The grand opening ceremony was a rousing success! Over 350 people stood in reflective silence as the replica of President Lincoln’s casket was transferred from the horse-drawn hearse to the East Room of the White House. The pouring rain provided a somber atmosphere during the arrival ceremony, but inside it was all smiles and many positive comments as visitors experienced the exhibit for the first time.
The garden is in and we’ve already had the radishes and green onions, not to mention the wilted lettuce. This used to be a big hit at our house, except for me. That was fine, it made more for everyone else. I grew up in the day when you could get iceberg lettuce in the store, so I really didn’t like the idea of a hot dressing over what I didn’t even think looked like any lettuce that I liked. The one thing I did know, however, was that after the lettuce was gone, it was time for the parade.
The parade started from the basement up to the kitchen with all the empty jars from the previous year. This was not a job to be taken lightly. If you chipped the rim of a fruit jar, you were in trouble. We actually have to thank the French for the idea of the jar. They used it to supply food to their soldiers. Theirs were sealed with paraffin and eventually led us to what we always called fruit jars. I know they were Mason jars, but we always just said fruit jars. We also had to bring up the 5 gallon crocks from the basement or cave, whichever you were lucky enough to have. It would, of course, soon be time to make sauerkraut. You just haven’t lived unless you have shredded cabbage and alternated layers of raw cabbage and salt in a crock. Then you put a large platter upside down on top of all the cabbage and weighed it down with a big rock. By the time the kraut had fermented and been skimmed and was ready to be canned, we were well into the continuing action of summer. The empty jars had to be filled.
Most everyone had a summer kitchen, usually out the back door of the house. When you had to cold pack everything in a water bath and keep it on simmer for hours on end, it was great to have that away from the kitchen. The heat was almost unbearable, but you needed those jars of food to survive the long winter. We canned all kinds of berries, peaches, apples, green beans, tomatoes, sauerkraut, and things you would never think of. We canned fish and beef and pork and potatoes. It just never ended until you were out of jars. Then you had to go back to the basement and bring up jars of food that had to be emptied and eaten-you guessed it-so you could have more jars.
It was a lot of work, but it wasn’t all bad. Sometimes you would can with the help of family and friends. You visited and caught up on the news and the days didn’t seem quite so long and hot. And seriously, ,in the middle of winter when you had hash made from canned beef and potatoes and fresh peach pie, it was worth every back breaking moment.
Come visit us at Kibbe Museum. I’ve told you some of my memories of jars and crocks. Maybe you have some too. We have the jars and crocks on display and oh, how we wish they could tell us their stories.
Did you know that canning jars and other bottles are important clues for an archaeologist? Read more about the value of jars for dating an archeological site at the Society for Historical Archaeology.
These boys are from Kansas, but they could just as well been from around here. Take a look at a video that is going viral among farm friends:
Here in west central Illinois, we grow corn, soybeans, and hay for our livestock. Hog farms and cattle ranching are big around here, including specialty herds such as Herefords. A small, but growing number of farms are raising goats. When we talk about the weather around here, it isn’t just casual conversation!
The Kibbe celebrates the changes in agriculture over the past two hundred years through exhibits on pioneer farm tools, barns, and on the equipment needed to open the prairies to agriculture in the 1830’s.
Ya’ll come visit.
Okay, we get it: you REALLY like quilts! Even though we seem to be cursed with miserable weather for our events this year (pouring rain during the Lincoln exhibit grand opening, record heat during the quilt show), visitors have turned out in droves to see quilts made by loving hands for families in Hancock County.
In the face of such an overwhelming response — and with the promise of fairer weather that will make it possible for some who could not venture out in such heat — we’ve extended our quilt show through the 14th of July. Museum hours are posted on the left side of your screen.
Thank you for such wonderful support and interest in Hancock County heritage!
Okay, we get it! You REALLY like quilts —
Update: Due to overhwelming popular demand, we’re extending show dates through Saturday, 14 July! We are open Saturdays from 12-4, Monday through Friday from 10-4. We will also be open Sunday, 7 July, from 1-4. Thank you for making this show such a rousing success!
As part of the celebration of the city of Carthage’s 175th anniversary, the Hancock County Piecemakers are sponsoring a quilt show at the Kibbe Museum from June 30th – July 8th.
The emphasis of this show is quilts made by loving hands for family and friends. This is your opportunity to view quilts, some of them quite old, and learn something of the stories behind their creation. In contrast to the usual approach of hanging quilts for exhibition, the Kibbe show will display quilts at home among other artifacts of daily life from long ago.
Admission is free.
Museum hours during this event are 1-4 pm Saturday and Sunday, 12-4 on the July 4th holiday, and 10-4 on regular weekdays.
Nathan Pierce is our second intern this Spring from Western Illinois University, and will be returning this summer to conduct a longer, more intensive special project on Civil War veterans of Hancock County.
Nathan graduated from Hamilton High School in 1997 and joined the Army, serving as a Calvary Scout for three years. After that he joined the National Guard in Quincy and pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology , which he earned in 2006. He recently moved back to this area to work toward his Master’s degree in History at Western Illinois University.
His project consists of illuminating the careers of Hancock County Civil War veterans at the Kibbe Museum. We have recovered a significant number of photos and information on local veterans. Through additional research into the records of the Hancock County Historical Society, regional archives, and tracking down the descendants of these soldiers, Nathan’s work is bringing to life stories long forgotten. While the project is still in its infancy, the initial work was enough to develop a wall of honor for Hancock County veterans in the new Lincoln exhibit, as well as a post-war reflection on their lives.
During the summer of 2012, Nathan will work on a descriptive analysis of the Kibbe’s collection of records relating to the soldiers of the 118th Illinois Infantry and transcribing the memoirs of Colonel John Fonda, the regimental commander.