Payson Pioneer’S Bridal Gown Given To Museum

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A beautiful, antique wedding gown has found a new home at the Rim Country Museum.

The gown, made by Gila County pioneer Polly Hicks Brown, for her 1903 marriage to J. Harry Brown, was donated in September by the couple’s granddaughter, Lorna Lee Plumb Childers Orsburn.

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Lorna Lee Plumb Childers Orsburn (pictured) donated to the Rim Country Museum, the wedding gown her grandmother, Polly Hicks Brown, made for her 1903 marriage to J. Harry Brown.

Mrs. Orsburn also wore the gown in her wedding to E.F. “Jack” Childers when she was in college (the couple later divorced).

The name of Polly Brown is well known among the area’s old families. She was born in Texas and was brought up in a number of places in Arizona, working with her family on ranches both as a child and a grown woman.

At one ranch, near Miami, Ariz., she, her siblings and mother even encountered Geronimo. The legendary Apache warrior and his band stopped at their place and asked for water, according to an article in The Pioneer Women of Gila County by the Daughters of the Gila County Pioneers.

The article goes on to say that the family left the ranch that very same night.

The dress, made by Mrs. Brown, is a sample of her fine sewing skills. Those skills were so impressive they won a first place at a Chicago World’s Fair for quilting.

Because the gown is so fragile, it will only be displayed in the museum’s gift shop during October, and then put away to keep it safe until there is a way to display it without risk of deterioration.

Another donation will soon be displayed — the trunk and its contents that David Goodfellow brought with him from Scotland to the Tonto Natural Bridge when his uncle, David Gowan, sent for him to take over operating the farms and orchards he planted there.

Goodfellow and his family were responsible for building the historic lodge and the road down to the bridge site and operated the inn for several years.

Museum notes and events

The Sept. 28 Smithsonian Magazine Free Museum Day was a huge success for the Rim Country. There were 42 people who took advantage of the opportunity to visit the museums free of charge and most of them were from the community. “This is doubled from what we had last year.  Thanks to the volunteers who worked the day and were kept busy with the consistent flow of people. We also want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Roundup for publicizing this event. It yielded great results from their readers. Everyone appeared to have enjoyed their experience,” said Betty Berryman, president of the board for the Rim Country Museum.

This Saturday, Oct. 5, the Arizona Historical Society – Eastern Arizona Chapter will hold its annual meeting, open to the public, at the Rim Country Museum. Following the meeting, which starts at 1 p.m., there will be a tour of the Rim Country Museum and the Zane Grey Cabin replica. Weather permitting, it is hoped this event can be held on the newly renovated patio next the gift shop.

The annual meeting of the Northern Gila County Historical Society, Inc., is open to the public, at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Rim Country Museum Exhibit Hall, 700 S. Green Valley Parkway. Included in the agenda will be a recap of activities and achievements of 2013 and a brief recap of some plans for 2014. In addition, there will be board elections.

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