Hollyhocks, an American Garden Staple
Hollyhocks recognized today are believed to be of Asian origin, because they are depicted in Chinese art as early as the 9th century, symbolizing passing time.
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Perhaps little ten year old Priscilla was living with her mother on that farm, or she may have been long separated from her by the sale of her family. Either way, she stuck in Silkwood's mind and stayed there.
Not long after, the plantation owner died and his property was sold. Pricilla managed to collect a quantity of hollyhock seeds from the slave quarters. These stout plants bore small pink flowers with maroon veins that were tiny compared to today's hollyhocks. Sold to a Cherokee chief, she cultivated the flowers at that new home among the Indians. In 1838 the Cherokee were forced down the Trail of Tears to the new Indian Territory in northeastern Oklahoma.
Along the way Priscilla encountered Bazil Silkwood who recognized the girl and purchased her from the Chief for one thousand dollars in gold.
Priscilla grew up a free woman with the Sikwoods as part of the family. They would raise sixteen orphans in all. She planted the hollyhocks again at the Silkwood Inn, which she inherited, and which was where she died in 1892.