A Story as Told by a Primitive Appalachian Doll
My name is Amy Lynn. I am a primitive Appalachian doll originally from Jamestown Virginia. I now reside in a lovely home in North Carolina. My owner is a descendant of the beloved elderly lady who created me in 1665. It was a time of mostly peace after all the wars with the Powhatan Confederacy. Evenings had become more relaxed and women had time to sew.
Beloved Lady Evangelina was very kind and gave me a full cloth body with a tiny waist and full rounded hips, which was typical of the pioneer woman in those days. She gave me a round head and sloping shoulders made of clay and painted my face and hair with dyes made from plants and pokeberries. My body she stuffed with barley very tightly to give me good form.
Evangelina dug in her box of fabric scraps and found some pretty calico with tiny flowers. She made a darling dress with a scoop neck trimmed in lace, a fitted bodice, full sleeves and a full skirt. My under dress and garments were made from white cotton, trimmed in lace with tiny pink flowers embroidered above the lace. She made pantaloons, a camisole and a petticoat. I am dressed fully as was proper in those days for a refined lady. My boots were made from white cotton dyed black and sewn to my white legs.
There are not many primitive Appalachian dolls that have survived over these many years, so I am rare and quite valuable.
Faded Fabric of Time ~
Of course all the fabric on me and my clothes has faded over the years, making me look as primitive as I am, but that only adds to my charm and value. I have been emptied and re-stuffed many times to keep my body soft and shaped.
I was a Christmas present for Evangelina’a granddaughter, Mary Jane. There was another granddaughter born when Mary Jane was four years old. The baby girl was darling, but oh so very spoiled. She was given anything she wanted, except me. I went everywhere with Mary Jane and she did not let anyone else play with me. She took such good care of me and kept me very clean.
I spent a lot of time in a trunk, buried on our property. This was done the first time during Bacon’s
Rebellion in 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon led a large group of settlers. They burned Jamestown. Valuables were stored in the trunk and buried in case the rebels attacked and stole things.
Again during the Revolutionary War and Civil War I went back in the trunk underground.
Primitive Appalachian Doll ~
So you can see why I am called a primitive doll. I am so old, but really in good shape. Over the centuries I have seen many family members die. The hardest for me was when Beloved Lady, my creator died. Then many years later my dear Mary Jane died.
I have been inherited by descendants time and time again. At one time I was wrapped in cloth and paper, tightly bundled and carried by a Confederaet soldier during the war. He was able to deliver me to his sister in North Carolina and I have been in this state since then. The lady who now owns me has put me in a beautiful glass dome and keeps it on her dresser.
The letter Beloved Lady wrote when she made me is still pinned to my petticoat. Mary Jane added to the letter during her time to keep my history accurate. A copy of that letter stands in a lovely anitique frame sitting next to me.
I have been and still am much loved by my family.
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns