Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Westering Women 6: Hill and Hollow

Block 6 
Hill and Hollow by Becky Brown
"July 27, 1857. Traveled the distance of about two and a half miles over sand hills the most terrible I ever beheld. Encamped on the banks of the Platt river for dinner.
August 2 1857.Our camping place for dinner was Ash hollow a splendid and romantic place."
Sarah Mousley

As we follow the Westering Women across the American continent we see the landscape change in Nebraska's panhandle. Ash Hollow Park is the red arrow on this N.P.R. map that shows
the dominant tribes along the trail.

After weeks of uneventful days following the Platte River, travelers came upon a series of landmarks. Windlass Hill, a formidable descent, was the first. Teams and wagons were unhitched and inched down the hill. 

Ruts and swales are still visible near Windlass Hill and 
California Hill on the Platte. 

Keturah Belknap wrote in 1848 that the men “were lifting the wheels to ease them down the steps for it was solid rock steps from six inches to two feet apart so it took all day but we all got thru without accident.”

"Bloomer Costume Put to a Severe Test"
Wadsworth's 1858 guide pictures a wagon careening downhill with
a woman holding on behind. 

Once the hill had been navigated immigrants rested in Ash Hollow, some staying a few days to enjoy the water, the best on the journey. After weeks of sifting the mud out of Missouri and Platte River water, spring water was a delight.

The hill and hollow are well marked in a Nebraska park near Highway 26 and Llewellyn. This is a great place to see ruts left by the wagons.

Hill and Hollow

The Nancy Cabot column in the Chicago Tribune published this classic block and named it Hill and Hollow in 1937 (BlockBase #1276), but it's divided by 10 so would make a poor 12" block.
I changed the proportions---leaving a lot of triangles in there---many hills and hollows still to cross from Ash Hollow to the Pacific.

Cutting a 12" Block
A - Cut 20 squares 2-7/8". Cut each in half with a diagonal line to make 2 triangles. You need 40 small triangles.

B - Cut 4 squares 4-7/8". Cut each in half with a diagonal line to make 2 triangles. You need 8 large triangles.

Bloomers on the Trails

The unfortunate woman pictured in Wadsworth's guide is wearing trousers under her skirt, but is it a long skirt or a more practical short skirt?

Kenneth L. Holmes, editor of the Covered Wagon Women series, noted in Volume 5 about trips in 1852 that he saw a pattern of women adopting the "Bloomer Costume," trousers. Seventeen-year-old Eliza Ann McAuley:
"My sister and I wear short dresses and bloomers..."

Eliza Ann McAuley [Egbert] (1835-1919) at the time of her 
California marriage, 1854

Dr. Mary E. Walker in bloomer costume soon
after the Civil War. One could borrow a 
pair of pants and trim off a ragged skirt...

making a more functional costume as worn by these female gold seekers.

Becky Wants to Know:
"Are we there yet? Well I guess we are half-way!"

Keturah Belknap about 1910,
over fifty years after her western journey.

See Keturah Belknap's journal in volume 1 of Covered Wagon Women and Sarah Mousley's in Volume 7.


Rina said...

What a beatiful block!!! I was waiting for it, I'm ready to choose among my stash of fabrics and cut it down! The history is very interesting, too.
Thank you, Ms. Barbara.

Danice said...

Another awesome block. Searching through my fabric stash now :)

Monique D (B-Maransart) said...

Merci pour ce nouveau bloc. Je l'attendais, je cherche les tissus et je commence.

Scrap and quilts said...

OH! I love this block. I know which fabrics to use for this one. Thanks! ;^)

Jacqueline said...

Thank you for all you share with us out here in blog land. I sew enjoy your posts.

janie krig said...

That's an intense block.
Love the history as usual, thanks.

Irene said...

Several years ago my family and I took our vacation starting in St. Louis and doing the Oregon Trail. We homeschooled our sons and they loved it! In Cheyenne, WY there are wagon trail ruts that are very deep from pioneers heading out west.

Thank you for sharing the history

Kerry said...

Beautiful block. I really enjoyed reading this part of history too and to still see the ruts on the trail is truly amazing. I am enjoying all the other posts and reading about the blocks too. Not started the blocks yet - currently working on a quilt for nagging daughter - need to finish for some peace and quiet!
Thank you so much for sharing.

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

I love the history you share - thank you so much. This QAL is easy going. I still have my second stars in a time warp from last year to sandwich and quilt!

desertskyquilts said...

That was a really interesting post. I've been in that area many times when we were traveling the country, and never realized how close we were to that spot. I like this block, and appreciate Becky's example for colors that one might use.

Simran Patel said...

What a beatiful block!!! I was waiting for it, I'm ready to choose among my stash of fabrics and cut it down! The history is very interesting, too.
Thank you, Ms. Barbara.
long skirts online