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Wedding Suit Found in Trunks Dates to 1860

"Handle with Care" said Mrs. Mary Ella Hausam, 1615 West Ninth as she handed a suit of clothes to the cleaner, "this is a 1860 wedding suit."

The cleaner was almost afraid to touch it, but managed to do the job and return the suit.

The suit was tailor made for Mrs. Hausams great-grandfather Jacob Daugherty [note: that should be Jacob Helman] for his wedding on Jan. 31, 1860. The material was broadcloth, a fine smooth, woolen cloth, so called because it originally came in widths over a yard. The trousers are lined and the longcoat has a quilted lining to the waist.

A skirt-like tail reaches to the knees and goes completely around. Four sets of two velvet buttons up the front the velvet collar, button it up around the neck or it could be buttoned with only the lower two sets of buttons leaving long lapels on either side.

It was in 1871 that the Daugherty’s [ note: that should be Helman’s ] came to Missouri and settled ten miles southwest of Sedalia, just north of Camp Branch. They brought butter to customers in Sedalia every Saturday. He was a tenor and led singing in the community, using a tuning fork for pitch.

The suit was one of many things found in the trunk of their daughter, Mrs. Sophia Daugherty Helman, grandmother of Mrs. Hausam. The trunks are still in the home of Mrs. Hausam’s mother. She opened the trunk to see what she could find for the centennial.

Among the treasures was a hand woven double bed coverlet, reversible, blue and white, woven by Sophia Helman and another coverlet that was made in 1837.

Sets of jewelry were found, and particularly striking were dangling earrings of black jet-made for pierced ears, to be sure, but very much like the dangling earrings of today.

There were a number of dresses, one of brown silk with buttons all the way to the waist, and all the button holes made by hand. The entire dress was made by hand. The lined jacket had stays, each of which were covered like the lining and feather stitched. The jacket has a tiny watch pocket. The skirt, fully lined, has a pannier, an overskirt puffed full at the sides.

Another dress, which Mary Ella could wear and which fits her perfectly, is a brown print calico, with ruffles of the material on the full skirt. The tight waist as 12 buttons and is lined. It has a long tall effect, and beneath the full skirt is a bustle made of wire which fastens with a band around the waist.

There was a charcoal gray dress-at least that is what it would be called now-then it would have been just dark gray.

There were derby hats and many other interesting pieces of clothing from 100 years ago to today, found in the trunks still kept by Sophia Helman’s daughter-in-law.

Sedalia Democrat Centennial Edition, October 16, 1960

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