When a Bed Sheet Cost More Than a Cow: Textiles in the Inventory of Ursula Cutt, Sept 28 at 11AM

cuttstextileIn July 1694, the sudden and unexpected death of Madame Ursula Cutt, widow of John Cutt, first President of New Hampshire, by the hands of Abenaki warriors provides a snapshot of the personal belongings of one of the wealthiest widows in Portsmouth. Madame Cutt and her laborers were attacked while haying, so that she had not prepared for death.

The probate inventory taken the next week enumerates all that she owned—including clothing, table linen, bed linen and even remnants of silk and ribbons. Her husband’s will left all the land and reversion of the buildings to his children. Ursula’s share was in “moveables,” livestock and some farm tools. It is also probable that she owned many of the linens and some of the clothing before her 1675 marriage to John Cutt. The value assigned to the household linens and the clothing often exceeds that for livestock. Her best pair of sheets was valued at three pounds, while the best cows only at two pounds each! The gallery talk will examine the types of household linens and clothing she owned addressing which were imported and which were made in New Hampshire. Come and share this exciting window into 17th century Portsmouth.

As a part of the commemoration of the Treaty of 1713, signed in Portsmouth on July 14, of that year, the John Paul Jones House is host for First Nations Diplomacy Opens the Portsmouth Door, an exhibit featuring copies of the treaty, explanations of its significance, and objects and documents relating to the period of conflict with the Native Americans and protection of Portsmouth.

Where: John Paul Jones House
When: September 28, 2013
When: 11am
Admission: Free to members/ $6 non-members/ $5 seniors

Please contact Sandra Rux at 436-8420 or email sandrarux@portsmouthhistory.org for reservations or more information. Reservations are recommended but not required.

Caption for image : Silk damask fragment, linen napkin and ribbons; photo Sandra Rux