Hello everybody! My name is Safire Santos and I am currently interning with the Collections Department at Historic Huguenot Street. I am a 5th year student of SUNY New Paltz with a major in History with a concentration in Classical Studies. This week’s object is a hand stitched wedding dress made in 1869. The dress belonged to Lilah Teller Deyo, a 9th generation descendant of the Deyo Family. This beautiful wedding dress was donated in 2014 to HHS by Lilah’s great granddaughter, Deborah W. Stack, who wanted to preserve her great grandmother’s memory for future generations.
Lilah Teller Deyo was married to John Cornish Johnson on September 16, 1896, in Ellenville, NY. Researching this dress, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Lilah lived for some time in my hometown of Ellenville with her husband in a house right down the street from where I went to high school. Lilah was considered to be “a lady of society” by locals and was a founder of the American Legion Auxiliary and member of the Scorsby Hose, Hook and Ladder Auxiliary, and also an early member of the Deyo Family Association in New Paltz, New York.
This beautiful dress is handmade and machine stitched out of cotton with an off white shear netting with long sleeves and embroidered lace overlay. This dress has a floral motif lace which ends at the shoulders and contains metal snap buttons starting at the waist and ending on the top. There are seven silk covered buttons parallel to each other on bust-lace sash. This dress ties at the waist, and the sleeves contain four ruffles. There are 5 silk covered buttons located on the wrists, and the skirt portion of the dress has two layers. The back of the skirt has three different layers, one layer is mid length and the other layer is maxi length, there is a ruffle on the back layer. There is elastic sewn in at the waist along with snaps and hooks which is how the dress would have been put on by Lilah Deyo on her wedding day. The neckline is ruffled with a collar.