GALLATIN COUNTY -- The Gallatin County Historical Society is still preserving history for the future even during this pandemic and with all the civil unrest going on.
We took a little road trip to West Salem to pick up an 1800s-era barn loom, also known as a "four-poster loom." We drove from Shawneetown on a beautiful sunny day up to Grayville and met with Nancy Lodwig, the sister of the barn loom owner. From Grayville, we drove on to West Salem through beautiful rural farmland. The gravel roads eventually led us into the driveway of Amos and Linda Chenoweth. Nancy and Amos are siblings, born and raised on the very land we were now standing on.
Two weeks prior, we had met a tourist by the name of Jennifer Greene, who is the archivist at the University of Southern Indiana. We had given her a private tour of the John Marshall Museum and the First State Bank, both in Old Shawneetown. After some conversation, Jennifer was asking us if we would like to have a donation of a weaving loom. She knew of some folks that needed to find one a good home. After some discussion with the Gallatin County Historical Society's board members, we all agreed to take the loom donation. Jennifer put us in contact with Nancy and we set a date to meet.
Amos, Linda, and Nancy were pleased that our organization was able to make a place for this wonderful old loom in the John Marshall Museum. Linda had purchased it a while back for just $9. The man Linda purchased it from remembered his parents purchasing the loom at a local auction in the Mills Prairie area back in the 1960s when he was a child. He does not recall ever seeing it put together. After Linda brought the loom home, Amos decided it needed put together and that is just what he did.
After many questions and answers, several walks around the loom and many pictures taken, we began to disassemble the loom, load it into Nancy's truck and finally said thank you and goodbye to Amos and Linda.
Back to Shawneetown we cautiously drove with the precious cargo. An hour and a half later, we arrived in Old Shawneetown, at the John Marshall home/bank Museum. We unloaded the barn loom pieces and placed them inside.
Now the hard part began: remembering how it went back together. Terry Butts showed up in time to give a helping hand in the reassembly of the loom. Nancy was a big help as well; she had been watching Amos assemble it for weeks.
So, by the late afternoon we were finished, tired and dirty, too, but we had the loom back together, good as new, sort of. The barn loom now sits in the dining room next to two vintage spinning wheels. We are incredibly pleased that we will soon be able to share this piece of textile history with everyone that comes to the John Marshall Museum in Gallatin County.