SEVEN SPRINGS SAMPLER: Herb recipes from Historic Homes of Powder Springs, Georgia

Part I – Stories

The Seven Springs Historical Society introduced a collection of recipes, drawings, and historical lore from Powder Springs, Georgia in 1991. This cookbook (or ‘Sampler”) was published by the historical society with the intent and hope that the drawings and written material would contribute to the history of the area by preserving these histories of the houses and the families who lived in them. It also contains some amusing stories about some of the family members – bits and pieces of our local oral history and providing glimpses of a way of life at that time.

Here are some of those stories:

The Powder Springs Pioneer Newspaper – January 14, 1911: “Girls, you had better Learn!” If the girls that are growing up would learn to do all kinds of housework, there would be no need of so many servants. There are some girls who think they are not fit for anything except to thump on the piano and be forever on the go. What kind of wives will these girls make? They don’t know how to do anything and they don’t want to learn. Girls, you had better learn all you can about housework.”

“Neighbor Signals” When Mrs. Ida Butner Florence saw her neighbor, Mrs. Blanche Calloway, in the yard, she would signal in an unusual way for her to come closer. She would take a sick of stove wood and reach out her kitchen window and beat it on the side of the house. Then they would talk together.

“Grandma Used Sage Tea to Darken Hair” from the October 24, 1918 Cobb County Times. Common garden sage brewed into a heavy tea with Sulphur added, will turn gray, streaked and faded hair beautifully dark and luxuriant. While wispy, gray, faded hair is not sinful, we all desire to retain our youthful appearance and attractiveness. Just a few applications will prove a revelation…Mixing the sage tea with Sulphur at home, though, is troublesome. A easier way is to get a 50-cent bottle of Wyeth’s Sage and Sulphur Compound at any drug store.

“Capitola Flour” Mr. Sims and his pretty wife lived in a house on the corner of Marietta Street and New Macland Road. He was a flour salesman. He thought he bags of flour would sell better if the flour was given a distinctive name. So he persuaded his boss to put the picture of his pretty wife on each bag and name the flour for her, Capitola Flour.

“A Bathing Suit on the Back Porch” One of the families who lived in the house was given a notice to move even though the rent had been paid regularly. It was perhaps a coincidence that the daughter in the family had gone swimming on Saturday and left her swim suit on the back porch to dry on Sunday. In the early days of Powder Springs it was not considered “the thing to do” to leave cloths on the line over Sunday.

“A Favorite Story” by Sarah Frances Miller. Mr. Garnet Hardage, a local merchant, enjoyed telling this story. Mrs. Capitola Sims had a pretty new hat which she planned to wear to the Sunday morning church service. Just as she started out, it began to sprinkle rain. So she put a brown paper grocery bag over her hat. As she entered the church and walked to her seat near the front of the church, there was the muffled sound of snickering. Then she reached up to find the paper bag still covering her hat.

“A Ride in a Chair” Dr. J. F. Cotton, whose father was Powder Springs’ first doctor, took an unusual ride one winter day. Powder Springs had a snow storm, and it was so pretty that he wanted to get out in it. Not having a sleigh, he hitched up his horse to his old rocking chair and away he went, enjoying the beauty of the new-fallen snow. He contracted pneumonia as a result.

“A Smart Horse”. H. C. Miller was a rural mail carrier in Powder Springs for ten years (1918-1928). In the earlier years, he drove his father’s gray horse to pull the buggy. He was very anxious to please his patrons even when the water was high after a week of rain. Once he approached a bridge over a little stream. The gray horse that he was driving began to dance. He used the whip and he buggy cleared the bridge just as the bridge floated out from under them and on down the stream. After other rains he began to notice that stumps in the swamp. When the water covered certain ones he knew he would have to take another road and go he long way around Gothard’s Creek. The old gray horse had horse sense about crossing high water under the bridges.

The Seven Springs Sampler was published with the authors being Sarah Frances Miller and Susan Knight Houser Smith.

Artist Susan Houser Smith contributed the pen and ink and watercolor drawings. Sarah Frances Miller, Powder Springs Historian and Seven Spring Historical Society President, contributed most of the histories and stories. Cookbook Committee: Imogene Abernathy, Patti Briel, Sarah Frances Miller and Susan Houser Smith.

The recipes were contributed by the historical society members and come from personal collections and those of their friends. And, special thanks goes to Nancy Wooten who donated her large collection of herb recipes.

The Seven Springs Museum houses several copies of “The Sampler” in our library. Several are also on display elsewhere in the Museum.

Author: curator