Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Earrings (Pennsyvlania Gazette, 7-28-1784)

David Carson was living in the awkwardly named Uwchland township northwest of Philadelphia when his slave Dina ran away in 1784. Interestingly, Carson waited a full two weeks to announce Dina's flight in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Even then, he still wasn't sure precisely what Dina had stolen, noting that she "may have many other articles of clothing not yet discovered."

If Carson's description is any indication, Dina was no beauty, and "naturally of a sour countenance." Her clothing was similarly plain. Dina's short gown and petticoat were of brown linsey (likely shorthand for linsey-woolsey, having a linen warp and woolen weft) and she also wore a tow linen shirt. These sorts of coarse garments were common among both slave and free laborers in rural America.

But even dour-faced Dina found ways to personalize her appearance. Both her ears were pierced, and she regularly wore silver rings in them.

One wonders whether it took David Carson two weeks to check his jewelry box as well.

1 comment:

  1. David clearly got the earrings from his secret boyfriend and didn't want his wife to know.