Research Reports / Rapports de recherche - Lunenburg-German Household Textiles: - The Evidence from Lunenburg County Estate Inventories, 1780-1830*

Research Reports / Rapports de recherche

Lunenburg-German Household Textiles:

The Evidence from Lunenburg County Estate Inventories, 1780-1830*

Richard Henning Field
Dalhousie University

1 Textiles played an important part in the lives of all Nova Scotians between the years 1780 and 1830. They were used for clothing, floor, bed and table coverings, bed and window curtains, and were a visible means of conveying status, social position, and symbolic values particularly among the prosperous and wealthy. Clothing and household textiles helped to differentiate the houses of the rich, such as merchants, from those of the working class farmer or fisherman.

2 In Lunenburg county throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the value of various textiles accounted for a surprisingly high percentage of the household inventory. Judging by the importance of wearing apparel, bedding and other domestic textiles, Lunenburg Germans cared for and took pride in their stock of fabrics.

3 This paper will examine the importance of these household textiles, the types of fabric found and used within the domestic interior including those that could be purchased from local shops and merchants, and most importantly those that were produced within the household by various family members. In addition the types of natural fibres used in the household production of textiles will be discussed along with the tools used to transform these fibres (wool and flax) into yarns and fabrics.

4 Wills and household inventories1 are the most valuable historical sources for the study of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century domestic life. Fortunately those for Lunenburg County are not only rich in detail but readily available on microfilm at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in Halifax.

5 For this study inventories were used to provide data on textiles which were made within the household by various family members, produced in the community, or purchased from local shops. Shop inventories are important sources for determining the value and types of finished textiles and fabrics; these were mostly imported and available for purchase within a given community at the time the inventory was taken. On the other hand, household inventories often list and evaluate these same shop fabrics; from these one can sometimes determine the purpose for which the fabrics were purchased as well as their types and values.

6 In the shop inventories, two major fabrics, cotton and silk, predominate in the listing of textiles. Cotton was not planted in Nova Scotia and silk was never grown here. Evidently, the types of textiles carried by merchants were those not being manufactured locally. While cotton and silk were the most common imported textiles, it was flax, wool and hemp that were the predominant household fibres among the Lunenburg Germans between 1780 and 1830.

7 The focus for the discussion of the types of cottons and silks available for purchase will be two shop inventories from the town of Lunenburg.2 The first is the Casper Wollenhaupt3 inventory, taken between 18 and 20 July 1809, and on 10 January 1810. Wollenhaupt refers to himself as a merchant in his will, and a rich merchant he was indeed. At the time of his death his estate was valued at £1008. 12.7 ¼ which did not include his vast real-estate holdings. His shop inventory was valued at £4.99-11.2 ¼ and included a selection of plain and printed cottons and silks, suggesting that almost every type of imported fabric for domestic use was available for purchase.

8 The second inventory is that of John Lennox,4 taken on 7 and 8 October 1817, which like the Wollenhaupt inventory includes an extensive list of imported cottons and silks. Lennox, who also ran a tavern, had shop and personal effects valued at £283.11.3'½, and like most Lunenburg Germans had a proclivity for real estate and notes of hand,5 the former valued at £1993.0.0.

9 One of the most predominant types of textiles appearing in the Wollenhaupt inventory are various forms of muslin, including book, cambric, flowered, striped, veined and lace muslin. Muslin is a fine cotton textile which was used in the American colonies for window and bed curtains, and later for gowns and curtains; in the period 1790-1815 it was recommended for dresses, shawls, and window curtains. In 1833 there are references to English muslin being used in the major markets of North America and the West Indies for clothing, particularly the checked sort for sailor's shirts and the striped for curtains, trousers and jackets.6

10 The Mary Secombe estate inventory,7 taken in Chester on 1 April 1801, lists household cottons other than the varieties of muslin just discussed. Not only is this inventory specific about the types of fabrics and their evaluations, but it is also accompanied by the auction sales records of this estate,8 which give values; this allows for a comparison of the evaluations assigned by the inventory takers to the textiles and the actual price paid for these same fabrics at public auction.

11 Table 1 lists the textiles and their values according to the Secombe estate inventory and estate auction records. In all instances the value assigned to the fabrics by the inventory takers was lower, in some cases substantially so, than that paid by the successful bidders at auction. This certainly suggests that these types of fabrics were considered desirable even when they were purchased secondhand, although it is possible that some of the fabrics in the Secombe inventory were unused.

12 Two factors can explain why these fabrics sold higher at auction than the values assigned by the inventory takers. The first is the use and function of these fabrics within the household, and the second their selling price in the shops of merchants such as Wollenhaupt and Lennox. Certain types of fabrics would be more desirable than others, not only because of their quality but also because of how and where they could be used within the home. A closer examination of each of the fabrics listed in the Secombe inventory is revealing on this point.

13 Serge is a twilled cloth with woollen weft woven on a four-treadle loom and used for coats, furniture coverings and bed curtains and valances. The Secombe inventory includes a listing for a "bedstead hood" (canopy), for which the serge listed in the inventory could have been used. The auction inventory also includes one coat at £0.2.8 and another at £0.4.6. Although the type of coat fabric is not mentioned in either listing, the material used could have been serge.

Table 1 Secombe Estate and Auction Inventory Comparison
Thumbnail of Table 1Display large image of Table 1

14 In the Wollenhaupt inventory there are several types of serge listed under the heading "Printed Cottons" including:

  • entry 114, 11 yds white serge at £2.0.0;
  • entry 123, 4 yds remnants serge at £4.0.0;
  • entry 124, 3 ½ yds serge at £3.0.0.

15 There are no listings of serge in the John Lennox inventory, suggesting that either he did not have any in stock at the time of his death when the inventory was taken, or that serge had lost some of its popularity between 1811 and 1817. This could partially be explained by the fact that certain types of furniture for which serge was being used, for example four-poster beds with canopies, bed curtains and valances, began to go out of fashion as the second quarter of the nineteenth century approached.

16 Fustian originally referred to a large variety of textiles of linen-and-cotton blend; later it came to mean all-cotton textiles. Common varieties of the fancy fustians are corduroy, jean, pillow, thickset, velveret and velveteen. Fustian is listed in American references dating as early as 1650 for clothing and furnishings, including waistcoats, curtains, counterpanes, chair coverings and petticoats.9 In the Secombe estate inventory the sixteen yards of fustian are valued at £0.18.8, but there is no equivalent listing in the auction records. What is noted in the auction as having sold are two entries for seven yards of calimanco, one selling for £0.15.0 and the other for £0.14.0. Although calimanco was a worsted fabric with a fine gloss finish, it cannot be confused with fustian. Possibly, the estate or auction inventory takers misidentified the textiles.

17 There were calimancos of all colours and patterns ranging from plain weave to those with broad and narrow stripes, to others with the forms of flowers, birds, figures and other fancy subjects worked into the designs. In furnishings they were used for bed curtains, valances, tester and window curtains, and sofa and chair coverings. Calimanco, however, was most often used for clothing, including waistcoats, breeches and gowns.10

18 In both the Wollenhaupt and Lennox inventories there are no specific listings for fustian under that name, but there are listings for the various categories of fustian mentioned above, as well as entries for various calimancos. The types of fustian and calimanco referred to in the Wollenhaupt inventory are given below:

Fustians (corduroy, velveteen, thickset, velvet, jean, pillow)
entry 141, 5 yds olive velveteen at £1.0.0;11
entry 141, 25 ½ yds corduroy at £2.11.2;
entry 184, 4 yds white jean at £0.4.9;
Calimanco
entry 199, 19 yds black calimanco at £0.14.3;
entry 201, 21 ½ yds black calimanco at £1.4.9 ½;
entry 202, 17 ½ yds striped purple calimanco at £0.14.7 - listed as remnants;
entry 203, 22 ¼ yds green calimanco at £1.2.3;
entry 204, 8 ½ yds light blue calimanco at £0.7. 1;
entry 205, 18 yds fawn-coloured calimanco at £0.18.0;
entry 206, 7 yds black calimanco at £0.7.0.

The Lennox inventory lists only: entry 65, 2 yds calimanco at £0.2.0.

19 In the Wollenhaupt inventory the amount of calimanco suggests that it was a popular fabric for use within the household and that it was stocked in a variety of colours to accommodate its various uses as a clothing and furnishing material.

20 The next listing (see Table 1) in the Secombe estate inventory is an entry for three remnants of linen, for which there is no equivalent listing in the auction records. What is listed in the latter are two yards of cambric and two yards of shalloon. Cambric is a fine white linen cloth and it may be this auction entry that corresponds to the linen entry in the estate inventory.

21 Shalloon, however, could not be confused with a linen, as it is a cheap twilled worsted; it was one of the most common textiles imported into America during the eighteenth century and was often used as a lining for clothing. However, as the following references indicate, shalloon was not always used for this function: "in Virginia, 1730, 'curtains of yellow shalloon'; in New York, 1757, 'a small four post bedstead with Green Shalloon Curtains'."12

22 Based on the textile listings in both the Secombe estate and auction inventories, it is possible to determine the prevalence and use of these fabrics within the household at the turn of the eighteenth century. This inventory helps to explain why some fabrics (such as calimanco) were found in such large numbers in the Wollenhaupt shop inventory, and why they were often stocked in a wide variety of colours and patterns.

23 Silk is the second major fabric that was imported for domestic needs and sold by the merchants of Lunenburg County. The Secombe estate inventory lists a silk gown valued at £ 1.5.0, which sold at the Secombe auction (with a pocket magnifying glass) for £2.3.3. One must presume that the glass had nominal value and that most of the auction price reflected the value of the silk gown. The Wollenhaupt inventory supports the suggestion that silk was a highly prized and valued fabric. Entries 39 to 45 list various silk goods including:

  • 8 yds green sarsnett at £0.16.0;
  • 6 yds pink sarsnett at £0.12.0;
  • 11 yds white sarsnett at £1.2.0;
  • 1 doz silk handkerchiefs at £3.0.0;
  • 11 blue striped silk handkerchiefs at £2.15.0;
  • 11 fancy silk handkerchiefs at £2.15.0;
  • 9 pair silk gloves at £2.0.6.

24 As demonstrated by this listing even small amounts of silk were valuable. Silk was the gold of the textile industry and the merchant trade in imported fabrics because of its acceptance as a product that marked the wealth and gentility, fashion and taste of the wearer. It also possessed good long-wearing qualities. For example, in the Duncan Forbes estate inventory13 of LaHave, taken on 17 January 1797, there is listed one red silk handkerchief with no value assigned as this inventory does not give evaluations for personal effects. However, in the auction records attached to these estate papers, dated at Lunenburg on 28 March 1801, this item sold to John Ross for £0.2.6.

25 The widow George Conrad's auction inventory,14 of 1 January 1813, tells us that one black silk handkerchief was bought by her son Nicholas Conrad for £0.2.10, and the Peter Jung (Young) inventory,15 taken on 8 February 1815, lists one black silk waistcoat at £0.10.0, one "old" silk hat at £0.5.0, one silk hat at £1.4.0 and three silk shawls at £2.14.0.

26 The listing of these silk items as personal effects in the Forbes, Conrad and Jung inventories helps to underline the value and importance placed on silk as a textile. Note the differences in value placed on the "old" silk hat against the silk hat in the Jung inventory. Presumably "old" refers to condition, but may also reflect a type of silk hat that was no longer in style.

27 Having established the types and values of the various cotton and silk textiles found in the estate and auction inventories of Lunenburg County between 1780 and 1830, the question must be asked concerning the sources for this imported cotton and silk. Where were the local merchants such as Wollenhaupt and Lennox getting their supplies? The John Oxner invoice book16 helps to answer that question. Dated between 1819 and 1824 Oxner, who ran a store in LaHave about twenty miles from Lunenburg, purchased his goods (including all his textiles) from various Halifax merchants; he noted their names in the margins of the invoice book, along with the cost of each item, presumably at wholesale or bulk price. These Halifax merchants were in turn importing their wares from England and America.

28 An examination of the textile listings in the invoice book also reveals that fabrics other than silks and cottons were being imported and sold locally. These other textiles include various linens and homespuns, suggesting that local demand was greater than what could be satisfied by family or community manufacture of flax and wool fabrics.

29 Oxner made an average of two lot purchases per year on the following dates: 1 January and 7 July 1819; 20 March, 28 July and 14 December 1820; 25 June 1821; 8 June and 12 December 1822; 18 July 1823; 8 May 1824. The frequency of these purchases and the quantity of goods bought suggest that Oxner was a thriving merchant and that business and the local economy were stable between the years 1819 and 1824.

30 John Oxner died in 1825 leaving behind a vast estate, the inventory being taken at LaHave on 3 March 1825. Unfortunately no evaluations are given for the listings in the inventory, and there is no total value for the estate. There are, however, over two hundred textile entries, indicating how well-stocked this one store was in serving the needs of the local community and region.

31 While cotton and silk were the most prevalent imported textiles, it was linen, wool and hemp that were the important household fibres among the Lunenburg Germans of the late eighteenth century. In 1699 Villebon reported that the marshlands around Port Royal have "...up to the present state been very productive, yielding each year a quantity of grain such as corn, wheat rye, peas and oats, not only for the maintainence of families living there but for sale and transportation to other parts of the country. Flax and hemp, also, grow extremely well, and some of the settlers of that region use only the linen made by themselves, for domestic purposes."17

32 Three quarters of a century later in 1774 John Robinson and Thomas Rispin in their Journey through Nova Scotia commented on the use of homegrown flax in the households of Nova Scotia.18 The women are very industrious house-wives, and spin the flax, the growth of their own farms, and weave both their linen and woolen cloth; they also bleach their linen and dye their yarn themselves."

33 Flax was a remarkable plant that produced many products. Farmers profited from both the fibres and seeds. Seeds could be used to make linseed oil, and after the oil was extracted, another product remained called oil cake which could be used for cattle seed.19 Although figures showing flax planted per family are presently not available for Lunenburg County, Pennsylvania-German farmers in the late eighteenth century reserved for linen production about a quarter of an acre for each member of the family.20

34 Flax was a crop that could be grown as soon as the settlers had the land cleared for this purpose. Accordingly it was often raised in considerable quantity to satisfy immediate needs for clothing and bedding materials. For example in the year 1775, eight years after the Rhode Islanders established the first settlement in Pictou County, and only one year after the Scottish Highlanders arrived in the Hector, Pictou County shows a total flax crop of 34,000 pounds for that year. The census returns for Québec for 1851-1852 show that the annual crop was almost a million pounds,21 demonstrating the continuing importance of this crop.

35 Wool was the other major household fibre. "One sheep per family member usually produced enough wool to fill the needs for a year..."22 But as might be expected not every farmer raised sheep. In a survey of fifty inventories of individuals or families with German surnames (see note 1), and dating between the years 1797 and 1815 for Lunenburg County, twenty-four of fifty families raised sheep, with an average of ten per household for those years.

36 Swan describes hemp as a plant very similar to flax, producing a coarser and darker fibre than flax. "Weavers used the fibres for sturdier fabrics such as tick covers or grain bags, but its major use was rope."23 Its use in Lunenburg County and other parts of Nova Scotia for rope is of prime importance because of the seafaring and shipbuilding traditions of the province. For example in the George Koch inventory24 there is included a listing for "rope work tools." This inventory also lists "1 quandrant," "8 planes" and "lott tools, 17 in number," suggesting that Koch was probably a shipwright and mariner.

37 However, it is in the tools used to transform these fibres into yarns and fabrics that we begin to see the importance of linen and wool in the households of Lunenburg County. Lunenburg-German tools for turning fibres into finished goods were typical of those found in the Pennsylvania-German tradition and most western European cultures. There are many tools connected with the preparation of flax, hemp and wool into textiles. These include flax and wool combs, flax brakes, spinning wheels, wool winders and/or clock reels, hatchels, niddy-noddies, swifts (umbrella or table), tape looms, and weaving looms (four-harness).

38 All of these tools, except the niddy-noddy and swift, are mentioned in the various inventories dating from 1780 to 1830 examined for this paper. Only four of these will be discussed in detail — hackles (also spelled hatchel/heckle), spinning wheels, weaving looms and tape looms.25

39 The Conrad Wentzel estate inventory,26 taken on 1 April 1805, lists a "flax hatchel" valued at £0.2.6. The hackle is the simplest but most essential tool in the preparation of flax fibres before spinning into thread. Handfuls of flax fibres are dragged repeatedly through the long nail-like projections of the hackle until they are parallel and smooth. The fibres are usually processed on a coarse hackle first and then on a finer one.27

40 The Alexander Sponagle estate inventory28 lists several textile tools including a pair of wool cards and a hackle valued at £0.1.3, and a cotton spinning wheel at £0.7.6. The John Becker estate listing29 includes a spinning wheel with all its materials for £0.16.0. The Becker inventory is important as it also lists other items necessary in the production of textiles used to make clothing, suggesting that the Becker family was actively involved in the transformation of raw fibres into household fabrics. These entires include:

  • 23 skeins spun wool £1.0.0
  • a small quantity of cotton wool £0.5.0
  • a small quantity of indigo 1 pair wool cards £0.1.0
  • 1 small basket full of flax £0.2.0
  • 2 sheep £0.1.8
  • 3 old pair canvas trousers £0.17.6
  • 3 pair homespun stockings £0.1.0
  • 2 pair linen trousers £0.5.0
  • 2 cotton shirts £0.10.0
  • 3 linen shirts £0.15.0
  • 2 linen shirts and 1 cotton shirt (new) £1.0.0

The absence of a weaving loom in the inventory raises the possibility that the yarn and thread were woven into the fabric needed for clothing and textile furnishings by another family in the community. The listing of "4 pair shopstockings" at £0.6.0 and "1 Pair worsted stockings & 2 pairs shopstockings" at £0.1.6 indicates that the inventory takers made some effort to separate the homespun fabrics and items of clothing from the store-bought materials.

41 Spinning wheels are one of the most common textile tools listed in the inventories; many households had more than one. For example the Michael Fancy inventory, taken at Lunenburg on 30 March 1809,30 lists "two old spinning wheels" at £0.11.3 or £1.2.3, and "one whoolling wheel" at £0.5.0. The Adam Heb inventory,31 taken 5 January 1804, lists two spinning wheels valued at £1.15.0.

42 Spinning wheels were used to transform fibres into threads. Whether using a small or large wheel the work was repetitive but necessary. The small wheel, usually reserved for flax, allowed the user to sit, while the larger wheels, used primarily for wool, but occasionally for cotton, required the user to stand walking back and forth while the wool or cotton fibre twisted onto the spindle.32

43 Spinning occurred in most households and was the work of the women of the family. Daughters were usually taught to spin at a young age and many continued in this task for a good part of their lives.33 This fact is confirmed by the wills and inventories of Lunenburg County where a cow and/or feather bed and/or spinning wheel is often left to the daughters of the household. For example, John Vienot left each of his daughters one spinning wheel and a feather bed.34

44 Although weaving looms are not as common in the inventories as spinning wheels, they occur with some frequency. The Duncan Forbes estate and auction inventory,35 taken 17 January 1797 at LaHave, lists in the estate papers "1 weavers loom, 6 pr gears, 4 reeds and all her Euttenehels [?] belonging to the said loom." Although no value is given, it sold at auction on 23 June 1801 for £4.6.0. In the George Emenot [?] inventory, filed at Lunenburg on 13 September 1823,36 are registered a weaving loom at £3.0.0," two spinning wheels at £1.0.0 and two flax brakes at £0.6.0, while the Henry Lohnes inventory37 lists a weaving loom at £2.0.0.

45 It is the Peter Romkey inventory38 of New Dublin that suggests that "weaving families" existed in Lunenburg County who would not only weave for themselves, but also for neighbours and other members of the community. The estate includes two undated inventories; however, the will was registered 13 May 1815, implying that the inventories would date around that year. It is unclear as to exactly why there are two inventories; perhaps the second one was taken to confirm the contents of the first. In any case, Peter Romkey refers to himself as a yeoman, and leaves his personal effects to his wife and children, four sons and three daughters. The first inventory is valued at £18.3.0, and the second at £28.19.0, an evaluation of over £10 from the first.

46 The clue to how the Romkeys earned some of their living is in Inventory I: "3 spinning wheels," "3 long wheels," "1 reel" and "3 benches and 1 loom and all her taklements [?]." The loom is valued at £5.0.0 (without benches) in Inventory I and at £6.5.0 (with benches) in Inventory II. Certainly the presence of this weaving equipment in one household indicates that the Romkeys were actively engaged in manufacturing fabrics in both wool (the long wheel or walking wheels) and flax (spinning wheels).39 Note also that Romkey had three daughters and there are just enough wheels of both types to go around, suggesting that they did the spinning while his wife did the weaving.

47 No other inventory examined thus far from Lunenburg County lists such a large number and variety of textile tools. Certainly a family this well equipped would have been approached by neighbours and friends to either spin and/or weave their wool and flax, or perhaps the Romkeys made and sold certain types of blankets, coverlets or clothing.

48 The most common household loom in Lunenburg40 seems to be the table loom. These small table looms were used to make a variety of belts and ties for bedding and clothing. Although there are many surviving examples of tape looms, many with hand-forged hardware, rose-head nails and dating from the 1780 to 1830 period, they remain an enigma. Seldom do they appear in the inventory records. A reference is made in the Philip Eisenhauer inventory,41 taken at Lunenburg on 27 December 1819, to "a garter loom, " which undoubtedly is a tape loom. The John Broom inventory,42 dated 15 August 1818, lists a tape loom valued at a very low £0.1.0, which might explain why so few are listed. Inventory takers may simply have felt their value was so low as not to be worth including in an inventory, which was a process to establish the wealth of an estate.

49 The types of fabrics that were made at home and in the community using these tools include clothing, bedding, and various table and floor coverings. Unfortunately few of these various types of domestic textiles have survived. Their importance, however, is often verified by their individual evaluations in both estate and auction records where condition ("old," "worn," "new") is often mentioned along with the type of fabric.

50 Although this is only a preliminary look at the shop and domestic textiles used in the Lunenburg-German households, the inventories suggest that both store-bought and homespun materials, and the tools used to transform raw fibres into yarns, threads and fabrics, were highly prized by their owners. These textiles and tools often brought more at public auction than the values assigned by the estate inventory takers.

51 In this light it seems reasonable to re-evaluate the often repeated assumption that the Lunenburg Germans neither brought with them nor developed in Nova Scotia a textile tradition.43 Certainly both imported and homemade textiles were important along with the tools used to manufacture the latter. The presence of looms in the Lunenburg inventories suggests that family and/or community weaving was not that uncommon. Some of the types of textile patterns being produced would likely reflect the German heritage of the weavers. Even though there was a strong and pervasive English environment surrounding this small German pocket in Nova Scotia, this is no reason to believe (even as late as 1830) that the "Germaness" of this area was lost.

52 Many of the tools used to manufacture the textiles are often decorated with motifs that strongly reflect the Germanic traditions of their makers and owners. Similar to the folk motifs in the Ontario- and Pennsylvania-German traditions, the decorative arts were important in helping to maintain ethnic identity, particularly among the Lunenburg Germans; they were not joined by a continuing migration of German-speaking peoples from continental Europe who could continue to reinforce and uphold their heritage and traditions. There is no reason to suspect that if the ethnic identity of the Lunenburg Germans was reinforced and maintained through the decorative arts, that this same process would not also be evident in household textile manufacture, pattern and design between the years 1780 and 1830.

Richard Henning Field

*This article was presented on 20 April 1986 at the Atlantic CanadaEighteenth Century Society meetings held at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. The topic is a follow-up on the presentation, "Proxemic Patterns: Eighteenth-Century Lunenburg-German Domestic Furnishings and Interiors," made at the 1985 Eighteenth Century Society meetings and published in Material History Bulletin 22 (Fall 1985):40-48

NOTES
1 The total number of estate, auction and will papers examined for this paper dating between the years 1780 and 1830 are as follows: 222 estate, 36 auction, and 83 will papers. These records are for all of Lunenburg County, but are concentrated mostly in Lunenburg, LaHave, New Dublin, Chester, and Mahone Bay. Based on the surnames given on these various records, which were compared with the record of family names published by Winthrop Bell in The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961), pp. 282-291, about 82 per cent represent individuals or families of German or Swiss extraction descended from the "foreign Protestants" who founded Lunenburg.
2 Fewer than twelve inventories have been identified or noted as the contents of a shop. Most are not very detailed. The Wollenhaupt and Lennox inventories were chosen because of their detailed listings, their dates and as a tie-in to my earlier paper, "Proxemic Patterns..." (See footnote to title.)
3 Public Archives of Nova Scotia (Pans), Rg 48, Reel 842.
4 Ibid.
5 Based on research for my PhD thesis, "The Domestic Arts and Architecture of the Lunenburg-Germans of Nova Scotia: The Evidence Based on Estate and Shop Inventories of Lunenburg County, 1763-1830," Department of History, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
6 Florence M. Montgomery, Textiles in America, 1650-1870 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1985), p. 304. Descriptions of the textiles referred to, their uses, and an explanation of the textile vocabulary appearing in the text and inventories can be found in this publication.
7 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 84 I. This inventory is one of the earliest with an accompanying auction record which lists comparative evaluations of clothing and textiles.
8 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 84 I. The auction was held on 20 April 1801.
9 Montgomery, Textiles in America, pp. 244-45.
10 Montgomery, Textiles in America, pp. 185-86.
11 Olive was listed in Montgomery, Textiles in America, as one of the common dark colours.
12 Montgomery, Textiles in America, p. 347.
13 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882.
14 Ibid.
15 Ibid.
16 Pans, Mg 23, Vol. 1842b.
17 Harold B. and Dorothy K. Burnham, Keep Me Warm One Night: Early Handweaving in Eastern Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972), p. 7.
18 Pans, V/F, V. 176, No. 29, p. 25.
19 Susan Borrows Swan, "Household Textiles," in Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans, ed. Scott Swank (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1983), p. 221.
20 Swan, "Household Textiles," p. 221.
21 Burnham and Burnham, Keep Ale Warm One Night, p. 16.
22 Swan, "Household Textiles," p. 222.
23 Ibid.
24 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882.
25 Over 50 per cent of the inventories examined list some type of textile tool, the most common being wool and/or cotton cards, and spinning wheels. I have limited discussion to these four tools as they are in my opinion the most interesting of the tools listed, and by way of definition suggest a household more deeply involved in some aspect of textile manufacture in at least one or more of its three stages-raw fibre to thread or yarn, thread or yarn to cloth, cloth to clothes or other domestic textiles.
26 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882.
27 See Burnham and Burnham, Keep Me Warm One Night, p. 29, and Swan, "Household Textiles," p. 222.
28 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882.
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid.
31 Ibid.
32 Swan, "Household Textiles," p. 222.
33 Ibid.
34 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882. The inventory is dated 9 May 1814.
35 Ibid.
36 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 843.
37 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 882.
38 Ibid.
39 I am suggesting these activities based on the use of "long wheels" for wool and spinning wheels for flax; cotton, which was not grown in Nova Scotia, was not readily available in raw form, unless imported.
40 Swan, "Household Textiles," p. 223- Swan notes that "among Pennsylvania Germans the most common household loom was a boxlike tape loom placed on a table."
41 Pans, Rg 48, Reel 883.
42 Ibid.
43 Burnham and Burnham, Keep Me Warm One Night, p. 10.