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Matagorda Ranch House

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1 Matagorda Ranch House on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:05 am

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Annette Bethke

I have been lucky enough to be sent a photo of a Matagorda ranch house.The gentleman related to the people in the photo said, based on the children and apparent ages, he believes it to be about 1863, but at least during the war. Not only does it show the houses, but it appears that there are some slaves also in the photo. And the women are wearing hats, not bonnets. It's a great resource tool for Texas research.



Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Vicki Betts

Do you think the woman on the far left, in a dark dress and something light on the head, is wearing a sunbonnet?

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Terre Schill

Great photo, Annette. Thanks for that one, and thanks to whoever sent it to you.

I have never quite been able to buy into the oft-stated belief that hats were *only* worn by very young women as a fashion statement. It just seems too practical of an item to be that reductionist about! If you were out working in the hot Texas sun, then a broad brimmed sunhat would seem to be the rational way to go, to me. Not enough air circulation under a sunbonnet. Of course what seems rational to us may not have seemed so to "them."

Would be interested in representations of working women's hats, if anyone has any. I might have seen one or two, not sure, but haven't kept track of them if I have.

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Annette Bethke

I'm beginning to get the impression that bonnets were
more formal, for instance when you went to church or
visiting and definately during cold weather. Whereas a
hat was not quite so formal and you would wear it
perhaps riding, traveling, in the country, or at the
seaside. I'm not sure you would wear a hat working in
the fields.Godey's does show a lot of hats with their
summer plates. There is a quote from Brokenburn that
describes Texas women wearing top-knotted sunbonnets
at church though. She called it a country
congregation.

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Annette Bethke

I think what is really interesting about the photo,
besides the people, is the proximity of the houses and
the trees in the front lawn. I wish I had a better
program so that I could blow up sections of the photo
for a better view of everything. It is so rare to find
war era photos of Texas that I want to really dissect
this one .

Another note on photos; I thought I had a war era
photo of a woman in Austin, but I researched the
photographer and found he wasn't in Austin until 1868.
The dress appears so mid-60s and it is a sheer. Very
bummed.

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Terre Schill

BTW, on the hat issue, I don't really mean that I think a woman would take the same fine straw hat a young woman would wear to church and wear it in the fields! No, a different type of hat. A crude homemade hat. Or a man's worn out straw. Rather like the hat on the "rural" woman in Calico Chronicle. Or was that Buckskin and Homespun? Can't remember! Anyway, THAT is the hat I mean for just working outside 90% of the time.

For going places, yes probably a sunbonnet. For going someplace fancy, a fashion bonnet if she has one.


Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Terre Schill

If it was a civil war era sheer I would consider it 'close enough for jazz" and value it almost as much as a civil war photo. It might well be a dress she had during the war?

Yes, in light of the fact that people seem to have maintained sort of a "scorched earth" policy on their own homesteads (tongue in cheek!), it is surprising that these folks seem to have planted a tree every ten feet or so. Plus the bushes outside the fence look like something deliberately planted, too. Or are my eyes deceiving me?

Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Annette Bethke

I cropped it and blew it up the most I could on my
photo program on my computer. I then magnified it
again. It does appear to be a sunbonnet and it appears
to be an African American woman.



Copied from Texas Civilian Yahoo list. Posted August 2007 by Annette Bethke

The bushes outside the fence appear to me to be like
hedges that were planted all over Texas like Cherokee
Roses and such. The patriarch came in 1830s so they
have had some time on the place. I'll see what I can
do to blow up the other people (pun, not intended) .

View user profile http://www.txcwcivilian.org

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