The Dress

Elaine Joley in 1968 wearing the dress, photo by Ron Wright. Click to enlarge.

Sarah Callie Cate was my fifth great-grandmother. She created her beautiful wedding dress in 1815 for her marriage to John Pigg, her second husband (and my fifth great-grandfather.)

Callie spun cotton dyed with roots and berries into thread that she wove into a blue and white checkered pattern with a line of red through the blocks. She also made a white scarf that tied in the front and covered her shoulders to wear with her wedding dress. The plaid dress stood the test of time as Callie passed it down to her daughter, Sarah, when she married John Marshal Hays. (They were my fourth great-grandparents.) It was passed down from mother-to-daughter for generations.

I imagine this over 200-year-old dress is still in the family, although this wasn’t passed through my family line directly. I was lucky enough to discover the two newspaper articles about the dress and I wanted to share them for all descendants to enjoy.

If your family is the present owner of the dress (or you know who is), please contact me at I would love a full-color photo of the dress.

Transcribed copy of “It Started With A Wedding” from 1968 is below.

Original news article – Click to enlarge.

It started with a wedding and a spinning wheel. On December 11, 1815, Callie Berry married John Pigg in Williamson County, Tennessee. It wasn’t long before Miss Callie decided to make the dress. She spun the cotton into thread to make the material and somebody brought herbs and berries from the woods to dye the cloth. It was a pretty deep blue and red plaid piece, and Miss Callie fashioned herself a fine outfit of the sturdy cotton fabric, with short waist and long sleeves and a lovely while cotton collar to go around her shoulders. The dress was fine all the years Miss Callie wore it, so she handed it down to her daughter, Sallie Pigg, when Sallie married Marshal Hayes on February 13, 1842. Hayes made caskets and shoes in Wayne County. It was Hayes’ daughter, Sarah, who brought the dress to Lauderdale County when she married a Boyd [Jasper William Boyd] on May 30, 1869. The Boyd’s daughter, Eliza Jane, was next to wear the dress. She was happy to follow the family tradition and hand it down to her daughter, Connie Boyd, now Mrs. Connie Boyd Larry. Naturally, Mrs. Larry gave the dress to her daughter, Mrs. Walter Joly, who lives on Chisholm Road, in Florence. It was a proud day last week, when the seventh generation wore the fine old dress. Elaine Joly, whose parents traced the history of the 147-year-old garment, is now 19 and a student at Florence State. She’s shown with the generations-old dress and spinning wheel and the family churn, which many great grandmothers handed down to their daughters. 

Second news article:

Click to enlarge.


Note: Copies of these articles were received from Mr. Pigg at the Wayne County Genealogy Fair in 2014.

I am related to Sarah “Callie” Cate Berry Pigg through her daughter Sarah Sally Pigg Hays, through her daughter Elizabeth Jane Hays Boyd, through her daughter Martha Ada Boyd Dial, through her daughter Bessie Waymon Dial Pigg, through her daughter Ruth Mauveline Pigg Harper.

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