shirt.

With eyebrows slightly raised, of course I accepted the challenge and had him send me a picture. (As seen below)

 

Not hard really, finally found fabric that would drape nicely in the required grey, a simple black bias binding should work and found some studs that could replicate the trim.

It came time in the book to get onto this one and so I fiddled around with a pattern and created the very simple oversized guerilla shirt with slanted rounded pockets. Ta dah! Road Runner's guerilla shirt.

(Hmm they could actually have had more slant on the pockets now seeing it on the mannequin, noticeable when it's laying flat)

These shirts with their pockets shaped like that apparently made for ease of carrying extra ammo and accessibility to it. (so I've heard)

Personally I'm thinking that if you are galloping around on a horse at break neck speed you might lose it but then I thought about the drape of the fabric and figured it might well stay put due to the weight of the ammo.

The guerrilla shirts were often made by wives or sweethearts, some were elaborately embroidered, some plain, some with a placket and collar, made from various fabrics and patterns. According to civil war websites the shirts originated in Missouri but were similarly worn down through Texas.

Here are some more examples worn by the Duvall brothers and Bloody Bill Anderson.

 

All very different indeed!

And the whole guerrilla story with William C Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson is a tale for another day.

Cheers

Kat xo

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_James#Quantrill.27s_Raiders

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/civil_war_history/v058/58.2.beilein.pdf

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-guerrilla-shirt.26529/