Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Gathering of Water Lilies

A pastime that seems to have faded away was the gathering of water lilies. (photo from the Delaware Archives website)

Up until about the 1920s you would read of people going water lilies gathering, usually children and young woman would make the trip out in a boat and pull the lilies from the mud.  They would use them as decoration in the home or sell them to tourist on the trains.  They could also be used as a fish bait in fish traps.  Some people would pull them to sell in the mass flower markets in the large cities.  They would pull 2,000 to 3,000 lilies in morning then ship them by train to Philadelphia.
The lily however grows in the mud of the pond and when people would wade out they would sink into the mud such as Leonard Murphy a railroad telegraph operator at Laurel in 1915.  He would married in a few weeks so no doubt he was gathering lilies for his girlfriend.

each year a number of deaths would be reported of people drowning from gathering water lilies.

The idyllic pursue was a frequent subject of paintings and postcards. 

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