In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I am working on book #3 in the Winds of Freedom series, a teen adventure series set in the 1850s in North Danville, Vermont. My 1852 Vermont adventure THIS ARDENT FLAME is scheduled for June 2021 publication with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you updates and early order information as soon as I know! I'm also writing a memoir; revising a mystery; in the midst of a novel about a grandmother and her granddaughter; and always writing poems. Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

My Eight-Greats Grandmother Valued Her Clothes!


It's Vermont Archives Month, and that's taken me into sorting many letters and photos from my mother's side of the family, and updating the family tree a bit further. 

Women's clothing in the 1850s and 1890s keeps coming back onto my research schedule, for a couple of books that I'm writing, one set in each decade. (The 1850s one will be book 3 in my Winds of Freedom series, published by Five Star/Cengage.)

But I was totally amazed to discover today the will of my 9-great grandmother Sarah Littlefield Sawyer, 1649-1734, who lived in Wells, Maine, when it was still part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Check out item 12 in particular!

If, like me, you have no idea of what "calaminco" means here -- check out this handy article by Leimomi Oakes, a textile and fashion historian, who says "Calamanco (also spelled callimanco, calimanco, and kalamink) is a thin fabric of worsted wool yarn which could come in a number of weaves: plain, satin, damasked, and was even brocaded in floral, striped and checked designs.  The surface was glazed or calendered (pressed through hot rollers)."

The Will of Sarah Sayer

   To All People to whom these Prestns shall come Greeting. Know ye, that I Sarah Sayer of Wells in the County of York in the Province of the Massachusets Bay New England Relique of William Sawyer late of Wells aforsd Decesd (thô weak of Body, yet of sound & well Disposing mind & Iudgment) Do Committing my sperit in the first place unto God the Father of it thrô Jesus Christ, & my Body into the hands of my Executors hereafter named to be by them decently Interred in hopes of A Blessed Resurrection, Dispose of the Temporall Estate with which God has been pleased to bless me in the manner following vizt

   1. My Will is that all my Iust & honest Debts, together with my Funerall Charges shall be paid out of my Estate by my Executors hereafter Named.

   2 I Give & bequeath unto my son John Wells Eight Pounds to be paid him by my Executors within six months after my Decese. I Will also that A Bond of thirteen pounds given by him to me, shall be freely surrendred up unto him by my Executors within the aforsd term of six months after my Dece'se And I Will that the Eight pounds I herein give unto this my sd son John Wells be laid out by him in procureing A Funerall Coat after my Disc.

   3. I Give & Bequeath unto my son Thomas Wells Eight pounds to procure A Funerall Coat after my Decese the which sd sum shall be paid him by my Executors within six months after my Decease. I will also that A Bond of thirteen pound given from him to me shall be freely surrendred up to him after my Dece'se.

   4. I Give unto my Daughter Patience Clark five pounds (besides five pounds I have already given her) to be paid unto her by my Executors within six months after my Decease.

   5. I Give & Bequeath unto my Daughter Sarah Sayer of Newbury two pounds & four pounds A piece to Each of her two sons Vizt Jonathan Sibley & Samll Sibley these several sums to be paid vnto my sd Daughter Sarah Sawyer & her aforesd two sons by my Executors within six months after my Decease.

   6. I Give & Bequeath unto my son Francis Sawyer thirty pounds to be paid unto him within six Months after my Decease by my Executors.

   7. I Give & Bequeath unto my Grand son William son of my son Daniel Sayer De'csd thirty pounds, to be paid him by my Executors within six months after my Decease.

   8. I Give & Bequeath unto my Daughter Hannah Chesley thirty pounds to be paid her by my Executors within six Months after my Decease.

   9. I Give & Bequeath unto my Daughter Ruth Sampson Thirty pounds to be paid her by my Executors within six Months after my Decease.

   10. I Give & Bequeath unto my great grand-Daughter Mary Clarke Daughter of my grand son Nathall Clarke A Certain Feather Bed that has an homespone Tick to be Delivered to her by my Executors within six Months after my Decease.

   11. I Will that what ever Use or Interest shall be found due upon my Bonds that any of my Children or Grand Children have Obliged themselves unto me by, shall be freely wholy and absolutely remitted released & given up unto such from whom it may be found due by my Executors at my Decease.

   12. I Give & Bequeath unto my four Daughters my wearing Cloths as follows vizt I give to my Daughter Patience Clark A black Calaminco suit & my black blew searge Petty Coat. I give to my Daughter Sarah Sawyer my silk Crape suit & my red & Yellow under Petty Coat. I give unto my Daughter Hannah Chesley my silk suit. I give to my Daughter Ruth Sampson my striped Calaminco suit, & A striped Calaminco Gown & A black silk Petty Coat. all the Rest of my Cloths I will shall be Equally Divided among these my four Daughters. And if either of these my Daughters shall Decease before I shall, then I will that their Daughters shall have such Clothes as their Mother would have had by Vertue of this my Will if they were Liveing.

   13. I Will that four pounds shall be paid by Executors unto the Church of Christ in Wells, within six months after my Decease, to be distributed by them among some of the poor Members of sd Church.

   14. I Will all my Estate of what nature or kind so ever not already disposed of in this my Last Will & Testament unto my two grandsons & my two Daughters hereafter mentioned vizt Joseph Sayer, Wm Sayer, Hannah Chesley & Ruth Sampson to be delivered up unto them & equally Divided amongst them within six months after my Decease.

   15. finally I Do hereby Ordain Constitute & appoint my son Francis Sayer & my Grand-sons Joseph Sayer & William Sayer to be the sole Executors of this my last Will & Testament and Do hereby revoke & Disannull all former Wills & Testaments heretofore made by me & Declare this to be my last will & testament : As Witness my hand and seal this twenty seventh Day of April Anno Domini 1734. Annoque R R Georgii secundi magnæ Brittanniæ &c septimo.

Signed sealed & pronounced
   in presence of
   Hans Dalzel
   Jeremiah Storer
   Jeremiah storer Jur

NB : the words or grand Chil-
   dren were interlined be-
   tween, ye sixth & seventh
   Lines from ye top of the
   second page before signing
   & ye word between will &
   all in ye thirty first line from
   ye top of the second page
   was erased before signing
   Sarah Sayer : (seal)

   Probated, 10 Feb. 1734-5. Inventory returned 2 June 1735, at £540: 2: 6, by John Storer, Samuel Wheelwright and Daniel Morrison, appraisers.

[Source: Maine Wills, 1640-1760 (Portland, Me., 1887), p. 356]