People, Places and Pantaloons:
Style along the Salmon Falls through the lives of four South Berwick and Rollinsford families.
A 19th-Century Carpenter's Tool Chest:
The Mathews family legacy
Fashions and tools used by local Mathews, Hayes, Lord, Jellison and Woods families will welcome visitors at the Counting House Museum this season.
The Counting House is staffed by Old Berwick Historical Society volunteers from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on weekends through October, and year round by appointment. Admission is by donation.
People, Places, and Pantaloons showcases gowns and accessories worn by Minnie Lord Weeks and Annie Gertrude Woods of Rollinsford, NH, and Sophia Elizabeth Hayes and Mary Chase Jellison of South Berwick.
A 19th Century Carpenter’s Tool Chest features the tools of carpenter Fred A. Mathews of Berwick. Before him, the massive tool chest belonged to his father-in-law Charles F. Holland, who probably carried it on a horse-drawn wagon to house-building job sites in the 1800s.
The carpenters’ descendants recently donated the chest to the museum. The exhibit was created by historical society members Norma Keim and Paul Reilly. Reilly, an antique tool enthusiast, also loaned some tools for the display.
Gillian Cusack and Rick Stevens created the exhibit telling the story of regional fashion between 1850 and 1899, as seen through the lives of four local women. Whether they wore summer dresses, winter coats, or a wedding dress, all four women highlighted their garments with flourishes that speak of their individual style and taste.
“Undergarments were an important part of creating the silhouettes of the day,” explained Cusack, “-- corsets to create the perfect waist, crinolines to project the right skirt shape, bustles to fill the rear of a dress, and hoop skirts. Even though undergarments were not meant to be seen, they were still embellished with lace, embroidery and fancy buttons.”
The local residents featured in the exhibits came from all walks of life. A wedding gown belonged to Annie Gertrude Woods, a millworker at Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company whose mother had emigrated from Ireland.
Mary Chase Jellison, born in 1844, was interested in drawing from an early age and studied art in Brooklyn, NY. Her talent led to a career working for Currier & Ives in New York City during the Civil War.
Sophia Elizabeth Hayes married Ichabod Goodwin, who became headmaster of Berwick Academy, and during the Civil War served in Lincoln’s administration in Washington. The Goodwin’s daughter-in-law, Minnie Weeks, owned the fourth dress on display.
The exhibits were supported by society memberships and 50 individual donors.