An Early Dress Maker

An Early Dress Maker
Beth Batlle, Town Historian
In the 1870’s, dressmaking, along with millinery,
was the fourth most important occupation
for women in the United States. Few
dressmakers became wealthy. However, these
two businesses did allow women to maintain a certain
position of independence.
Ellen Lee Jewell was such dressmaker. She was born in
Devonshire, England in 1842. At the age of 23, she married
Samuel Jewell. Shortly after their wedding, the couple
left their homeland, came to this country and settled in
Skaneateles. Eventually they made their home at #8
Onondaga Street in Skaneateles, a two family house built
by Samuel and his brother, James. Ellen’s profits might
have been a welcome compliment to her carpenter husband’s
When a woman in Skaneateles wanted a new dress…

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