Threads of the Past - Woven for the Future
Poplar Heights Farm and the John Seelinger family who resided there, represent the fruition of the American dream for immigrants - Prosperity, family, community standing, and a legacy to pass on to their children. Their story mirrors that of many of the settlers of the western Missouri border counties. For these settlers, however, these rewards did not often come easily. Many struggled against terrible hardships and dangers, but they endured as they traveled the road to prosperity and freedom. It is this story Threads tells - prosperity and want, hardships and success, some became notable, others faded into obscurity.
When a visitor steps into Threads, they step back in time into an 1890's mercantile store supplying the needs of women of the day.
At the Flax, Cotton and Wool displays, visitors learn the processes of turning these items into useful and decorative products, and gain an understanding of just how long it took from planting a flax seed to having linen cloth, from planting a cotton seed to producing a shirt to wear, and from raising sheep for wool to having a warm coat to keep out winter's chill. These simple actions of providing necessary, even mundane items for life became a struggle as the violence of the Missouri/Kansas Border War erupted into the Civil War. Order # 11 burned our pioneers' homes, farms, businesses and even entire towns out of existence. Transportation networks were destroyed and thousands were left homeless. All the accomplishments these settlers had made up to the War were wiped out, virtually overnight, forcing individuals to return to the primitive methods of spinning cloth, storing and transporting goods and foods, even writing letters to family back east.
It was these struggles to recover after the Civil War that led to the industrial revolution of the late 1800's. Learn of the effects it had on breaking down social and economic barriers. There were tremendous changes for women - and it was women who were almost solely responsible for the production of fiber based products as demonstrated in Threads.
Looms made more than just rugs. Our Little Daisy Newcomb loom of 1896 played a role in the empowerment of women. Did you know that the Jacquard loom was a forerunner of todays computers?
Visitors are invited to card wool and drop spin cotton, work on the loom, go to the garden and hoe or pick cotton. Learn what most history books skip over, the real and practical examples of surviving daily life. This "enduring struggle for freedom" - freedom of an easier life, freedom from want, freedom to vote, freedom to acquire an education, freedom to control one's own destiny, was a struggle back in the 1800's, in the 1900's and still today in the 2000s.
Threads is now open during regular hours. Additionally, there are classes in many of the fiber arts - triangle looming, spinning & weaving, paper making, basket weaving, crocheting and tatting and more. Check our schedule for details.
Threads was made possible with a grant from Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and generous donations from many in western Missouri.