Saturday, 22 September 2012


Last time we had the Hendersons in view.
The grandfather  of Jenny Amelia Ford (daughter of Amelia Henderson) was married 4 times .
And about his 4th wife Fanny Burnap there are some stories to tell.
 This Fanny Burnap was he widow of Jacob Burnap son of the first minister of Merrimack.

Her sisters  in law invented  The BURNAP "LEGHORN BONNETS"
here the full storie.
According to the oral town history, presented at the Bicentennial celebration in 1946 (written by my grandmother, Mattie Kilborn Webster): "The Burnap sisters, daughters of the first minister [Jacob Burnap], had other ideas of a woman's usefulness. It is claimed that in this Town [Merrimack] they invented the making of "Leghorn hats" or bonnets, as they were called.
Some of these bonnets were of black leghorn straw trimmed with peach colored crepe, and crowned with a beautiful bouquet of half-blown roses, lilacs and field flowers. 
They were often ornamented with a bow of ribbon, long ends or streamers on one side. A bouquet of wild poppies was sometimes placed in front surmounted by a plume of marabout feathers. 
The ribbon was either straw colored or striped. A little later the style changed. 
Pieces of brim was cut away at the back and drawn up at the crown with a large bow. Strings and rosettes were over the right ear. Some were sold in Boston for as much as $50. John Stark bought one for his wife Molly and it can be seen at the Historical Building (at Concord).
They not only made bonnets but other things from grass or plated straw. 
This certain kind of straw was known as "Dunstable straw." Surely those early women deserve to be remembers for their spirit of industry."
" It [Merrimack] claims the credit of making the first Leghorn bonnets, which often sold for forty or fifty dollars," is also noted in the book: "The Merrimack River; its source and its tributaries. 
Embracing a history of manufactures, and of the towns along its course; their geography, topography, and products, with a description of the magnificent natural scenery about its upper waters," by J. W. Meader., published in 1869.
"In the History of Dedham, MA, there is an extract from the Norfolk County Advertiser of August 1821: 'On Monday last was sold at auction at Merchant's Hall the elegant Bonnet which has been for several days exhibited at the store of Messrs. Hall J. Howe & Co., made by Misses Bernaps of Merrimack, N.H. of a wild grass discovered by them in that town. It was knocked off to Josiah Bradlee for Fifty Dollars. The execution of the Bonnet was very superior to the one lately sent to England from Connecticut. We understand that one of the above mentioned young ladies is now visiting at Medford and that the money was presented to her yesterday afternoon. Thus shall the skill and industry of our countrywomen ever be rewarded.' "[from The Burnap-Burnett genealogy by Henry Wyckoff Belknap; Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1925, page 119]
One Sophia Woodhouse of Wethersfield CT plyed her trade in the bonnet making business, about the same time as the Burnap sisters, however she patented her design in 1821.

No comments: