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Jun 04 2015

Forest County Museum’s Artifact Autobiography: Wheel-Shaped Pillow Cover

I was donated to the Forest County Museum by Kathy Palmer after her mother, Mildred Cronce, passed away. I am an off-white circular pillow cover with ruffles on my outer edge. I am embroidered with red spokes and multi-colored ribbons. There are names sewn all over me in different shades of thread. The names were originally written in pencil and later someone embroidered them. It is uncertain who did this, but one would guess from the names embroidered and their relation to the donor’s family that the artist was Olive Barker, Mildred Cronce’s aunt. Olive Barker was the daughter of Miles Barker, a merchant and trading post owner, who came to Crandon in 1886. Olive was also a teacher at the first school in Crandon where she was responsible for educating eighty-eight children of varying ages (Forest County Historical Society 2015).
It is not proven but from my wheel and sprocket design I could have belonged to a cycling club. The names on me are those of men, women, and children. A bicycle club would have been a wonderful way to spend time with the family. Bicycling became very popular in the 1890’s when they were mass produced and became affordable for the working class family (http://recollectionwisconsin.org/bicycling).
Some of the names covering me are those of well-known historical figures such as: E.O. Woodbury, surveyor/sheriff/town chairman, Egbert Wyman, first county District Attorney, Warde Wescott, local politician /UW football player, Mrs. E.C. Paul, wife of the first drugstore owner, May Crawford, wife of the first dentist, Mary Hooper and Melvina Riggs, wives of early Crandon leaders, and W.E. Webb, one of the first settlers to the area (Forest County Historical Society 2015). If you would like to see the rest of the names covering me stop by the Forest County Museum. I will be hung up on the wall in the dining room.

pillow cover 2

pillow cover

Permanent link to this article: http://www.forestcountyhistory.org/forest-county-museums-artifact-autobiography-wheel-shaped-pillow-cover/

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