The 1875 Waterford Town Map: Taking a Tour of Women’s Businesses

By Debbie Robison

Hanging on a wall at the Waterford Foundation offices is an artist’s interpretation of an old map of Waterford. The original map, upon which this is based, has been around for 148 years. Now at the Library of Virginia, the map was preserved all these years by the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Loudoun County (now Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company) at their Waterford offices.

Surveyor James Oden created the map in 1875 for the Waterford Town Council when the town was incorporated after the Civil War. The map was required by the Virginia General Assembly to distinctly show the boundaries and the public streets and alleys with their width.[1]

The map offers a fascinating snapshot in time. Each lot, carefully laid out along Waterford’s streets, is identified with its size and owner’s name. Yet the most interesting information can be found on the sides of the map. Here you will see hand-drawn business cards advertising a variety of businesses where Victorian-era men and women could purchase goods and services. Many of the cards publicize businesses operated by women, which gives a rare opportunity to explore where in town the female proprietors conducted their trade.

So, in honor of Women’s History Month, lets follow the map to their shops.

Stop 1: The Divine Sisters, Carpet Weavers

We begin on Bond Street where spinster sisters Frances and Rachel Divine manufactured and sold carpets.

DIVINE SISTERS, Carpet Weavers, Work done in handsome & Durable Style, Bond St.

The carpets were woven on a loom, possibly out of carpet wool that could be dyed a variety of colors. Frances had raised twins, Joseph and Mary – both 33 years old at the time the map was created, as an unwed mother.[2] The carpet weaving business, which was conducted in their home, provided a much-needed income for the sisters.

Stop 2: Sallie Radcliffe’s Fancy Store

Heading down past the tan yard to Main Street, it isn’t long before you arrive at Sallie Radcliffe’s Fancy Store where a wide variety of goods could be purchased.

Sallie Radcliffe, Fancy Store, Main St.

A Fancy Store carried fancy articles like beaded purses, dress trimmings, hosiery, corsets, laces, sun umbrellas, specialty papers for making paper flowers, hoop skirts, collars, ribbons, and occasionally writing desks, assorted China articles, and toys.[3]

Sallie, a single Quaker woman, lived with her widowed mother, Ann Ratcliffe, in the house where she operated the store. In addition to operating the store, Sallie was also a milliner.[4]

Stop 3: Catherine Leggett’s Confectionary Store

After shopping at Radcliffe’s, a visitor might walk a few doors up Main Street to stop in at the widow Catherine Leggett’s confectionary store for a sweet. Fruits, candies, and nuts were typically sold in confectionary shops.

Catharine Leggett, Confectionary, Candy, Cherries, Figs, Sweetmeats of all kinds, Main St.

Catherine Leggett (nee Rinker), who went by Kitty, purchased the house in 1860 from William Russell, who acted as guardian of the children she had with her first husband, Joseph Wright.[5] Her second husband, cabinet maker Samuel Leggett, died earlier that year.

Stop 4: Amelia Rinker, Tailoress, and Stop 5: Sallie Graham, Tailoress

If a small town could have a garment district, then it would have been found on Waterford’s Main Street near The Loudoun Hotel (40170 Main Street, formerly Talbott’s Tavern) where a cluster of seamstresses and tailoresses offered their services.

After leaving Kitty Leggett’s confectionary store, you soon arrive two businesses for tailoresses, one run by Kitty’s sister, Amelia Rinker, and the other by Kitty’s daughter, Sallie Graham. Amelia Rinker [Stop 4] lived to the west of Amelia Sappington, a seamstress, and Sallie Graham [Stop 5] lived on the other side.[6]

Amelia Rinker, Tailoress, Main St

Sallie Graham, Tailoress







A tailoress sewed custom fitted garments, typically for men. In addition to sewing jackets, vests, and trousers, a tailoress may have also sewn shirts with detachable collars and neckties.

Stop 6: Sallie Orrison, Milliner and Dressmaker

The exact location of the shop that Sallie Orrison rented on Main Street is unknown, but it might have been near the tavern.[7]

Her card advertised her as a milliner (a trade that typically fashioned and sold hats and caps for women and girls), yet she promotes dressmaking:  Dresses Cut & Made In the most fashionable style.

Sallie Orrison, Milliner, Dresses Cut & Made in the most fashionable style, Main St.

Before her marriage to Townsend Orrison in 1872, Sallie was living with her family and working as a milliner.[8] In 1875, Townsend Orrison, who was financially embarrassed and unable to pay his debts, declared his intention of taking the benefit of the Homestead Act, passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1870 to protect a debtors personal property.  Among the personal property he listed in his homestead exemption was all the stock of goods such as ribbons bonnets &c & other articles used in the millenary business now on hand in the store carried on by my wife in the Town of Waterford valued at $200.[9]

Stop 7: Ella Mount, Private School Principal

Possible Location of Ella Mount’s Private School

Continuing down Main Street and then up Second Street takes you to the area where Ella Mount was the principal of a private school. The exact location of her school is unknown.

Private School, Ella Mount, principal – Second St.

Ella Mount was the daughter of William T. Mount and granddaughter of John Mount, both Waterford furniture and chair makers. In 1870 John and William Mount were in a rented house on Main Street.[10] Ella’s residence is unknown. John and William Mount had a 1 ½-story cabinet-maker’s shop on Second Street.[11] It’s possible, though not confirmed, that Ella held her private school in the upper story of the shop.

Stop 8: Sallie Divine, Dressmaker

On the far side of the village was the only other garment maker whose business card is on the map. Sallie Divine advertised her dressmaking services on High Street.

Sallie Divine, Dressmaker, Dresses fitted to give satisfaction, High St.

Sallie wed Joseph T Divine, son of Frances Divine the carpet weaver, in 1870.[12] They purchased the house on Hight Street the year the map was created.[13]

Women’s dress fashions in 1875, the year the map was drawn, sported rows of ruffles, drapes and/or pleats. Sallie may have kept up-to-date on the current styles of dress by subscribing to a dressmaking periodical, such as the popular Godey’s Ladies Book, published in Philadelphia, of Demorest’s Illustrated Monthly, a New York publication. Demorest also offered seasonal dressmaking instruction guides with a catalog of patterns available for purchase. Sallie may have also sewn undergarments and lingerie.

The following lithograph shows the latest fashion in 1875, the year the map was created.


[1] Acts and Joint Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, at the Session of 1874-5. Richmond, R. F. Walker, Supt Public Printing, 1875, as viewed on Google books at

[2] Joseph Tuinto Divine Death Certificate, Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014, as viewed on; Mary Alvernon Trunnell Death Certificate, Washington, D.C., U.S., Select Birth and Christenings, 1830-1955, as viewed on

[3] C. C. Berry, “Dealer in Fancy Goods & Notions of Every Description,Alexandria Gazette, 29 May 1875, p.1; H. Baader, “Selling Out at Below Cost,” Alexandria Gazette, 14 May 1870, p. 1;

[4] 1870 Federal Census for Sallie Radcliffe, as viewed on; U.S. Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Fairfax Monthly Meeting, Minutes 1843-1932, image 30 of 36, as viewed on

[5] Deed from William Russell to Catherine Leggett, Loudoun County Deed Book 5T:255, August 10, 1860; Joseph H Wright Probate Account, Loudoun County Will Book 2I:415.

[6] Amelia Sappington v. Charles Sappington, Chancery Case 1872-068, image 30 of 75, Library of Virginia.

[7] In 1880 federal census Sallie Orrison is listed immediately before C. W. Divine

[8] 1870 Federal Census, Loudoun, Northern Division, Taylorstown Post Office, as viewed on

[9] Townsend Orrison Homestead Exemption, Loudoun County Deed Book 6H:223, December 1, 1875.

[10] 1870 Federal Census

[11] John Mount’s Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Loudoun County application #570, January 25, 1868, Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Loudoun County Records, 1849-1954. Accession 41374. Business records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

[12] 1870 Federal Census for Joseph and Sallie Divine

[13] Loudoun County Deed Book 6G:469, February 1, 1875.