My mission is to inspire women and girls of all ages to engage in and enjoy the traditional feminine arts of the women before us. And to be womanly and feminine, and stand out in a world so opposed to this. Enjoying our feminine roles with no apologies.
O magnet-South! O glistening perfumed South! My South! O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse and love! Good and evil! O all dear to me! ~ Walt Whitman
When the men returned from the war, the farms were neglected, fences dilapidated, and the supply of seed for crops almost exhausted. The families of men who did not return were, indeed, in a desperate condition. The educational facilities were almost entirely dropped. People had time for only one effort, that was, to obtain the necessities of life. The social life was reduced to a minimum. The freeing of the slaves had brought about a labor problem on the large farms, as well as economical problems. The women had worked the farms as best they could during the war, and in addition to this and the regular work of the house, they carded the cotton, spun the thread, wove the cloth, and cut and made clothes for the family. They knit socks and stockings also. The dye for the cloth came from the woods; walnut bark made brown; poke berries, magenta; red oak bark, red; indigo, blue; etc. The indigo was grown for this purpose. To make the dye, it was soaked in water for two days, then wrung out and the indigo settled to the bottom. Shoes were made from home-tanned leather. Nails in them were wooden pegs, whittled from wood. Soap was made with lye and meat scraps. The lye was obtained by placing oak ashes in a barrel with a small hole at the bottom; water was poured slowly and after passing through the ashes, was caught at the bottom in the form of a strong lye, then boiled with the fat. Every home had a ash hopper in the backyard; a barrel set on a slanting scaffold and covered to keep out the rain. All the oak ashes were poured into the hopper until soap making time. This was usually in the spring; after all the hogs had been killed, and the soap fat saved. Syrup was made from cane, and to get the sugar, the syrup was boiled low and then dripped through a sack. The sugar left in the sack was brown, but had a good flavor. Even after the war, salt was scarce for some time; and had to be brought from Mobile; the cost was $50.00 per barrel. The women provided much of the medicine used during the war and reconstruction. From the woods they brought Calamus Root, May Apple, Butterfly Weed, Dogwood Bark for quinine, Cherry Bark, and Sassafras for tea. Some of these were placed in whiskey for a tonic, Poppy seed were used for a narcotic, and Sheep Sorrel for salve.
This article was written for the WPA, by my husband's great-grandmother, Mrs. Rachel McSwain Fullilove, who was about 10 years old when the war began.
Sassafras - NOT Recommended for pregnant women, or in large amounts for anyone. According to WebMD: "Don't use sassafras if you are pregnant. There is evidence that sassafras oil might cause a miscarriage. Children: Sassafras is UNSAFE for children. A few drops of sassafras oil may be deadly." (I assume this means Sassafras essential oil.)
Photos included for entertainment purposes only. ALWAYS research and/or talk with your physician or natural health practitioner before self-medicating. The dangers are REAL folks! THERE IS ALWAYS A CHANCE SOMEONE MAY BE HIGHLY SENSITIVE TO SOME OF THESE, ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY, A CHILD, OR AN INFANT. It's better to be safe than sorry!
Photos included for entertainment purposes only. ALWAYS research and talk with your physician or natural health practitioner before self-medicating.