Saturday, September 24, 2022

Confederate Bed-Clothes Fit for the Flames

Frances Dallam Peter (1843-1864) and her parents 
Frances Paca Dallam &  Robert Peter in the mid 1840s. 
The girl had epilepsy, an untreatable and mysterious condition at the time.

Despite her seizures Frances attended the Sayre Female Institute in 
Lexington, Kentucky, founded in 1854.

When the war began she was about 18, living with her well-to-do family. Her father Dr. Robert Peter was a surgeon and administrator for the Union military hospitals in Lexington, a city with both Confederate and Union sympathizers. She kept a diary in 1862 and '63 giving us a young Union woman's view of the conflicted city.

Lexington before the war

Neighbors became estranged as the town formed two rival factions, each awaiting deliverance by their respective armies who traded control over the war.

In the first year of the war she mentions sewing for Union soldiers at the Aid Society that met at the Wheeler & Wilson [sewing] machine shop at #5 Higgins Block.

Sewing on a Wheeler & Wilson machine 

Lexington's "secesh ladies" also had a sewing society to aid Confederate prisoners jailed in town. They likely made and donated bedclothes for the prisoners and hospital patients.

After the Southerners abandoned a hospital in a commandeered school building Frances, continually appalled by the Confederate Army's standards of cleanliness, had gossip about how horribly dirty the building was. "The bed clothes, etc. used by the rebels (which by the way belonged to the Aid Society) will never again be fit for any thing but the flames." 

We can guess that most of the quilts serving in hospitals managed by either side were shortly considered "fit only for the flames," which is why we have so few surviving from either side.

Frances's seizures proved fatal. She died in the summer of 1864 when she was just 21. Read selections from her diary in A Union Woman in Civil War Kentucky,  edited by John David Smith & William Cooper Jr.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

American Stars Block 9 Finishes & Sets









Joan's & Dena's photoshopped together.

On our Facebook page some seem worried their blocks aren't going to go together as they are working rather blindly one at a time. The group:

They are trusting the designer (Moi?!) to make it all work.

Don't forget my favorite quilts look like this.

But my co-designer Becky Brown is the soul of good taste and balanced design.
Above quilt probably not her favorite.

Becky and the Country Schoolhouse Quilters Blocks 1-9
She set blocks on point with alternating plain squares.
Plus the piano key border to repeat all the fabrics.

A very wide sashing can pull the whole room together.

Perhaps a busy wide sashing

Or an alternate pieced block in one color way to link the sampler blocks.

Posts on sets:

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Entertainment in a Hospital Ward


Artist: Hoppin

In 1865 Frank B. Goodrich published a history of the homefront in the Civil War,  The Tribute Book A Record of Munificence, Self-Sacrifice and Patriotism of the American People. Dozens of illustrations by various artists were included. 

The illustrations give us information about the war work.

Showing us much about the relief agencies...

Fund raising and hospital work

The illustration below by Alfred R. Waud (1828-1891) is quite revealing. 

Entertainment in the hospital wards (at least this ward) was provided by Magic Lantern slides. The technology had been available for years. The Magic Lantern projector projected glass plates using a light fueled by alcohol or oil. 

Projector and slides from 1847, Dickinson College collection

Slide picturing the death of Colonel Ellsworth.

Magic Lantern show in Baltimore a month before the war began.

New York Herald, February 1862

Magic Lantern slide

Once the war began, photos and sketches of the army and the conflicts became the topic of many a Magic Lantern show.

Library of Congress
Hand-painted slide by Kansas artist Samuel Reader from 1866
showing an 1864 battle.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

American Stars #9: Star of Illusion for the Butlers


American Stars #9: Star of Illusion for the Butlers by Jeanne Arnieri

A nine-patch star for the Butlers of Georgia, South Carolina and Philadelphia.

Pierce Butler (1744-1822)

The first of this Butler family in the U.S. was Pierce Butler, third son of an Irish baronet, who fought on the side of the British in the 1770 "Boston Massacre" in which the King's troops killed five Bostonians.

The Boston Massacre by Paul Revere

Butler soon switched allegiance, bought huge plantations in South Carolina and Georgia and served as
delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention after the Revolution. He was a U.S. Senator.

An advocate of slavery he hoped to have this clause included in the Constitution:

"Wheresoever any person bound to service or labour in any state, shall flee into another state, it shall be lawful for the person intitled to such service or labour to reclaim and recover him he shall not be thereby discharged from such service or labour: but the legislatures of the several states shall make provision for the recovery of such person."
In essence a Fugitive Slave law, his statute was not instituted until 1850.

Star of Illusion
Fussy-cutting fearlessness by Becky Brown

Daughter Sarah Butler (1773-1831) married Philadelphia polymath Dr. James Mease (1771–1846) and had 5 children. James is credited as the inventor of tomato ketchup and author of a history about Philadelphia.

James Mease, Silhouette by Auguste Edouard

Pierce Butler, left without heirs to carry on the Butler name, (he'd disinherited one son and another had died) offered Philadelphian Sarah Butler Mease his fortune for his grandsons if they'd change their last name from Mease to Butler. 

Free Library of Philadelphia
8th & Chestnut Streets, 1855

Sarah complied. Pierce built a mansion in Philadelphia. Heir Pierce Mease, renamed Pierce Mease Butler, became enamored of a famous English actress on her 1832 American tour.

Pierce Mease Butler (1810–1867) & Frances Ann Kemble (1809-1893)
Married in their mid-20s

Tired of the stage and swept away by the rich young man's obsessive devotion Fanny Kemble
married him in 1834. She was under the illusion that such love lasted and that he admired her independence. He believed she would become the submissive wife, permitting his infidelities and financial irresponsibilities. She had abolitionist ideas; his fortune was built on the backs of slaves.

Fanny accompanied him on a visit to one of his Georgia plantations, a shocking experience for her and the end of any marital harmony. A prolific diary keeper and letter writer she eventually published her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation during the Civil War, hoping to convince Britons to avoid supporting the Confederacy.
"Tittle tattle about Mr & Mrs Pierce Butler whose squabbles have become serious enough to be known generally---His conduct to her has been shameful & although I daresay she has her faults of temper, it is unmanly & cruel to treat her so. Even his family side with her...."  Eliza Fisher, 1843.
He refused to let her see their two daughters Frances & Sarah. Fanny Kemble Butler went home to England. 

He divorced her in 1848, the scandal of the year. During the Civil War Pierce's pro-Confederate sentiments and actions were so blatant he was arrested in Philadelphia for treason.

Star of Illusion by Denniele Bohannon

The Block
Star of Illusion is a redesign of published patterns that are pieced
as four patches and nine patches.

BlockBase+ Numbers 1240 and 1721

Print the pattern below on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet. Note the square inch for scale.

Most of the pieces can be cut with a rotary cutter and pieced
in conventional fashion.

The Next Generation
Daughters Frances Anne (1838-1910) & Sarah Butler (1835 -1908)

Once daughter Fan Butler was 21 both girls were free to associate with their mother. In 1859 Sally married Dr. Owen Jones Wister of the Philadelphia Wisters. Sally was strongly for the Union.

LaSalle University
Sally Wister and husband Owen Jones Wistar (1825-1896) lived in
the Philadelphia suburb Germantown

James Wentworth Leigh and Frances Anne Butler Leigh

Fan followed her father's pro-Confederacy loyalties until the day she died. After the war she and her father attempted to continue plantation agriculture but Pierce Butler died of malaria  in Georgia in 1867. A decade later Fan married English minister James Leigh and moved to England.

She published her own perspective on
the good old days of slavery in 1883, which
did not endear her to her mother.

Alice Dudley Leigh Butler (1874-1965)

Fan had two boys named Pierce Butler Leigh who both died young. 
Her daughter Alice married distant relative Richard Pierce Butler, an Irish baronet.

Owen Jones Wister II (1860-1938)

Sally and Dr. Wister had one son Owen Wister II who defined the American cowboy in several western novels, particularly The Virginian.

Read posts about the Butler/Kemble marriage at early BOM's.

A dozen Stars of Illusion by Denniele Bohannon
Photoshopped into an all-over set.