1880s Lace by an early Fairfielder Mary Ellen (Sheward) Huntzinger

November 18, 2010

antique crochet lace by Fairfield IA native.

Detail of apron-lace created by Mary Ellen (Sheward) Huntzinger of Fairfield in the 1880s.

Born in September 1858 in Fairfield, Iowa as the fifth child of Thomas H. and Nancy McDoel (Holbrook) Sheward, Mary Ellen (or Mary Ella) married John Franklin Huntzinger on July 5, 1881 at her parents’ house in Fairfield. The couple had two children: Robert Ralph, born April 28, 1882 in Harlan, and Helen Harriet, born July 30, 1897 in Des Moines.

Lace description by Vashti Braha:
“Looks like pure unadulterated crochet! At right and left is a popular type of stitch pattern often called “spiderweb stitch,” at least nowadays, and has many variations. In the center is what looks like “double crochet filet” stitch, another popular one. I don’t often see the two stitch patterns combined in this way, but I’m no expert on 19thc stitch combos.”

1880s lace by Fairfield IA native Mary Ellen Sheward Huntzinger.

The lace was originally attached to an apron, and was later removed and attached to homespun linen to create a tablecloth runner.

Click here for a photo of Mary Ellen (Sheward) Huntzinger with her husband and family.

See the homespun linen, next photo.

homespun sample close-up from Fairfield IA pre-Civil War.

Close-up of the last homespun linen woven by Sarah (Rudy) Huntzinger of Fairfield, wife of pioneer miller Franklin B. Huntzinger. It was probably created before 1858, when the railroad brought inexpensive factory cloth from the East. After initially serving as a bedsheet, this linen was eventually made into a tablecloth runner with attached lace. Sarah’s granddaughter, Helen H. (Huntzinger) Lewis, attached this note to the tablecloth:

“Inherited from my grandparents, F. B. + Sarah Huntzinger. The last homespun linen bed sheet was divided amoung the children and this was edged from lace made by my mother and used first as edging on an apron.

Helen Huntzinger Lewis”

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