Grandmother’s Wedding Gown

As told to Elsie Odell Bennette by Beth Gowdy

When my Grandmother, Sally Newbill, was preparing for her wedding in 1828, the most of her outfit was made, spun and woven by her own hands.
One day her father told her that he was going to town and would bring her goods from the store for her wedding dress. Store bought goods did not come to Sally very often, so she was quite happy to know her father’s intention. All the time he was away she could think of nothing but that promised piece of goods. She knew if a ship from Europe had come lately there would be plenty of pretty goods to choose from. Ships came but seldom and between times the store shelves grew bare, so what would her father bring.

It took Great Grandfather three days to ride on horseback to town. Then he had business to attend to, friends to visit, and three days again to ride home. When he came he took the saddle bags stuffed with packages from behind his saddle, threw them into a chair, greeted his family, washed and rested from his long hours in the saddle and then supper was ready. Sally sat at the table, but not one bite could she swallow. What was in those saddle bags? Great Grandfather ate his supper without haste, visited with his wife about his trip, told her whom he had seen. She told him all that had been done on the plantation during his absence. Then when all this was done he unbuckled the flaps of those bags and gave Sally her dress goods, two lovely pieces of silk, a brown flowered for the wedding dress, and a very dark purple, almost stiff enough to stand alone, for a second day dress. Sally was the happiest girl in Virginia that evening.

Why did she wait so long for her father to open those bags? In those days no well brought up daughter hurried her parents. She waited calmly till they were ready.

I wonder how Peggy or Mary or Johanne would like to have her wedding dress chosen in that way.

One Reply to “Grandmother’s Wedding Gown”

  1. Such a nice story! Girls now a days have stronger opinions, know what they want, and usually get it. I don’t think they could wait that long to see what they were brought, and then would they like what dad picked out? I doubt it, things have changed so much!

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