Diaries - Clothing
Hadley - June 13, 1851
The weather is verry (sic) changeable nights verry cold and verry warm in the middle of the day. some times it will turn cold in an hour so that from shirt sleeves, you will be cold with the heaviest of winter clothing. It beats anything I ever saw.
Wood - July 4, 1851
For your amusement I will give a description of my dress for the occasion: A red calico frock, made for the purpose in the wagons; a pair of mockasins, made of black buffalo hide, ornamented with silk instead of beads, as I had none of the latter and a hat braided, of bullrushes and trimmed with white, red and pink ribbon and white paper.
McAuley - April 7, 1852
Our clothing is light and durable. My sister and I wear short dresses and bloomers and our foot gear includes a pair of light calf-skin topboots for wading through mud and sand.
Cooke - January 30, 1853, Letter
I swapt that calico dress which I had unmade at your house to Mrs Hubbard for a black alapacca dress made as she wanted a calico so I made considerable by that trade I shall be glad of a black dress on the road I am quite out of under clothes & cannot get anything in the city. theres not a yard to be bought Mrs Hubbard gave me a large night dress of hers to make me 2 chemises so dont you think we are hard up We’ll want every thing new when we get to our journey end.
Cooke - March 12, 1853, Letter
I’ve sold my satin dress to get Wm an overcoat which is a good broadcloth very heavy & well lined also bound with silk binding in fact it’s much too good for our purpose being valued at $25 still he needed one so bad & my frock was only in my way & of no use till we got to Cal I can then get another quite as cheap I got a new figured alpacen dress besides the cost $1¼ pr yard I needed a second best dress to wear when at our journeys end My black silk [dress] is about done for i e the waist [bodice] is.
Ward - June 4, 1853
We left encampment at an early hour and took a long walk with Mrs. Singletary, whom, notwithstanding her bloomer dress, we found to be a sensible, pleasant woman.
Ketcham - May 30, 1853
In jumping off the horse today, I caught the dress in the horn of the saddle and tore almost half of the skirt off. That I must mend tonight. I have had no dress on since the day we came to Westport but my palm leaf muslin delaine. I mean to stick to it as long as I can.
Ketcham - June 5, 1853
Camilla had just dressed herself for Sunday by putting on clean clothes, a light gingham dress, white stockings, and low shoes. ... James and Phil had gone some distance to the water to wash some wrappers.
Ketcham - July 7, 1853
I have been down by the river and washed two calico dresses.
Ketcham - July 21, 1853
The high mountains or our right were covered with clouds. Whether the shower there was snow or rain I cannot tell. It was pretty cool where we were. We have nearly our winter clothing on and rode all day with our large shawls on, then were hardly comfortable.
Ketcham - July 29, 1853
...had quite a time getting through the sage which was very thick and high. My palm leaf dress has something like 40 holes in. If possible I will stick to it till we get to Fort Hall.
Carpenter - May 26, 1857
Then there were several trips to Lawrence (15 miles for dry goods and food supplies. I got two pairs of shoes, calico for two spencer waists, jeans for a dress skirt, needles, pins and thread and so forth.
Carpenter - June 2, 1857
The store contained but little in the way of ladies goods. The best I could do was to buy some brown and black chequered cotton pants cloth to make a jacket.
Carpenter - June 19, 1857
There is a bride and groom in the Inmann party. The bride wears hoops. We have read of hoops being worn, but they had not reached Kansas before we left so these are the first we have seen and would not recommend them for this mode of traveling.
Carpenter - June 28, 1857
It was very cold this morning. In order to be comfortable I had to wear a sacque, jacket and shawl.
Carpenter - July 1, 1857
Near where we stopped a woman had been buried some time before beside the road... A couple of holes (like squirrel holes only much larger) and bits of clothing and other remains showed who had been there. The whole front of a waist of Dolly Varden goods, made in musk-melon style and gathered into the old-fashioned long pique, was the largest piece of clothing.
Holmes - January 25, 1859, Letter
I am, perhaps the first Woman Who has Worn the "American Costume" across the prairie sea which divides the great frontier of the states from the Rocky Mountains. ... I presume some of them had never seen iust such a costume before. I wore a calico dress, reaching a little below the knee, pants of the same, Indian moccasins for my feet, and on my head a hat.
Tootle - June 7, 1862
My traveling suit is a cotton material brown plaid minus hoopes, dark stockings, brown cambric skirt, brown hat trimmed with brown ribbon.
Knight - August 8, 1853
...the little ones have curled down, and gone to sleep without supper, wind high, and it is cold enough for a great coat and mittens.