Cherry Hill Newsletter Spring 2020
Infectious Disease During the Civil War As today’s medical experts work to understand the spread of, and to control, the Coron avirus ( C O V I D - 1 9 ), it is interesting to compare the diseases an d lack of knowledg e that confronted the soldiers and the medical ‘prof ession,’ such as it was, during the C ivil War. Bacteria an d par asites, not virus es, wer e the s ources of disease on the Civil War battlefi eld. While soldiers might still be susceptible to common contagious diseases of childhood, they also fell victim to diarrh ea, dysentery, typhoid fev er, foo d poisoning, an d malari a. Diseas e caused t wo -thirds o f the 6 60,000 deaths o f Civil War soldiers. Dis eas e has b een called b y some a “third army.” Battles were oft en substantiall y delayed by stricken soldiers. While there was no knowledg e of bacteriology, sanitation was known to be import ant factor for well being. (An Internation al Sanitary Conf erence was hel d in Paris in 1851 and focus ed on qu ar antine m easu res to prev ent the spr ead o f cholera.) Un fortun ately, those on the battlefield didn’t observ e what sanitation committees r ecomm ended. As on e expert des cribed it, “diseas es were spr ead by flies, fingers, f e ces, and food.” One bewildering phen omenon on th e b attlefi eld, howev er, was the “b etter su rvival, fast er r eco very, and less scar ring” o f wounded soldiers who lay unattend ed on the cold ground and whos e wounds beg an to glow a bluish-green, ref er red to as “Angel’s Glo w.” Much later it w as d etermin ed that a nem atode, a par asitic ground worm, car ried a bacteria that glowed and killed other, harmful b acteria in a soldier ’s wo und, thus improving a soldier’s chan ce of r ecovery. Sourc e s: Div i si on of Inf ec t i ous Di se ase s, May o Cl i nic , R oc he st e r MN; Nat i onal Muse um of Civ i l War Me di c i ne ; E hi st ory at The Ohi o St at e Uni v e rsi t y ; and E sse nt i al c iv i l warc urri c ul um.c om. Se e Che rry Hi l l Ne ws – Wi nt e r 2019 f or i nf ormat i on on t he Muse um of Ci v i l War Me di c i ne , i n F re de ri c k, MD.
Tried and True Home Remedies Many 19th century home remedies have been proven to be ineffective or even harmful to the patient. However, here is a list of old-fashioned remedies that are readily available and still are used today. ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
Honey for wounds Ginger tea for nausea Fennel for indigestion Sugar for hiccups Peppermint oil for headaches Peppermint tea for upset stomachs, gas and bloating Blackberry tea for diarrhea Thyme tea for coughs Aloe for burns Oatmeal paste for bug bites Comfrey for back pains Buttermilk for age spots Witch hazel for relief of pain and itching Salt water gargle for sore throats
Housework in the 19th Century ❖ The average housewife spent 4 hours a day tending the cook stove. ❖ She carried an average of 50 pounds of wood per day. ❖ She removed ashes twice a day. ❖ She cleaned deposits from soot and smoke. ❖ She made 8 to 10 daily trips to bring in water. ❖ 50 gallons of water had to be brought in for the washing, boiling, and rinsing of laundry. ❖ Laundry had to be hung and ironed. It took an hour to iron a hoop dress.
And the work goes on … It might be cold outside, but we have some exciting work being done at Cherry Hill. A sprinkler system has been installed to keep the gardens and grounds looking their best year-round along with some added soil and sod to level the outdoor event space. Work has also been put into the front porch with the replacement and repairs of two posts and all new handrails and spindles. Repairs continued on into the house with restoration work completed on the front and back farmhouse doors. Thank you to the Falls Church Public Works Department for their continued support to the visitor experience.
We are now recruiting volunteer docents for the house and barn (especially for the barn!) Volunteers are the heart and soul of our mission & activities at Cherry Hill Farmhouse. This is a great opportunity for folks who enjoy working with people and have a love for history! The role of our docents is to educate the public on the history of Cherry Hill Farm and daily life in Falls Church during the mid-1800s, including life during the Civil War. Docents receive training about the history of the house and tour-leading techniques. Those working in the barn learn to work with our corn grinder and shellers. (Always a big hit with the children!) Available shifts are Saturday mornings, April – October from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on special event days.
A Beautiful Piece of Musical History The magnificent two-pedaled Cherry Hill melodeon sits in the northeast corner of the parlor. Internal to the melodeon is a copyright note dated 1860, indicating its approximate year of manufacture. It was built by Prince & Company of Buffalo, New York and enjoys an ancestral legacy.
To sign up for Farmhouse docent training on Saturday, March 21 from 2 - 4pm, email Corey Jannicelli at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested volunteers who can’t make the training session are encouraged to arrange a private meeting. For more information, call 703-248-5171.
The double-reeded melodeon was gifted to Cherry Hill by the National Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). It had been donated to DAR in 1948, seventy-eight years after it was given to Mary Faust by her maternal grandmother on the event of Mary’s wedding in 1870. (Mary Faust was the organist and choir leader in her father’s Branchdall, PA church.) The name “melodeon” was originated by Jeramiah Carhart of Poughkeepsie, NY in 1835, to convey the sweet, soft sound generated as air flows past a vibrating piece of thin metal (reed) in the frame of the free-reed pump organ. The melodeon garnered great respect for being a reasonably priced solo instrument that did not depend upon voice accompaniment. During the time the William Blaisdell family resided at Cherry Hill (1856 – 1865), we know that melodeons were popular. The Falls Church general store inventoried 20 melodeons in the mid-1850s (per Mary Clovers’ letter). Interestingly, Annie Cora Blaisdell (1854-1924), who become a music teacher, was likely influenced by her nearest neighbors, the Clovers, who owned a melodeon. (They took it with them when they fled Falls Church at the beginning of the Civil War.) Melodeons originated in the U.S. in 1835 and provided piano/organ sound in homes as a competitive alternative to the piano. Higher quality melodeons cost up to $300 in 1870 compared to the starting price point of $500 for US-made pianos. Prince & Company of Buffalo NY was one the world’s larger organ manufacturers during the 19th century.
The Cherry Hill Farmhouse melodeon
Upcoming Events at Cherry Hill Farmhouse Email email@example.com or call 703-248-5171 for more information.
Celtic Music Concert Saturday, March 14 8 - 10pm Cost: $15 Enjoy a lively evening of Irish music in the intimate atmosphere of the farmhouse parlor. 18 & up. Activity Code: 250725-A
Docent Training Saturday, March 21 2 - 4pm Cherry Hill Farmhouse is seeking volunteer docents to give tours to the public. This opportunity is great for individuals with outgoing personalities and a love for history! 16 & up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Cherry Hill Ice Cream Social! Saturday, April 6 10am - 12pm Free Event Cherry Hill celebrates the start of its open house season with some family fun! Join us for yard games, tours and ice cream! Have a chance to use our old fashion ice cream maker and learn how ice cream was made in the 1860s.
Girl Scout Day - Making Games Saturday, March 18 2 - 4pm Fee: $10.00 per girl Brownies and Scouts will tour the farmhouse, complete a scavenger hunt, and learn a variety of parlor games, then create their own parlor games and invent a sport using Victorian-era toys. Program fulfills all badge requirements. POS 0483 (Actual badge not included.)
Mother’s Day Tea Sunday, May 10 2 - 4pm Fee: $33 Activity Code: 230151-A This special tea will be hosted by a costumed docent who will discuss a mother’s role in the mid-19th century. As always, the tea consists of tea sandwiches, assorted sweets, warm scones and a bottomless cup of tea. The senior citizen discount is not available for this program. ***Reservations are required***
Civil War Encampment Saturday, May 16 10am - 2pm Programming includes access to Cherry Hill Historic House and Farm and barn, children’s learning tent, and living history from the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Ladies Sanitary commission, Clara Barton, Professor Thaddeus Lowe, and more.
Some Interesting Local Activities Related to the Civil War 1. The White House Historical Association launched an on-line exhibit, “Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood” this month. According to its creators, the virtual exhibit is “an effort to remind Americans of the role of enslaved people in the establishment and maintenance of the country’s most symbolic address.” The site is located at Whitehousehistory.org. The exhibit provides the names of slaves who worked at the White House, frequently asked questions, photographs, and a virtual tour of the slave quarters at Decatur House. Announcement of the new exhibit and additional information provided by Joe Hein in the Metro section of the Washington Post, February 18, 2020; online at “People’s House Deserves a People’s History.” 2. The state of Maryland recently installed life-sized bronze statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas, both born in Maryland, in the Old House Chambers of the State House, the room where Maryland banned slavery in November 1864. The installation was part of a number of changes that included removing some long-posted portraits as well. The statues can be viewed by the public when the State House is open. Background on the historic change, provided by Erin Cox, can be found in the Metro section of the Washington Post of February 11; online at “Statues of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.” 3. The Smithsonian Associates are offering a tour on Saturday, March 21 at Gettysburg, MD that focuses on the role of women during the battles of the Civil War. The day-long tour includes stories of individual women, a visit to the Gettysburg Museum, and a screening of the film New Birth of Freedom. There is a charge for the tour. More information can be found at Smithsonian Associates.org.
Scenes from Children’s Holiday Shoppe SELECTING
Home School Program: Life on a Farm Thursday, May 21 10 - 11:30am Fee: $5 Activity Code: 221022-A Children will tour the farmhouse and barn to learn how technology of the day made life easier for the 19th-century farmer. Hands-on activities include identifying tools a housewife would have used in the kitchen and those a farmer would have used in the barn. Enroll the child only. One adult may attend with each child. 5 & up.
UPDATE: Several members of the Cherry Hill board and Corey Janicelli will attend the Virginia Association of Museums Conference (March 7-10). Topics to be covered include board membership, partnering with local schools, Native American artifacts, and interpreting women in historic house museums.
SO MANY CHOICES
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