CATEGORY: Monroe County
HOUSES WITH HISTORY
ABERDEEN HOME FILLED WITH FOUR GENERATIONS OF FAMILY TREASURES
By Eileen Bailey
ABERDEEN – A small, pearl-handled hook rests beside a tiny pair of button-up shoes on top of a dresser in one of the two front bedrooms in Orleana.
A wardrobe overflows with vintage clothing, from a 1886 wedding gown with matching shoes to a black mourning gown with matching veil and purse that still contains a tear-stained handkerchief and smelling salts vile. These are just a few of the hundreds of items that have been preserved by Adam Carlisle and his wife, Jo Anne.
All belonged to Carlisle ancestors and have remained in the family for the last 131 years. Jo Anne Carlisle said when she and her husband moved into Orleana in the mid-1960s all of those items and much of the original furniture were still in the home.
“It was unbelievable. They saved everything from the past,” Carlisle said.
Many items remain in the original drawers in furniture used by the home’s first owners. Carlisle said her mother-in-law Orlean, who lived in the home for most of her life, left everything the way her grandparents had. There were a few exceptions, such as renovations and additions.
Carlisle said for months she carefully went through the boxes and trunks in the home. In some of the rooms she, too, left things the way they were.
One of her first missions was to “lighten and brighten.” Dark velvet drapes once covered the windows and accents were in dark colors, she said.
Carlisle said except for a few accent pieces, she and her husband decided to use most of the original furniture, including the 10-foot Empire-era rosewood settee in the front parlor. The settee came by steamboat from Demopolis, Ala.
Orleana, named later for owner Orlean Carlisle, was built in 1865 by Carlisle’s great-grandfather Henry Clay Roberts. Roberts and his wife, Adelle, had one child, Adelle, who married Zachery Ferguson and moved to a plantation in Chickasaw County. Adelle had two children, Orlean and Walter. Adelle died after giving birth to Walter, who with his sister were sent to Aberdeen to be raised by their grandparents.
The original home was four rooms and a dog trot. It was later remodeled and only two original rooms remain – the living room, which was enlarged, and the front bedroom. Carlisle said there have been several additions throughout the years, including the kitchen.
In the library is a Rosewood Chickering baby grand piano from Boston that was made in 1832. Also in the library is a large doll collection and cast-iron trucks.
In the dining room are several old pieces of crystal, silver and china. Many of the crystal bowls, cups and other pieces are signed. There is a silver water pitcher that rests on a stand with matching cups. Beneath the pitcher is a small bowl that collects the water as the pitcher sweats.
In a large claw-footed china cabinet is a Mary Gregory pitcher and set of glasses made of red glass with glass designs placed on the front of them. One of the most unusual collections are the walking sticks found in a container in the parlor. Some have elaborate handles, like the one with a carved face made of ivory, while others are so worn with time and use that the design is barely noticeable.
Carlisle said while the home may look like a museum to some, to her family it is home. “I use a lot of it (things in the home),” she said. Some of the vintage clothing has been lent out for different pageants and occasions, she said.
The clothing was made to last. She said she has sent some of the older pieces to the cleaners and they have all held up.
Hanging in the dining room is a painting of Walter Ferguson as a child, wearing a white outfit with a dark blue collar, small button-up shoes and a hat. Those small button-up shoes and the outfit with the blue collar are displayed in the home. Carlisle said she is sure the hat is there, too, but she’ll have to look for it.