We’ve all heard the old saying “A woman’s work is never done”, and that was especially true on a farm or plantation in the old days. Dr. James Haney of the historic Carson House takes us on a tour of an exhibit in one of the upper rooms of the home devoted to “women’s work”. He talks about the use of the loom, spinning wheel, quilt press, and even a somewhat intimidating-looking tool called a shuck hackle.
(As you will note if you spend much time exploring this website, Dr. Haney was very generous with his time and expertise for this project. We thank him profusely.)
The Carson House is located on Highway 70, less than five miles west of Marion. Construction of this three-story historic residence began in 1793 by Colonel John Carson on the banks of Buck Creek. In the early 1860s, while the home was occupied by Jonathan Logan Carson and family, a private school for young ladies operated there. It was at that time that Stoneman’s Raiders made their march through the region. As news of their approach was received, all of the students fled, leaving teacher Emma L. Rankin remaining with the Carsons, their children, and the servants.
Miss Rankin wrote this riveting account of the ordeal in 1885, at the urging of many of her students.
Hear Miss Rankin’s story read by actress and former McDowell resident Ellen Pfirrmann:
In the early 1800s, the historic Carson House served as a stagecoach stop and inn for travelers between Salisbury and Asheville. McDowell County was organized in the house in 1843, and the structure served as the first seat of county government. The house is now a museum, and in 2009 hosted an exhibit of quilts with historical significance. Historian and author Dr. James Haney takes us on a tour of the exhibit and shares some fascinating stories about the quilts’ makers, including Carson slaves Kadella and Fatima.