Waxahachie Chautauqua – Cotton, the Fabric of a Community

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We got there late and had to leave early, so we didn’t get to hear the Vocal Majority. But they’re on youtube, so we can hear them there and I’m just glad we got to go at all.
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First, Heather Boykin demonstrated the layers of clothing a Texas woman in the Victorian era would’ve worn to church or an event in the summer. She weighed before and after donning all the garments – it totaled 8 pounds. With all that and the corsets, it’s little wonder that the life expectancy was shorter.

The Emcee was Joe Green, who grew up chopping cotton. Between speakers, he recited his poetry or sang duets with Merry Agape. They were very good.

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Dr. Clayton Brown, History professor at TCU, spoke on the history of cotton in Ellis County and the Blackland Strip (the counties from the Red River south to San Antonio). Nancy Farrar shared the history of the county’s first cotton gin, which was her great-great-grandfather’s in the mid-1800’s.

Levee Singers
The Levee Singers performed for about an hour. They are four retirement aged fellows, kind of Kingston Trio-like, who have been singing together since the 1950’s. Very talented and energetic, they put on a good show and were just plain fun. They also are on youtube.

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“Cotton Clothing Through the Ages: Historical Fashion Show” was the last event we were able to see. Lauren Craig and her sisters demonstrated the history of fashion, modeling clothing that they’ve made for 4-H Fashion Shows. The outfits were amazing. Those girls can really sew.

Throughout the program, I learned how much easier our lives are now than those of previous generations. I am so grateful for all that the pioneers of this country did for us.

The exhibits tent had a quilting demonstration, a man from the cotton gin to answer questions, and a hand-cranked demonstration (I think it was a very small cotton gin, but I couldn’t get close enough to ask).

Next year the theme will be Railroads. I hope we can take our grandsons with us. When they get restless we can always take them over to the park area and let them run off steam.

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Filed under Events & Museums, Texas

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