In a recent post I lamented the fact that as far as the Mill Creek Hundred area goes, there often seems to be a limited amount of information out there to be found. Many a time an investigation has stalled because that key piece of information just can't be tracked down. With the size and historic population density of MCH, it stands to reason that the same limitations hold true for items and artifacts, too.
In a perfect world, I'd have time to scour through yard sales, resale shops, and antique shops looking for MCH-related items (and have the money to buy them, but one fantasy at a time). With the mental catalogue I've put together the last few years, I'd have a decent chance at recognizing relevant items. I'd mostly have to be looking for recognizable structures (in photos) and names of businesses and families to link them to MCH. You wouldn't normally expect an item to just have "Mill Creek Hundred" written across it in big letters, right? Except, of course, for when it does. Like now.
As you can see, the item above has exactly that. A little while back, Tom Gardner posted the above photograph over on the blog's Facebook page, asking if anyone might know what it is. So far, no luck. Where he found it, he was told it might be a horse blanket that once belonged to the fire company. Since he happens to belong to the fire company himself and hadn't seen anything like it before, he was skeptical. For what it's worth, I am, too.
I haven't seen the item in person, nor am I a horse person, so I can't really say for sure whether it is or is not a horse blanket. Several things, though, lead me to believe that it doesn't have anything to do with the fire company. For one, the Mill Creek Fire Company was founded in 1927. While I suppose it's possible that they may have had a ceremonial one, they didn't use horses so wouldn't have had need for an embroidered blanket. Secondly, unlike, say, the Brandywine Hundred Fire Company, there's no "Hundred" in Mill Creek's name. So if it were theirs, it had the wrong name on it.
Somehow I feel that if we can determine what this item is, we may find it to be an important artifact. The reason it's so unusual is the fact that it has "Mill Creek Hd." written on it. And while we may tend to think of MCH as a distinct area, remember that it's not an incorporated town, city, or village. There was no Mill Creek Hundred council or anything like that, and no real need to have anything with the name on it. In fact, the only other item at all like it that I can think of is the 1844 Election Flag. I can't even think of any other group, business, or organization that would need anything like this.
As far as wild speculation goes, if it is indeed a horse blanket, the only thing I can think of is maybe it was made for the hundred's tax assessor, or maybe used by a census enumerator. Beyond that, I'm stumped by this one, and I'm willing to entertain any ideas that anyone wants to throw out here. Can you think of what this might be? Who might have made it? Have you seen anything like this anywhere else?