Saturday, January 28, 2017

Emma Hurd's 1886 Union Crazy Quilt

I made a visit to our local Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas and they had this lovely crazy quilt on display.

I'd seen it several times but I hadn't focused on the GAR patch before.
The initials stand for Grand Army of the Republic, the largest Union veterans' group.

The quilt is signed in paint 1886, Emma Hurd, Maquon, Illinois.
The painting on silk is impressive.

I remember when we accepted that quilt before the age of the internet. Perhaps I can find out more about Emma now and her connection to the GAR.

The catalog tells us quite a bit as it was her family who donated it.

Emma Housh Hurd 1858-1936
Born: Haw Creek, Illinois. Died: Peoria, Illinois.

Maquon is in Knox County, which is red in the above map. Peoria is in Peoria County in gray & Bureau County is in aqua.

Her middle initial was F. we know from her grave in the
Maquon Cemetery. She was born and buried in Knox County.

In 1886 Emma's husband  was Franklin Pierce Hurd  (1858 - 1928) who'd been born the year after President Pierce's four-year term. She had two young children under five, Jay Clinton & Addie, and had just given birth to a second daughter Caroline. One can imagine this quilt took a few years to finish.

Maquon's school about 1900
The building was opened in 1866 so Emma and her children may have attended.

From her mother Addie Ouderkirk Housh's 1928 obituary in the Galesburg Register Mail, we learn that the family was originally from upstate New York and that the widowed Addie lived with daughter Emma in LaMoille, Illinois for the last five years of her life. Emma's mother Addie died about 8 years before Emma. Emma's father Andrew Clinton Housh died in 1923. He was born in Greencastle, Indiana in 1834. He and Emma's brother E. Lafayette Housh were  bankers in Mequon.

LaMoille is in Bureau County, Illinois near Ottawa. It seems this is where Emma lived in the 20th century.
See some old photos of LaMoille here (but couldn't find any of Emma's family):

George Washington was a somewhat popular image on crazy quilts.
I haven't had much luck in figuring out Emma's connection to the GAR.
Her father and her husband (far too young) do not seem to have been soldiers.

86th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry

This patch above might have been  important to Emma or perhaps one of her friends or family gave her the patch. An uncle maybe.

Colonel James D. Housh and Private Jacob Housh from Maquon attended the 1887 reunion
of that regiment in Peoria, as did Adam Housh & Thomas Housh. These men were Emma's uncles, her father's brothers.
Of Emma's three children Jay and Caroline lived into the 1960s. Addie died at about 11 years old in 1895. Perhaps while Emma was working on this quilt.

See Emma's quilt at the webpage of the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yankee Diary Block 1:Tulip & Liberty

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. 
Part 1 The Tulip by Becky Brown

Part 2: The Word Liberty

Caroline Cowles Richards

In April, 1854, while her husband was out of town, Abigail Beals sent granddaughters 12-year-old Caroline and younger Anna on a mission to Butcher Street in the African-American neighborhood. They were to invite Chloe Colbert* to dinner. "I think Chloe was surprised, but she said she would be ready tomorrow ... when the carriage came for her."

View of Canandaigua in 1858 by Carrie's friend Augustus Coleman.
Pictures are from the Ontario County Historical Society's collection.

Chloe once had been a slave in New York. The girls advised Grandmother she might, "rather invite white ladies, but she said Chloe was a poor old slave and as Grandfather had gone to Saratoga she thought it was a good time to have her. She said God made of one blood all the people on the face of the earth."

The two women were perhaps united by an old friendship or sense of obligation. Their guest "had a nice dinner, not in the kitchen either."

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. Part 2 Liberty by Denniele Bohannon

We forget that New York, so far from the Mason-Dixon line, was a slave-holding state when Chloe Colbert and Abigail Beals were young. The laws emancipating enslaved people in New York were complex. Essentially, every enslaved person was to be freed in 1827, fifteen years before Carrie was born, but the 1830 the census still listed 75 slaves.

Purple counties listed enslaved people in the North
30 years before the Civil War. Chloe lived in Ontario County (blue).
From Armchair Atlas

The year before Carrie's birth her paternal grandfather Reverend James Richards Sr. acknowledged that he was still a slaveholder in 1841. "I can only say that there is a coloured woman in Newark N.J. who according to the laws of that state stands in the relation of a slave to me." The complexities of freeing enslaved people in the North dictated that this unnamed woman had been born too soon to ever be legally free. Although she may have lived as a free woman for much of the 19th century, she remained James Richards' legal property in New Jersey.

Austin Steward

Chloe lived on what is now Granger Street in Canandaigua with the town's other African-Americans---former slaves and free blacks. One neighbor was schoolteacher Austin Steward who published his autobiography Twenty-Two Years a Slave, and Forty Years a Freeman in 1857.

Poster announcing an August West Indies Emancipation celebration
in neighboring town, Geneva, New York. Geneva Historical Society

Steward recalled an annual celebration in the neighborhood, August First, the anniversary of emancipation in the West Indies. Soon after Carrie came to live with her grandparents, Canandaigua's black community invited Frederick Douglass to head the speakers' roster at the 1847 celebration. Celebrants gathered on the grounds of the village Academy to hear speeches and music and then "marched to the Canandaigua Hotel, partook of a sumptuous dinner, provided by the proprietor of that house." 

Antislavery convention in 1850 in Cazenovia, New York.
Frederick Douglass is seated at right.
Read more about this photo here:

After more speeches all "repaired to the ladies' fair, where they found everything in a condition which spoke well for the enterprise and industry of our colored sisters. Their articles for sale, were of a choice and considerate selection, and such as sold rapidly and at fair prices." Funds raised at the ladies' fair went to pay the speakers' fees. This fair may have been organized by the "Colored Ladies Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle of Canandaigua," whose name was recorded in 1843 when they sent $7 to aid Daniel Drayton, jailed for organizing a slave escape in Washington City.

Carrie's diary, edited as a sentimental view of small town American life, gives us only a glimpse of slavery's resonance in a Yankee state. Canandaigua, the nostalgic village of old-time harmony, was home to several radicals, abolitionists, and activists who helped slaves escape to nearby Canada. The courthouse was the site for landmark trials over Native American rights, escaped slave's rights, anti-Masonic hysteria and the trial of Susan B. Anthony in the 1870s for trying to vote.

Block #1 Tulip and Liberty

Block 1: Tulip & Liberty. 
Part 1 The Tulip by Denniele on a navy blue background.

The single stem floral design was popular with applique artists in the 1840s and '50s, although rarely noticed then and now. 

Four versions of the single stem tulip from New York quilts. There must have been
some meaning and importance to this recurring image.  See more about the floral at this post:

Tulip by me

Here's the pattern as a JPG.
Cut a rectangle of background fabric 9-1/2" x 12-1/2"

To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Check to be sure the size is correct and that it fits in a 12" wide rectangle. The red shape should measure just about 7" from top to bottom.
  • Print that file. 
  • Add seam allowances when you cut the fabric.

This month's pattern also includes a finished 12" x 3" strip with the word Liberty. The diagram shows their placement in the irregular set. The strip above Liberty could be adjusted to fit a larger word.
 You have to wait for months 4, 6 and 12 to set the first blocks.

Perseus Bradbury's wool table cover.

The word can remind us of Daniel Webster's 1830 speech, which became a rallying cry for Unionists before and during the Civil War: "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" Liberty has many meanings, one thing to Daniel Webster, another to Chloe Colbert.

I appliqued my letters.

Cut a strip of background fabric 12-1/2" x 3-1/2".
Here's a pattern.
The word should print out 1-1/2" inches tall and 7-1/2" long.

Other options:
I like the free-form look of the appliqued letters---but you may not want to applique 1-1/2" letters. You can do them any size but they should fit inside a 3" x 12" finished strip.

Denniele has embroidered hers.
You could also ink yours.

Here are some alternate designs. Each  pattern JPG should print out 7" x 3". Center the word on your 12-1/2" strip, trace it and embroider or ink.

This prints out 11" x 3"

Becky has a treasure, something she found in her Great-Grandmother's trunk: a strip of fabric with the word printed on it. She has printed it onto pre-treated cotton and is incorporating it into her quilt. She thought you might want to print that too so she sent a photo.

What that little banner meant to her Great-Grandmother is a mystery. Perhaps someone wore it.

Cased photo from the early 1860s, sold at
Cowan's Auctions

And finally - you could piece those letters. Click on the link to see a pattern for larger letters (3") that you can buy as a PDF from FromBlankPages on Etsy. Piece them at 3" and adjust the space later.

You can buy a paper pattern for the first four months from me at my Etsy Store
Or a downloadable PDF

Read about New York's most famous manumitted slave Sojourner Truth here:

*Carrie does not mention Chloe's last name but she is probably the wife of Lloyd Colbert. She was listed in the 1850, 1855 & 1860 censuses in the city. This Chloe Johnson Colbert was born in 1781 in New Jersey and probably died during the Civil War. She was just a few years older than Grandmother who was born in Madison, Connecticut.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Buying Paper Patterns for Yankee Diary

 I know some of you are at a contretemps with your printer.

As a former special education teacher I have long believed that offering you free quilt patterns on the blog would motivate you two to get along. You'd become a more sophisticated citizen of the 21st century. I wouldn't have to spend hours in a page layout program trying to get the 4" pattern to print 4".

But I am giving up.

If you want to buy the paper patterns for the Yankee Diary BOM through the mail I am offering the patterns in three sets of four throughout 2017 in my Etsy store.

NOTE: I will still post them as free patterns on the blog here starting tomorrow, January 25.

January through April are available now for $10 (includes US Postage). You get 7 sheets, 8-1/2" x 11", black & white with pattern pictures, cutting and sewing instructions. Plus a little bit of the Yankee Diary story. A very little bit.

You'll get the patterns before the other blog readers do. Don't spoil their surprise---unless they beg.

You can also buy the first four patterns in a downloadable PDF for $6 at this listing and print it yourself---but this involves a truce with your printer.

One reason I don't do these as PDFs on the blog is I have no cloud to post the PDFs on.

Whine, whine, whine.
Too much work.

Every time I float them on someone else's cloud the cloud changes and the URLs are no good anymore. Plus it's more work to make a PDF than it is to just give you a JPG.

 But I am bowing to overwhelming public demand. Two or three of you have requested a PDF and several have asked for paper patterns or a book(!) No book.

The PDFs are easier to save on your computer than a blog post. You can save the paper patterns in a notebook.

I'll post the next 4 patterns (May-August 2017) at my Etsy shop in May, 2017.
I've also made PDFs and paper patterns for BOM's from earlier years.
Westering Women and Threads of Memory.
Look in the pattern department at my Etsy store.

You can tell your printer you won.

I'll post the Etsy Shop links each month with the patterns.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Alamance County Donates Quilts to the Cause 1862

Union Hospital

Much of the information about women and quilts for Civil War soldiers is about the Union states, due to the extremely organized Sanitary Commission, which recorded so much about donations.

Detail of a flag of the 6th Infantry, North Carolina

I found a Southern reference from the Raleigh, NC Semi-Weekly Standard in December, 1862, which listed "Donations to Company K 6th Reg't, N.C. State Troops by Pleasant Grove District, Alamance, collected and carried to Virginia by Lieutenant Levi Whitted."

This may be the Levi Whitted who delivered the donations
to the soldiers in Virginia.

"Mrs R S Barnwell, 1 quilt [This is probably Mary Barnwell 1833-1878]
L W Simpson, 1 quilt
Smith Rasco, 1 quilt
Mrs W A Walker, 1 quilt
Egbert Corn (free Negro), 1 quilt
Ned Corn (free Negro) 2 quilts
Dixon Corn " 2 blankets
Mrs. K Tate, 1 quilt
Mrs. A Harvey, 1 quilt"

Now of course we want to know more about those people, particularly that Corn family. Fortunately, Lisa Y. Henderson has done some genealogical work:

In the 1860 census, Alamance County:
Egbert Corn, mulatto, no age given, farmer, shared a household with 
Lem Jeffries, mulatto. 

Also, in adjacent households: 
Ned Corn, 60, and children 
Martha, 28, 
Ebra, 27, 
Thos., 24, and 
L. Corn, 22, 
C. Anderson, 23;

Dixon Corn, 64, 
Wife Tempy, 65, 
A.J., 27, 
Giles, 24, 
Frank, 18, 
J. Mc. Corn, 5,
 Bill, 15, 
Haywood, 12, J
John, 18, 
Jackson Heath, 26.

You know Dixon did not really donate those two blankets. It was wife Tempy. And Ned did not make the two quilts. Perhaps daughters Martha and Ebra did the sewing.

Women workers at the Alamance County Cotton Mill

Alamance County was home to one of the largest Southern cotton weaving mills. Edwin Holt's Alamance County Cotton Mill was established in 1837. They specialized in plaid and striped woven fabrics. Perhaps the donated quilts contained fabric from the local mill.

Late 19th-century quilt of Alamance plaids from
the collection of Colonial Williamsburg:

Much more about the Jeffries/Corn family

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yankee Diary: Introduction to Carrie

Caroline Cowles Richards Clarke (1842-1913)
 at the time of her diary.

Next Wednesday we begin the 2017 Block of the Month:
Yankee Diary. Here's some information about the diarist.

The United States before the Civil War

Carrie lived in upstate New York, under the red arrow by the Canadian border. The light blue states are the Free States, the dark blue the Slave States, and the gray areas were the "West".

Kansas was a frequent topic in the Ontario [County]
Repository newspaper in the late 1850s.

Where I come from in Kansas we think the Civil War began in 1854, the year Congress established the Kansas/Nebraska Territories and gambled their future as slave states or free states on the votes of the first citizens. 

By 1854 the U.S. had become two cultures, a North focusing on industry and a South on agriculture based on slave labor. Extending either culture into the Western territories brought a crisis to a head. Within seven years the two cultures were at war.

Carrie and Anna soon after their mother died.

Caroline Cowles Richards grew from a girl to a woman in those seven years.

Carrie's Maternal Grandparents

In 1854 she was twelve, living with her younger sister Anna and her mother's parents Abigail Field (1784 -1872) and Thomas Beals (1783-1864).

Carrie's Parents
 Elizabeth Beals Richards (1814-1846) & James Richards (1813-1875) 

The girls' mother had died when Carrie was almost five and Anna was an infant. Both parents suffered from chronic diseases. Elizabeth had tuberculosis and James was an alcoholic with bi-polar disorder. A peripatetic Presbyterian minister, he left them to be raised by their grandparents who were in their early seventies.

Carrie and Anna were fortunate in their mother's parents who raised them with the steady hand of old time Congregationalists confident in the ways of their religion.  Brothers James and John were not so lucky and spent their childhoods in a home with a bedridden mother and their adolescence following their father as he alienated congregation after congregation with his drinking and manic episodes.

Older brother John Morgan Richards (1841-1918) wrote an autobiography
in which he recalled his father's death from a fall in Scotland in 1875.
Daughter Pearl Richards Craigie (1867 – 1906) was a well-known 
English novelist who wrote under
the name John Oliver Hobbes

Family disgrace was not mentioned in Carrie's diary, at least in the version published a century ago. But her extended family was remarkable and written records about them abound. (See the books & documents below.)

Newspaper accounts and a pamphlet warned 
congregations against hiring Carrie's father.

Her father Reverend James Richards II was publicly censured. The problem was not only his alcoholism but also his refusal to accept responsibility. His manic periods were as outrageous as his alcoholic binges.

James II was the son of a well-known minister and chose to follow in his father's footsteps after he met Elizabeth Beals who had vowed to marry a minister and only a minister. An old school friend of Elizabeth's told Carrie: 

"She hoped we would be as good as our mother was. That is what nearly every one says." 
A bust of Elizabeth Beals Richards who died at 32.

After being compared to her mother once too often Carrie wrote,
 "I think children in old times were not as bad as they are now."
How much did Carrie know about her father's problems?  He visited. When Carrie was about 10 he took the girls "to the store and told us we could have anything we wanted---stick candy, lemon drops, bulls' eyes, rubber balls, jumping ropes with handles, hoops and jewelry.

They corresponded often. When she was 13 he sent a box of fruit from his post in New Orleans. She wrote "a little 'poetry' " back. He sent her money and Gulliver's Travels with a gold image of Gulliver on the cover. "Grandmother did not like the picture so she pasted a piece of pink calico over it so we could only see the giant from his waist up."

Welcome to Canandaigua
Photo from the New York Public Library collection.

The diary begins in 1852 when she was 10 and settled in Canandaigua, a prosperous city only a few decades older than she. Her grandparents were well-to-do community founders. Aunts, cousins and other relatives lived there comfortably to give Carrie and Anna an extended family.

Aunt Ann's house still stands

Carrie's diary. published to give us a nostalgic view of small town American life, reveals glimpses of contemporary issues before and during the Civil War. With careful reading we can see slavery's resonance in a Yankee state, family tragedies and the importance of New York as a center for women's rights and abolition.

Like her niece Pearl Craigie, Carrie had a talent for writing and a sly wit. Her diary is full of fun as well as sorrows. Following her will be an enjoyable mid-19th-century journey.

Links to publications about Carrie & her friends and family:

Diary of Caroline Cowles Richards, 1852-1872
The diary is still in print and has been published many times under different names. You can buy it as a printed, bound book and in chldren's editions. The first publication was 1908, I believe.

I like this 1908 digital version with photographs:

A 1913 edition at Google Books:
Village Life in America, 1852-1872: Including the Period of the American Civil War. as Told in the Diary of a School Girl.

Download it in various forms here:

And this is just plain text for a quick search.

About Carrie's Immediate Family:
Her Father

The Documents in the Case of James Richards.

Her Brother John's Memoir:
With John Bull and Jonathan. Reminiscences of Sixty Years of an American's Life in England and in the United States by John Morgan Richards.

Her paternal grandfather's family:
Before the Throne of Grace: An Evangelical Family in the Early Republic by Laura S. Seitz and Elaine D. Baxter. This is available only as a bound book. It contains letters from her parents.

Pearl Richards Craigie in 1902

Niece Pearl Richards Craigie's biography by her father, Carrie's brother:
The life of John Oliver Hobbes: told in her correspondence with numerous friends

To say nothing of the Fields Family, her grandmother's distinguished brothers....

About Carrie's Friends & Their Quilts:
Jacqueline Atkins, Shared Threads (New York: Viking Studio Books, 1994)

Shelly Zegart Old Maid/New Woman.

The Ontario County Historical Society has some of the quilts and many photos related to Carrie, plus her piano.