Friday, April 20, 2007

The Map Hatter, or, Bonnetmaking On the Road to Save Texas History

Oh my! There has been whispering around that Miss Elodie has gone into Trade. Lately she has taken to the road ready to lend her talents to gentlemen to whom she has not been introduced. Yes, money does exchange hands, but it is, of course, for such a Worthy Cause! What could so occupy her time and talents? Why she has been assisting with fundraising for the Save Texas History program!

This last excursion took her to the Civil War Reenactment held at the Confederate Reunion Grounds in Mexia where she wore the bonnet she created during the journey, handed out pamphlets, and generally stumped for Save Texas History. Never fear, Miss Elodie won't forget she is a Lady; she wore her most respectable dress and was careful to remain with her escort. Sometimes even the most retiring of Ladies need to get up and speak! And speak she did! She and The Judge sold several copies of the Phelps and Watson's Historical and Military Map of the Border and Southern States. Before, Miss Elodie sat hidden behind the display performing intricate searches through agency files and allowed The Judge to do all the talking. Now that she has had a taste for canvassing the crowd, perhaps Miss Elodie will consider a political career...

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Visit to Chatfield

Miss Elodie recently traveled to the plantation of her friend The Judge for a visit. This lovely place, still in the family of the original owner, is near the site of the June 2, 1865 challenge of Confederate General Shelby to his troops "Who will go with me to Mexico?" rather than surrender to Union forces. Shelby's Expedition did indeed travel south, but those soldiers who followed their general across the Rio Grande faced real hardship. Nonetheless, Shelby's speech near Chatfield is considered the "Last Review of the Confederacy." A commemorative plaque stands near The Judge's plantation so those visitors who are not able to hear The Judge's own grandiloquent rendition of Shelby's declaration can still experience a soup├žon of the drama from that day.

The area's history and oratory not withstanding, Chatfield is a beautiful spot and Miss Elodie acquired some photographs of the home, garden, horses, and aged cedars while on her visit. She even was persuaded to pose for the camera. Miss Elodie has overcome her natural modesty and has graciously allowed these images to be displayed in public.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Texas Sugar Plantation in Brazoria County

Miss Elodie, like her great-great-great-great-grandmother and namesake, is passionate about sugar. She likes to think that sugarcane juice runs through her veins as she thinks about sugar almost every waking moment and is the descendent of four generations of sugar planters. This heritage and a general fascination has inspired her to explore the subject extensively in both an academic and professional capacity.

As part of her sugar mania, Miss Elodie has visited several historic plantations and even a sugar refinery in Louisiana. Recently she had the opportunity to see a fairly intact property at the Varner-Hogg Plantation in Brazoria, Texas.

Over the years this property passed through several hands over the years from original "Old 300" settler Martin Varner to former Texas Gov. James Hogg and his daughter the philanthropist Miss Ima Hogg who willed the estate to the people of the state of Texas. Now a state park, Varner Hogg features the main house, a few outbuildings, family cemetery, and what is left of the sugar mill.

Included here is a picture of the house taken from the site of the sugar mill ruins. The fashionably dressed lady is Miss Elodie's friend Miss Laurie and a gentleman of her acquaintance.

The thumbnails below are of an iron kettle known as a "grande" used to boil sugarcane juice and the remains of the sugar mill foundations and chimneys.

The Bonnet Brigade


Miss Elodie's compatriots over at The Bonnet Brigade have updated their blog. She invites you to read about this duo of clothing obsessed historians.


Monday, April 9, 2007

New Day, New Diary

Miss Elodie welcomes you to her diary. She hopes her activities will be of some interest to you and others. Currently she is planning to sew a new dress, attend a symposium, and witness history in the re-making.