Preservation Week: Family Heirlooms and Hi(STORIES)

[We continue to celebrate Preservation Week with a series of blog posts from community members that discuss their personal archives and family histories.  We hope that you enjoy this blog series!  Please feel free to share your own stories about your personal collections in the comments section!]

I never met my grandmother, Florence Hicks Hecox.  She died in 1932 leaving a husband and six children on the family homestead in the Upper Green River Valley above Pinedale, Wyoming.  I am lucky to own two of the few items that once belonged to her.  I have a crazy quilt that was made in the early 1900s while Florence was a young woman living in Lyman, Wyoming.  There are pieces of lace added to the basic quilt pieces of silk, taffeta, velvet and satin.  Notes and dates have been embroidered on some pieces.  Unfortunately, the quilt was not always given good care and has damage from mice.  The silk pieces are nearly all gone due to deterioration.  Family tradition says that the quilt was made from ties but the documentation done by the Wyoming Quilt Project last spring does not support story.  The fabric is very fragile and I need to find a way to clean and support the quilt so it will remain a part of the family for a few more generations.

Heckox family crazy quilt and wooden rocking chair, sized for a child.

Hecox family crazy quilt and wooden rocking chair, sized for a child.

The second item I have is a child’s rocking chair that was given to Florence at some time in the late 1890s or early 1900s.  It is made from soft pine with a cane seat.  My father was not certain how it came to their family but that it had always been in their house when they were growing up.  The chair was used by my Uncle Richard’s family and then my father fixed it up for our family.  A few years ago I brought it to Laramie and had it restored by a company in Fort Collins.  They replaced the plywood seat with a new cane seat, cleaned off the years of dirt and polished the hardware.  I was told that these little rockers are rather rare since most were broken and thrown away.  I feel very lucky to have this little chair and will use it when I have grandchildren of my own.

Most of the Hecox family stories and the few pictures that remain of my grandmother are published in a book that was written by my uncle Richard Hecox and edited by his granddaughter Disney Burnett.  The book is titled Memories of Kendall Valley and was originally published in 1978 with a second edition in 2005.  I keep the quilt documentation and the information about the little rocking chair with this book so my family will be able to read about these two treasures in the future.

 –Janet Hecox Woods,  Library Technical Services Supervisor

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One Response to Preservation Week: Family Heirlooms and Hi(STORIES)

  1. Deisy Vaske says:

    Janet’s story is beautifully and I love that she is able to tell a lot about her family with these treasures that she has.

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