Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Background Research

I've been reading a couple of books on the Fayette County/Round Top area. The first I just finished was on Nassau Plantation, Nassau Plantation: The Evolution of a Texas German Slave Plantation. I found the book fascinating. The stories about families I knew about and/or are connected with Round Top is great background information for the Henkel Square events besides just being great stories on the immigration of Germans to the area.

The other book I've had for awhile, Ancestral Voices. This is transcriptions of several letters from the Von Rosenberg family from the Round Top/Fayette County area. I had read some parts, mostly those dealing with the 1860s but have now started from the beginning.

Both books offer great insights into the lives of the German immigrants to Texas.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


In my last post I failed to mention the lovely letters I received at Boonesfield. One from a sister and another from a dear friend.

Then upon returning home another wonderful letter was waiting for me from Round Top.

Exchanging letters between living history events is so much fun. It offers a wonderful connection and adds so much to the experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boonesfield, Missouri Trip 2010

I left home about 7:30 am and headed to Plano to meet up with Kimberly. When I arrived it was quite apparent our cars are twins! Very funny. After moving my stuff to Kimberly’s car we headed out toward Missouri. Our first stop was in Oklahoma for lunch at one of the Choctaw casinos. We didn’t actually go into the casino, just the sports bar/restaurant nearby. We then pressed on. Not much to report on this leg of the trip. We stopped in Lee’s Summit for the night.

The next day we headed out to our first planned stop at the Oliver Anderson House in Lexington, a Missouri state park and historic site . The house is beautiful. There are still some bullet holes in the house from the Civil War battle. The house was used as a hospital during the battle in September 1861. There is a great piano in one of the parlors and I was allowed to play it!! It’s in better shape tone-wise than mine :). The house sits on a hill that overlooks the river. Now you do not have a clear view of the river because of vegetation and a change in the course of the river, but I imagine the view when the house was built was wonderful. Pictures are here.

We then spent some time roaming around Lexington and looking at the architecture. We still had some time before we needed to be at Boonesfield so we headed on to Arrow Rock. We stopped at the visitors center which had a cute little museum full of all sorts of artifacts. It’s a cute little town on the National Register, but not much seemed to be open, so we had something to eat, roamed around a bit and headed to Boonesfield.

Arrived at Boonesfield about 5:30. We were in our same room with Belinda at the Engledew house. Sorry no photos of the house. Friday was pretty much spent getting put together, visiting and relaxing. Got my sheer sunbonnet from Vivian…love it. Need to re-iron and get it into shape and then I'll post a photo. Quite a thunderstorm came through Friday night. No thunder but plenty of lightening and rain. It really dropped the temperature down for the night.

Saturday morning we awoke and found the weather quite nice until the sun came out and then the humidity began to rise. Dressing took some time as we stopped periodically to fan ourselves. Once dressed we headed over to the inn for breakfast, which consisted of oatmeal, bacon, eggs, and melon. Very hearty. At some point around there, the site security guard’s bloodhound found some baby rabbits. Kimberly made the mistake of picking one up and she was set for the day nursing the poor wet thing hoping that it would recover from the storm enough to survive. Unfortunately, it passed away that night.

The rest of the morning was spent visiting, nursing the bunny, and shopping. At lunch time we gathered under the arbor in front of the inn. The inn keepers provided fresh lemonade and we visited and ate. Silvana and I took a walk after lunch to the field behind the main site and watched the hawks and buzzards flying around. In the shade it was very comfortable.

Later Saturday afternoon Mr. Trent gave a lecture on healthy living. He advocated giving up spices (they made food taste better so you ate more), coffee, tea, tobacco, spirits…anything fun it seemed J. After his talk, Mr. Good came forward with temperance pledges and I believe all the men signed them but none of the women. In the evening vespers were held. I didn’t attend though. Then dinner. Too much food, chicken, mac and cheese, fish, breads, pies…too much food. It was a very pleasant evening, a nice cool breeze and the humidity seemed to start dropping. At this time it was obvious that the bunny was not going to survive so our reverend gave it last rites and we placed it under a tree to die peacefully. Coyotes started howling later that night and they seemed very close. I hate the sound of coyotes at night, it gives me the chills. Soon all of the ladies went to put on their wrappers and we had a wrapper party. We all wanted a better look at everyone’s wrappers so we went to the basement of the Engledew, which has electricity and lights, and took pictures. Once that was over, most of us were quite tired and headed to bed.

Not wanting to miss church on Sunday, I used my phone for the alarm. I know this was all together against the guidelines and I apologize for it now. I just hated to miss church. However, I received a text on my phone about 2:00 am that my son and sister had been in a collision. In the morning I decided not to dress out and to stay close to my phone for news and to pack up so that we could leave as soon as allowed. It turned out that they were not seriously injured. We were able to start packing up the cars around 11:00 so Kimberly and I were headed out by 12:00. We decided that we would stop in Hermann and visit Deutschheim and then drive as long as we could before stopping for the night.

We arrived in Hermann in between the Deutchheim tour hours so decided to drive around the city and check it out. WOW! Hermann is such a great little town. Similar to Fredericksburg, Texas but a bit more spread out. We parked the car and decided to walk around. The architecture of this town is amazing. We visited the German School museum, which just happened to be having a grand re-opening celebrating the restoration of the building and museum. They have some great artifacts. We took some pictures and then were told we couldn’t take pictures. We did speak with the woman who cares from their exhibits and she gave us her contact information so next time we are through we can make an appointment to study and photograph some of the artifacts we were particularly interested in.

After the museum visit we roamed the town some more and found the town cemetery. This cemetery is so interesting. There were several zinc markers. We found one marker with the skull and crossbones. The layout is really odd to me. At the top of the hill is the oldest part; these headstones face more or less west. The burials then continue down the hill. On the south side, the headstones face north. In the section directly in front of the hill and the oldest part they face south. In the section to the south, they face north. None appeared to face east. The view from the top of the hill looks down on the town. We really enjoyed Hermann and plan to return to spend more time.

We left Hermann and started for home. On the way we passed the vacuum cleaner museum, which Kimberly would not stop at. In retaliation, I would not let her stop at Ozarkland (sorry no link). We stopped for the night in Springfield. Ordered in pizza, took hot showers, watched some white trash TV and then off to sleep.

The next morning we got up and out fairly early. Had breakfast at a truck stop. I thought truck stop food was supposed to be good. This one was terrible!! And expensive for what you got. We made a stop Fabricut in Pryor Oklahoma. This is a home d├ęcor fabric outlet. We found some wonderful silk plaid remnants for bonnets and ribbons at really good discount prices.

While driving through Oklahoma we noticed some very unusual clouds. They were smooth, looked almost like sand dunes. At a couple of spots in the “cloudscape” a bubble was starting to form toward the ground. I’ve never seen tornado clouds, but we weren’t taking any chances. I wish I had been able to get a picture but we weren’t in a position to stop and I could not get a good view from the passenger seat.

We made it home to Texas safe and sound. Looking forward to the next road trip to Boonesfield. Now to plan for TMD.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pettis starched and packing up

The petticoats are starched and other whites pressed. Tomorrow I hope to find the rest of my stuff and get more packed for Boonesfield. Spent way too much time this weekend napping. I'll have an account of the event upon return next week. Hopefully pictures of the dresses and my new corded bonnet.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Silk redone

So the silk plaid has been put back together. I'm going to spend this long holiday weekend starching petticoats, ironing whites and getting stuff together for next weekend.