Rebecca Myrick's Dress

Ivy King

Catalog Number: 1960.001.01

This brown silk dress has two tiers and bell sleeves that are fringe-trimmed. It has woven stripes and geometric patterns at the hems of the two skirt tiers. The waist is darted, tucked and pointed in front. And this dress dates from between 1840 and 1859, which is when Rebecca Myrick was living in La Crosse.

Rebecca’s husband, Nathan, was born in 1822 in New York. He first came to La Crosse in 1841, and when he arrived in the area, it was recorded that there were several hundred Native Americans already here.

Nathan was a young fur trader, and he established a post here with which to trade with Native Americans. The actual city of La Crosse was established in 1842.

While traveling back east to get supplies, Nathan married Rebecca Ismon in 1843. He had promised to marry Rebecca three years prior, before he left for Wisconsin. She was living in Vermont before they wed, and after their marriage, they made the four-week journey to La Crosse. They were among some of the first white settlers in the area.

This dress was sized to accommodate Rebecca’s many pregnancies. The Myricks had eight children, with three surviving to adulthood. Some of them were born in the La Crosse area, others in St. Paul.

Due to financial and medical setbacks, the Myricks left La Crosse in 1848. They moved to St. Paul, so Myrick could expand his trading ventures. Myrick kept some of his business interests in La Crosse, but he sold a majority of his interests to Timothy Burns.

Rebecca died in 1901, followed by Nathan in 1903. Many years later, this dress was donated to the La Crosse County Historical Society by the wife of Shepard A. Naylor, Rebecca’s great-granddaughter. In a similar manner, Mrs. Harry E. Cook brought a portrait of Rebecca to La Crosse from St. Paul. She was the granddaughter of Nathan and Rebecca. They must have known the important history of the Myricks in La Crosse.

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This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune on March 10, 2018.

This object can be viewed in our online collections database by clicking here.

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