March 2020
March is the month of Irish
One can hardly portray mid 19th century america without including the major societal impact of Irish immigration at that time. Our modern day pride in ones ancestral heritage, pushes from memory, if not the historical understanding, that country of origin played a major part in ones social standing in the country at that time.

Irish at that time were seen as detrimental to the progress of the country. They were lampooned in caricature, and portrayed as unkempt boorish sots.

We are bombarded with advertisements for the countless festivals and parties going on this month celebrating Irish heritage. As living historians, we always want to climb to a higher vantage point, if only intellectually, and realize that it was not always this way. We have come a long way as a people, and have built a much better country.
Ladies side elastic shoe, featured a decorative topstitching in the toe area.
Ladies low shoe, with velvet trim. Red velvet came from Needle and Thread.
Bridgman Cup. Carried by Edward Bridgman of the 37th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Richard Eckart Tinware
Two more items have been added to the product list of Richard tinware...

The first is a cup, with a solid provenance. These are made with hot dipped tin, and are a faithful copy of the orignal.

The second is a small coffee cooler sized pan, perfect fo the haversack and small chores around camp. As with the cup, made from the most solid of provenance.
W. Small Pan- Carried by William M. Small of the 20th Wisconsin Infantry.

Renfrew Museum and Park
 1010 E. Main St, Waynesboro, PA 17268

Located just twenty-five miles southwest of Gettysburg, Renfrew Museum and Park is a hidden jewel nestled along the banks of the Little Antietam Creek in beautiful Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The 107-acre historic Pennsylvania German farmstead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and opened as a museum and public park in 1975. According to local tradition, the Renfrews, either a Welsh or Scotch-Irish family, occupied this land until their two daughters, Sarah and Jane, were killed and scalped by native in 1764. Some thirty years later, in the early 1790s a Pennsylvania German tanner, Daniel Royer, bought 150 acres of land along the Antietam Creek. With the help of his family and hired hands, Royer built and operated a successful tannery, gristmill, and lime kiln, developing a prosperous, self-sustaining farmstead.
Daniel Royer’s first major project was to construct a stone house for his resident miller at the back of the property, completed in 1804. A barn followed in 1815. These two structures are collectively known as the Fahnestock House and Barn. In 1812, Royer constructed a stone house for his own family, wife Catherine and ten children, moving them out of their humble 23’ x 23’ log cabin. An addition containing a kitchen and upper chamber was added in 1815.
The Royers remained on the property for nearly one hundred years, farming the land and operating their tannery, mill, and other business endeavors. Daniel Royer became a well-respected member of the local community, serving as a state assemblyman. He died in 1838, leaving his property to wife Catherine. An 1868 claim by Daniel Royer’s son-in-law Peter Fahnestock, who had married the Royers’ youngest daughter Nancy in 1849, reveals that the farmstead was twice occupied by the Confederate army during the Gettysburg campaign. When Peter died in 1883, Nancy inherited the property but appears to have had trouble making ends meet. By 1896, the property was acquired by Dr. Abraham H. Strickler who rented to several tenant farming families for much of the early twentieth century. In 1943, Edgar and Emma Nicodemus purchased the property and set about restoring the old stone house as their home. Emma had first discovered this special place as a girl perched atop the handlebars of her father’s bicycle. Always dreaming that it would one day be hers, she and Edgar moved in shortly after their marriage and spent thirty years enjoying, improving, and preserving the historic features the Royers, Fahnestocks, and Dr. Strickler had left behind.
Two centuries later, much of the landscape is unchanged, and many of the original buildings, including the Royer’s stately stone house, still exist from those earlier times. In her will, Emma Nicodemus specified that her beloved house be made into a museum and the surrounding 107 acres into parkland for the people of Waynesboro to enjoy. The park would be called “Renfrew” in remembrance of the two young sisters lost tragically centuries before. Renfrew became a public museum and park in 1975 through the generosity of Emma and her sister Hazel, who endowed the institution and left a stunning collection of early American decorative arts and farm implements. Renfrew is proud to be celebrating its 45 th  anniversary in 2020.

Renfrew Museum and Park is a welcoming and memorable destination where everyone can “Walk Back in Time”. The site offers many amenities for people to enjoy including a variety of experiences, tours, and programming. The Royer House has been restored to its 1815 appearance and provides visitors with insight into the life of the nineteenth century Pennsylvania German farm family who once lived there. Furnished with artifacts and implements illustrating daily use during the period, the installations in what is now called the “Museum House” source Emma’s exquisite collection, along with museum acquisitions and include furniture, pre-1870 decorative arts, pottery, porcelain, glass, silver, textiles, and much more.

Emma Nicodemus was one of the area’s first serious collectors or folk art made by Pennsylvania Germans including the work of Waynesboro potter, John Bell. Renfrew’s collection of over 150 pieces of nineteenth century Shenandoah pottery located in the Visitors Center is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The majority of these items were made by members of the Bell family, who worked as potters for three generations in the region. Renfrew’s Visitors Center gallery also features a growing collection of Pennsylvania-Kentucky longrifles by Franklin County and regional gunsmiths, including Henry Carlile of Shippensburg, John H. Johnston of Waynesboro, and Henry Noll of Washington Township. The Wagon Shed Room, adjacent to the gallery, displays a collection of historic tradesmen’s tools.
Renfrew Park consists of 107 acres of farmland, woodland, and meadow. Fifty acres are designed as a wilderness/wildlife preserve with almost five miles of nature and hiking trails. More than fifty species of trees, 200 species of wildflowers, and 120 species of birds have been identified. A five-acre picnic area holds a 150-seat pavilion which can be rented for any occasion and the grounds are available for weddings as well.Renfrew is currently preparing to open for its 45 th  season and is seeking volunteers, especially docents and living history interpreters interested in bringing its agricultural heritage and trades history to life. The historic farmstead has many extant buildings including a smokehouse and milkhouse contemporary to the 1812 Royer House, a relocated functional summer kitchen with bake oven, carpentry shop, and barn with a threshing floor. Renfrew is seeking living historians for the late federal, antebellum, and Civil War eras in particular. Civilian impressions are preferred, but there may be some interest in occasional military presence, especially Confederate. The history of the site extends into the early twentieth century, so opportunities for turn-of-the-century farm interpretation exist as well. Volunteers with historic trades, craft, or agricultural skills are highly desired. Those interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Renfrew Museum and Park may register to attend the museum’s 2020 Volunteer information sessions taking place on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 10:00am and 6:00pm at . For those particularly interested in giving guided tours or providing living history interpretation, docent training is scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. They may also contact Executive Director Becky LaBarre directly at (717) 762-4723 or .
More information about Renfrew Museum and Park can be found at .

The Visitors Center is open Monday-Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm during the winter season. House tours and intermittent living history demonstrations will begin when regular hours resume in April. View website for upcoming workshops, presentations, and programming. ..
Discounted magazine subscription offered to our cusotmers!
Variant Chevrons
It is a given that non commissioned officers chevrons were an item of issue in the Federal Army. Photographic evidence and extant originals clearly show that chevrons purchased on the commercial market. We salute the variety shown, and are offering chevrons in the different fabrications silk and velvet. This option is available in the drop down box for the product listing
At ten years old, Grayson Franklin is the probably N.J. Sekela's best dressed customers and certainly the hippest cat, certainly at least in Richmond! To him, nothing is better than wearing a silken cravet, and Grayson is a huge fan of Sekela's amazing and we'll crafted spring cravats! Grayson keeps a well stocked collection of them ensuring he is always well collared.

He focuses on protraying the day to day of civilian government contractors during the war, which in his case consists of significant hours sunbathing and napping while undertaking careful consideration of the developments at the front and how best to sell his latest patent wares.

When not otherwise so occupied with various reenactments, he can be often found playing in the offcuts and cabbage of varied wools and silks which his owner pet Kevin is busy cutting out the bits and bobs for various civilian and government garments he can sell.

P.S. Grayson can't wait to get his paws on Sekela's newest gold embossed high boots, he will certainly be the finest attired puss in boots!
Indigo dyed "Lee Socks" coming
back to stock!

It has been a while, and as the vegetable dyer is working on jeancloth and blankets for us, I asked if he would be willing to produce the Lee socks. He agreed, and said he will jump into it with both feet....
Calling all history fans! Our Annual Conference is approaching. This year, from June 3rd to 7th, in Chantilly, Virginia, the American Battlefield Trust members and staff, along with elite historians, will gather for four days of history and camaraderie! Be sure to register soon, as rates will go up March 16th! The conference will feature History Talks, Off-site tours, and much more. We’re looking forward to seeing you all in June!