Orinda Pratt and her brother Joel
Small Back Bedroom
The final stop on the second floor is the small back bedroom. The only room in the large 1751 house that does not have a fireplace, the back bedroom quite likely was originally used for spinning and weaving (since flax dust was highly combustible). We are basing this room on the diary of Miss Orinda Pratt, a remarkable 19th century Kent resident who made detailed notes about her daily life between the ages of 12 and 14, in which she describes the vast amount of sewing, mending, knitting and quilting that she was expected to do in a week’s time. Her diary illustrates well the story of clothing before sewing machines made life for the women of the house a great deal easier. She also details the close relationship her family had with Shofski, the traveling salesman who brought cloth, lace, trimmings, and other dry goods to the house on a regular basis. She describes an active sewing circle that she enjoyed from 1858 to at least 1862.
We have hung a large number of white cotton garments from the collection – fine examples of the detailed craftsmanship required of seamstresses in those days. Also on display are a sampler, a handmade quilt, and part of the Society’s collection of spinning wheels, flax wheels, hackles and other tools of the homemade clothing trade.