Saturday, January 2, 2016

More About Quiltmaker Susan Robb

Confederate applique quilt made by 
Susan Robb,1861-1862. Chicot County, Arkansas
Collection of the Museum at Texas Tech University

Susan Robb's quilt was on display at The Autry Museum in Los Angeles through January 3, 2016, as part of the exhibit Empire and Liberty: The Civil War in the West. 

See the Autry Museum's website here:

When the Civil War began Susan Robb was a farmer's wife, living in Chicot County, Arkansas in Planters Township near Eudora. The quilt is attributed to the first years of the war, 1861-1862, when Robb's stepsons William Henry Robb (born 1844) and Theodore F. Robb (born 1846) joined the Arkansas Confederate troops. Theodore's records are hard to find but William left several.

In September 19, 1861, when he was 16 years old William joined the Chicot Rangers, which became the First Arkansas Mounted Rifles. William's company spent time in Indian Territory and Arkansas before crossing the Mississippi as part of Van Dorn's army and later Beauregard's. William served a little over a year with the First Arkansas and was discharged in Tennessee, November, 1862.

His stepmother Susan C. Davenport Robb was probably born in 1822 in Kentucky. In 1849 when she was about 27 she married Henry Baron Robb, 43 years old. Robb had been married twice before and Susan became stepmother to William and Theodore, 5 and 3 years old, and their sister Minerva, about ten.

Mississippi with Coahoma County in yellow. 
The Mississippi River
forms the western border between
Mississippi and Arkansas

The family moved to Coahoma County, Mississippi, near the Mississippi River where the couple had three more children: Mary, born about 1849, who died at a young age, Aaron Baron born in 1851, Thomas Jefferson born in 1854. (Mary is listed as 1 year old in the 1850 census so she may have been born to Henry's middle wife.)

Sometime between Thomas's birth and the 1860 census the family moved just across the Mississippi  to Chicot County, Arkansas, 

The 1860 Census recorded Henry Robb's family.
He was listed as a Planter

When the war began and Susan commenced working on her Confederate quilt she was about forty years old, wife to a 55-year-old farmer and mother to six children ranging in age from about 6 years old to 17. Minerva had just married and left home. Susan may have had live-in help from servant or friend Julia Zale who had also lived in Mississippi.

Henry died soon after the war in 1866.  That year 45-year-old Susan C. Robb married David (or Davis) S. Ruple in Chicot County on May 28. 

Ruple, Davis S., 44
 Robb, Susan C., 45
 28 May 1868

Record here:

1850 Census showing David Ruple's first family with wife Nancy
and two young children Charles and Mary

David Ruple, born in 1822 was listed in the Chicot County census in 1850. His name is spelled in various ways Ruplo or Ruple (probably correct) and Davis or David. 

In 1870 Susan Ruple and David Ruple lived in Chicot County with three teenaged boys, her sons Aaron Baron and Thomas plus David's son Greenberg Ruple who was about 10 when they married.

Susan C. Davenport Robb Ruple died in 1887 in Carrollton, Texas. The Texas connection would explain how the quilt wound up at the Museum at Texas Tech.

Susan's descendants visited the Museum to see the family quilt in 2010.

The quilt was donated to the Museum at Texas Tech University in 1983.


Lori said...

I'd love to see that quilt up close and personal. Thanks for the history lesson!!

Suzanne A said...

Henry Robb of Chicot Co. Arkansas owned 30 slaves according to the 1860 slave schedules. I don't know that this is a hard and fast rule, but "planter" usually refers to a slave owner and a non-slave owner owning a farm would be labeled a "farmer".

Unknown said...

Susan Robb delivered my grandmother Anniebelle Robb,her brother was Thom " Nuke Robb.Her father was Aaron
Baron Robb.They were from Lewisville Texas.My Grandmother lived to 100 years old and was a quilter of Tulip Designs
that she got from Susan Robb,her grandmother. JIm French

Jonathan Moreland said...

Thanks for this article. I have been engaged in documenting the ancestry of this Robb family and was specifically looking for verification of Susan C (Davenport) Robb's maiden name and date of death. You provide both in your well researched post AND I learn that Susan C. Robb was an accomplished civil war era quilt-maker. Fantastic! Following are a few additional factoids bearing on Susan's life. Henry and "Susan C" Robb were parties to a deed executed in Coahoma, Co., Mississippi in July 1849. They sold about 115.5 acres to neighborJames L. Alcorn, future governor and US senator from that state. In 1851 Henry and Susan C. Robb conveyed the remaining 2 acres of their land patent (1838), including the church buliding and adjacent graveyard, to trustees of Bethany Methodist Church. In 1855 Henry and Susan. C Robb mortgaged 593 acres in Planter's twp, Chicot Co., Arkansas. Henry Robb wrote his will 1857; proved nine years later in 1866. He named his wife Susan C., daughter Minerva Edwards, and sons William Henry H., Theodore F., Aron Barron, and Thomas Jefferson.