Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Caldwells: Hard Shell Secessionists & A Family of Physicians

William Wiswell, Secession Exploded, 1861

In May, 1861 delegates met in Raleigh, North Carolina at the state house to vote on Secession, among them Dr. Pinckney Cotesworth Caldwell of Charlotte, who was remembered in convention history as "a Democrat, a strong secessionist and an Episcopalian." Dr. Caldwell's views were in the majority at the North Carolina Secession Convention, which passed a fateful ordinance:
"We do further declare and ordain, That the union now subsisting between the State of North Carolina and the other States under the title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved."

The Secession Explosion loosed some demons in Wiswell's view.

What were the stakes? War?  Many argued that the Union would not oppose secession. Delegate A. W. Venable is supposed to have waved his handkerchief, promising to "wipe up every drop of blood shed in the war with this handkerchief." . 

Dr. P.C. Caldwell seems to have become interested in politics during the 1861 election when he supported Democrat John C. Breckinridge.

After the election was won by the "usurper Lincoln" as a local paper termed the Republican, Dr. Caldwell was elected president of Charlotte's local Secession Convention and went on to Raleigh where the die was cast.

Chintz Applique Quilt, 104" Square,
"Sally Roxana Caldwell 1833" on reverse
Mint Museum

At home was wife Sarah Roxana Caldwell whose name is inked on the back of this quilt in the collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte. Sally Wilson married Dr. P.C. Caldwell in 1831 according to the records of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Born a Quaker Sally Roxana joined St. Peter's after her marriage and with her sister Elvira Catherine Alexander became an active member of the church.

The Charlotte Branch Mint operated from 1838 until the Civil War.
The building is now the Mint Museum of Art Randolph

Sally (perhaps she was known as Roxana) and her sisters married well, with Laura marrying into the family of President James Polk. Elvira Catherine's husband William Julius Alexander was a member of the state legislature and Superintendent of the Branch Mint.

During the war the Mint building was 
Confederate headquarters and a hospital

Sally's quilt and family memory speak of prosperity in antebellum Charlotte where her husband was a physician. She apparently gave birth to three children but baby Mary Elizabeth died after only a few weeks in 1845.

Son Joseph W. Caldwell joined his father's practice in 1854 when
he was about 21.

Corner of Trade & Tryon Streets about 1900 from the collection of the 
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The Caldwells had an office on Tryon Street.

Reading the Western Democrat reveals that debt was a chronic problem for the Drs. Caldwell.
"N.B---All persons indebted to me by accounts are requested to settle the same at an early day."

In 1858 their office was for rent.

And the next year their house.

Success is not measured in money and the Caldwells were a proud family of physicians and nurses.
Son Joseph became an assistant surgeon in the 23rd Regiment North Carolina Infantry when the war began and Sally's offspring nurse Kate Guion Babcock and Drs. Connie Myers Guion and Annie Parks McCombs were respected women in the health field well into the twentieth century.

The Civil War took a personal toll as well as financial. Joseph died in the summer of 1862 at the age of 29 with no mention of cause or glory so we can assume his parents had little comfort in burying him at St. Peter's churchyard. 

Mrs. R. Caldwell's death notice, March, 1863

Sally Roxana died eight months later and the following month the family held a sale at their home at the "old Lucky Rock House, four miles from town," advertising household goods and livestock. P.C. Caldwell barely outlived the war, dying of consumption in the summer of 1865.

Granddaughter Kate Guion Babcock (1866-1943)
 in her nurse's uniform.  She was the eldest of 
Sally Roxana's daughter Kate's 12 children.

Sally Roxana's quilt passed down through Kate Guion's family; great-granddaughter Annie McCombs donated it to the Mint Museum. The quilt is a link to the Civil War and a strong family of women.

Read about the medical women in the Caldwell family:
Kate and her husband in Asylum Doctor: James Woods Babcock and the Red Plague of Pellagra by Charles S. Bryan

Kate Babcock's younger sister Dr. Connie Myers Guion (1882-1971) worked in New York, specializing in outpatient care.

Look to This Day! The Lively Education of a Great Woman Doctor: Connie Guion, M.D. by Nardi Reeder Campion, Boston: Little, Brown And Company, 1965 

Their sister Ferebe (Effie) Elenor Guion McCombs had one daughter, born after her physician father's death in 1901.  Dr. Annie Parks McCombs (1901-?) practiced with her Aunt Connie.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sara's Civil Quilt

Antebellum Album Block 3
"Dare to Try"
By Sara Reimer Farley

I recently spent a little time with my old friend Sara at the AQSG seminar. She pointed out that she is making a Civil Quilt from our Civil War BOM Antebellum Album.

Live in Peace

I get it NOW. Civil---as in wishes for civil discourse (so rare it seems from those in authority.)

Her signature

"Serve With Joy"

A Lovely Idea

"Keep On"

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Linsey---Civil War Souvenirs

Nine Patch Linsey quilt
Collection of Merikay Waldvogel

At a 1908 fair in Lexington, Mississippi, locals displayed their heirlooms including a "Quilt, pieced after the [Civil] war, of goods woven at home during the war, loaned by Miss Sue Young."

The tale is consistent with the theory that many of the homespun and home woven quilts pieced of jeans cloth, hickory cloth and linsey were made after the war to preserve war mementos such as homespun.

Home woven fabrics of wools and wool/cotton or wool/linen mixes are hard to date. A plaid in brown and indigo would look the same in 1770 or 1870. Blue jeans cloth like the triangles in the block above----you can imagine how hard a swatch would be to date.

Nine Patch from a Skinner Auction

So we have to rely on other clues for dating---such
as style and quilting.

The fan quilting design of concentric quarter circles is
a good clue to a date after 1870.

Flying Geese of wools and mixed fabrics from the Tennessee project
& the Quilt Index.
Extremely hard to date. Diagonal line quilting no help.

And the simple patchwork---often nine patches--- is no help either.

??? from the Michigan project.
By Elsie Winchester, Haywood County, North Carolina.
NC Project

Minerva Ogle's quilt from the Tennessee project 
offers a little assistance in the pattern of rectangles,
a popular pattern about 1910. Fan quilting---post Civil War.

Read more about linsey in an early war here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Antebellum Album Label

Here's a label for your Antebellum Album quilt. Print the JPG above at 5" x 5" onto printable fabric leaving you room for your own message.

Here are some instructions for printing:

We still have three blocks to go.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

G.A.R. Quilt from Cardington, Ohio

Quilt with the names of Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and 
James A. Garfield in the center,
both Ohio boys.

Dated 1884, made in Cardington, Ohio
Collection of the Ohio Historical Society

There is little doubt as to whom the quilt was made for. 
On the reverse is a giant label:
"Thanksgiving Present 
Mrs. A.G. St. John
Cardington, Ohio."

And on the front near the Presidents' names is inked
"Captain Jas. St John," Amanda St. John's son.

Main Street in Cardington, about 1900

This quilt was likely made by women of the G.A.R. ladies auxiliary in Cardington. G.A.R. posts were named for local soldiers who had died in the Civil War.

Battle of Perryville from Harper's Weekly

The Cardington post honored Captain James St. John of the 3rd Ohio Regulars who was killed October 8, 1862 at a particularly bloody battle in Perryville, Kentucky. St. John was about 25 years old, the son of Anson St. John and his second wife Sally A. Ink. This Sally A. may indeed by Amanda, as Amanda St. John received a mother's pension for James of $8 per month.

On October 15, 1883 Rebecca T. Bennett, President of the ladies' auxiliary wrote a letter to the editor of the National Tribune, the G.A.R. newspaper.
"We have a prosperous little band...a membership of about fifty and names still coming in...We are contemplating piecing an album quilt and all soldiers wishing their names, company and regiment put upon it to pay us ten cents a name. When completed, it will be put up at auction and sold to the highest bidder, the money to be placed in the relief fund." 
This sounds very much like Amanda's quilt, although between the contemplation and completion the quilt's purpose changed and it was given as a gift.

The strips between the piecework may look like a print but
each is inked with names and regiments.

Cardington is near the center of Ohio

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Civil War Sampler by Tong

I was so pleased that Tong brought her Civil War Sampler to
a recent show and tell. She lives in Arkansas now, made this in

She's from Thailand and she bought my book Civil War Sampler to learn more about her new country. She said she had a hard time choosing period reproduction prints as she had no idea what vintage American quilts looked like. But she did a terrific job.

Tong also didn't know much about patchwork and noticed right away there are no instructions in the book. I told her "You can have patterns and stories for 50 blocks or you can have how-to directions. You can't have it all in the same book."

That's Becky Brown's model in the book.

She said she asked new friends for help. "What is a Y seam?", etc. (She's not the only novice to notice there are no basic instructions in the book.)

Sorry. No room!

A general how-to book like this Visual Guide to Patchwork & Quilting
from C&T is probably a good companion book for new quilters.

Tong's quilt turned out great. She learned a lot about American history and quiltmaking and she is a novice no more.

That's why I write books.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Buried With the Silver: Unintended Consequences

Markett, Mary Caroline Markett, Alabama.
Michigan project & the Quilt Index.

According to the family tale:
"This quilt is a family heirloom made by my grandmothers grandmother who lived in southern Alabama. During the Civil War the family silver and other valuables were wrapped in the quilt, placed in an iron pot and buried in the ground to keep the Yankee troops from plundering."

This week: variations on the central Rose of Sharon applique with family stories that they were saved from Yankee raiders by being buried outside the house.

But: According to the history of the 102nd Illinois Infantry, marching through Springfield, Georgia in December, 1864, removing valuables from the houses had unexpected consequences.
"A guarding the houses of citizens. But alas, for those over prudent citizens! They buried their household goods in grounds adjoining their houses, and the soldiers have discovered them. An almost endless variety of articles have been exhumed. Some are bringing away clothing, other blankets, other fine dishes, silver spoons, etc. "

Quilt from the McClure family. Collection of the Mountain Heritage Center.

"The quilt supposedly was buried during the Civil War to keep it safe from Federal troops, probably stationed in east Tennessee. Another version has it that the family silver was wrapped in the quilt and buried to protect it from theft by the troops."

Stuffed quilting in the McClure quilt.

"Quilt made by the mother of Walter Jackson Vickers (born in 1889) Sweetland, WV. It was buried underground, along with silver, during the Civil War, so it would not be confiscated by soldiers."