On loan from Middleton Place Foundation near Charleston, SC, embroidered text on the bag reads:
mother of Ashley gave her this sack when
she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina
it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of
pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her
It be filled with my Love always
she never saw her again
Ashley is my grandmother
Who, many of us have wondered, were Rose, Ashley, and Ruth? Where did they live and what can we recover of their lives? What circumstances might have led to the historical sale of nine year old Ashley, and to her grand-daughter Ruth's decision to embroider this long-term family narrative in 1921?
Now, the noted journal Southern Spaces has published my research, based on archival and oral historical work in South Carolina and elsewhere: https://southernspaces.org/2016/slaverys-traces-search-ashleys-sack
Please feel free to share your reflections on these findings, in the comment space below. What are your thoughts on this object, and on the lives of the women chronicled upon it? It would be fascinating to hear from those who have seen Ashley's Sack at Middleton Place or at the new Smithsonian museum, or to hear from collateral relatives of Rose, Ashley, and Ruth.
Selected comments will be re-posted at the conclusion of the Southern Spaces piece.