Memorial Day Greetings

Memorial Day! 

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
My son and I want to wish all a very happy memorial day and spend the day honoring the falling vets. We also want to take this time to remember the men who are away serving and protecting our country.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Charlotte Hawkins Brown was synonymous with class and breeding, manners and gracious living.
Reading the article by Edwardian Promenade on her life was so inspiring for me.

Happy Victoria Day!

Victoria Day is celebrated on the last Monday before or on May 24, in honor of both Queen Victoria’s birthday and the current reigning Canadian sovereign’s official birthday. It has been marked since before Canada was formed, originally falling on the sovereign’s actual birthday, and continues to be celebrated across the country on a fixed date and in various fashions, also being considered an informal mark of the beginning of the summer season.
Beginning of the summer season? Anyways…
Happy Victoria Day!

I have the day off from work and I plan to spend the day as a true Victorian. I will get dressed in my finest Victorian Spring outfit and enjoy a picnic in the park, visit an old cemetery and spend sometime at the Hearthside House. It will be a day to step back in time.

An Entrepreneur of the 1860's

Madam C.J. Walker

1867 - 1919 

In 1917 Madam C.J. Walker was one of the wealthiest women in the United States. She developed a line of cosmetics and hair products especially for African-American women. She trained many women to become sales representatives. She once told a group of women, 

"There is no royal flower-strewn road to success, and if there is, I have not found it, for what success I have obtained is the result of many sleepless nights and real hard work."
Madam C.J. Walker by A'Lelia Perry Bundles

She had worked hard all her life, beginning in the cotton fields and later as a washerwoman when she was young.

It was a popular notion among black women at that time that shampooing was not good for the hair. When she began to have scalp problems she experimented and developed products to cure her own problem and in doing so started a very lucrative business which would benefit her and many other African- American women who used the products and went into business for themselves in the "Walker System".

She was born in 1867 and her name was Sarah Breedlove. Her parents were freed slaves and continued at the plantation as sharecroppers.

Sarah was not able to get an education when she was young because she was working all the time. Tragically when she was eight years old both her parents died of disease and the six children were left to fend for themselves.

Due to prejudice and social unrest blacks were being murdered in their area and the family moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sarah earned money by washing clothes. They did not have washing machines in those days. They just had big wooden tubs filled with soapy water and washboards on which they scrubbed the clothes. After scrubbing the clothes they boiled them, lifted them out of the boiling water, and hung them on the line to dry. The wrinkles were removed from the dried clothes with big irons heated on a stove.

When she was 14 she married Moses McWilliams to get away from the situation where she was living with her sister and her mean husband. When she was 17 she had baby girl, Lelia. Then her husband died. What was she to do?

She took her four-year-old daughter and moved to St. Louis where her brothers lived. She received help from many middle-class black women in St. Louis. Her little girl went to school and Sarah began saving money to send her to college.

She married a man named John David, but he was an alcoholic and after nine years she divorced him.

Sarah started selling hair products for the Poro company. Some people think a pharmacist  may have helped her analyze the ingredients and suggested ways to improve the product. She began making her own products and carefully guarded her formula. She advertised in the newspapers and used before and after photos of herself to show how well her hair preparation worked. The "before" pictures showed her hair short, thin, and stubby, and the "after" pictures showed her with a full head of long healthy hair.

She met a man named Charles Joseph Walker (C.J.). They married and she called herself Madam C.J. Walker. One of her most popular products was Madam C.J. Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower. She gave free demonstrations and trained women to sell the hair and beauty products.

The business continued to grow. Sarah and her husband moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a good city from which to distribute the packages across the nation. At this time she was annually making the equivalent of $150,000 in today's dollars.

She opened a beauty salon, then a school to train agents to sell the products. She named it Lelia College after her daughter. The graduates received certificates and were called hair culturists .

The next step was to build a factory to produce large quantities of the hair preparation and other beauty supplies. She tried to get investors. She appealed to Booker T. Washington, but he declined saying he had all he could do at Tuskegee Institute.

She did not get the investors she needed, but they settled in Indianapolis, Indiana and built the factory there. It would eventually employ more than 3000 African-American men and women.

Walker was generous and contributed to causes which benefited African-Americans. She helped Mary McLeod Bethune to establish a school for girls.

Walker expanded her business again by going to the Caribbean and Central America. By 1917 she had trained 20,000 agents. The business was going well, but her marriage wasn't. She and C.J. divorced in 1914.

Booker T. Washington wouldn't have anything to do with Walker. It was probably because he thought she was advocating straight hair for African-American women which many thought was a white trait. He continued to ignore her until one day at a convention she stood up, introduced herself, and told her story. After that he gained a new respect for her. Eventually they developed a good working relationship.

There were few cars in the early 1900's, but Walker owned two, one driven by a chauffeur and a small electric car she drove herself.

Lelia her daughter opened a luxurious salon in New York. Walker went to live with Lelia and Lelia's adopted daughter Mae. She gave elaborate dinners at the Harlem Townhouse.

She built a 30-room mansion by the Hudson River in an exclusive neighborhood. Enrico Caruso, the famous tenor suggested she name it Villa Lewaro. The word Lewaro was a word made from the first two letters of each of Lelia's name, Lelia Walker Robinson.

Her health began to decline and she died May 25, 1919 of kidney disease. Thousands attended her funeral and honored her for the good she had done for African-Americans and for equal rights.

The facts in this story were found in the book
Madam C.J. Walker, Entrepreneur and Millionaire
by Darlene R. Stille

Lady Estelle's Etiquette Tea at Hearthside

It is important to teach little girls of today the Victorian  rule of etiquette, the right things to do at the right time. Little girls want to be pretty, so we as mothers and teachers must teach them how to act pretty.
In the Victorian times, little girls were treated as little women and were expected to obey the same etiquette rules as adults did.

Today, I  held a Victorian Tea and invited a local girl's  scout troop from North Providence. They enjoyed tea while hearing how little girls of their age were taught to be little ladies. I taught them tea etiquette, how to be gentle,  speak quietly, sit and stand tall and enjoy a good cup of tea.

 It was a memorable experience for the girls and myself. I am sure they will remember this day for the rest of their lives. I am pleased. I plan to do more of these Etiquette Teas in the future.

Say My Name

I came across this atical and felt I had to share it with you, my readers. What a fasinating concept. Please enjoy the reading:

An African-American Family History

"To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again. . ."

Olmec Proverb

The photo is of Liza Koonce, daughter of Solomon and Cherry, born in the late 1800's.


Genealogy is my passion. For over twelve years, I have travelled around the United States visiting archives, libraries and relatives to dig up all the information I can find about my ancestors. I can trace my lineage back from my grand nieces and nephews to the 16th century--11 generations!

This site is for sharing information, stories and photos that I have found in my search. "Say My Name" is the title of my findings which was first published in 2003. Instead of trying to distribute it in hard copy, I am making it available online to family members and other interested parties.


A Victorian Mother's Day Wish!

I want to take the time out to wish all my Victorian and Tea Loving friends a Happy Mothers Day.
I will be working on Sunday as I always on Mother's Day. We host a beautiful Mother's Day Brunch, from soup to nuts. Enjoy the day because a mother's work is never done. I also want to send out a warm greeting to all the Grandmother's, Great Grandmother's
   and the mother's of our past. Thank you for generations of love and care.

Lady Estelle

Meeting General Robert E. Lee and His Confederal Troops

This was a very memorable day for myself and the troop. We sat for hours conversing on days for old, family value, love for our country and and a end to all wars.

Recollection fashions at the Hearthside

The ladies of the Friends of Hearthside are greeting their guest for the American Girls Doll Tea, held on Sunday, May 2nd. It was an fun , educational and memorable afternoon. The President, Kathy Heartly and Robin Blanco Lundgren are wearing lovely fashions from Recollection Biz, a historic romantic woman's clothing and accessories reminiscent of centuries past. They specializing in Victorian and Edwardian fashions. Established in 1980. 
  I am wearing a hand made day dress with a straw bonnet from 1860, the Civil War era.
I bought my Addy, the American Girl Doll, from that era, to meet the girls and share the mantle with President Abraham Lincoln.
Not only did the little girls enjoy the tea and learn history, so did Addy and I.

Civil War Reenactors Training Weekend & Confederate Memorial Day Set for May 1-2

Here come the rebels! The 12th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, a family-oriented group of reenactors, held its annual School of Instruction at Chase Farm Park during the Confederate Memorial Day observance today, May1-2.

This encampment weekend is to provide the Confederate Reenactor both camp and military experience through classes and hands-on training. Training includes infantry maneuvers, cavalry drills and artillery demonstrations. The public is welcome to visit the camp. And, if you’ve always wanted to live the life and history of the Civil War, why not reenact it and experience what it was like to be a Georgia Infantryman in the War Between the States.

The 12th Georgia is looking for a few good men! New recruits are given one year in which to equip themselves with a uniform, a rifle, and accoutrements. Just in time for the next full scale Civil War Re-enactment that will take place at Chase Farm Park on September 17-18, 2011. But in the meantime, the reenactors have some equipment to borrow until you have fully equipped yourself. Soldiers who are 18 and above who have qualified through the School of the Soldier may take the field; ages 16 and 17 may take the field with written permission or accompanied by a parent. Younger children may participate in non-combat activities if escorted by a parent.

Confederate Memorial Day dates back to 1866, when April 26th was set aside as a day of observance to pay honor to those who died defending the life, honor and happiness of the Southern women. The encampment may be visited between 9 and 4 on Saturday and 9 and 3 on Sunday. For further information, contact David Pincins at 401-302-4341.

portrayal of 19th century entrepreneur Christiana Carteaux Bannister

Christiana Carteaux Bannister: 19th Century Rhode Island Entrepreneur Join Mrs. Estelle Tucker Barada and the Warwick Historical Society fo...