Nell Appleby Sieber
(picture from newspaper article)
Not long ago, a day was made special by the pictures and text sent to Appleby Heritage by Nell Appleby-Sieber. It is a delight to become acquainted with Nell and discover we are cousins, to some unfathomable degree. Nell lives in the East, I am in the West, yet we were born within a few miles of each other and only a month apart.
It is certain you will appreciate Nell's thoughtfulness in sharing the pictures and story of the Bushel Gourds, called "Appleby Pumpkins", by her Appleby family.
The news article (below) relates the history of the Barrel Gourds.
Mrs. Sieber has one of the original "Appleby Pumpkins" making the journey with the family from Tennessee to Missouri.. In an e-mail, Nell writes: "The article I sent was several years old (1991) and I sold all of the extras at the craft fair here, after giving members of my family one each. I have promised the original to John Bell Appleby, son of my brother, J. B. I think he is the 7th generation Appleby in Missouri. He'll have to come and get it. though. Somehow, it doesn't seem appropriate to send it UPS and I don't know any wagon trains going west these days.
While Nell no longer grows the gourds, curiosity compelled
me to try to locate a place to order Bushel Gourd seeds. If you are
interested, here's an easy path. Go to: www.google.com; type in the word Gourds, and choose your selection from every type of Gourd, imaginable, including Barrel Gourds.
Newsarticle, Sept. 27, 1991:
"Resembling pumpkins the 25 gourds Sieber plans on selling, uses them to hold floral arrangements, the dried gourds have a history of also being canisters. "When the first Appleby family came to Missouri from Tennessee, they used the gourds as containers for flour, coffee and sugar in wagons that brought them westward,", said Sieber, a former Missourian.
Dubbed the "Appleby pumpkin" by the family, one of the gourds is now more than 170 years old, said Sieber, who inherited it and whose grandmother stored newspapers in it.
By a fluke, Sieber discovered seeds for the gourds in a catalog and ordered them three and a half years ago. (1988). After six of the gourds matured she scraped out the seeds to plant the following spring and began drying the gourds.
Some have been drying for two to three years, said Sieber, who rubs them in the winter to keep the moisture off. Once dried, the gourds' tops are cut off to keep them from mildewing.
Although labeled 'bushel gourds' Sieber said most of those she will be selling (at a local Heritage Day festival), couldn't really hold a bushel, although the two largest ones might keep two gallons.
"They make wonderful Thanksgiving Day certerpieces." "They really are art objects."
(picture and article (edited) from the York Daily Record Newspaper) (Sept. 27, 1991)
page: 11 May 2002