Although we often think of the Homestead in terms of its role in the Revolutionary era and with the founding of the National Parks, the Homestead was a working farm for most of its 200+ years.
That is brought home by the contents of a cardboard box that is in a closet near the west wall of the attic. Stored within the box are linen sheets to which a note is pinned…
“These sheets were woven at the Mather Homestead from flax grown on the place. The sheet marked P M belonged to Aunt Phoebe Mather and the one marked B L belonged to Aunt Betsey Lockwood.”
Phoebe Mather and Elizabeth (Betsey) Lockwood were daughters of Deacon Joseph Mather. Phoebe and her sister Rana, both of whom never married, inherited the house and were joined there by Betsey and her daughter, Ann Elizabeth Lockwood. After the sisters died, Ann Elizabeth sold the home to her cousin, Joseph Wakeman Mather, Stephen T. Mather’s father.
These sheets, quite literally, give us a glimpse into the fabric of life at the Homestead and add to our appreciation of the lives and self-sufficiency of those who made the Mather house their home.
The photo below from 1879 shows from left to right Ann