Monday, April 7, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: F is for Fitzhugh


My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Fitzhugh.  Rufus K. Fitzhugh.  He was one of my Jollett ancestors’ neighbors in Greene County, Virginia, back in the 1840s-1860s.  When I was indexing the 1855 Price-Hill Daybook for the Greene County Historical Society, I noticed ol’ R.K. was a frequent shopper.  I sometimes thought Mr. Price and Mr. Hill must have been grateful for Mr. Fitzhugh’s patronage at their general store because he did spend some money.

And he could afford to!  In 1850, the Fitzhugh farm, with its 30 or more slaves, was valued at almost $7000.  That was huge. 


In 1855, Rufus K. Fitzhugh had been married to his second wife Henrietta for only 5 years, but she was the lucky recipient of much of his spending.  In June, he purchased numerous yards of cotton, gingham, calico and bobinett (think TULLE).  Three linen handkerchiefs, lady’s cotton hose, kid shoes, and picnic gloves were obviously hers as were the brass candlesticks and “waiters” (think SILVER TRAY).

There was more fabric purchased in July including bed ticking and velvet trimming.  In October, with colder weather looming, there was Merino wool, plaid linsey, Irish linen, silk, and the sturdy cambric and drill (something like canvas).  New scissors and knit pins must have come in handy as Mrs. Fitzhugh went to sewing.

Rufus must have pampered his young wife because jet and pearl buttons were on the shopping list as well as tortoiseshell sidecombs. 

Rufus’s personal purchases usually consisted of tobacco and 8-penny nails, but he also helped himself to a “Superior” black hat, gum overshoes, and new shaving brush. 







Now who do you suppose was using Lyons Kathairon?  It was a hot item recently introduced in 1850 promising to cure baldness and prevent the signs of aging.  It also was a hair dye for covering grey.  Rufus K. Fitzhugh purchased Lyons Kathairon in July and again in December.  It must have worked! 








For more Frivolity, Fantasy and Fun, do yourself a Favor and Find your way to the A to Z Challenge.  

12 comments:

  1. Love the hair advert, another great post

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  2. What a fun piece of Ephemera to find and analyze for a look into the way folks not only spent money, but how what they bought lead to an intimate look at their daily lives. Loved all the sewing supplies and terms, and that 'Miracle Grow' hair tonic...great find. Reminds me a bit of 'Garfields Tea' in my Letter A Post. Fun to find those supporting pics for our stories. Loved this post, Wendy...excellent story telling.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. I thought about this ad when I saw your Garfields Tea. I wonder if anyone in the future will be reading our Kroger receipts.

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  3. How I wish I was the wife of someone who could afford all those things. What an interesting list of purchases. Someone must have been talented with needle and thread.

    http://yeakleyjones.blogspot.com/

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    1. I agree, Ann. When I was working on the book, I looked forward to people like Rufus K. Fitzhugh who bought interesting things, not just sugar and coffee and chewing tobacco.

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  4. Love these little anecdotes. Sometimes the past is fun.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  5. What a fun find that shopping list is! It certainly gives us an interesting glimpse into their lives.

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    1. Sometimes that glimpse borders on "too much information." For example, I can tell you who bought chamber pots and when. Seriously, I did enjoy indexing that book just for the glimpse into the day to day life of my ancestors and their neighbors in 1855.

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