Bandboxes were made from an early form of cardboard. The pieces were sewn together, and the box was covered with wallpaper. Used to hold hats, caps, gloves, scarves and other accessories, as well as small pieces of clothing, they were often used when traveling.
Plates were regularly used in all households in the nineteenth century for serving food. This particular plate is made of porcelain from China and was a popular style during Jonas More’s lifetime. It would have been available to middle-class and wealthy people.
Down spouts are used for collecting water from the roof and draining it down and away from the house. The average farm family’s house would not have had well decorated down spouts such as this one, if it had them at all.
Unlike the doors on the Lippitt Farmhouse that are plainly painted, the door on the More House is brightly painted. The half circle painted above the door, meant to look like a fancy fanlight window, would have been a very expensive addition to a home in the early nineteenth century.
Baskets like this one were often used to gather and transport small items like eggs, peas, and beans. Children were often give the chores of collecting eggs and picking vegetables in the garden. This basket is made of thin pieces of wood, called splints, which have been woven together.
In the nineteenth century, farm families spent much of their time outdoors taking care of their animals and crops. To prevent sunburn, many women wore sunbonnets, like this one, to protect their skin. It is made of cotton and is entirely hand stitched.
Winter allowed farmers time to travel and socialize. The first stop of many village sleigh rides was often the tavern. People would fill themselves with mulled cider for warmth and eat a deliciously tasty meal.
The Fairbanks family moved to Evans, New York (Erie County), in 1832. Marshall Fairbanks was born to John and Mary Fairbanks in August of 1835. They lived in a frame house on one hundred acres of land. They grew wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, corn, potatoes, bran, and apples, as well as making maple molasses, wine, butter, and cheese on their farm. They also raised cows, swine, and sheep. Many of the goods they produced were used in their family home.
Sometime between 1861 and 1869, Marshall married Jennie, and they lived on his father’s farm. During the years 1870 to 1875, Marshall’s mother died and his father retired, leaving Marshall the farm and making him head of the household by his late thirties. By 1880’s, John had died and Marshall’s nephew, Frank, worked on the farm with him. Marshall and Jennie never had any children.
Frames on windows hid the cracks where windows were attached to a house and prevented drafts from coming through those openings. The window frames in the More House are decorated with large, fancy lintels to impress guests who might be invited to the house.
Wallpaper from the early nineteenth century is rarely found in complete sections today. These two samples are small but offer historians an idea of how early Americans decorated their homes. While we often think of early objects having dull, drab colors, the section of paper on the right shows how brightly colored some wallpapers were. Sunlight, smoke, soot, and chemical processes make early printed and painted items look darker today. Looking at areas of paper that have been protected by other layers of wallpaper or woodwork is a way of seeing how vibrant and festive early papers often were.
Wallpaper Fragments, 1805-1820, paper, L: 26.5 x W: 19.75. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Ada Yates Harris, N0051.1956(01-08).