The Civil War Church Doll

IMG_1196Our Repasz band director held up a bulging Wal-Mart bag for all to see. “If any of you ladies didn’t get one of these dolls, come up during break and choose one. Barry’s wife made them especially for you.”


Barry plays bassoon in our band. He and his wife are also Civil War re-enactors. It was Barry’s detailed research that verified Repasz Band members did play during General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and provided the documentation necessary to secure the band’s invitation to the 150th Anniversary of the surrender.

But how did the dolls fit into our invitation to Appomattox? I soon found out.

During the Civil War era, children were required to sit through the adult church services. Sunday School and Children’s Church did not yet exist.  Back then, like now, almost every child turned into a bored mass of squirming energy while sitting through an event geared for adults.

Creative mothers made dolls from fabric scraps and gave them to the girls to play with during church.  Often the doll’s head wrapped around a around a chunk of sugar cane so the child could suck on the sweetness during the service.

Barry’s wife had made each of us ladies one of these church dolls, minus the sugar cane, as a memento of our trip to Appomattox. How kind and thoughtful!

She passed out the dolls to the ladies on the two buses chartered for the trip. Traveling with Hubby in the equipment truck, I knew nothing about the dolls until the announcement during band practice.

Now on display in our living room, my doll is a pleasant reminder of that once-in-a-lifetime event. However, I do wonder what entertained the little boys during those long-ago church services.

About Kathie Mitchell

Kathie enjoys country living, time with family, playing cornet in community bands, crafts, gardening, and writing.
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2 Responses to The Civil War Church Doll

  1. How absolutely adorable. Loved this post!

    • Barry said his wife has made over 600 of these dolls. She sells them at re-enactments, gives them away, and has taught Amish girls how to make them. Nothing is sewn, only cut and tied.

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