Civil War uniforms, strawberry

Civil War uniforms, strawberry parties at Olney Museum talk

Attendees at a June 11 lecture at the Olney Heritage Museum got up-close to Civil War-era soldiers’ uniforms and ladies’ garments, as well as a taste of the popular strawberry parties thrown by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. The Fort Belknap Living History Association hosted two back-to-back lectures at the museum to explore the supply chain for uniforms worn by Texas troops that served in the Civil War and subsequent conflicts, as well as the complex life of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Lecturer Chris Holt of Wichita Falls presented a detailed lecture about the Houston Clothing Bureau and how it evolved from a tent flap maker into a purveyor of clothing, hats, boots and accouterments for soldiers, as well as the role the Huntsville Penitentiary, which supplied white woolen cloth worn by troops in summertime.

Holt wore a replica of a Texas soldier’s uniform for his lecture, complete with recreated English Army cloth, drawers and brogans.

Teresa Cotter lectured on Mary Todd Lincoln’s famously extravagant early life as a Kentucky socialite and hostess and her painful estrangement from her mostly Confederate family.

Afterward, the group of about 12 people enjoyed a table of strawberry desserts.