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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - November 26, 2003

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. The big rain that filled the parking lot has been about the only exciting thing going on at "my" house. I did hear E. J. and Keith laughing and talking about a "national holiday" and that they would be gone for two weeks. That had me guessing for awhile and then I learned that opening day for deer season is their "national holiday". Needless to say, they are not here!
I really miss having Keith and the guys around so I was really happy when Cousin Jake stopped by to check out the porch. He was impressed! You all be sure and check out the porch too. All the white columns are in place and there is a new white cellar door just waiting for the hardware to arrive from Bob. I told Cousin Jake that the brick for the porch, sidewalks and courtyard were a great gift from Richards Brick and The Friends were very fortunate to have a gifted craftsman like Keith to lay them. Ain't life grand!
Cousin Jake had lots of news for me about downtown Edwardsville shops and how beautiful the old fashioned street lights are in their holiday decorations.


When he mentioned "old fashioned" I thought of the Stephenson House Fiber Guild. They are the group of crafts people who weave, spin, loom fabrics and do all sorts of things that were a necessity in 1820. The clothes, coats and covers they made were needed to keep people warm. Henry here must check in with Tracey and see how this group is coming along.


Talking about clothes reminds me of when I talked about the clothes that Col. Ben may have taken to Washington when he was a Delegate to Congress. Well, just the other day I heard Sid talking about his favorite farmer, Gershom Flagg, who lived outside Edwardsville. Gershom was a very successful farmer and in response to a letter from his brother, he told his brother how he was fairing after 8 years of farming in the Illinois Territory.


Gershom told his brother a lot about his farming methods and the property and equipment he owned. Then he told about the clothes he owned. Gershom Flagg had 12 shirts, 6 pair of pantaloons, 6 vests, 10 cravats and handkerchiefs, two roundabouts, (these are short, tight-fitting jackets); 4 pairs of stockings, 2 pairs of shoes, and one coat in Short. (Henry thinks that "short" means a short coat). Well, well! It sure sounds like Gershom was one well-dressed farmer. Now, this mouse has no idea where he wore all those clothes in Edwardsville. Wait a minute, Henry does remember that Edwardsville was the social and cultural center at that time. So, with that being the case, Gershom was ready!


The small town of Edwardsville was a center for politicians, professionals, successful farmers and educated people. Ol' Henry remembers Elvira's obituary that spoke of wealth, fashion, and gala balls in Edwardsville. Cousin Jake said he will look for an ad from Prickett's store that should give Ol' Henry an idea of what was available for people to buy in the Edwardsville stores! Jake says I will be surprised.
Yep, it looks like Edwardsville was some place to live in 1820!!


Yesterday I overheard Mary and Candy talking about the Christmas Trees for Charity Auction. This is the second year that the Specialty Shops of Edwardsville & Glen Carbon are hosting this event to raise money for charities. The trees will be displayed at the Stephenson House on December 6 and 7. Admission is $2.00 and you can be part of the silent auction for each tree or just come see the beautiful trees! Henry remembers that last year the trees were really neat. My favorite tree was the sparkly one with all kinds of bead shining and glistening in the light of the fire.


Speaking of fire, do you remember how cold it was last year in "my" house? Not this year! This year there is a furnace in "my" house, thanks to Bob of Modern Wholesale Supply. Jim will make sure the fireplaces are glowing and putting out wonderful warmth, but they will not be the only source of heat!
Check the local paper for the time of the tree auction on December 6 and 7. And, oh yes, I meant to tell you earlier that the admission money received will be used for the Stephenson House restoration project. See you there!


Just recently it has rained, then the sun was very warm, then it was very cold and somebody said it would snow and Henry never knows what will come next. Henry here can only say thank you to all you good folks out there that have made "my" house so wonderful. This will be the warmest, most pleasant winter I have spent in a long time! You know, I think it is time for a long nap right now!

See ya' later
Henry


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