PORT CLINTON — Dawn McCarroll has come a long way since the tragic suffering of her Choctaw ancestors. Her life as a merchant in downtown Port Clinton is far removed from the experience of her great-grandmother, whose life was turned upside down by the Trail of Tears, the 19th-century forced resettlement of thousands of Native Americans.
“My grandma was 5 when she hiked the Trail of Tears,” McCarroll said. “She remembered quite a bit, but she didn’t like to talk about it.”
Although her great-grandmother rarely spoke of the suffering she endured, she was proud of her Choctaw identity and encouraged McCarroll to apply for membership in the Choctaw tribe.
“My great-grandmother convinced me to join, and I did,” McCarroll said.
Privileges of being a member of the Choctaw Tribe
McCarroll lived in Texas before moving to Port Clinton in 2017 and was blessed with the privileges of being a member of the Choctaw tribe, like free health care on tribal land.
“I didn’t need it, so I never had the opportunity to be an intimate part of the tribe,” she said. “But being a member is quite nice. I get newsletters from the tribe and I’m aware of what’s going on.
McCarroll moved to Port Clinton when her husband accepted the position of pastor of Lake Point Baptist Church on Maple Street. Today, McCarroll owns Dawn’s Folly, a craft and gift shop that offers crafts as well as a large selection of crafting supplies.
McCarroll’s vision for Dawn’s Folly has slowly evolved since she first rented the downtown building in 2018. She originally intended to use the space personally for her creative hobbies, but a friend convinced her to open a shop.
Sells handmade items
“When I opened it, I didn’t really have a complete concept of my shop. I had a few friends who had resale items here, but now I only focus on handmade items and craft supplies,” she said.
McCarroll creates and sells her own handmade work in the shop.
“I weave and sew. I make purses, belts, purses and guitar straps. I mostly do small loom weaving,” she said. “I also crochet, machine knit and work a little with polymer clay. I just like making things and I really like working with fabric.
Hobbyists can find a variety of supplies at Dawn’s Folly, including specialty yarns, ribbon, sewing notions, vintage sewing patterns, hand knitting looms, thread, and cross-stitch pattern books , crochet and sewing. The shop offers needlepoint, cross-stitch and sewing supplies, and has three vintage sewing machines for sale.
The shop is popular with locals and tourists.
“Tourists are either looking for something to do or gifts and souvenirs,” McCarroll said.
Items include signs, jewelry, goat milk soap
In addition to McCarroll’s work, the shop offers handmade gifts and crafts from vendors who rent space inside Dawn’s Folly. Items available include lake-themed gift items; honey infused in flavors like jalapeno and chocolate; wall hangings; hand-painted panels; jewelry; living terrariums; and goat milk soap, lotion, deodorant and lip balm.
McCarroll and her mother sell collectibles and antiques at Dawn’s Folly, including 1940s sewing pattern magazines, and the shop has a used book section.
McCarroll is grateful that the tourist season is in full swing after the lull of 2020.
“Last year, when no one was shopping, I put up more displays and started bringing in more items. I expanded what I’ve been doing for a year and a half,” a- “Things are looking up now, and I’m happy to see all the new businesses downtown.”
Dawn’s Folly, 121 Madison St. in downtown Port Clinton, can be reached at 419-684-2120.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]