History can talk through the 150 slave clothing pieces discovered inside the Catoctin Furnace

Maryland

Hagerstown’s Miller House Museum released new discoveries Wednesday morning that were hidden inside the Catoctin Furnace.

In May 2015, the Catoctin Furnace was renovating their Forgeman’s House and discovered more than 150 clothing pieces that belonged to slaves and laborers in the 1700’s. Now, the Miller House opened their own exhibit showcasing the history of the pieces and what historians can conclude about the slave, all due to their clothing.

“The intact men’s clothing that we have is heavily patched.” said Washington County Historical Society’s Curator Anna Cuteo. “It’s worn out in places, so we know that you basically worked until these clothes fell off you and you still had to re-use them.”

Men’s, women’s and even children’s clothing were discovered in the attic but the pieces weren’t stored away, they were actually being used as insulation.

“The children’s clothing were the most telling because we could compare the pieces to the full sets that we already had,” said Cuteo. “If the pieces couldn’t be worn, they figured out a way to use every little bit. Nothing at all went to waste.”

The Concealed Clothing exhibit will remain open until mid-July at the Miller House Museum.

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