Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fabric for Yankee Diary

Susan B Rogers quilt, 1867, Smithsonian Institution collection

Susan's quilt is one of the samplers that provided inspiration for our 2017 Block of the Month Yankee Diary. It begins Wednesday, January 25.

Susan B used a white background with various blues, reds and greens. Note the flags of striped fabric. Hers is set in conventional squares but we are going to be doing an irregular set with various sized and shaped blocks.

I am doing mine in traditional colors like Susan B, primarily red, white and blue with green and yellow accents---no browns.
  • Turkey red reproduction prints for the reds.
  • Various bright and dark blues from my Union Blues and Baltimore Blues lines.
  • A little gold in print and plain.
  • Some rather odd olive greens for leaves.
  • And the background is a plain white.

Denniele is doing hers in red, white and blue. Her background is a plain navy blue.  For the applique and piecing she's using some clear, bright reds and the blues are from Baltimore Blues

Becky's background is a small print, a slightly gray shirting print.
Her colors are red and green but in this block the red is pushed to pink and the green to a more pastel, clear green.

Here she's pushed the red to madder orange.

You'll be making some flags. I bought a fat quarter of a blue polka dot and a red zig-zag stripe. Denniele also used a zig-zag for her flags; Becky a traditional madder-style stripe. A fat quarter of each is enough but you may want a half yard so you can use the prints in other blocks too.

Flag fabrics

Here's the plan for the quilt finishing 42" x 54"
The numbers are the monthly pattern numbers.

Fabric Requirements
I bought 3 yards of the background---I'm not planning a border.
But if you want to add a 9" border to make the quilt 60" x 72" buy 1-3/4 yards.

For the applique and piecing in the blocks you will want an assortment of prints (or maybe plains). You'll need the flag fabric (see above).
Fat quarters:  Perhaps 8 would be enough for the monthly blocks and checkerboard filler strips. It's going to be very scrappy so you probably can raid your stash for most of it.

Block 6 in the diagram is a checkerboard filler.

Other Color ideas.
Below some samplers I found on the internet.

First: Monochromes

Red & white by whom?
Here's a sampler of irregular sized blocks, which
is what we'll be doing. It looks great in red and white
and the two-color combination unifies different sizes and blocks.

Same sampler in two fabrics - recolored in blue and white.

Shades of blue by whom?

Almost black and white by Elisa 

Then there's sophisticated neutrals

Farmhouse Spring Sampler. 
Colors pushed almost to grays.
The kit is from The Cotton Patch---wools and cotton flannels.

Settlers' Pride sampler by Maggie Bonanomi
Wool on black.
That Maggie look is a great look.

Passion Flowers by Becky Goldsmith, 2008

And then there's Becky Goldsmith's take on traditional color.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fredericksburg's Confederate Cemetery

Over Thanksgiving we visited the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The color pictures are mine; the black & whites
 from the Library of Congress.

3,500 graves mark the burial places of Southern soldiers. Some had survived the war to live into the 20th century. The majority were killed in at least four near-by Civil War battles. More than 2,000 blank stones mark the final resting spot of an unknown soldier.

Stonewall Jackson's grave in Lexington, Virginia, in the 1860s

These Civil War memorial cemeteries were women's work after the War.

Skirts are slightly narrower so this photo
 was taken a little later, but it still looks like the 1860s.

The first order of business was to purchase a burying ground.

Fredericksburg during the War by Timothy O'Sullivan.

The women of Fredericksburg bought land in 1867.

Men wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, 1863.

The next step: Digging up the hastily buried bodies in cornfields and hillsides around the South. 

Funds were needed to pay for laborers to do the ghoulish work.
Grave markers were commissioned, originally of wood,

later of stone. In Fredericksburg various state organizations
contributed for the headstones, most of which are blank.

The final crown to each graveyard was a memorial to the Confederate soldier.
The memorial here to the Confederate Dead was finished in 1884.

Funds were also needed for continuing upkeep.


Women North and South used fundraising methods they had perfected during the War---fairs, bazaars, theatricals, meals, and quilt raffles. Below is one account of Appomatox, Virginia, women raising cemetery construction money using a "Confederate Album Quilt" (About which we know nothing more.)
Article from the Bamberg (SC) Herald, 1899
"For 18 months we have labored with love and zeal to raise funds to enclose with an iron fence the Appomatox Confederate Cemetery, where eight 'who wore the gray' and one who 'wore the blue' sleep their last sleep....After having had many entertainments we determined to try a 'Confederate Album Quilt.' "
Detail: Silk quilt in the collection of the Museum of the American Civil War
and the Confederate White House

See a post about this quilt made to fund a memorial in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Read more about the Virginia's Ladies' Memorial Associations here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Westering Women 11: Bear's Paw

Block #11 Bear’s Paw by Becky Brown

This month's block for our Westering Women sampler is a version of the traditional Bear’s Paw, chosen to remember trail landmarks Soda Springs and the Bear River.

The red star is near Soda Springs in what is now Idaho.
Map: National Oregon/California Trail Center

After crossing South Pass, travelers followed the Bear River continuing northwest through mountainous country full of volcanic rock. They marveled at craters, cones and geysers in an area called Soda Springs. 
“ July 3, 1851. Travelled 20 miles. Had tolerable level road....Came to soda springs which are along the bank of the river. The water boils up from the bottom. Sparkles and tastes just as a glass of soda will, pure and cold. I never saw anything so splendid in all my life....It is thrown up by means of gass or something of the kind in the earth....There is a trading establishment here...was a chance to send letters to Fort Leavenworth on the [Missouri River]."  Amelia Hadley
Geyser at Soda Springs,
mid-20th-century postcard
The geyser was accidentally created by drilling in 1937.
The springs used to bubble up in calmer fashion.

The mineral hot springs spewed saleratus, which could be used to leaven biscuits by producing gas in the dough like baking soda does. There’s a preserved soda spring 1-1/2 miles north of Soda Springs, Idaho. 

"July, 1850
Reached the far-famed Soda Springs and Steamboat Spring at the big bend of the Bear River….[They] boil up from the ground in many places, forming mounds of earth with a little cup or hollow on the top…I dipped a cupful without leaving my seat in the wagon. Its taste was that of ordinary soda water. I learned afterwards from those who had used it that it made very light biscuit. We had no chance to give it a trial in this way."     Margaret Frink
Harriet Booth Griswold camped a day on the Bear River in August, 1859: "Did not travel today. Staid to shoe [horses] and recruit stock [probably purchase fresh horses or oxen from the traders there.] Been washing, picking over berries & steamed a nice dumpling for supper."

Detail of cooking on a riverside by Daniel Jenks, 1859

Rivers soon became scarce for the California bound who followed the Humboldt River until it disappeared into the desert and then on to the Truckee and American Rivers and the end of the trail. Those headed for Oregon followed the Snake River northwest.         

Bear's Paw by Denniele Bohannon

This Bear’s Paw with a Four Patch  (BlockBase #1885) is from the Grandmother Clark pattern catalog in 1932. She called it Bear's Paw or The Best Friend. The block can recall the geothermal sights along the Bear River.

A - Cut 20 Squares 2" x 2"
B - Cut 16 squares 2-3/8". Cut each into 2 triangles with a diagonal cut. 

You need 32 triangles.
C - Cut 4 rectangles 5" x 3-/2"
D - Cut 1 square 3-1/2"

Becky, who lives in the Virginia countryside, made her block during a week with a Virginia bear encounter:
"The timing is perfect, because we had a bear in our back yard last night. We had thunder and lightning and I stepped out on the back porch to see if it was raining - and noticed that we'd had an intruder - the bear kind, 20 feet from our patio. Our bird feeder pole is completely down and twisted over and the bird feeder full of sunflower seeds was about 12 feet away. I'm pretty sure my stepping outside scared it away, since the feeder hadn't been smashed yet. I checked the trail camera this morning. . .wishful thinking on my part, but there is no video of him."
Read more about saleratus. 

See Harriet Booth Griswold's diary in a preview of Covered Wagon Women, Volume 7: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1854-1860: 

Amelia Hadley's 1851 diary is in Volume 3 of Covered Wagon Women. Read a preview here:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Quaker Community and a Kidnapped Family

Photoshopped collage of Mary Payne's quilt block about
1850 and her portrait about 1890

Quilts are significant in their link to the past. They engage families with their own history. They also draw an audience to a historical narrative that might otherwise be ignored. One surviving Pennsylvania quilt has those qualities, telling the story of a family of freed slaves kidnapped by ruffians, returned to slavery in Virginia and freed again through the court of law.

The Quaker Valley Friendship Quilt
Collection Menallen Friends
Menallen Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania

The quilt has links to the Payne family's ordeal and the Quakers who offered them aid.

In 1843 Catherine (Kitty) Payne (1816 - about 1850), a 27-year-old slave in Virginia owned by the Maddox family, was the widow of free man Robert Payne. Mary Maddox, her owner, moved to Pennsylvania with several of her slaves, freeing Mary and her four children (Eliza, Mary, James Arthur and George) that year. Kitty and her family settled on Bear Mountain in Adams County.

Kitty lived in northern Adams County, Pennsylvania,
the yellow star at the top. Gettysburg (center star)
is the largest city. Maryland along the southern border
was a slave state.

Samuel Maddox Jr. objected to his Aunt Mary's actions in depriving him of what he saw as an inheritance. He and a group of men headed by professional slave-napper Thomas Finnegan of Maryland captured Kitty on July 24, 1845, and returned them to Virginia. The family of four (the baby had died) was jailed---or kept under house arrest for protection--- for a year, depending on the story.

Finnegan's ventures into Pennsylvania to capture free blacks and runaways infuriated the antislavery Quakers who assisted the family with legal help and other aid before and after their Virginia trial. 

Richmond Enquirer, September 18, 1846

The Baltimore Patriot printed an account of the Payne case resolution, which was copied by
several other newspapers in September, 1846. Surprisingly the Virginia court ruled that Kitty and "her children were equitably entitled to their freedom...the negroes were set free.....the arrest of this woman and her children caused much excitement in Adams county, Pa., at the time it was made...."

The family returned to Menallen Township in Adams County and the children were placed with Quaker families. Mary Payne, by that time about 6 years old, was raised in the John Wright home.

The tale of Kitty Payne and her children being beaten, bound, gagged and dragged back to Virginia resonated in Adams County. The story has been told many times by the family and the neighbors over the years. At some point quilt blocks were stitched and inked. Mary Payne signed one as did Jane Wright, her foster sister, and several other of the Quakers who helped the family.

The quilt has been linked to the Payne kidnapping only recently - in the past decade, I believe, by Kitty's great-granddaughter Sandy Kasabuske. I haven't noticed any dates inscribed on the blocks but I would guess the blocks were made in the years 1840-1860 by the fabrics.

Several of them are done in the fashionable blue
and buff color scheme of the 1840-1860 years.

Rebecca Wright's block
Others are pieced of Turkey red prints, another album fad in the 1840s and '50s.

It's difficult to determine from the photos when the blocks were set together as
the setting fabric is a plain white cotton---offering only minimal clues to the
Quilt Detective. The horizontal grid of setting strips is also no clue.

The Quaker Valley quilt has been researched and discussed
by Quaker quilt historians Mary Holton Robare and Lynda Salter Chenoweth
on their blog Quaker Quilts:
Here are 3 links:

This may be the family with whom Mary Payne lived:
John Wright, b. 4 Mo. 28, 1782; d. 12 Mo. 20, 1860; m. 10 Mo. 24, 1804, Alice Wilson.
Sarah, m. Enos McMillan, son of Jacob and Ruth (Griffith);
George, m. Lucy Wright;
Eliza, m. Jacob B.Hewitt;
Charles S., m. 9 Mo. 30, 1846, Hannah G. Penrose.

A soldier examines bullet holes in the Brian (Bryan) house
following the Battle of Gettysburg. 

After their return to Pennsylvania Kitty married Abraham Brian (1804-1879) and had two more children. Soon after Kitty died Abraham bought a farm on the Emmetsburg Road near Gettysburg. Pennsylvania, site of a future battle. Kitty Payne Brian's early death spared her that horrifying episode of American Civil War history.

Kitty is now interred with second husband Abraham Brian and another of Brian's wives
at the Lincoln Cemetery at Gettysburg.

Abram Bryan was listed in the 1860 census as having land worth $1400.
He is living with Elizabeth and two boys, Francis (11) and William (14).

Mary Payne (1840 - 1928) married William Jackson. I believe her descendant Mary Jackson Goins Gandy is one of the family members who has kept the story alive.

Some sources:
The Menallen Friends own the quilt.