The History Behind the Pillowcase – John and Bettie

As I previously stated in two of my other blogs The History Behind the Dresses – Vera and The History behind the Dresses -Frannie, I get asked where I find the pieces in my shop.

This story is close to my heart as it all starts with my husband buying our house from John. John Ford was a welder who worked for Hanna Coal Company, he started working there in 1949. He bought our house in 1947, the original part of the house is log and the rest is additions he made to the house for a total of 1500 square feet. His bride Bettie passed away of lung cancer in 1995 as she was a heavy smoker. We purchased the house in 2007 and spent the next two years renovating it when we had the time and money to do so.

After we moved into the house in 2009, we were looking around the upstairs of our tiny garage where a plethora of things were stored including some of Bettie’s sewing projects. Most of them were to stained or had huge holes that were not salvageable with the exception of this set of Pillowcases.


Bettie started embroidering this set of pillowcases not long after her diagnosis, as you can see she only finished Johns pillowcase. He never used it, instead he packed it away with the rest of her sewing supplies. What I love about this set is that she made sure his was finished before hers because she knew she wasn’t going to make it through her cancer treatment.

John passed away a couple of weeks ago 20 years after his bride, he was 93 years old. He always had a smile and joke for everyone. He taught the guitar and violin after his retirement from Hanna Coal. Unfortunately his family held only private services for his funeral.

I will leave you with this joke John once told me.

2 fellers were walking down a back road and bump into each other.

“Hey Ned!”

Hey Zed!”

“What did you give your horse when it had the heaves?”


“Ok, bye Zed”

“Bye Ned”

The next day the bump into each other again on the back road.

“Ned, what did you say you gave your horse for the heaves?”


“I gave my horse that and it up and died”

“Mine too”

Moral of the story: Don’t give your horse turpentine if it has the heaves.

Until Next Time,



One thought on “The History Behind the Pillowcase – John and Bettie

  1. I love this series! The stories behind the items are so intriguing to me – and you really made John come to life in the post, especially with that joke of his at the end!

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