Woman's striped cotton dress
Origin: America, North Carolina, Rowan or Stokes County
Striped cotton, bodice lined with cotton; sewn with cotton thread
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2003-113,A
A. Dress for small woman or girl of white cotton with widely spaced woven stripes of pink and blue. Bodice is styled with a plain scoop neckline and front pinned closure. Gown has a raised waistline. Short sleeves ending in tuck and gathers near the edge, forming a ruffle effect. Back of sleeves are set in deeply to bodice, forming a very narrow back 4 3/4" wide. Sleeves have serpentine gathering at the back, positioned about the shoulder blades. Bodice has pieced linings of cotton. Long unlined skirt is pleated to the bodice; skirt ends in 1 1/4"-wide hem. Dress survives with pair of separate sleeves (2003-113, b&c).
Label:Dress and Mitts
Piedmont North Carolina, 1805-1815
Colonial Williamsburg Museum Purchase, Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections, 2003-113
Made of fashionable but informal striped cotton, this Backcountry dress exhibits up-to-the-minute style for the period 1805-1815. The high waist and short sleeves with removable mitts that extend over the hand are all features of stylish British daytime wear. Family tradition holds that the garment was the wedding dress of Maria Elisabeth Frey of Germanton, North Carolina, who married Abram Leedy about 1792. Given the style of the dress, it likely belonged instead to her daughter, Nancy Leedy, who wed William Cox in 1819. The Leedy family lived about 15 miles from the Moravian town of Salem.
Provenance:Said to be the wedding dress of Elisabeth Fry (probably Marie Elisabeth Frey?), born October 29, 1770 near Germanton, Stokes County, North Carolina. Family history states that she married Abram Leedy (Lidy) of Wytheville, Virginia, around 1796. Family history further states that Elisabeth was married at 16 and that this was her wedding dress, which was spun, woven, and sewed by hand. Genealogical research suggests that the family tradition is incorrect regarding her age at marriage, and that she was, instead, about 26. Marie Elizabeth and Abram Leedy had a daughter, Nancy, born July 11, 1797. After Abram Leedy died, Marie Elizabeth Frey Leedy married Adam Butner and lived in Bethania, Forsythe County, North Carolina. Genealogy from Ancestry.com has record of a Maria Elisabeth Frey, born 30 October 1770 in Rowan County, North Carolina. She died 8 September 1863 in North Carolina. She married Adam Butner on 5 June 1814 in Germantown, Stokes County, North Carolina.